For the second consecutive year, home sales are showing signs of a real estate market recovery on Whidbey Island.
Data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reveals that 593 single-family homes were sold on Whidbey Island from Jan. 1–Aug. 20, outpacing the 546 sold during the same period in 2013, making it the highest total for that time period in five years.
That data, among other activity, is giving real estate brokers on the island a refreshing sense of optimism as a strong market in 2013 continues to show promise in 2014.
“What I’m seeing is more stability,” said Rick Shutte, owner and designated broker at Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate in Oak Harbor.
“July was our largest number of homes under contract in a number of years, probably five or six years.”
Wayne Locke, an Oak Harbor Realtor who, with his wife Sheila Davies, make up the Whidbey team of Coldwell Banker Tara Properties, said he and his wife set a conservative goal for home sales each year. He said they will have met their 2014 goal by the end of this month.
“It’s very refreshing,” Locke said.
Locke said he is encouraged by the upswing after some lean times but said the biggest challenge remains a shortage of quality homes for sale on the island, particularly between Coupeville and Oak Harbor.
“A good house comes on the market and it doesn’t last. It’s in sold in three or four days,” Locke said.
According to the NWMLS data, median home price on Whidbey Island rose 2 percent over last year through Aug. 20, going from $250,000 to $255,000. That’s the highest median home price since 2010.
Homes also are selling more quickly this year than in 2013 through the same time period, averaging 96 days on the market compared to 120.
For Eric Mitten, owner and designated broker of Windermere Real Estate offices in Coupeville and Oak Harbor, the data from 2014 shows that the real estate market on Whidbey Island is continuing to recover.
He said home sales rose significantly from 2012 to 2013 and moderately since 2013.
The number of homes sold on Whidbey during 2013 (897) was 32 percent higher than in 2012 (682), according to Mitten.
“There’s continual improvement,” Mitten said, “but not the magnitude that 2012 to 2013 was.”
Mitten said the number of homes sold at the end of July this year compared to July in 2013 showed increases in North, Central and South Whidbey, with Central showing the largest gains at 8 percent.
As of July 31, the number of homes for sale in North and Central Whidbey is down 20 percent from last year, while South Whidbey is comparable to last year, Mitten said.