Thursday, April 09, 2009 Newsletter ~ 04.2009

Spring Time means Whale Migration Time!
It's starting to look a lot like spring with daffodils blooming and new leaves taking shape on the trees. Along the coast, spring time means whale time! The season typically begins in late March to coincide with the migration of gray whales, which often stop to feed in Grays Harbor on their annual trip from Baja, CA to feeding grounds in Alaska. The season lasts until the end of May. While many people will venture out to watch the whales on a charter boat, I prefer to save a coin and watch them from the comforts of the high sand dunes at the North Jetty. As it stands, most of the charters venture to the area between Westport and Ocean Shores, known as the "whale hole" in hopes of spotting the mammals. You can watch this area from the Jetty. Bring your binoculars. In addition to gray whales, it's not uncommon at all to watch sea lions and Pacific Harbor porpoises nosing around the Jetty. If you get lucky, you'll see some Orca whales inside the harbor. This is a real treat. It's not often, but sometimes people get lucky and will see a humpback whale or two passing by. This is one of my favorite times to be at the beach...

Ocean Shores Real Estate Update

Real Estate activity is still up and down out here. Surprisingly, traffic counts are way up with lots of people looking at property and some are buying again... and that's good. According to the City, numbers from the count at the City entrances show that the visitor count is up 9% so far this year. That's great news! Nearly 60,000 more people visited Ocean Shores in February 2009 than February 2008 alone. Last year, with high gas prices for most of the time, numbers were down 8.5% for the year. The fact that traffic count numbers are up bodes well for sellers and local businesses. Here are some statistics regarding home sales in Ocean Shores for 1st quarter 2009:

2009: 31 Homes sold during 1st Quarter / Average Sales Price: $179,355.
2008: 37 Homes sold during 1st Quarter / Average Sales Price: $211,534.
2007: 46 Homes sold during 1st Quarter / Average Sales Price: $192,175.

*Average time on market for homes that have sold: 177 Days. Last year at this time, it took 190 days to sell your house.
*Home sellers are getting on average, 95.05% of asking price.
*As of April 7th, there's 36 homes that are pending (waiting to close) right now - meaning, that assuming all of those homes close, 2nd quarter without any new sales for the next few months, will already outperform the dismal results of the 1st quarter. We know that there will be new sales of course, so 2nd quarter is definitely looking up and I'll be shocked if by the end of the 2nd quarter, home sales haven't more than doubled or even tripled 1st quarter's results.

Overall, home inventory is shrinking which is really good news as we would all like to see the market to stabilize. Also shrinking are the number of bank-owned properties. They are definitely selling out here for really low prices. There's very few bank-owned house out here anymore though. Most of the bank-owned properties are fixers and need a lot of work. If you're interested, send me an email. Also doing pretty well is new construction. People still want their getaway at the beach and builders are still building them.

Land and condo sales are horrible. That's the bad news for sellers. For buyers, prices on condos and land are way down and there's plenty of fantastic deals that are up for grabs right now. As summer approaches and the tourism seasons moves into full swing, we're expecting the deals to disappear. Prices at the beach generally speaking don't go down during the summer months. If you're looking for a deal, now's the time.

All numbers & stats are from the NWMLS. If you have any questions regarding these numbers or activity in the real estate market, please call me at 360.581.9020 or send me an email.

Seller Financing? How to get financing for a vacant lot without anyone's stimulus...
These days, with the economy as it is, getting a lot loan from a bank is more of a challenge that it was only a couple of years ago. Back in 2007, a person with a decent income, credit score and 20% down could get a lot loan from any local lender. Today, you can get a loan, but it's going to require you... (click "HERE" to read the rest of this story)

Upcoming Events

Photo & Fine Arts Show - April 9-12
Artists & photographers from all over the United States enter this show to win prizes and display their unique photos and works of art. Held at the Convention Center.
Shorebird Festival - April 24th - 26th
Discover the incredible variety of shorebirds that pass through Grays Harbor in April at this 14th annual event. Multiple locations for viewing around Ocean Shores include Protection Island, Damon Point and the North Jetty! Join scheduled watching tours or set your own birding agenda and enjoy the views!

Three-day Razor Clam Dig starting April 25th!
The state Department of Fish & Wildlife has announced tentative dates for the next (and probably last for the spring) razor clam dig. Three beaches are set to open this month if marine toxin tests find the clams are safe to eat. Dates and low tides for the April dig are:
Saturday, April 25 (7:27 a.m., -1.3 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
Sunday, April 26 (8:10 a.m., -1.6 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
Monday, April 27 (8:55 a.m., -1.7 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
Harvesters are allowed to take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 they dig, regardless of size or condition. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container.A license is required for anyone age 15 or older. Any 2008 Washington state annual shellfish/seaweed license or combination license is still valid. Another option is a razor-clam only license available in annual or three-day only versions. Descriptions of the various licensing options are available on the department's Web site at

Country Music Jam - May 2-3
Two days of open jam sessions. This is an old-time jam and people of all playing levels are welcome. The public is invited. Admission is free. Dinner & Dance Saturday night. Ear plugs optional.

First Bank Robbery Ever in Ocean Shores
So this 40 year old lady walks into Timberland Bank just outside the gates of Ocean Shores and hands the teller a note saying "you are being robbed." The note also said to "smile." She made off with almost $1800, hopped in her little car and drove about a half mile away, parked and called 911 confessing to the robbery. The scoop is that she wanted a fresh start in life and understood that robbing a federal bank is a good way to go to federal prison which apparently is a much better prison that educates better and feeds you better than local state prisons. I'm not sure about this. Anyway, the robber, while being arrested, wanted to know where the FBI was and stated to the local officers that she wanted to be arrested by the FBI because this was a federal bank robbery. Unfortunately for her, it wasn't. And unfortunately for her, she's not going to federal prison. She's going to a state prison.

Fresh Water Update
Some citizens and visitors in certain parts of town have complained for years about their water containing fowl odors and a strange taste. With the billions and trillions of dollars being thrown at our spiraling economy, Ocean Shores is in the running to receive about $3 million in federal funds to create the city's aquifer treatment plant project - aimed at improving the city's water quality. The city has now decided to move ahead with a new water treatment facility. More later...

New Features at the Interpretive Center
The Ocean Shores Interpretive Center is expanding and has some new cool things to do like exploring a new trail, checking out new exhibits and getting silly on a playground. Students from local high schools designed and constructed the Interpretive Trail as part of their senior culminating project. The trail is about 500 feet long (that's about the right length of a trail I want to walk on) leads visitors through a small coastal forest with a wetland area and a boardwalk. Students who worked on the project identified tree and plant species along the trail, and Interpretive Center officials will be placing signs in front of each type identified. Check it out. The Center is now open daily through the summer.

* Check it out now. Changes almost everyday!

Jeff Daniel/Associate Broker
Coldwell Banker Ocean Beach Properties
Cell Phone: 360.581.9020749 Point Brown Ave NW/PMB 1568, Ocean Shores, WA 98569888.469.3100 (toll free) - 360.289.3111 (fax)