The second quarter results which complete the first half of the year for San Juan Island were very similar to 2014 as the real estate dollar volume reflected an increase of only 2% over the same period. The number of transactions was down slightly with a 3% decrease.
Overall, San Juan County’s volume was up 5% with 290 transactions in the first half of 2015, as compared to 269 in 2014 or a 8% increase. Shaw and the outer non-ferry serviced islands dollar volume was actually down 32% but their transaction numbers reflected an increase. The volumes on Orcas and Lopez reflected an increase of 9% and 47% respectively; go Lopez! Transaction numbers were similar to 2014. Volume increases with a decrease in numbers is an indication of higher priced property sales.
It is apparent that our recovery is nice and controlled which is favorable as a steady pace is more sustainable.
Sales in excess over $1 M total 16 year-to-date in the County with San Juan enjoying 10, Orcas with 5, and Lopez with 1. The total is equal to last year for the same period. Only one of the sales in 2015 was to the Land Bank which was on San Juan Island. Currently 8 high-end sales are pending in the NWMLS for the County. Even though the sale activity appears healthy for the period, we have a long way to go before inventory is absorbed. The number of properties listed would be considered abundant in the category with San Juan offering 50, Orcas at 41, Lopez at 11 and Shaw and other islands at 24 for a grand total of 126 high-end listed properties. We are headed in the right direction with recovery entering this segment of the market. On San Juan, we had our first multiple offer on a property that was listed for over $3 M and the result was a bidding war that was very favorable to the seller.
Our biggest obstacle in the path towards appreciation and full market recovery is that our inventory levels in most categories remain high. As of July 13, on San Juan Island, we have 394 properties listed as compared to 441 last year on July 22th. This year offers fewer properties but still too many to foster the transition in our market to favoring sellers over buyers. These numbers include the 42 pending this year and 40 last year.
Our inventory build-up was greater this year than last. Since March 2015, we had a 21% increase in the amount of properties listed as compared to a 12% increase from spring to summer in 2014. Apparently property owners that have been waiting for recovery believe 2015 is worth testing.
In conclusion, due to the amount of inventory, 2015 should finish up very similar to 2014. Only a few segments of our market, such as homes with docks or low-end affordable housing would be considered having low inventory levels. We only have a few homes listed for under $250,000 that are not manufactured, condominiums or very rustic. Sellers entering the market this year are pricing more optimistically which has the appearance of increasing prices but only time will tell how much they will end up negotiating.