Whidbey Real Estate During Covid19 – January 2021

Real estate and affordability on Whidbey Island, two topics that I’ve been interested in even before becoming a real estate broker (Dalton Realty, Inc.). Islands naturally have a limit on the supply of land. In the last four decades I’ve watched Whidbey Island change from a remote place few knew about, to an international tourist destination and a growing Naval Air Station. A simplistic view of economics is to check supply and demand to better understand prices. Limited supply. Increasing demand. Increasing prices. As long as incomes rise as fast or faster than prices, affordability doesn’t change much. That hasn’t been the case; hence, the interest in producing this edition of my perspective on Whidbey Island’s real estate and affordability trends. 

Thanks to various Sno-Isle Libraries for enabling the initial in-person presentations. 

Then Covid hit. Instead of reporting every six months it made sense to report every three months. Switch from in-person to online, and welcome to a medium that has less interaction but a broader reach, and the benefit of being able to watch in whole or in part at your leisure. 

In general, the Whidbey Island story hasn’t changed. After a large drop in prices during the Great Recession, prices have been recovering. If that was all there was to the story, then there wouldn’t be much need to go into details so frequently. 

Covid changed that. Globally, there is a trend that seems to be a reversal, or at least a relaxation, of the interest in urbanization. People that feel crowded, that find it difficult to socially distance themselves in cities, can naturally look to places with fewer people, or more land, or both. Rural Distancing. As work and learning and shopping have moved online more, many people also find that they can move to environments they prefer, or to places with lower costs of living, as long as they have good internet access. Whidbey Island is close enough to business centers, close enough to have good internet access, yet remote enough and spacious enough to become more attractive than it was before. 

In such a scenario, demand rises.

Whidbey Island already had limited supply, and supply that had been declining for several years. Covid convinced some islanders to stay, or delay selling. And supply decreases yet again.

These trends affect different areas of the island differently. To help illustrate those general and specific trends, here is the presentation in two forms. (Note: Within the presentation, the graphs show 2020 in red to emphasize the period in and around the pandemic – so far.)  

Presentation Slides (pdf, 63 slides) Whidbey Real Estate During Covid19 – January 2021

YouTube video (~ 1 hour) Whidbey Real Estate During Covid19 – January 2021

And, of course, you are welcome to contact me with specific questions (that I might be able to answer.) I am also open to making presentation to groups who have more specific interests (e.g. regions, houses versus land, etc.).

(Disclosure: I am a real estate broker with Dalton Realty, Inc. on Whidbey Island.)