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Real Estate Update by Merri Ann Simonson: San Juan Island Real Estate Market Summary

In reviewing the year-end results for 2019, the sales dollar volume for the real estate market in San Juan County per the Northwest Multiple Listing Service was $299,854,773 which reflects a small decrease in volume of 2.3% as compared to 2018 when the volume was $306,903,509. The County closed an average of 37 transactions per month which is 19% below last year.


Total volume on San Juan Island in 2019 was $139,593,052 as compared to $132,285,740 in 2018. The increase was 5.3% in volume but there was a decrease of 17.5% in transaction number.

During the 3rd quarter of 2019, I reported that we had been on a downward trend for the previous 21 months, with volume down 15% and transaction numbers down 25% for San Juan Island. The County was down 5.5% in volume and down 19% down in transaction numbers. The northwest region of Washington was also slower but, powered out the 4th quarter and San Juan County followed suit.  

We had fewer number of transactions but increases in volume which equates to more high-end sales occurring. The charts below do not include commercial or multifamily closed sales.  



In reviewing the sales over $1m each, San Juan County closed a total of 62 transactions for a dollar volume of $128,419,285. The number of transactions was a tad under 2018 but the dollar volume was 17% higher and it represented 43% of the entire market volume of 2019.  

On San Juan Island, there were 32 transactions that closed in excess of $1m each for a dollar volume of $70,196,775. The number of transactions was a tad over 2018 but the dollar volume was a whopping 40% higher and it represented 50% of the entire market volume of 2019.

  The buyers that I represented in this category and the agents that I spoke with that also had clients in this price range mostly stated that they were moving funds from the stock market into real estate. The purpose of the purchase was for another home in addition to their primary residence. In some cases, it was a third or fourth home purchase.

  It is apparent that the confidence level with investing in San Juan County real estate for the high-end buyer is quite high, at this time.

Inventory levels on San Juan Island are very similar to last year at this time. The notable difference is in the amount of escrow transactions which reflects a 65% increase which is very comforting. In hindsight, it appears that January 2019 was an anomaly when viewing the historic chart to below.


  Date Total # of Escrows Net Inventory Jan 2020 195 28 167 Jan 2019 190 17 173 Jan 2018 186 33 153 Jan 2017 237 36 201 Jan 2016 311 29 282 Jan 2015 357 38 319 Jan 2014 328 24 304

The inventory for affordably priced homes is very low but we have 26 new homes in Finnegan Way priced $295,000-$315,000 coming online in 2020 that should ease the pressure. We have manufactured homes, condominiums and smaller homes in town under $350,000 but for a larger home out of town, a buyer needs to spend at least $420,000. Filtered water view homes start at $550,000 with homes with expansive water views starting around $700,000, which is also the starting price for small waterfront homes.

The lowest priced lot is around $80,000 but it would be considered a challenging build. Lots that offer a filtered water view start around $135,000 and the waterfront lots start at $250,000. A level sunny medium bank waterfront lot would start at $350,000.   There are many positive statistics regarding the market trends in our County and I have provided the details below.   Highlights of our market:

  · The median home price for a 12-month period ending December 2019 for both the County and San Juan Island was $650,000 which is a good increase over 2018. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less. The increase in high-end sales had a direct impact on the median home prices.

· The Average days on market number (DOM) for homes in the County and on San Juan Island was 172 and 166, respectively. The DOM is very similar to last year for the same period; however, it does vary on the price range.

  · The average waterfront home price for the County was $1,546,897 for the 86 sales that were on the market an average of 226 days. The average price for San Juan was $1,900,000 for the 32 sales that were on the market an average of 187 days.

  · During the year, sellers negotiated on average 6.1% off the list price at the time of sale for homes in the County and 4.4% for San Juan Island. This is very similar to last year, but it varies based on the price range.

 Showcase of Listings: The Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Showcase of Listings deadline this year is March 31, 2020. If you are considering selling your property this year, this is an excellent publication to be included in. The showcase is a handout at our Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor offices as well as on the ferry system.

Written by: 
Merri Ann Simonson
Managing Broker
Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Inc
1-800-451-9054 Office
360-317-8668 Cell


Last modified onWednesday, 15 September 2021 14:10

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