Whew! Lots has been going on in the local real estate market over the past month, as interest rates started to fluctuate a bit, apparently on the rise, and the tax credit for new or move-up or down-sizing buyers is due to end. More homes have gone into pending status, and the sales have heartened sellers, agents and lenders along with buyers who have snapped up some good buys. Lots of bank-owned and distressed properties have drawn interest, mid-range properties have started to move off market once again, and even a few luxury homes have started to receive attention. With today's rates at 4.875%, prices attractive and the number of homes on the market high, prospective Whidbey Island homebuyers are being treated to a "buyer's market" that shows little sign of flagging. Best buys I saw were in early spring last year, before our main influx of buyers from out of the area increased demand. At an open houses two weeks ago, I was amazed by the qualified and earnest buyers searching for just the perfect place here. Some retirees, yes, but also working couples, families, singles... all in love with Whidbey Island, all loving the scenic beauty and small town charm of Coupeville and other communities.