BREMERTON – When Tyler Bennett admires his new house in his new neighborhood in Kitsap County, he can’t help but remember hi prior address.
“This house in West Seattle probably would have been about a million dollars,” said Bennett.
But he and his wife Makala paid a fraction of that in Bremerton.
They bid goodbye to their city lifestyle, and hopped the ferry to a quieter, but more affordable life.
“When we were looking for a house in King County, it was so expensive we were going to end up getting a shack,” said Makala. “It was starting to seem impossible, but then we found this area and we just love the whole peninsula.”
They’re not the only ones. Former Seattleites are blanketing Bremerton. They are much more willing to make the one hour commute comfortably on a ferry then behind the wheel of a car.
“We found a house here that was half the price of the house we sold in Seattle,” said Deb Nichols, who recently moved to Bremerton with her husband and teenage son.
But the more people escape the high cost of living on one side of the sound, the more that prices are creeping up on this side.
According to Zillow, the median price in Bremerton in May was $348,247. That’s till much more affordable then the Seattle area, but it is also up more than ten percent over last year, and it’s expected to keep rising.
Zillow calls the Bremerton market “very hot.”
“I’ve seen five to ten to twenty thousand over asking price,” said Brooke Moreira, a local realtor. “It’s been competitive..
But is that competition becoming too much for locals?
Ashley Dunmire says she’s already getting priced out of other areas in Kitsap County.
“With the demand for rents coming in to North Kitsap from Seattle, it’s pricing people who live there out of it and into places like Bremerton,” said Dunmire. “And eventually out of Bremerton.”
Longtime realtor Robert Contraras said, “As we’re dealing with people from Seattle coming over here for the affordability, and the quality of life, we also have people that are here that have to compete with people who are making money at jobs that are provided by Seattle that are not provided over here.”
Realtors hope there can be a balance so those from outside, and inside the Bremerton area can afford to live there.
Either way, the tide of new home buyers continues to flow from Seattle, through the Puget Sound, and in Bremerton’s direction.