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Merri Ann Simonson's Real Estate Update: San Juan County Real Estate Market Summary

Holy cow, what a year! In reviewing the year-end results for 2020, the sales dollar volume for the real estate market in San Juan County per the Northwest Multiple Listing Service was $466,709,745 which reflects a substantial increase in volume of 55% as compared to 2019 when the volume was $299,854,773. The County closed an average of 55 transactions per month which is a 48% increase over last year.


Total volume on San Juan Island in 2020 was $217,576,869 as compared to $139,593,052 in 2019. The increase 56% in volume with an increase of 53% in transaction number. The average number of transactions per month was 25. Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Inc. had an extraordinary increase of 70%.

Once lodging was allowed in April, buyers that lived within driving distance flocked to the Islands to purchase a second home/safe haven property. COVID, low interest rates, and the ability to work from home all fueled the migration.

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 115 and San Juan Island closed a total of 59 transactions. This was the most active segment of our market for both areas. Typically, the newcomer to the island prefers water view or waterfront and is mostly buying in the price range of $1m to $2m. They are seeking a second or retirement home.

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 the buyers were moving funds from the stock market into real estate and/or processing an IRS 1031 from other real estate that was located in a less desirable location. Most were cash buyers with the purpose of the purchase for another home in addition to their primary residence in a safer location. Many wanted home offices as they planned to work remote and an ADU for their family. The few that used financing, did so as the rates are just too attractive to miss the opportunity.

Another active segment of our market is land sales. In 2020, both San Juan County and San Juan Island had increases in the number of land sales. The increase in transactions for the County was 74% and San Juan Island had an increase of 80%. This strong uptick is a reflection of the low housing inventory and minimal selection for buyers. Now buyers are willing to build custom since the existing housing prices have increased to a level that they are much closer to new construction prices.

Inventory levels in the County and San Juan Island for all property types are very low. In the County the total inventory is down 46% from same time last year. The total inventory for San Juan Island is down 44%. The number of escrows/pending transactions are both higher this January than in 2021 than 2020.

Per Mr. Zillow the typical home value was $650,193 as of December 31,2020 as compared to $625,763 one year earlier which reflects a 4% increase. Mr. Zillow is also predicting a 9.1% 1-year forecasted value increase for homes for 98250. I do not know what Mr. Zillow’s formula is, but I do know that it is very difficult to calculate appreciation in our market as very few similar homes sell twice in two years and we do not have enough closing volume to calculate appreciation accurately. Historically, over a 20-year period with ups and downs, the difference in the total tax assessed values in the County for all types of properties reflects an average of 4%. Therefore, I do not agree, but I recognize Mr. Zillow has a very sophisticated program with predictive analytics but, I have boots on the ground. However, if he is correct, I guess we better hold on for the ride.

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 2020 for San Juan Island was $672,500 which is a 3.3% increase over 2019 when it was $650,000. 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 on San Juan Island was 160. The DOM was 166 last year for the same period 12 month; however, it does vary on the price range.

∙ The average waterfront home price for the County was $1,493,000 for the 126 sales that were on the market an average of 222 days. The average price for San Juan was $1,618,000 for the 59 sales that were on the market an average of 214 days.

∙ Sellers negotiated less off their sale prices during 2020 and many enjoyed multiple offers with escalations above list price for homes in the County and on San Juan Island. The percentage off list price varied based on the price range.

Showcase of Listings: The Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Showcase of Listings deadline this year is March 31, 2021. 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.

The information listed above was generated from a search by Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service and represents listings and closings from all of the brokerage firms on San Juan Island, not just Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Inc. If your property is already listed with a real estate broker, please disregard. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other brokers.


Last modified onWednesday, 15 September 2021 14:04

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