OK. This has been going on long enough, more than long enough. And yet, we can’t ignore the fact that people need to find affordable places to live where they feel safe. For the last few years I’ve made several presentations about real estate and affordability trends on Whidbey Island. Every six months seemed about right. This is 2020. Even only every three months seems like years have gone by since the previous presentation. Here’s the update in a slightly different format that emphasizes the pandemic-related trends that are affecting the island, and other similarly lightly populated places.
Social distancing is a common phrase thanks to the pandemic. Rural areas are defined by their distances, hence Rural Distancing. Check the link for a post describing just how distanced Whidbey residents can be compared to Seattle residents. Rural Distancing isn’t limited to Whidbey. Globally there’s an increase in interest in moving from the cities back to the suburbs and the country. While there is evidence of increased prices in rural areas, at least in the Puget Sound area, there’s also increased prices everywhere. One possibility is that people are drawn to rural and suburban areas because of Covid19, and other people are drawn to the area as they seek places that are less prone to forest fires, hurricanes, and even politics.
The summary is that housing prices on the island are up.
For the details:
Presentation Slides (64 slides): Whidbey Island Real Estate and Pandemic News – October 2020
YouTube video (~70 minutes): Whidbey Island Real Estate and Pandemic News – October 2020
Whatever else is happening, Whidbey’s changes are potentially accelerating. Urban to rural. Drones replacing some pilots? Commutes being traded for working from home. Moving now rather than waiting for – what? We’re in Phase Three. We’re in smoke, but only sometimes and not in the midst of massive fires (we hope.) The area is attractive, and more people are becoming aware of that, especially because they can’t travel to foreign countries. The island is being found. Visitors are becoming residents, and not just to retire here or own a second, third, or fourth house.
Supply is down. It is understandable if demand is up. So are prices, even if incomes haven’t moved with them. An interesting time for the island, as if 2020 wasn’t already more than interesting enough.
(Disclosure: I am a real estate broker with Dalton Realty, Inc. on Whidbey Island.)