Best Harbor: Gig Harbor, WA

Gig Harbor – Voted #1 Favorite Harbor by Coastal Living!

2011 Gig Harbor Real Estate Market

– 2011 Recap of the Gig Harbor Real Estate Market –

Active listings: 2011 began with a total of 567 single family homes on the market and ended with 515. This number represents the “current inventory”. As this number falls and number of sales rises, the market changes from a buyer’s market to a more neutral market.

Average list price of this inventory in January, 2011 was $685,000. By December, it had fallen to $512,000.

Median list price (half the homes listed are at a lesser price, half are at a higher price) in January was $375,000. At the end of 2011, it was $354,000.

Now for sales….

Number of sales in 2011 topped 2010; 733 in 2010, 791 in 2011. 2011 average price was $340,000, median was $283,000, indicating that the bulk of the sales were in the lower price ranges. 2010 median sales price was $328,000.

Approximately 30% of the homes sold in 2011 were bank-owned. This contributed to the decrease in average and median sales price. The average price of bank-owned homes sold was $229,153, median price was $190,000.

Another 10% of the sales were short sales. Average price was $351,239, median was $299,950.

Currently less than 4% of active listings are bank-owned and 11% are short sales. Shadow inventory (bank-owned homes not yet put on the market) is rumored to be quite high so I anticipate more bank-owned homes becoming available in the near future.

Build your dream home here!

How does this sound? A waterfront building lot with 200+ ft. of bulk-headed waterfront, a pebble beach, a boat ramp and an approved septic design? The site has an old saltwater swimming pool at the water’s edge that is in need of repair, but has great potential. Also on the property is a large brick fireplace – perfect for entertaining friends and family. The site is level and ready to go. Located at the tip of Rocky Point in Bremerton and with views of the Olympic Mountains, this could be the ideal spot to build your dream home! See for yourself at MLS #258314 $275,000

Home Inspections 101

What does your home inspection cover? And who is liable if a problem develops down the road?

You need an inspection on any property you are buying, regardless if it’s old or new construction. An inspection is like a check-up for your house. What repairs will need to addressed now and what might need to be addressed later down the road? This is what you have answered during an inspection. Having an inspection done prior to signing a contract allows you to negotiate your findings into the deal. Does the roof need replaced? The seller may give an allowance to pay for the repairs. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know!

Perhaps you’ve fallen in love with a fixer-upper and are dreaming of doing the repairs yourself. If the inspection discovers hidden damage and costs, you’ll be given the option to keep looking for a more suitable house. Keep in mind, however, that simply because a house needs repairs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t purchase it. Nearly every house will have a list of repairs that need to be done to get it “shipshape.” It is your decision to choose how much you are willing to spend and how much work you are willing to do.

A home inspection varies depending on what type of property you are interested in.

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), “the standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components.”

There are limits, however, to what a home inspection will cover. They aren’t required to identify conditions that are concealed or are considered latent defects. That means if personal property, plants, snow, or debris is covering an issue, the home inspector isn’t require to move those items to inspect it and isn’t liable if he misses it. They aren’t require to make determinations on systems that aren’t readily accessible.

And they aren’t required to note the presence of potentially hazardous plants and animals. That includes “wood destroying organisms” or even molds.

This means you should find a home inspector that you trust. The ASHI recommends you choose from their list of licensed professionals. “ASHI members know houses, ensuring that you can find a home inspector. They are trained to objectively communicate to you, the home inspection buyer, what the house has to say. ASHI members have demonstrated technical proficiency and report-writing skills, and they have committed to continuing education in order to achieve and maintain their member status.”

Having a trusted inspector means that most every problem that can be identified, will be. And inspection is about peace of mind, and a good inspector gives you that.

Gig Harbor: Smithsonian May 2011

May 2011 Smithsonian features Gig Harbor!

The Smithsonian’s “Your Kind of Town” featured Gig Harbor this month. I found their description to be right on:

“Ah, the place where people look you in the eye!” said a gentleman as I introduced myself as being from Gig Harbor. He was right. Known for its natural beauty, with views of Mount Rainier and Puget Sound, this small city with under 8000 residents sits across the Narrows Bridge from Tacoma.

Concerts in the park, boat parades, garden tours and art walks help residents get to know their neighbors. There are shopping centers and restaurants, but not cluttering every corner. Miles of shoreline and a deep-water bay have made it famous for water sports. Bikers, walkers and runners can be seen daily on the five-mile public paved trail called the Cushman. If a community’s health can be gauged by how people treat each other and interact, a good look in the eye is quite a compliment. – Mindi Larose, the Smithsonian.

Doesn’t it make you want to move to Gig Harbor?

Is the time right for you to buy a rental property?

Would you or someone you know like to invest in Gig Harbor real estate?

Currently there are 16 houses priced under $200,000 in Gig Harbor (zip codes 98332 and 98335). With the number of renters increasing, this could be an ideal time to add a rental property to your real estate portfolio. Property values are bound to increase within the next several years, and in the meantime the rent payments can pay the mortgage each month.

The interest rates for non-owner occupied properties are only slightly higher than for owner-occupied, which are still ridiculously low. With 20% down, and an interest rate of 6%, the principal and interest on a $200,000 would be less than $1000/month for a 30-year loan.

It might be worth a discussion with your financial planner to see if buying a Gig Harbor rental property would be a good idea for you.

Gig Harbor Home Prices

Gig Harbor (98332, 98335 zip codes)

Real Estate Market Quarterly Update

How did the first quarter of 2011 compare to the first quarter of 2010?

There was a decrease in inventory.

On March 31, 2011 there were 476 homes on the market as compared to 397 Gig Harbor homes for sale as compared to 476 on March 31, 2010.

There was an increase in activity.

Pending sales totaled 451 during the first quarter of 2011, up 16% from last year’s 381.

Prices are down…

The chart below shows a recap of Gig Harbor home prices during the first quarters of 2010 and 2011.

Bank-owned homes accounted for a significant percentage of Gig Harbor home sales, with nearly 1/3 of the homes sold during the first quarter of 2011 being REOs (Real Estate Owned).

Easter Fun in Gig Harbor

Easter Weekend in Gig Harbor

Looking for something to do

over Easter weekend?

Begin on Friday with the Earth Heritage Day: Restore, Reuse, Renew celebration.

It will be held from 10-5 at Skansie Brothers Park and Jerisich Dock in downtown Gig Harbor. Sound Experience, a non-profit organization that teaches environmental stewardship will dock their 133-ft schooner, “Adventuress” and provide free public tours and dockside education.

The Skansie Netshed will host Harbor WildWatch, Pierce Conservation District will “Fish Painting” and Gig Harbor BoatShop is offering free tours all day.

On Saturday you can take the kids to one of the Easter Egg Hunts and then wander around the Farmers Market, check out the new Harbor History Museum and go see “The Diary of Anne Frank”.

Visit the new candy store, stroll through the art galleries, take a walk around the waterfront – for such a small little coastal town, Gig Harbor offers a wide array of fun, free or inexpensive, family-friendly activities.

Local Shopping Just Makes Sense

Holiday Shopping – Keep it Local

It’s really easy and convenient to go online, click, purchase, gift-wrap and have gifts mailed. But…how does this impact our local communities?

When you shop locally you support more than just the business you purchase goods or services from. You support their local bookkeepers, bankers, attorneys, car dealers, insurance companies, etc. They improve our local economy by creating jobs, and supporting schools, parks, fire and police departments. Chances are that they’ll contribute to local charities and use local businesses when they shop.

Our communities were founded on small businesses. Give new ones a try – they keep our communities vibrant. As for the tried and true – they’ve likely stayed in business because they’ve provided better customer service and quality products than some of the big chain stores.

Take a walk (and save some gas) through your local “Main Street” area and consider buying something special and unique from your friends and neighbors this holiday season. They deserve your trust and your business. Then maybe take a few minutes to hand-wrap your gifts – most people will appreciate the extra effort.

So fuel your local economy by shopping locally when you can. Your support is needed!

Summer 2010 vs. Summer 2009

Gig Harbor Real Estate Activity

Summer 2010 vs. Summer 2009

So what happened with Gig Harbor real estate this summer? Did prices go up? Down? Did number of sales go up? Or down?

Well, actually a little bit of both depending on which of the three summer months (June, July, or August) we’re looking at.

  • This June, a total of 86 single family homes sold in Gig Harbor – with a median price of $345,000.
  • But in July there were only 70 sales and median price was down to $301,000
  • Then in August, which had 82 sales, waterfront homes impacted the numbers. Four sold for $1 million or more. Those sales boosted August’s median sales price to the highest since March – $355,000.

Also interesting this summer, new construction sales were up substantially over the summer months. Through the end of May, only 23 new homes had sold. June, July, and August added another 28 to that total.

So let’s take a look back to 2009:

  • In June, we had a total of 71 sales, median price was $325,000.
  • July was better – 83 sales with a median price of $385,000 due mainly to the four waterfront homes that sold for over $1 million.
  • August sales stayed steady at 81, but median price fell to $328,000.

New home sales in 2009 were fairly consistent from month to month. June, July, and August totaled 20 – the previous 5 months totaled 34.

September numbers will be out this week – I’ll keep you posted.

From NWMLS, median prices rounded up to nearest 1000.