By Merri Ann Simonson
Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Inc
The second quarter results which complete the first half of the year for San Juan Island were similar to the first quarter. Per the NWMLS, the dollar volume on San Juan Island was $56,399,689 with a total of 108 transactions. The numbers reflect an 18 percent decrease in transaction number and a 22 percent decrease in dollar volume as compared to the same period in 2017. For San Juan County, the total dollar volume was $143,972,044 with a total of 245 transactions. The county’s gain was 5% in transaction number and 11.5 percent in dollar volume.
The County’s increase in volume was mostly supported by Orcas Island; they are on a roll. Their volume was $54,363,368 with 76 transactions and their average sales price was $715,307 for the 6 month period. Their numbers reflect a 43% increase in dollar volume but a 6.2 percent decrease in transaction numbers. This explains their average sales price increase of 52 percent, which isn’t an appreciation calculation, but an increase from the same period last year.
This type of volume may take its toll on their inventory levels which in turn will place upward pressure on their pricing over time, if not already. Why is Orcas doing better than San Juan? They did have a very large transaction attributed to Oprah but that was at the end of the quarter. Even without that sale, Orcas was still at an increased level over 2017.
The numbers contained in this report are derived from a search in the NWMLS which doesn’t include all of the closings for the County. Excluded volume is attributed to direct sales that are not in the NWMLS
On San Juan, our inventory is also taking the pressure and reflects a decrease from last year same time.
The previous low was in December 2005 when we were working with only 157 listings for all types of property on San Juan. Our current level is 225 with 40 under contract or a net of 185 property listings.
It is still more cost effective to buy an existing home and remodel, subject to your description of materials, than to build new construction although this is changing. The reduced housing inventory is resulting in upward pressure on our prices and buyers deciding to build exactly what they want versus buying one of the existing homes. As the inventory continues to deplete, custom construction will become more popular and our builders will become more active than they are now, which will be interesting. I know one contractor that stated his costs have increased over 30 percent in the last 6 months due to labor and materials. I have been quoted $300-$350 per square foot for a home with some hardwoods, granite and a nice appliance package. Land sales have increased on San Juan Island over the last few years; we had 50 sales in 2016; 85 in 2017; and 40 to-date in 2018.
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