Is Whidbey Changing? That question is asked every day. The question is obvious, especially to those who’ve lived here for years. There’s more than one answer, and those answers aren’t obvious. Last Fall’s presentation generated enough conversations for an update and an expansion. About a half a year’s extra data will be added to the trends (which unsurprisingly contains surprises), and is also being presented at two additional venues: Langley Library (a reprise), Freeland Library, and Coupeville Library.
“Is Whidbey changing? Affordability is an issue for many. Growth versus preservation has always been a balancing act, and is amplified by Seattle’s record setting real estate market. It is too easy to say it’s all good or all bad. The island is more complex and so is the housing market, the local economy, and our culture(s). … Will tiny houses solve affordability? Will off-island money overwhelm Whidbey? If the nation’s economy coughs will we notice?”
Anecdotes are entertaining, but some prefer to see the data behind storylines. Hearing about a house that sells for tens of thousands more than asked for is great for cocktail party conversations. At the same time, did another house sell for tens of thousands less? How about those inbetween?
Data is dull until its value is recognized for uncovering larger trends. Whidbey Island continues to become less affordable, but it is the most affordable major island in the Puget Sound, is arguably more affordable than Seattle, and Seattle is more affordable than most cities on the Pacific Rim despite Seattle’s reputation for unaffordability. But what does that do to housing prices from the touristy South Whidbey, through historic and more rural Central Whidbey, through to the island’s only city of Oak Harbor? There’s a lot to talk about and a lot to think about. There’s also an urgency because trends aren’t waiting for us to talk about them. Trends are built from many individual actions, renting, buying, selling, moving, that are based on individual lifestyles and choices.
As it says on the poster;
“Drop in for a talk about trends, possibilities, and realities. … There’s a lot going on and we’ll cover as much as we can.”
(And thank the various librarians, Friends of the respective libraries, and the Sno-Isle Library system for helping make the events happen.)