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Real Estate Investment Across the Puget Sound

Posted by Johnine Larsen on January 15, 2019
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Ridership on Washington State Ferries will grow more than 30 percent in the next 20 years. We aren’t talking about Fast Ferries—this is just about the iconic green-and-white vehicle ferries our region has long been famous for.

This has big implications for real estate, and we’re seeing the first impacts already—like Darcie’s recent house tour in Bremerton! As more and more homebuyers accept a longer, sea-borne commute in exchange for cheaper housing, real estate in Southworth, Bremerton, and Bainbridge will get hotter and hotter.

But first: more about the ferries. Washington State Ferries (WSF) just released its new long-range plan, which outlines all sorts of growth in both passengers and ferries. Excluding the Fast Ferries (which are operated by Kitsap Transit), 2017 experienced a total of 24.5 million ferry riders. That number is expected to increase by 50% to about 32.5 million riders in 2040. Some of the routes with the greatest forecasted growth are the Seattle–Bainbridge route (which will grow from 4.5 million riders to 6.4 million) and Seattle–Bremerton (which will grow from 2.1 million riders to 3.1 million). Seattleites, take note.

How will WSF respond to all these new riders? The Urbanist provides a fantastic write-up about the details, and here are the most important parts from a real estate perspective:

  • Expanded service hours for the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route
  • A new, second slip added to the Southworth terminal
  • A new terminal at the Seattle Colman Ferry Dock (which has already begun construction)
  • Extra capacity for passengers on the Seattle-Bainbridge Island and Seattle-Bremerton routes.
  • Extra capacity for vehicles on the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route, primarily achieved by building new vessels capable of carrying more vehicles.

What does this mean for housing? And more importantly, what does this mean for you?

Bainbridge, Bremerton, and Southworth will all become more commuter-friendly. Walk-on passengers will receive the most benefit from WSF’s new long-range plan, which means  homes within walking distance of a terminal or a shuttle/vanpool location will be in hot demand. Add the Bremerton, Kingston, and Southworth Fast Ferries into the mix, and ferry-accessible properties on that side of the Puget Sound become obvious investments. Seattle’s not about to shrink, and with housing prices still sky-high, homebuyers will look farther and father afield. Or rather, awater.

If you currently have a house near the Bainbridge, Bremerton, or Southworth ferry terminals, hold on to it. The migration to those areas has just begun, and your property value will continue to rise. And if you’re a buyer who’s considering moving west of the Puget Sound, move soon! You can still beat the rush. And besides, a commute by ferry sounds a hundred times more enjoyable than a commute through rush-hour traffic.

  • Sarah Donaldson
    Sarah Donaldson
    18:44 18 Jul 19
    Darcie was such a joy to work with. She felt like family during the sale of our house and the search for our new home. We may have found our forever home, but if we ever need a Realtor in future, Darcie from Real Estate Gals will be our first call.
    Brian Heagler
    Brian Heagler
    16:55 02 Jun 19
    I have worked with Johnine and her team for 19 years and have always received personal, knowledgeable and professional service and attention! There is never and pressure and they will guide you away from a property when appropriate, which is always appreciated when a market is hot and the tendency is to move quickly. I trust them and have never been let down!
    Anne Slater
    Anne Slater
    18:03 25 May 19
    Johnine Larsen is fabulous! She listened and came up with ways we could get what we wanted in a house and stay within our limited budget. When we found the house we wanted, she moved super fast to get the house inspected and implemented creative ideas to make our offer appealing. And out of 13 offers, we were selected and got our house. I recommend her to anyone buying a home.
    Amy Burdick
    Amy Burdick
    19:13 24 May 19
    Real Estate Gals made sure we found our perfect house! Then, when we were up against other bidders, Johnine worked tirelessly to ensure we were tops! Her extensive real estate experience combined with exceptional character and integrity provided peace of mind throughout the process. She also made sure we received the right value as a seller and got the transaction done quickly and efficiently. Simply stated: there is nobody better to help you find your dream home.
    Bill Hollman
    Bill Hollman
    22:21 19 May 19
    I'd give Real Estate Gals 6 stars if I could. We have used them multiple times, both in selling and buying homes in Seattle and the surrounding area. I can't say enough about the professionalism, knowledge, and patience they bring to the task of buying a new home, or selling your current residence. And they know the Seattle area so well, they'll offer valuable insights into the pros and cons of any location you may be to considering. Look no further, call Johnine at Real Estate Gals. You will be glad you did!
    Beth Guerra
    Beth Guerra
    01:14 18 May 19
    Johnine was a breath of fresh air in the real estate market. She listened intently to our wishes and goals, and was tireless in her search for our perfect house. She is well versed in both Seattle and the surrounding areas. She made sure all the details were taken care of after the inspection, and made the closing process seamless. She even gifted us with a housewarming present. Nearly 7 years later, we still receive holiday cards and well wishes. I highly recommend Real Estate Gals and will look no further in the future.
    Aidan Key
    Aidan Key
    15:44 17 May 19
    Johnine and the Real Estate Gals brilliantly took us through the home buying process two different times. Their willingness to educate (I was new), hear our home hopes, and support us through the process are a few of the reasons that I highly recommend this team. Speaking of a team, I love their collaborative business model - it meant that we--the home buyers--always had a returned phone call and an ability to look at a house on OUR schedule. Truly felt like they place the customer first!
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