'It was the best of times; it was the worst of times...'

June unemployment numbers were released today. The economy added 4.8 million jobs, and the official unemployment rate stands at 11.1%. Kitsap County had 857 new initial claims for the week of 6/21-6/27, up from 744 the week before. Workers with little or no college continue to be the hardest hit state-wide. With the continuing bleak economic picture for so many in Bremerton particularly, and Kitsap generally, how has the real estate market been affected?

Well, one wouldn’t know there were any economic issues for anyone solely based on reading the residential real estate numbers. New listings came roaring back in West Bremerton, East Bremerton, and Central Kitsap. Zip Code 98312—at 74 new listings—posted the only decrease in year over year performance. There were 91 new listings in that market area last year. Overall, new listings were up 7% from June 2019.

The homes for sale category shows where the action is: in the pent-up demand by buyers. Bremerton wide, buyers scooped up new listings as soon as they hit the market. Despite the increase in the number of homes coming on the market, active inventory was down 31% from last year. You’ll see what that did to the prices further down.

221 properties went under contract in Bremerton during June—up from 177 the year before. That’s a whopping 25%. 98310 and 98312 led the charge with a 34% and 24% increase respectively.

Remember that closed sales are made up of contracts negotiated 4-6 weeks previously. Closed sales volume was down by 26% overall—showing a small but steady improvement up from May.

The median price was $346,838—up 13% from 2019.

The lack of inventory, combined with historically low interest rates have created an artificial situation causing unhealthy price appreciation. Appraisers are struggling to justify negotiated prices to their lender clients. So-called “low” appraisals are becoming more and more normal.

This hothouse of a market can’t be sustainable in the long term, can it? Only God knows. And She ain’t telling.

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