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Kitsap housing market booms with fleeing commuters

Ferries from Seattle go from downtown's Colman Dock to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton. A ferry from Edmonds connects with Kingston. (WSDOT)

The new high-speed foot ferry connecting Seattle to Kitsap County is being credited as a primary reason people are moving across Puget Sound and away from the Emerald City.

Stacia Smith with Coldwell Banker Bain has noticed the major real estate trend in the past year.

RELATED: Kitsap foot ferry could change how many commute

“A lot of people from California and Amazon are moving here because of the ferry access,” Smith said. “There has been a huge growth in Bremerton and Kingston because of the new foot ferry coming in July.”

“Think of Capitol Hill as the epicenter of price, then a ripple effect outward,” Smith said. “You see multiple offers on one home, sometimes you have 10 offers on one place and when you combine that with limited inventory, it’s tough on Seattle buyers.”

With the Seattle market on fire, real estate agents in Bremerton have never been busier as people look for cheaper alternatives.

Kitsap to Seattle

Smith explains the allure of Kitsap County largely comes down to price, availability, and an easy commute. Bainbridge Island to Seattle is 35 minutes. A ferry from Bremerton will take you about 50 minutes. The new foot ferry will just take 28 minutes.

There’s also the attraction of a scenic boat ride instead of a snarled freeway.

“Kitsap County median prices on homes and condos for May of this year are up about 7.8 percent from this time a year ago,” Smith said. “Kitsap County’s median price is $307,250 for May 2017. That’s 82 percent less than King County’s median price of $560,000 for the same time frame. You can see why buyers might be interested in moving to Kitsap County.”

When people tell the story of the one that got away, it has nothing to do with romance. They are talking about a Seattle house they got out bid on. That’s not the case in Kitsap County. Homes on Bainbridge Island (the Medina of Kitsap County) spent 46 days on the market compared to 62 last year. Kingston (an up-and-coming area) is 80 days compared to 77 days last year. Bremerton (which now has two hot neighborhoods) is about 32 days compared 44 days last year.

Overall, Kitsap County real estate has been on the rise since the new fast ferry was voted in last November.

“The feeding frenzy isn’t as frantic in Kitsap County and you get more for your money,” Smith said. “We heard of one King County home that got 39 offers — 39!”

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