The price is right

For those looking to buy a home in Bremerton, local real estate experts are offering a word to the wise — get one while the gettin’s good.

Sales figures from the Northwest Multiple Listings Service revealed closed home-sales in Bremerton this year are nearly 14.5 percent above the year-to-date totals of May 2002. The report further revealed that West Bremerton homes sold in the past year have skyrocketed from about $130,493 in May 2002 to $144,382 in May 2003.

The median home price for west Bremerton homes also jumped by $22,500 this time last year to land at $132,000 in May 2003. In East Bremerton, the median price increased by $8,000 to a total of $128,000 during the same time period.

“The market is quite brisk. Right now, if it’s priced right and in good condition, it’s selling within a week with multiple offers,” said Jessica Kennedy, manager of Windermere Real Estate in Bremerton. “As far as a good product for their money, they can get a whole lot of house for a whole lot less than anywhere else in the county or across the water.” Kennedy said low interest rates, which sit at about five percent depending on a purchaser’s credit rating, are a contributing factor to the increasing housing demand. She added that Bremerton’s location and revitalization efforts are making the city a more visible and attractive place for potential homeowners to settle.

Interestingly, the report revealed that homes in West Bremerton are now selling at a higher average price than those on the eastside — completely opposite of last year’s sales trend. In May 2002, East Bremerton homebuyers paid an average of about $7,000 more than those in West Bremerton, but in May 2003 the westside buyers outspent those in the east by about $8,300.

“West Bremerton in particular for many years has been undervalued in the market and now you’re starting to see values rapidly increase. There’s a lot of room for those prices to continue forward,” said Tad Reasons, co-owner of Reasons & Warner Real Estate Inc. in Bremerton. “You’re starting to see a lot of those homes being fixed up and when one house is rehabed, that spurs other people in the neighborhood to fix up their homes — it kind of spreads rapidly.”

Local real estate experts agree that downtown revitalization, location, low interest rates and comparatively affordable prices are making property anywhere in Bremerton an increasingly hot commodity. Many, like Bremerton real estate investor M. Shane Schrodt, predict the high demand and the subsequent rising costs of Bremerton homes will only continue to increase in the months ahead.

“Bremerton has been asleep for decades and it’s just now waking up. People are starting to realize Bremerton has a lot of potential,” Schrodt said. “It’s already a nice place to live but it needs to be exceptional, and it will be. I think Bremerton is going places, finally.”

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