Lovely weather lately…..
First off, we’ve had a streak of nice days here on San Juan Island. There’s plenty of time to get in the garden, mow the lawn and kick back with a favorite cool beverage, even if you’re still wearing the goose down parka later in the evening. Friends and family are starting to come for a visit, so in addition to your favorite places, check this out:
At the intersection of Spring and Second streets, right in front of the movie theater and the alley access to the Farmer’s Market, there’s a new space for hanging out. The town overhauled the sidewalk, which now features a landscaped area with stone carved chairs, a curved bench and an assembly of small stools for sitting. There’s also a low curved steel wall that sets the seating area off from the street. We believe it’s going to be the new place for meeting up……..”I’ll see you at the curved bench in 10 minutes!”
San Juan Island Farmer’s Market
Remember to support your local farmers and artisans on Saturdays from 10am to 1pm at the Farmer’s Market at Brickworks. What a great place to grab some lunch and pick up something for dinner on Saturday night. View all the details here: http://sjifarmersmarket.com/
John and Sarah
March 20, 2017
OPALCO (Orcas Power & Light Co-operative) started supplying energy to the San Juan Islands in 1937 and has continued to look for innovative ways to support its members. In 2015, it acquired Rock Island, our local Internet Service Provider, so that both companies could work together to bring high-speed fiber optic broadband to San Juan County. Both companies (Rock Island is now a subsidiary of OPALCO) feel strongly that rural communities should not be left behind when it comes to basic utilities and that our communities can take care of their own needs.
How are OPALCO and Rock Island doing this? Imagine Interstate 5 running the length of Washington and then imagine the main highways of 520 and 405. If you were driving home, you might need to drive on I-5, then 520, then a main arterial to your neighborhood road to your driveway. It’s much the same with fiber optic broadband. OPALCO has the connection to the fiber optic backbone (I-5 and 520) and access to the backbone is provided by Rock Island. OPALCO and Rock Island can’t build the entire system by themselves, but they have taken on the heavy lifting with installing the main infrastructure. The companies are encouraging homeowners and neighborhoods to organize into “fiber groups” in order to complete the final states of the installation, known as the middle mile (the main arterial) and the last mile (your neighborhood road and driveway). With a group of people, the cost for the installation will be less and everyone will benefit.
Knowing this is a large mission to take on, OPALCO and Rock Island have created two incentives to financially help the fiber groups and homeowners. The first is the Construction Incentive, which is a $1500 one-time credit that goes toward your last mile build cost and the second is the Discount Incentive, which is reserved for those who are willing to cover the entire cost of construction for the middle and last mile to their property. More detailed information can be found here. Also check out the following links for a current map of the main infrastructure for San Juan County and a couple of fantastic videos about the middle and last mile. Rock Island’s website offers a clear and easy explanation of the whole operation and has a ton of info on their services. It’s worth a look!
As you drive around on the islands, you’ll see the OPALCO folks on the side of the road installing the large red tubes that house the fiber optic lines. Slow down, give them a wave and say, “Thanks for helping to bring the county high-speed broad band!”.
John and Sarah
Okay, so we’ve had some snow on the island this winter and the wind has been cold off the water, but it doesn’t fool Mother Nature. She knows her timing and spring is close. The trees are starting to bud, the crocuses are blooming and the daffodils aren’t far behind. The feeling of spring is there, although somewhere beneath the layers of wool and Gore-tex. Many things are happening here on the island, including the first annual fund raiser for the Friday Harbor Film Festival! We were able to enjoy a lovely dinner, with a silent and live auction, while the Oscars were live-streamed. A great reason to get out the fun dress-up clothes and enjoy the night. Check out the current Winter Film Series at http://www.fhff.org/.
Other exciting things are happening here in Friday Harbor. There’s a new brewery and public house being built in town. We’re waiting to hear what the name of it will be. We’ll post the name and website as soon as it becomes available. If you come up with a suggestion for us to pass along, send it to John at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Downrigger’s is back in action as well and has risen from the ashes of the fire like a phoenix. Enjoy the new bar area that looks over the harbor and ferry dock, as well as the open dining room. For more pictures and the updated menu, here’s the website: http://www.downriggerssanjuan.com/.
As the traditional ebb and flow of the seasons continues, remember that we are here to help you with your San Juan Real Estate needs, whether that’s looking for a piece of land to build your dream home or deciding that it might be time to downsize your current home as your life has changed. Each situation begins with a conversation, so let us know how we can help you.
John and Sarah
Summer’s Here: The Solstice is just around the corner and the weather has been just spectacular. One of the best Springs we have seem in a very long time.
Here is the Local Real Estate Update:
San Juan Island Real Estate
Although the real estate transaction activity has been brisk,
fewer homes are selling this year as compared to last.
But vacant land sales on San Juan Island
have shown the inverse result so far this year.
The average number of active monthly listings in
our local inventory has been falling.
Some reasons why our inventory is so low…..
It’s not only here, but across Western Washington and many other US markets, sellers and buyers are dealing with the challenges of slim housing inventory. A combination of factors, both economic as well as legislative, are contributing to today’s market conditions. A recent analysis that appeared on Inman.com, a real estate news service, provided the following set of reasons: Capital gains exclusion on primary residence. Before 1997, home sellers could only avoid capital gains taxes on the sale by purchasing another house of equal or greater value. In short, sellers were motivated to move up, providing a built-in supply-and-demand dynamic. But with the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, sellers were allowed a capital gains/appreciation exclusion ($250,000 for singles, and $500,000 for married couples). Value disruption from the recession. In many markets, values plunged from 2007-2010. People and investors who bought homes at a discount are inclined to hold on to the properties and take advantage of their good fortune. Expectation for values to climb. Much like holding on to a stock, expecting the price will rise, homeowners believe their property values are on the upswing and want to ride the wave. Consequently, more homes are “frozen” out of inventory. Sustained environment of low interest rates. Since many homeowners and investors have either purchased or recently refinanced to take advantage of low rates, they find themselves “locked in” to their favorable rates. Consequently, these owners are unlikely to sell anytime soon. Where would I go? Low inventory begets low inventory. For instance, seniors who might be inclined to sell after retirement are encountering limited options in their communities, and decide to stay put. Stunted development. Home builders put on the brakes in 2008, and are slowly ramping back up to pre-recession levels.
Over the past 4 years, Windermere Realtors have represented more than 45% of all property buyers in our County. We have qualified buyers looking for homes, but unless the inventory improves, these folks will stay on the sidelines. All of this points to an interesting second half of 2015. Stay tuned!
The salmon derby with 100 boats is going on this weekend at Roche Harbor, Typical weather, rain and some more rain for the anglers to contend with. As of this morning a 22 lb blackmouth was the leading fish landed for the $10,000 first place prize. Shots from last years event. The derby was cancelled during the boat show due to basically mismanagement of the fishery, but was later reopened up to accommodate this derby and the Anacortes Derby. Everyone was very happy that the Washington State Dept of Fish and Wildlife made the decision to allow these derbies to go forward. The amount of effort, planning that goes into setting up these events is huge. Not to mention the economic impact on the local workers.
Overlooking Victoria: Fabulous custom Westside home with “World Class” views, gorgeous interior finishes and exotic detailing. Large view windows upstairs and downstairs, “all-house” Bose music system, Irish Connemara marble, Sub zero fridge, two dishwashers, media & exercise rooms and much more! Lovely adjacent guest house offers more versatility. Features: Bath Off Master, Dbl Pane/Storm Windw, Dining Room, Hot Tub/Spa, Walk In Pantry
Amenities: Deck, Green House, High Speed Internet, Hot Tub/Spa, Outbuildings, Patio, Propane
Appliances: Dishwasher, Dryer, Microwave, Range/Oven, Refrigerator, Washer
Schools: District: San Juan Island
We were at the Seattle International Boat Show at CenturyLink Field. I was at the Windermere Booth Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Seen a lot of old friends. Our booth was in the East Hall next to Roche Harbor’s display. This is one of the largest boat shows in the US and the premier event of the winter for the boating community in the Pacific Northwest. People come from all over the world to visit this event. I have a client who comes every year from Costa Rica specifically for this event.
Just listed- 5 acres with 180 degree views to the Southwest- Victoria British Columbia, Olympic Mountains, Port Townsend, Port Angeles and Sequim. The junction of the Haro Straits and Juan De Fuca are front row center with whales and shipping. All day sun. Driveway in, building site developed, well and 3 bedroom septic system installed. It’s all ready to go. 24 hour a day views, lights of Victoria all night long. for more details click here
Sold on 11/22/14 Full Price. On market for 41 days with two offers.
MLS # 708120 $495,000.00
Signed Both Ways-In the business, when a property goes under contract we call it “Signed Both Ways”. As of today, July 26th, we have 42 properties “SBW”. in the past week or so on San Juan Island we had 3, million dollar plus properties, go under contract. 2 on Golf Course Rd and one on False Bay Rd. A good sign for our market. To see all 42 properties currently under contract, click here