I love August!
Is it because the roadside flower stands are graced with enormous bouquets of colorful dahlias, lilies & sunflowers? Because blackberries are ripe along the side of the road, and kind folks drop by offerings of perfect rosy plums or blueberries from their yards? Because gardens are so abundant that people share more generously with others this time of year? Because the outdoor pools are open, luring me for an after work dip?
I think it is all these things.
For my fellow Front Street business owners, August means lots of visitors, lots of purchases, lots of energy and laughter on the street.
Lately I've noticed so many people really looking at the whale skeleton that hangs from the ceiling at the Wharf, reading information about our area's marine life, asking questions of the friendly BeachWatchers volunteers.
Children explore the beach, amazed by the appearance of a seal, a heron or an eagle combing the beach for a low tide meal. Kayakers glide by. Sailboats anchor in the Cove, skiffs run about looking for the perfect spot to set out crab pots, a Dad and daughters show off their little bucket of fish just caught.
Even today's coolness and brief rainshower feels good. A little rain waters those dahlias I so love.
Yes, yes, I know, a bit about real estate is in order, so I must say that offers and closings have been encouraging, Island-wide. My agent friends are energetic, working long hours showing properties, writing offers, meeting new clients, keeping in touch with folks. My experience has been that savvy buyers feel now is a pretty good time to buy. Interest rates are still low, even if they did creep up a bit. Inventory of homes is at a near-glut level, with so many options at prices anywhere from 15% to 20% off peak prices, and very motivated or bank-owned properties are going for what can only be described as "screaming deals".
How about 2 homes, each assessed for over $1,200,000, selling for less than half that amount? Or a brand new home on 10 acres selling for a short sale at $320,000? Yet, when these have been plucked up by those ready to act quickly, there are still very solid buys to be had. Large custom-built high quality homes with all the sought after details: gourmet kitchen, main floor master with fabulous bath, enough acreage for privacy, craftsman details, beauty inside and out, these can be had for just under $500K. 3 bedroom, 2 bath family homes in communities with private beach access, pool and clubhouse for under $300K. View-to-forever high bank waterfront homes under $700. Estate and waterfront luxury homes that once would have fetched much more priced for the times.
I love showing properties, and seeing what our Island has to offer.
I'm always amazed by the homes that get people really excited. Just the other day a lovely couple from Bellingham were thrilled to discover a cute and quirky A-Frame by Greenbank. The nicest folks from Wyoming couldn't belief that they could be a quick walk to a beautiful beach for $329K in a newer home, or enjoying Westside sunsets in Sierra for $389K or less.