The Easy Drive-On Island

Moving to an island can be challenging. To live on many islands in the Pacific Northwest you have to account for ferry schedules, as well as being far away from major shopping centers. Even things you don’t normally think about, like having a few different options for gas stations, or being able to quickly drive to the nearest recycling center, may be out of reach. For some people, island living is worth the drawbacks. Sure, you may not be able to visit the mall, but you get to settle down in a literal vacation destination.

When you live on Camano Island, you don’t have to choose.

We like to say that Camano Island is the “easy drive-on Island” where there are no finicky ferry schedules, and no waiting in a crowded parking lot for hours at a time. Take a few minutes out of your day to cross a few hundred yards of bridge, and you’re on Camano Island! The island is close to several major urban centers: twenty minutes from Marysville or Burlington via I5, and only forty-five minutes from Bellingham or Shoreline.

Another great thing about living on Camano Island is getting away from rush-hour traffic. Typically, once you go north of Marysville, traffic eases up. When you want to go shopping in Burlington, for example, you don’t need to worry about planning your whole day around the trip! Hop across the bridge, cruise through Stanwood, and head north on I5 for an easy twenty-minute drive.

Living on an island doesn’t have to mean giving up access to the rest of the world! On Camano Island, we like to think we have the best of both worlds: island paradise, with abundant convenience.

Posted on January 30, 2019 at 10:01 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Community, Living

Island Amenities

There are many reasons to move to Camano Island: the relaxed island atmosphere, friendly neighbors, and beautiful scenery right in your backyard. Everything that island living has to offer coupled with modern conveniences like coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores make Camano Island a great choice for your next home. 

Sometimes there are drawbacks to living in a beautiful place far away from the business of everyday life. This is why Camano Island is so special. We have beaches, state parks, a golf course, and a winery. Locals go boating in the summers and fresh crab is an island staple. While other islands can boast similar attractions, we can proudly say that we’re also twenty minutes away from the urban centers of Marysville, Mount Vernon, and Burlington which offer bix-box retailers as well as a much-loved outlet mall. 

If you don’t feel like driving for twenty minutes to pick up a few groceries, that’s ok! Camano Island and Stanwood have several options for home necessities, including QFC, Mod Pizza, Starbucks, Rite Aid Pharmacy and more!

Looking for a place to grab a drink with a friend? Check out either of our two craft breweries or any one of our three artisanal coffee shops. If hiking and adventuring is more your style, look no further than Cama Beach State Park, or Camano Island State Park; located less than twenty minutes from anywhere on the island.

There’s also no need to worry about finding a gas station, either. In Stanwood and on Camano Island, take your pick of the six (competing!) fueling locations available.

Camano Island gives you the opportunity to experience life on vacation while still enjoying the convenience of living near a major urban center. Take a walk on the beach in the morning, then take a five-minute drive to Stanwood to do your afternoon shopping. Living “away from it all” doesn’t mean having to give up your access to civilization! Own a home on the beach and get your Starbucks fix every morning. Watch beautiful sunrises, and visit local boutiques and department stores.

When you live on Camano Island, we believe you can have it all.

Posted on January 30, 2019 at 9:47 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Community, Living

2019 Economic and Housing Forecast

What a year it has been for both the U.S. economy and the national housing market. After several years of above-average economic and home price growth, 2018 marked the start of a slowdown in the residential real estate market. As the year comes to a close, it’s time for me to dust off my crystal ball to see what we can expect in 2019.

 

The U.S. Economy

Despite the turbulence that the ongoing trade wars with China are causing, I still expect the U.S. economy to have one more year of relatively solid growth before we likely enter a recession in 2020. Yes, it’s the dreaded “R” word, but before you panic, there are some things to bear in mind.

Firstly, any cyclical downturn will not be driven by housing. Although it is almost impossible to predict exactly what will be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”, I believe it will likely be caused by one of the following three things: an ongoing trade war, the Federal Reserve raising interest rates too quickly, or excessive corporate debt levels. That said, we still have another year of solid growth ahead of us, so I think it’s more important to focus on 2019 for now.

 

The U.S. Housing Market

Existing Home Sales

This paper is being written well before the year-end numbers come out, but I expect 2018 home sales will be about 3.5% lower than the prior year. Sales started to slow last spring as we breached affordability limits and more homes came on the market. In 2019, I anticipate that home sales will rebound modestly and rise by 1.9% to a little over 5.4 million units.

Existing Home Prices

We will likely end 2018 with a median home price of about $260,000 – up 5.4% from 2017. In 2019 I expect prices to continue rising, but at a slower rate as we move toward a more balanced housing market. I’m forecasting the median home price to increase by 4.4% as rising mortgage rates continue to act as a headwind to home price growth.

New Home Sales

In a somewhat similar manner to existing home sales, new home sales started to slow in the spring of 2018, but the overall trend has been positive since 2011. I expect that to continue in 2019 with sales increasing by 6.9% to 695,000 units – the highest level seen since 2007.

That being said, the level of new construction remains well below the long-term average. Builders continue to struggle with land, labor, and material costs, and this is an issue that is not likely to be solved in 2019. Furthermore, these constraints are forcing developers to primarily build higher-priced homes, which does little to meet the substantial demand by first-time buyers.

Mortgage Rates

In last year’s forecast, I suggested that 5% interest rates would be a 2019 story, not a 2018 story. This prediction has proven accurate with the average 30-year conforming rates measured at 4.87% in November, and highly unlikely to breach the 5% barrier before the end of the year.

In 2019, I expect interest rates to continue trending higher, but we may see periods of modest contraction or levelling. We will likely end the year with the 30-year fixed rate at around 5.7%, which means that 6% interest rates are more apt to be a 2020 story.

I also believe that non-conforming (or jumbo) rates will remain remarkably competitive. Banks appear to be comfortable with the risk and ultimately, the return, that this product offers, so expect jumbo loan yields to track conforming loans quite closely.

 

Conclusions

There are still voices out there that seem to suggest the housing market is headed for calamity and that another housing bubble is forming, or in some cases, is already deflating. In all the data that I review, I just don’t see this happening. Credit quality for new mortgage holders remains very high and the median down payment (as a percentage of home price) is at its highest level since 2004.

That is not to say that there aren’t several markets around the country that are overpriced, but just because a market is overvalued, does not mean that a bubble is in place. It simply means that forward price growth in these markets will be lower to allow income levels to rise sufficiently.

Finally, if there is a big story for 2019, I believe it will be the ongoing resurgence of first-time buyers. While these buyers face challenges regarding student debt and the ability to save for a down payment, they are definitely on the comeback and likely to purchase more homes next year than any other buyer demographic.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to hear more about the market forecast join us and Matthew Gardner Jan. 25 at 6 PM at the Camano Center on Camano Island. Space is limited, reserve your seat here!

Posted on December 30, 2018 at 12:08 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Buying, Community, Housing Trends, News, Selling

We Are Stanwood Camano Giving Tree

Windermere Stanwood and Camano Island Prepares “We Are Stanwood Camano Giving Tree” to Support Neighbors in Need During Holiday Season

 

CAMANO ISLAND, WA (November 16, 2018) – Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Windermere Real Estate has put up its “We Are Stanwood Camano Giving Tree” at its Terry’s Corner office located on Camano Island to benefit local people who need a little bit of help this year. Strung throughout the Christmas tree, anonymous tags noting an individual’s age, gender and interests will be hung for people to choose from and fulfill with an appropriate gift. All donated items are to be turned into the Windermere office by December 15 so that Santa’s Elves (ie. Windermere brokers) can wrap and deliver the gifts before Christmas arrives.

“This is a project that all of us at Windermere look forward to each year,” said Marla Heagle, owner/broker of Windermere Real Estate Stanwood Camano Island. “Our tree is loaded with names of people right here in our community who just need a little help. We’re encouraging the community to stop by our office, grab a tag, and take advantage of this weekend’s Black Friday sales to fulfill someone’s Christmas wish. It’s a small way to give back and elevate your spirit during this season of gratitude.”

The individual’s profiles that fill each tree tag were submitted by the faculty of local schools. It’s a process that affords families with the anonymity, but also the holiday joy, they deserve to experience this time of year.

Donated items will be accepted at the Windermere office on Terry’s Corner between Friday, November 23rd and Friday, December 15. All donations (ie. toys, books, stuffed animals, etc.) must be brand new at the time of drop off. The Terry’s Corner office is located at 818 North Sunrise Boulevard on Camano Island. Office hours for drop off are between 9AM and 5PM Monday through Saturday, and 10AM to 5PM on Sundays.

About Windermere Real Estate Stanwood and Camano Island
With an extensive network of over 50 agents serving Island, Skagit and Snohomish County, Windermere Real Estate Stanwood and Camano Island provides decades of combined experience and local knowledge. The Camano Island Windermere office was started in 1991 and purchased, along with the Stanwood office, in 2005 by Randy and Marla Heagle. The Heagles work hard every day to bring value and positive change to the Stanwood and Camano Island community.

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Posted on November 19, 2018 at 9:52 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Community, Housing Trends, Press Releases, We Are Stanwood Camano

Say Hello to the We Are Stanwood Camano glassybaby

 

Glassybaby was started by a 3-time cancer survivor, Lee Rhodes, as a way to give others a “one of a kindness” in times of hardship. Since its inception, glassybaby has grown to represent much more; each glass votive is hand blown using a unique color and technique as well as given a name to express an equally unique sentiment. Glassybaby donates 10% of their revenue to several charities, giving back to the planet, animals, and humanity.

 

Marla Heagle, owner of Windermere Stanwood Camano, selected a light blue glassybaby last year, naming it, Camano. Over 300 were sold and this year, a navy colored ‘We Are Stanwood Camano’ glassybaby is available for purchase. The meaning behind We Are Stanwood Camano goes deep, as the agents feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of such a tight-knit community. It’s not just the natural beauty or gorgeous homes of Stanwood Camano that make living here so special, it’s the people. As a way to give back to the community, a portion of each We Are Stanwood Camano glassybaby purchase goes to the Windermere Foundation, which will be dispersed to people in need within our community.

 

Established in 1989, the Windermere Foundation is funded by a portion of agent commissions on every home purchase and sale. Funds are used to create grants and are donated to nonprofits, providing emergency assistance, school supplies, scholarships, counseling, training, shelter, and youth programs to members of the community in need. The Windermere Foundation has raised over 35 million dollars for low-income families and the homeless since 1989.

Get your very own We Are Stanwood Camano glassybaby for $50 at the Terry’s Corner Windermere office. You can also reserve one online. It’s the perfect way to join Windermere in celebrating and serving the community!  

 

 

RESERVE NOW

 

Posted on November 6, 2018 at 4:30 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Community

Simple Steps for Maintaining Air Quality in Your Home

 

Most of us tend to think of air pollution as something that occurs outdoors where car exhaust and factory fumes proliferate, but there’s such a thing as indoor air pollution, too. Since the 1950s, the number of synthetic chemicals used in products for the home has increased drastically, while at the same time, homes have become much tighter and better insulated. As a result, the EPA estimates that indoor pollutants today are anywhere from five to 70 times higher than pollutants in outside air.

Luckily, there are many ways to reduce indoor air pollution. We all know that buying organic and natural home materials and cleaning supplies can improve the air quality in our homes, but there are several other measures you can take as well.

How pollutants get into our homes

Potentially toxic ingredients are found in many materials throughout the home, and they leach out into the air as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. If you open a can of paint, you can probably smell those VOCs. The “new car smell” is another example of this. The smell seems to dissipate after a while, but VOCs can actually “off-gas” for a long time, even after a noticeable smell is gone.

We all know to use paint and glue in a well-ventilated room, but there are many other materials that don’t come with that warning. For instance, there are chemicals, such as formaldehyde, in the resin used to make most cabinets and plywood particle board. It’s also in wall paneling and closet shelves, and in certain wood finishes used on cabinets and furniture. The problems aren’t just with wood, either. Fabrics—everything from draperies to upholstery, bedding, and carpets—are a potent source of VOCs.

The good news about VOCs is that they do dissipate with time. For that reason, the highest levels of VOCs are usually found in new homes or remodels. If you are concerned about VOCs, there are several products you can buy that are either low- or no-VOC. You can also have your home professionally tested.

How to reduce VOCs in your home

Make smart choices in building materials.

  • For floors, use tile or solid wood—hardwood, bamboo, or cork – instead of composites.
  • Instead of using pressed particle board or indoor plywood, choose solid wood or outdoor-quality plywood that uses a less toxic form of formaldehyde.
  • Choose low-VOC or VOC-free paints and finishes.

Purify the air that’s there.

  • Make sure your rooms have adequate ventilation, and air out newly renovated or refurnished areas for at least a week, if possible.
  • Clean duct work and furnace filters regularly.
  • Install air cleaners if needed.
  • Use only environmentally responsible cleaning chemicals.
  • Plants can help clean the air: good nonpoisonous options include bamboo palm, lady palm, parlor palm, and moth orchids.
  • Air out freshly dry-cleaned clothes or choose a “green” cleaner.

Fight the carpet demons.

  • Choose “Green Label” carpeting or a natural fiber such as wool or sisal.
  • Use nails instead of glue to secure carpet.
  • Install carpet LAST after completing painting projects, wall coverings, and other high-VOC processes.
  • Air out newly carpeted areas before using.
  • Use a HEPA vacuum or a central vac system that vents outdoors.

Prevent Mold.

  • Clean up water leaks fast.
  • Use dehumidifiers, if necessary, to keep humidity below 60 percent.
  • Don’t carpet rooms that stay damp.
  • Insulate pipes, crawl spaces, and windows to eliminate condensation.
  • Kill mold before it gets a grip with one-half cup of bleach per gallon of water.

We hope this information is helpful. If you would like to learn more about VOCs and indoor air quality, please visit http://www.epa.gov/iaq/.

Posted on August 21, 2018 at 10:33 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Community, Uncategorized

Broker’s Perspective: Is New Construction Declining?

Our brokers are deeply connected to the issues that face local home-buyers and sellers. In this series of blogs, “The Broker’s Perspective” Windermere Stanwood and Camano Island brokers provide insight into current market trends and topics. This week, we discuss The Seattle Times article on the looming housing market slowdown with broker, Dianna Pence.

The U.S. housing market — particularly in cutthroat areas like Seattle, Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas — appears to be headed for the broadest slowdown in years. Buyers are getting squeezed by rising mortgage rates and by prices climbing about twice as fast as incomes, and there’s only so far they can stretch.
“This could be the very beginning of a turning point,” said Robert Shiller, a Nobel Prize-winning economist who is famed for warning of the dot-com and housing bubbles, in an interview. He stressed that he isn’t ready to make that call yet.
A slew of figures released this week gives ample evidence of at least a cooling.
• Existing-home sales dropped in June for a third straight month. Purchases of new homes are at their slowest pace in eight months.
• Inventory, which plunged for years, has begun to grow again as buyers move to the sidelines, sapping the fuel for surging home values.
• Prices for existing homes climbed 6.4 percent in May, the smallest year-over-year gain since early 2017, and have gained the least over three months since 2012, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
• Shares of PulteGroup fell as much as 4.9 percent Thursday morning after the national homebuilder reported that orders had declined 1 percent from a year earlier, blaming rising mortgage rates.
This new wariness was noticeable in the latest consumer-sentiment data from the University of Michigan. In its preliminary July survey, 65 percent of Americans said it’s a good time to buy a home, the lowest since 2008, when the economy was still in recession.
The homeownership rate in the second quarter was 64.3 percent, up from 63.7 percent a year earlier, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday.
Homeownership still remains out of reach for many Americans, especially for first-time and younger buyers. For existing homes, the median price climbed in June to a record $276,900, while properties typically stayed on the market for 26 days, unchanged from the prior three months, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Dianna’s Perspective
I work closely with Titan Homes, a local builder, so I’m familiar with the new construction market in our area.

In the last three months, new construction sales figures were up. The Stanwood-Camano market currently has 31 pending sales; 12 closed in July which is the lowest number in the last four months. Currently, there are 28 active listings.

We saw a decline in new construction after the economic downturn nearly a decade ago. Many of the builders had chosen to leave the industry and find alternate vocations. We’re now on a building uptick with the largest challenge being able to find affordable land to build on as well as subcontractors who aren’t overloaded with work already. Recently, we’ve found ourselves moving off of Camano Island in search of property as there isn’t much development potential left on the island.

All that being said, the buying market is still hot and we’re seeing a lot of people moving into our area. The need for new housing remains high.

Dianna Pence | Windermere Stanwood and Camano Island Broker

Posted on August 13, 2018 at 6:00 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Buying, Community, Housing Trends

GARDENING TRENDS FOR 2018

 

Outdoor living during the spring and summer months is extremely popular. Months of cold, wet winters are followed by glorious spring colors and warm summer days of vivid blue skies. In this post, we thought that now would be the best time to share some pretty garden trends for 2018.

 

Wabi-Sabi

Leisure time should be just that: relaxing and rejuvenating. So why labor relentlessly to create and maintain a perfect landscape? Wabi-sabi, is the Japanese art of accepting transience and imperfect beauty. Relax and appreciate nature as it is, with humble imperfections, weeds and all. Recognize (and tell others) that dandelions and clover in untreated lawns are not blights. They are status symbols for ecological horticulture. Consider natural grasses and ground covers as low-maintenance substitutes for sod. Opt for perennials instead of annuals, let flowers go to seed and give nature license to evolve on her own.

 

Reclaiming Small Outside Spaces

For many of us these days, space is at a premium and with house prices continually on the rise, more and more people are living in apartment blocks or tiny lots. Garden designers are determined to make even the smallest of spaces useful and attractive, and manufacturers have taken notice. Look for a better choice in planters that slot onto balcony rails. New models will have coverings for protecting plants from cold temperatures so that you can even grow seeds and vegetables on your balcony alongside your flowers.

Self-watering wall planter systems have been improved for 2018 and the hanging macramé plant holder is having a bit of a revival. Add a small patio heater and you have an outside space you can enjoy all year round with minimal effort.

 

Purple Passion

Pantone’s Ultra Violet is the color of the year. Maybe that’s why you find purple flowers in this year’s plant varieties and garden design. It’s easy to incorporate this color in the garden as there are many flowers and shrubs with this beautiful color. However, there are also several edible purple plants that you can grow. Purple vegetables are not only interesting and pretty, their unique color denote anthocyanins which are very beneficial to your health.

 

Re-Wilding

This is a style that keeps popping up time and again. However, 2018 has taken the re-wilding trend up another notch. It is still all about working with nature, growing wildflowers and supporting our pollinating insects. Re-wilding means adjusting plant selections to better support local wildlife and growing both seed-producing and berry-bearing plants. However, now it is also about using ‘green’ gardening products, natural solutions to bug and slug killers instead of chemicals and insecticides and using peat-free products.

 

Alfresco Living

Outdoor entertaining and kitchen areas are tipped to be a key trend for Spring/Summer 2018. We are not talking about a little nook corner just off the kitchen. Alfresco dining spaces are being pushed out into the garden itself and made into a major feature. These dedicated outdoor dining areas are surrounded by in-ground and container plants for that lush feeling. Special flooring, comfy furniture and mood lighting turn it into a little haven. Complete the trend with a sunken fire pit, barbecue or pizza oven and you might never want to leave.

 

Lighting The Way

Adding lighting to your garden is not a new thing. However, in this age of renewable energy, garden lighting companies are turning away from the more traditional lighting solutions we have seen in the past. The advances in solar energy capture, means that we can light up our gardens in a variety of fun, affordable and better ways. No more changing batteries or wiring up the garden with electricity.

The wide range of lighting methods allows you to create whatever ambiance you want. Simple stand-alone lights can mark pathways, either discreetly embedded into the path edges or standing loud and proud along the side. Multi-colored fairy lights can be tangled among the overhead branches of a tree creating dazzling shapes and textures. Solar Mason jars can be hung from above or used as table lighting. Festoon lights can create an ambient glow around any outdoor space creating romantic nooks.

Posted on August 7, 2018 at 11:29 am
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Community, Uncategorized

Local Market Stats for June

Insights From Marla
Local Thoughts on Big Ideas

Every month, Windermere Stanwood-Camano publishes a snapshot of the local real estate market. Our Brokers use this data to help determine listing prices, realistic offers, and tailored advice for their clients. We also like to make this information public, to help you with your real estate journey. Here are our key takeaways from June 2018.

Camano Island

85 homes for sale, 260 sold YTD

Number of homes sold in June 2018 (74) was more than double the number of homes sold in May (35).

Stanwood

72 homes for sale, 236 sold YTD

In the $250,000 – $300,000 price range there are 0 homes for sale, 7 homes under contract and 20 homes sold YTD. The lowest price home for sale in Stanwood as of 07/17 is $320,000.

For advice on how to buy a home in this seller’s market, read our blog on navigating the seller’s market.

 

Posted on July 20, 2018 at 6:57 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Buying, Community, Housing Trends, Selling

New Soap Box rally race comes to Camano

Soap Box Derby fans don’t need to wait until next June to get their racing fix.

Randy and Marla Heagle are launching the Arrowhead Summer Classic Soap Box Derby Rally Races on Aug. 18-19 at Arrowhead Ranch, 615 Arrowhead Road on Camano Island.

“It’s something we always wanted to do,” Randy Heagle said. “The local race is super easy for kids and parents to get involved. The rally race is for the kids and families who are really into it.”

The Arrowhead Summer Classic is a sanctioned Rally Race associated with the All American Soap Box Derby. Saturday and Sunday will each be a double elimination progressive wheel swap event with rally points.

The event comes on the heels of the 11th annual Stanwood Camano Soap Box Derby, which moved from Stanwood to Camano Island this year and raced on the newly dedicated derby track at Arrowhead Ranch. About 1,000 watched as 72 racers competed on June 16.

The rally program allows participants to earn points by racing in various races throughout the United States and Canada. The top point earners in each region are invited to compete in the 2019 All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship in Akron, Ohio, against other rally champions.

“There will be kids from California and Oregon,” Heagle said. “Our hope is that this event can draw people from outside the area.”

Heagle said he thinks 30 cars will make the trip, as many families travel the soap box circuit in the summer, going from event to event.

To register, email sbd@stanwoodcamanoresources.org and sign up by Aug. 1 to reserve a car. Entry fees are $30 per car ($60 for both days) and $25 per day for each extra sibling.

The biggest difference between a rally race and the annual race in June is the lack of volunteers to run and manage the race, according to event organizers. It will be up to parents to keep score, load and unload the cars, provide and drive the return vehicles throughout the day, organizers said.

To learn more, visit soapboxderby.org.

Full story here.

Posted on July 11, 2018 at 9:29 pm
Windermere Stanwood Camano | Category: Community