On the Scene in the San Juan Islands: Legacy Homes Tour

Given the Manhattanization of Seattle, arguably the fastest-growing metropolis in America, who wouldn’t desire an island escape that’s close yet a world apart from the frenetic energy and congestion of city life? This collection of 172 named islands and reefs in San Juan County have long been a secret getaway for Pacific Northwest families. But increasingly the San Juan Islands have been found by a new generation of affluent homebuyers, so it’s little surprise that the tides are rising.

“Without question, the San Juan Islands are among the most beautiful and protected natural sanctuaries in the world – perfectly positioned between the global cities of Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria, BC,” said Dean Jones, President and CEO of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty. “Unlike their East Coast harbinger markets in the Hamptons, Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard, The San Juans remain refreshingly low-key and relatively affordable for now but perhaps not for much longer.”

Jones refers to a recent article by Mansion Global entitled “It’s Not Just Chris Pratt and Bill Gates Who Are Flocking to The San Juan Islands,” citing data from Realtor.com listing the island county as the fastest-growing amongst the top luxury housing markets in the US. Despite $1 million+ home sale volumes doubling during the first half of 2016 compared with the year prior, experts suggest the region is still globally undervalued.

In the Legacy Homes Report, published by William Hillis, Research Editor and Publisher with RSIR, he concludes that not only are San Juan County homes of similar scale and finish both newer and substantially less expensive than Long Island homes but several Legacy Homes being featured are offered for well below replacement costs.

The opportunity to explore these homes firsthand was seized during a recent Legacy Home Tour hosted by RSIR and Wally Gudgell, an Orcas Island resident and real estate broker with Windermere Real Estate. From October 5 – 9th, dozens of brokers and prospective buyers arrived by land, sea and air to visit Legacy Homes ranging in value from below $2 million to $17 million. The lifestyle showcase included harbor-to-harbor seaplane transfer by Kenmore Air, accommodations by Rosario Resort and wine tastings by DeLille Cellars.

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