Port Townsend real estate likely to see slow recovery

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The real estate market is improving, but it may take awhile for the effects to reach Port Townsend, according to a speaker who addressed the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

“Things are improving in Seattle — the inventory is down, and it seems that the worst is over,” said John Eissinger, a Realtor with RE/MAX First Inc. of Port Townsend. “But since we are usually 12 to 18 months behind what happens in Seattle, we aren’t going to see the improvement here right away.”

Eissinger addressed about 30 people at the Port Townsend Elks Lodge during the chamber’s weekly luncheon meeting.

He presented first-half 2012 statistics that reflected a 26.3 percent increase in residential sales countywide from the first six months of 2011.

Even so, the median price has fallen from $249,000 to $240,000, and the number of days a property is on the market has increased 35 percent. Eissinger said the statistics show an improving trend, although the low number of homes on the market make accurate statistics impossible.

“We have so few homes here that one sale can skew the results,” he said.

In Port Townsend, two home sales led to a percentage increase of almost 10 percent.

“This will be a slow and steady increase,” Eissinger said. “We shouldn’t expect anything dramatic.”

Eissinger said he was excited to see a 9 percent increase in vacant-land sales — one lot.

“This is good because a vacant-land sale means new construction and that tradespeople get back to work,” Eissinger said.

There were 12 vacant-land sales in Jefferson during the first half of this year, compared with 11 during the same period in 2011.

Eissinger said that a Realtor can help sellers come up with a fair selling price for their homes.

The role of the assessment has changed, he said.

“Just a few years ago, homes would sell for up to 25 percent over the [county’s] assessed value,” he said. “These days, they usually sell at or slightly below the assessment.”

Eissinger said that both prices and interest rates are low, making this a good time to purchase.

“There is no better time than now to buy real estate if you want to make a long-term investment,” he said. “And there are some really good deals in Port Ludlow.”

Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 13. 2012 6:02PM
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