Real Estate Perspectives
Real Estate Trends & Perspectives
At the Pointe, and on the Island
Welcome to Fantasy Island”: a history of real estate and real people at Hartstene Pointe
through the eyes of Walt Tupper, one of the “original settlers.”
Market Trends & Happenings - 2019
Fourth Quarter - 2019
Wow!! Fourth Quarter finished strong with the only problem being the low inventory again.  At times there was only one home for sale and listings priced right stayed on market for only days.  The list of buyers looking for homes at the Pointe is growing and the inventory is not.  Hopefully as we edge into 2020, with prices heading up, there will be some new For Sale signs up!  If you are thinking of selling, 2020 may be the best year yet.  
Some of the buyers are looking at lots to build, but are often discouraged by the timeline to get a home built.  There were lots of lot showings this quarter, but no sales.  One unlisted lot is pending.
Third Quarter - 2019
Unfortunately the Second Quarter narrative was skipped due to an especially busy selling market.  
Third Quarter did not slow down and for one day there was only one listed house for sale.  As of September 30, there is only one home for sale and no island houses listed for sale.  Buyers are still looking for properties here and are discouraged by the low inventory.  If you are thinking of selling, this is the time.  Your listing will not likely be on the market for long.  
Many buyers are looking at lots and planning to build. Our inventory of listed lots has stayed stable or grown slightly over this year and purchasing a lot to build on is a good option as lot prices are stable.
First Quarter - 2019
WOW AGAIN!!  The first quarter started off busy as usual, bringing out buyers to view homes, but March brought in new listings followed by buyers with offers.  As we struggle with low inventory, we are seeing the fastest turnover ever. 
One weekend in March four new listings popped up and within days, three of them had offers.  One cabin was listed on a Wednesday and received a call five minutes later, a viewing that day and an offer the next day.  If you are thinking of selling, this is the time.  Buyers are still looking at lots and building new homes due to lack of inventory in homes.
As of April 11, 2019, there are only two homes listed for sale and eleven are pending.
GRID NOTE:  Pendings are in parenthesis
Fourth Quarter - 2018
WOW!!  What a drop off of sales in the fourth quarter.  This is actually unusual in that we tend to have a more even number of sales throughout the year, and do not generally follow the trends of Seattle and other metro areas, which are also trending down.  Altogether, 20 homes were sold this year (five less than our banner year 2017).  We also had fewer island house sales, but this is mainly due to lack of inventory.  Our lot sales have continued to increase due to low inventory of homes.
Buyers are still looking at homes and lots here throughout the year and hopefully the first quarter will show a surge in sales as in past years.
We currently have only five homes listed for sale and one of those is pending.  There is only one island house listed and lot listings are down to only 15 from a high of 20 at the start of 2018.  Most lot buyers are planning to build in the near future.
There are also some homes that have sold as FSBO, but I do not have those records.
Third Quarter - 2018
Third quarter had continued strong activity in sales of homes, island houses and lots.  As of September 30, have only four homes listed for sale, and one pending.  We sold 9 homes which is the amount  from both previous quarters combined.  There has also been at least one home sold by owner.  We have no island house listings, but one is pending.  Lot sales slowed down a little, but buyers are still viewing lots every week, especially since there are few homes to choose from.  We have 16 lots for sale and two pending. 
In general, activity has slowed a little in the last month or so.  Forecasts for Seattle area show a little slowdown and more stable prices, but does not necessarily follow for the Pointe.
Second Quarter - 2018
This quarter, activity is strong in sales of homes and lots.  Four homes and one island house have sold.  Three of the homes had water view.  Currently there are four homes pending.  Our current inventory is six homes and two island houses left for sale which includes only one water view home.  There are several showings every week often by agents from Seattle, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Olympia and other nearby areas.
With our current low inventory, lot sales are thriving.  Our inventory is down to 14.  We sold five which includes two water view (the first water view lots sold in several years), and two lots are pending.
If you are thinking of listing, this is a good time!
First Quarter - 2018
The first quarter of 2018 is still going strong despite the lack of inventory.  As of March 31, we have two island houses and two homes for sale which includes one water view home.  We sold four homes during this period.  Also, at least one home sold as a FSBO.
Lots continue to be the big news.  Our inventory is going down.  As of March 31, we have 20 lots listed for sale and three pending (which includes the first water view lot to be sold in the last five years).  Three lots sold this quarter!
January 19 Update:
December and January have been busy months.  We only have one house and two island houses for sale at the moment.  With inventory this low, it is a good time to put your home on the market.  
Fourth Quarter - 2017
In the fourth quarter sales slowed down a little, but we finished strong considering the low inventory of both homes and lots listed for sale. 
This quarter four homes sold, and two are pending to close in January. There are currently only four homes listed for sale which includes only one water view home.  Only one island house sold, and only two are currently listed. 
The big news is that lot sales which had been flat for the last ten years are still selling with three more were sold this quarter and two more pending to close in January.  Our inventory of homes listed for sale has plummeted from 13 in January to only four as of December 31.
Reported by Carolyn Vivian
Third Quarter - 2017
2017 is rounding out to be a record-breaking year.  To start with, after many years with a high inventory of lots for sale, and a record of one lot per year being sold, this year we have already sold five lots and there is one pending and a couple more being considered!!  We still have a high inventory, but hopefully sales will continue to improve.
Home sales are also doing well with another nine listed homes being sold this quarter (three of which were water view) along with another island house.
There are only two island houses listed for sale as of today, and eight homes (two of which are water view).
Second Quarter - 2017
The second quarter had triple the sales of homes and island houses from the first quarter.  There has been much activity and buyers are still looking.  Inventory continues to go down and prices are continuing to move slowly upward.  
As of July 22, there are no island houses currently listed for sale, and only 9 homes.  On the other hand, lot listings continue to increase, but the common comment from buyers is that they want their vacation home now and would not look forward to going through the building process.  It is great to see groundbreaking for a new home, though, and a couple of cabins nearing completion.
First Quarter-2017
As we move into the second quarter, statistics show that Hartstene Pointe has about recovered from the 2007 downturn!  From 1/2014 to 1/2017, the median home price at the Pointe is $244K, for an increase of 11.7%.  The following statistics are from the same time period:
New listings -11.1%,
Homes for Sale -7.1%, P
Pending Sales -24%,
Closed Sales -37.5% (from a high in 2016),
Days on the Market -36.7%,
Month's supply -28.8%,
Percent of List Price +2.1,
Price per square foot +8.7%
Our current number of home listings is low and the sales prices are heading upward.  This is good for sellers, and buyers are here viewing properties almost daily.  Often buyers are not finding the right home due to low inventory.
Lots are still the stagnant category, but with the low low inventory of homes, buyers might start building soon.
Some annual statistics.  These are for all of Harstine Island.
Median Days of the Market started out at 103 in January 2016, went to a high of 110 in April and as of January 2016 is 84.
Median Price per square foot fluctuated over 2016:  134, 170, 135, 146 to end at 140.
Months of Supply has decreased from 7.8 in January 2016 to 6.2 in January 2017.
All this is good news for sellers!
More News from RIS Media pertaining to vacation and investment home sales: 
"Investment home sales dominated the second home market in 2016, off the charts by 4.5 percent to total 1.14 million, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently released 2017 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey—but vacation home purchases plunged, down 21.6 percent to a total 721,000.
NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun attributes the vacating of vacation home sales to low supply and unaffordability—the same issues plaguing the housing market overall.
“In several markets in the South and West—the two most popular destinations for vacation buyers—home prices have soared in recent years because substantial buyer demand from strong job growth continues to outstrip the supply of homes for sale,” says Yun. “With fewer bargain-priced properties to choose from and a growing number of traditional buyers, finding a home for vacation purposes became more difficult and less affordable last year.”
Vacation home sales, according to Yun, are now 36 percent below their 2014 peak. The median vacation home price was $200,000, a 4.2 percent increase from 2015, with the share of all-cash purchases down to 28 percent from 38 percent in 2015. Vacation home sales totaled 12 percent of all transactions in 2016—the lowest share since 2012."
What about your roof?
"Whether you’re playing catch out front or just cruising by, it’s pretty hard to miss a roof. That could be why the National Association of REALTORS® named replacing a home’s roof as the home renovation with the single greatest cost recovery in 2015—this project usually recoups about 105 percent of its price tag."  RIS Media
2016 Fourth Quarter
Even though sales were slower in the fourth quarter, there are currently five homes pending that are expected to close in January.  This reflects buyer interest in November and December.
As of January 1, there are only ten homes listed for sale including one island house.  This is the lowest inventory in a year.  Buyers are still looking for homes here, but the low inventory is discouraging.  This is the best time for listing as most buyers want to move into their vacation home by spring.  
Of the ten homes currently listed, there are only three water view homes for sale.  Three of the 2016 water view home sales where sold below $400K, which seems to be the popular price point.  
While prices are edging up from previous years, much depends on the age and condition of the home.
2016 Third Quarter
The third quarter was our most active for 2016 with seven homes and three island houses sold for a total of ten sales.  There were also at least two homes that sold as for sale by owner.
Our inventory is down from last quarter to only 11 houses and two island houses currently listed for sale.  There are at least four additional homes listed for sale by owner.  No lots were sold this quarter, but serious buyers have been viewing lots and meeting with builders.  The ones I have worked with were greatly disappointed to find how much the cost of cutting trees adds to the total costs, and have walked away to look at ready built homes again.  Most of our trees do not have enough market value to help pay for the cost of cutting.  This is putting our lot sales at disadvantage.  Most lots have been on the market for many years and at the rate of one sale per year, our inventory of 30 listed lots (as of 9/30/16) has become stagnant.
2016 Second Quarter
Activity for the second quarter is still strong, but the number of sales is half what it was the first quarter. There are still buyers here almost weekly, and many more homes have come on the market, almost double the number of homes available in the first quarter.  There were three home sales, but there are also three pending. There are currently 19 homes listed for sale which includes 2 water view homes. 
As of June 30, there were only four island houses listed for sale, and one of those is now pending.
There were no lot sales in the second quarter.
2016 First Quarter
2016 started out strong with one sale and several pendings within the first two weeks!
After a little lull in December, buyers came out on December 24, which seemed to be the 2016 kickoff.  Buyer activity is still strong and inventory has been reduced significantly since last year.  There have been multiple offers on at least one home.  People who want to have a vacation home for summer have already been shopping and making offers on homes as sale continue.  A few more listings are coming on the market now, and sales will likely continue to be strong for 2016.  Prices are no longer falling, and are showing signs of an upward trend.

Summary of Sales: 2019
2019 Sales 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q
Houses 4(+6) 10 3 (+8) 9
Island Houses 1(+1) 2 (+1) 4 2
Lots 13 1(+2) 3 (+1) 0

MLS Listings
Houses 3 5 1 2
Island Houses 1 0 0
Lots 13 12 16 17

Historical # of Sales
houses, Island Houses, & lots
Year Homes Island Houses Lots
2019 26 9 17
2018 20 4 12
2017 25 6 8
2016 18 3 2
2015 18 6 1
2014 14 2 1
2013 9 4 1
2012 14 0 2
2011 8 1 0
2010 10 2 1
2009 3 2 1

Questions or Comments?

Page Editor:            Carolyn Vivian
Page Contributors:  Mike Callaghan, Walt Tupper

Contact Carolyn Vivian by email  for any questions or comments about this page