Median home price up, as usual

But sales slow, as out-of-town buyers struggle to sell their homes.

Though the median home price on Bainbridge is still up from last year, slouching housing markets elsewhere in the country are slowing sales on the island.

Local real estate agents say there are still plenty of prospective buyers looking to move to the island, but many are from out of state and are struggling to sell their old homes.

“When the market slows down it contracts on itself because people can’t buy if they can’t sell,” said Jim Laws, owner/broker of Windemere on Bainbridge.

Laws said he has seen prices soften and the market quiet down since the summer season, but he believes it’s more than the normal shoulder season slow down.

“The good news is that we have buyers,” Laws said. “The buyers are being very cautious and very patient, but they are buying.”

Maureen Buckley, who co-owns Buckley and Buckley Real Estate, agreed that the market has quieted, especially for houses priced under $600,000.

She said that while many looking to buy in that range find Bainbridge prices reasonable, they can’t find buyers for their old homes and don’t want to risk taking a bridge loan to cover their move.

More buyers are shopping for deals even after they have entered in contracts to buy homes, said Penny McLaughlin of Penny’s Team.

“I’ve had more people come right up to the buyer’s table and then walk away,” McLaughlin said. “They are definitely shopping more even when they have already made a decision. This is new, this is new in 20 years.”

McLaughlin said she has noticed a sluggish sales across all price ranges on the island.

She attributes buyer thriftiness to poor markets elsewhere and lower availability of home loans, which are harder to attain thanks to the summer credit crash.

Sales are down elsewhere in Puget Sound compared to last year, according to the Northwest Multiple Listings Service, but home prices are still rising.

The median price of homes sold on Bainbridge from January to September this year was $680,000, up $30,000 from the same period in 2006 and highest in Kitsap County by more than $250,000.

The median price of sales closed on Bainbridge in September was $715,000.

The Finn Hill area in North Kitsap registered the second highest median home price in the county at $396,000, up nearly $30,000; meanwhile Suquamish was the least expensive spot to buy, with a median price of $233,900.

The median home price for all of Kitsap through September was $296,000, up from $273,911 at the same time last year.

While the residential home market is cooling, the condominium market has been hot on Bainbridge this year, thanks to a flood of newly constructed units on the island. The new selection of condominiums have added quality to the market and are selling for higher prices, McLaughlin said.

Condo buyers have paid a median price of $455,000 on Bainbridge as compared to $264,000 over the same period last year. The median price for condos sold in Kitsap County was $339,500 up from $183,000 in 2006.

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