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Updated: May 18, 2022

Another record-breaking year for San Juan County! It was incredible for our sellers and those buyers that were successful in purchasing property. Not so much for many of our buyers that are sitting frustrated on the side lines.

In reviewing the year-end results for 2021 the sales dollar volume for the real estate market in San Juan County per the Northwest Multiple Listing Service was $566,769,478, which reflects an increase in volume of 21% as compared to 2020 when the volume was $469,322,850. The County closed 660 transactions which is a 1% decrease from last year. The average number of transactions per month was 55.

Total volume on San Juan Island in 2021 was $240,714,639 as compared to $219,154,771 in 2020. The increase was 10% in volume with an increase of 6% in transaction number. The average number of transactions per month was 26.

Orcas was the star representing a 26% increase in dollar volume. However, their transaction numbers reflect a decrease of 12% from 2020. This is indicative of fewer number of property sales but higher prices as their volume is up.

The percentage of increase in dollar volume year-over-year is slowing down at this point. At the end of 2020 the data reflected considerably

higher percentages of increase over 2019, but we also had much more inventory during 2020 than we did in 2021. Most agents have buyers very eager to purchase but as the selection is so low, the buyers do not want to make the trip and as stated above, are frustrated with our market.

Even though the last two years of numbers were all record breaking for our County, they may not be sustainable in the years to come as evidenced by the trend of lower percentages of increases. Having said that, a gain is a gain, but it could be that we should expect a market with a more stable activity level.

In reviewing the sales over $1m each, San Juan County closed a total of 154 and San Juan Island closed a total of 60 transactions. These sales reflect a 21% increase in this category for the County and a 5% decrease for San Juan Island.

Again, Orcas performed very well with 61 sales as compared to the 47 in 2020 which is a 28% increase in high-end sales.

The high-end segment of our market was very active for the entire County. Typically, the newcomer to the island prefers water view or waterfront and is mostly buying in the price range of $1m to $2m. They are seeking a second or retirement home.

The top producers, including my team, had their best years ever. Further, we are also very proud as Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Inc. was the top producing brokerage firm in the County.

As I mentioned, 2021 was a great year in real estate which when compared to other 2021 events, make it one of the few highlights for our nation. With COVID, continued inflation, speculation of increasing interest rates, gas prices and our local ferry “situation”; 2022 might be a different real estate market.

Many of the national economic forecasters, such as Zillow, Red Fin, and the National Association of Realtors, are predicting a slower year in many areas of the nation due to the events cited above as well as lower inventory levels. Zillow, who doesn’t have boots on the ground in our County, is stating a decrease in valuations as well as less volume. Last year at this time, Mr. Zillow was predicting a 9.1% 1-year forecasted home value increase for our County and dang, they were pretty accurate. I do not know what Mr. Zillow’s formula is, but I do know that is it very difficult to calculate appreciation in our market due to our low transaction numbers as compared to metropolitan areas and the fact that very few similar homes sell twice in a two-year period.

Inventory levels in the County and San Juan Island for all property types are very low. In the County the total inventory is down 27% from same time last year. The total inventory for San Juan Island is down 34%. The number of escrows / pending transactions are both down which is most likely due to low inventory levels and frustrated buyers.

There are many positive statistics regarding the market trends in our County and I have provided the details below:

Highlights of our market:

  • The median home, condominium and manufactured home price for a 12 month period ending December 2021 for San Juan Island was $681,288 which is a 1.75% increase over 2020 when it was $670,000. The median home price for the same period for the County was $805,000 which is a 22% increase over 2020 when it was $660,000. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less. Orcas Island contributed most of the gain for the County.

  • The Average days on market number (DOM) for homes, condominiums and manufactured housing on San Juan Island was 72. The DOM was 159 last year for the same 12-month period; however, it does vary on the price range. The average days on market for the County during 2021 was 82 days which is down from 164 in 2020.

  • The average waterfront home and waterfront condominium price for San Juan Island was $1,590,651 for the 43 sales that were on the market an average of 97 days. The average waterfront home and condominium price for the County was $1,955,238 for the 103 sales that were on the market an average of 114 days. The County average price reflects an increase over 2020 but San Juan Island price reflects a decrease. Orcas had a smoking hot waterfront home sale year with an average sale of $2,140,364 and provided the largest impact on the County increase. However, all areas reflect a decrease in the number of transactions for waterfront homes and condominiums.

  • Sellers negotiated less off their sale prices during 2021 and many enjoyed multiple offers with escalations above list price for homes and land in the County. The percentage off list price varied based on the price range.

Showcase of Listings: The Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands Showcase of Listings deadline this year is March 31, 2022. If you are considering selling your property this year, this is an excellent publication to be included in. The showcase is a handout at our Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor offices as well as on the ferry system. Contact Terri or I, should you have interest in selling and want a free opinion of value for your property.

Written by:

Merri Ann Simonson



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