Don’t expect to see big signs with MANSION carved into stone, but Whidbey Island has enough luxury estates to keep landscapers and house managers busy. The island is an obvious destination for people who want to be by bustling Seattle, but far enough away to enjoy quiet rural settings. There’s a great collection of cottages and bungalows, but some can and do go a bit bigger. One of the easiest ways to buy privacy is to buy a lot of land and build a sanctuary in the middle. Ah, but where are they?
There can’t be a definitive list. Anyone can slap the label of mansion on their house. It’s a subjective thing. An old manufactured home on an acre can feel like a mansion to someone who has always lived in cramped apartments. To make it easy, narrow down the selection to properties worth over a million. To make it even easier (and make visits more possible) narrow it down to million dollar houses for sale. Undoubtedly, there will be a phenomenal estate available for $800,000; or a $2,500,000 property that’s priced for some other reason, like a business; but a million is a nice round number to play with. Let’s play.
The island basically breaks into three areas: north, central, and south. North Whidbey is associated with the Naval Air base and Deception Pass Bridge. Central Whidbey is known for Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve and the ferry to Port Townsend. South Whidbey is sometimes seen as an extension of the tourist town of Langley and has the ferry to the Seattle. They all have great views and reasons for people to live there.
At least for this snapshot in time, South Whidbey has the most million dollar plus places. Each of the areas have at least some:
- North Whidbey has 4,
- Central Whidbey has 6, and
- South Whidbey has 24.
The numbers are slightly skewed because of the number of houses for sale (which are near recent historic lows): Central Whidbey only has 37 houses for sale while North Whidbey has 94 and South Whidbey has 103. Put that into percentages and see Central Whidbey shift up a notch.
- North Whidbey = 4%
- Central Whidbey = 16%
- South Whidbey = 23%
Whichever way the data is sliced, South Whidbey seems to be attracting the high-end homes, or at least the high-priced ones.
It would be grand to pull together a tour of the entire multi-million dollar inventory, but many of the properties were built especially to preserve someone’s privacy. Don’t be surprised to find that getting inside isn’t easy. (That’s what brokers and proof-of-funds can make happen.)
To see the high-priced homes, start at the south end and work your way north. Come at the search from the north and and maybe you’ll find estates for under seven figures. In either case, make sure you make it to the middle that’s rumored to have billionaires’ estates that stretch along the western shore.
Whidbey may have mansions, but they are quiet mansions. Their entrances are as likely to be down long, forested, gravel roads as they are to be behind iron gates and fences. Many of the million dollar sanctuaries are on great expanses as long as you look towards the water. Some neighborhoods have high-end home beside high-end home as they share the shoreline. Despite the proximity, they may only all be occupied on holidays, like the Third of July (more about that in a few weeks.) There may be houses to either side, but the views can stretch to the horizon.
Stay tuned. Seattle’s housing fever is spreading. Maybe South Whidbey has already caught a bit of that. These numbers are for one day in June. Every day brings changes. And, who knows? Even if you don’t have the funds now, lotteries and windfalls happen. Win Powerball or MegaMillions and find lots of doors opening to you.
(Personal plug: I’m a broker with Coldwell Banker Tara Properties and am happy to help.)