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
Third Quarter - 2020
The phenomenon continues here at the Pointe.  The third quarter continued to bring buyers and as of October 1, we have NO homes and NO island houses listed for sale.  I personally have 33 buyers looking for various types of Pointe properties on my list, and other agents have buyers looking here also, including some out of area agents.  
We are down to four lots currently listed for sale and buyers are looking at lots several times a week, as buying a lot and building seems to be the only option for becoming part of our community.  Twelve lots sold this quarter, the largest number in a quarter in my known history.  In a two-week period of time, two lots that had been on the market for many years and two lots that were on the market for two days, all went pending.  
We have the lowest interest rates in my known history and a thriving economy, and many people looking to move out of the cities and the Pointe has been discovered!  If you are thinking of selling, this is a very favorable time.
Covid restrictions are still in place, but we are allowed to show homes with up to four people inside a home with required masks and social distancing.  Some seller are now opting for adding video tours to their listings to avoid having people do casual walk-throughsl  Also, agents expect that buyers will have a pre-approval letter or proof of funds before scheduling
Election Update:
Some of my friends have asked me how the elections might affect the housing market.  So during an election year in November, you typically see a slowdown of 15% compared to a normal market.  But this isn't a typical market cycle.  Today 71% of listings are selling within the first 30 days of being listed and they are receiving 99-100% of their asking price.  Most of them are receiving up to three offers per listing.  What is causing this?  Sixty year lows in interest rates!  So if you are even remotely thinking about putting your home on the market, this is the time!  Carolyn
Second Quarter - 2020
This report is coming to you late just because the market is currently so robust that there has been no time to stop and analyze and report. 
To summarize, the market is HOT!!  Covid seemed to add to the interest in purchasing at the Pointe and low interest rates and unrest in the cities are drawing buyers in droves to explore new options and purchase vacation homes.  There are buyers here almost daily.  Agents are bringing buyers out from Seattle to look at lots! While home sales have been robust, now lots are selling quickly also.  
Our inventory is still historically low, not only at the Pointe, but in surrounding areas. We are seeing quick sales and multiple offers even on lots which are historically slower to move.  Higher end homes are in demand from people who can work from home in an affordable waterfront home compared to homes in the cities.  Families are purchasing vacation homes and lots on which to build homes.  If we do not get more inventory, we will soon be sold out!
First Quarter - 2020
January continued strong like the fourth quarter of 2019.  Lots of buyers but still very low inventory.  This continued into February until Covid-19 became a factor in March, just when sellers started listing again.  The last listing to go pending was listed on March 10, and went pending on March 17.  Since the Governor's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order, there have been few inquiries about Pointe properties and only a couple showings.  Our inventory has slightly increased, but buyers are cautiously waiting this out as second/vacation homes are not currently a priority.  Most predictions are that the market will rebound forcefully.  Serious buyers are still active.  If you are considering listing, buyers are active online.  
Real estate brokers and Realtors are required to follow the Mandatory Protocols for In-Person Interactions per Governor Inslee's Order:
"The statewide "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" Order requires that the following protocols are strictly followed for permitted in-person real estate activities:
In-person activities must be by appointment only.
No more than two people, including the broker may be at the property at any time; and
Those two persons must strictly follow social distancing guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") by remaining at least six feet apart at all times.
If real estate brokers do not comply with the required protocols or violate other provisions of the Order, the Governor may place further restrictions on the real estate industry."
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!
w 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

Summary of Sales: 2020
2020 Sales 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q
Houses 2 (+1 pending) 6 6 (+1 pending)  
Island Houses 2 (+1 pending) 3(+2) 2 (+3 pending)  
Lots 1 1(+3) 12 (+1 pending)  

MLS Listings
Houses 5 2 0  
Island Houses 1 1 0  
Lots 11 9 4  
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