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Your guide to island living


Book of the San Juan Islands


Our local

SCHOOLS A look at

HOUSING A glance at each

ISLAND Published by the Journal of the San Juans, Islandsʼ Sounder & Islandsʼ Weekly


338 Old Pottery Road • 360-376-2813 • Eastsound WA 98245 Over 70 years in business in West Beach area

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The Largest Full Service Supermarket on San Juan Island Full Selection of Fresh and Frozen Meat & Fish • Fresh Produce Service Deli • Outstanding Wine, Beer and Liquor Selection Visit our Corner Shirt Shop! Complete Line of Fun & Original Island T-shirts, Sweatshirts and Gifts

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2019 February 2 - June 3, 2019 TRACES by Mary Coss Explores her cultural inheritance via dramatic sculptures. April 5-June 3, 2019 MY WAR: Wartime Photographs by Vietnam Veterans Presents powerful first-person histories.

A War Never Ends - art and works of the men & women of San Juan County who served in Vietnam.

June 14 - September 18, 2019 DEEP DIVE Submerge yourself in the life of our Salish Sea. From the finest artists learn about the denizens of the ocean and the icons of the Pacific Northwest, our endangered species. And more.. Family Art Days on Saturdays • Artistsʼ Registry Show ..and more exhibitions! At the heart of the Salish Sea, SJIMA enriches the community, arts and artists as we champion authenticity of our islandsʼ place, expression and connections.

Summer Hours Thursday-Monday 11-5 Spring & Fall Hours Friday-Monday 11-5 WWW.SJIMA.ORG • 360-370-50505 540 Spring Street • Friday Harbor, WA 4

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What’s inside Welcome to the islands 8 San Juan Island 11 Orcas Island 12 Education 14 Lopez Island 16 Shaw Island 20 Anacortes 24 Marine mammals 25 Government 26 Joe Massey photo

The Book of the San Juan Islands


2019 - 2020

Information and Relocation Guide

Publication Information

Group Publisher – Colleen Smith Advertising Sales – Colleen Smith and Cali Bagby Graphic Artists – Shane Watson and Tate Thomson Cover Photo – Tate Thomson Copy Editor – Joanna Massey

The Journal of the San Juans 640 Mullis St., Friday Harbor, WA 98250 P: 360-378-5696, F: 888-562-8818 -

The Islands’ Sounder 217 Main Street, Eastsound, WA 98245

P: 360-376-4500, F: 888-562-8818 - The Islands’ Weekly 217 Main Street, Eastsound, WA 98245 P: 360-376-4500, F: 888-562-8818 -

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Experience Counts

Combined 45 years of Real Estate Experience & Ready to Work for You!


Whether you are looking to buy or sell a property on the San Juan Islands, our professional team will accommodate your Real Estate needs. After the close of escrow we provide a donation to the charity of your choice. Let us navigate you to the Good Life! John Lackey/Managing Broker Windermere SJI P.O. Box 2171/50 Spring St. Friday Harbor WA 98250 360-378-7836 Cell


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Gina Borges, Broker

CDPE, GRI, CRS, CSSN, CNE, J.D. Windermere SJI 360-622-5693

Assisted living in a comfortable, stylish environment

Village at the Harbour in Friday Harbor is a full-service assisted living community on San Juan Island.We provide a variety of services and amenities to meet the individual needs of our residents. Tastefully appointed private apartments are ready to be furnished in your personal style.Attractive indoor and outdoor community areas offer many comfortable places to visit with friends and neighbors. And our attentive staff is committed to the highest standards of quality care.

San Juan Surveying, llc Land Surveying

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365-D Spring St. Friday Harbor, WA 98250 (360) 378-2300

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CHICAGO TITLE San Juan Island 2019 Something for Everyone Weekends Friday Harbor Bike ‘n Brew June 1 San Juan Island Artists’ Studio Tour June 1 & 2 Three Lakes Triathlon & Marathon June 15 & 16 4th of July Parade – 10:30 AM, Kiwanis Pig War BBQ-11:30 AM, Music at the Port-6:00 PM, Fireworks – 10:00 PM Lavender Festival - Pelindaba Lavender Farm July 20 & 21 Summer Arts Festival August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 San Juan County Fair August 14-17 Friday Harbor Airport Fly-In August 24 Concours d’Elegance TBD The Lakedale Music Festival with Brian Nova August 30-September 1 Savor the San Juans Mid-September – Mid-November Friday Harbor Film Festival October 25-27 Friday Harbor Winterfest November 30-December 31 • 360-378-5240 The Book of The San Juan Islands


Welcome to the San Juan Islands by Heather Spaulding


eep in the heart of the Salish Sea, San Juan County consists of 172 islands, rocks and reefs at high tide, and 743 at low tide. This equals approximately 174 square miles of land and 447 square miles of water, making it the smallest county in Washington state by land mass. Named after explorer Juan Vicente de Güemes, the 1789 viceroy of New Spain, second count of Revillagigedo, the islands were originally home to several tribes, including the Lummis, Swinomish, Suquamish, Tulalip, Samish and three S’Klallam tribes. The myriad of secluded coves once provided hideaways for rum-runners, pirates and other smugglers. Now they’re

a lush and lovely playground for boaters, beachcombers and wildlife. Geography ranges from the 2,398-foot Mount Constitution on Orcas, to the flowering meadows of Yellow Island, or the bluffs of Lopez Island’s Iceberg Point that slope down to craggy stretches of waterfront. Streams and lakes dot the landscape, offering wildlife sanctuaries, swimming and fishing. People who set foot on these islands quickly fall under the spell of their natural beauty; sparkling seas; rumbling, steadfast ferries and misty meadows. Approximately 16,510 people call the islands home, according to the 2017 census. Most islanders live on the four largest ferry-served


360.378.2012 • 1.800.562.3245

PO Box 728 • Friday Harbor, WA 98250 8

Joe Massey photos

islands: San Juan, Orcas, Lopez and Shaw. Of the four ferry-served islands, San Juan has a population of 7,683; Orcas, 5,408; and Lopez, 2,965. There are approximately 95 people per square mile. Many residents are retirement age: 32 percent of islanders are over 65. That statistic is more than double the state average of 15 percent. Only 14 percent of islanders are under the age of 18. Households also tend to be smaller than the state average (2.6) at 2.1 persons. Top industries include professional, scientific, management, administrative and waste management services (26.4 percent); educational, health and social services (11.4 percent); arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services (11.1 percent); agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and mining (10.3 percent);

and finance, insurance, real estate, and rental and leasing (10.2 percent). About 23 percent of islanders are self-employed, and many jobs are seasonal. Per-capita income was $40,327 in 2016, but a significant percentage of that is made up of retirement savings or pensions. Of the county’s total population, 43 percent is not part of the labor force working in the islands. The average worker earned $44,678, compared to the state average of $51,159. The cost of living index for the islands is 164 (the national average is 100). Homeownership averages 73 percent, and the median home value is $456,800 (state median value is $269,300). The latest census revealed that of 13,728 housing units in the county, over 28 percent are kept for seasonal (typically summertime) use. Island life ebbs and flows with the seasons. Tourist and seasonal residents, often called snowbirds, arrive each spring with the first daffodils.


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Excise tax helps San Juans stay affordable Initiative passed in 2018 adds a 0.5 percent excise tax to the sale of property by Hayley Day


hen residents buy their dream home in the San Juan Islands, they will be charged an additional tax to help others afford to live in paradise as well. Starting in late December 2018, a 0.5 percent Real Estate Excise Tax is applied to the sale of property. A home priced at $500,000 would incur a REET of $2,500, of which the seller pays $25 (1 percent of the tax) and the buyer pays the rest (99 percent). The tax is expected to generate roughly $15 million in the next 12 years to maintain or build local housing for low- or middle-income residents and people with disabilities. Affordable housing solutions can include rentals as well as homes for sale. As the retired director of San Juan Community Home Trust, a local housing nonprofit, Nancy DeVaux sees the fee as a solution

to the countywide housing shortage. “People are moving away from the island[s] because they can’t find an affordable place to live, and employers are having difficulty finding the retaining employees,” she said. “In so many ways, the lack of affordable housing makes it difficult and stressful, and hopefully more affordable housing will create a more stable community.” According to county staff, San Juan County was able to adopt the housing REET thanks to its earlier adoption of a conservation areas REET. This 1 percent tax on the sale of homes has supported the San Juan County Land Bank since 1990 in its ability to purchase and preserve local land in perpetuity. The tax ensures that the idyllic nature and remoteness of the islands remain undeveloped. Since San Juan is the only county in the state that has adopted a conservation areas REET, it was also the only

county eligible to adopt the housing tax. Voters approved the unique latter measure in November 2018, after the county council sent it to the ballots. Merri Ann Simonson, the managing broker at Coldwell Banker San Juan Islands, said most newcomers to the islands are unaware of both the land bank and affordable housing taxes. When showing property, Simonson said she explains the additional fees. Disclosures about the taxes, she added, are included in contracts for real estate agencies throughout the county. That way there are no surprises during closing. Simonson added that firsttime homebuyers are the ones who are most in need of the information to ensure they have enough funds. “It may put a first-time homebuyer in a situation where they have to delay ... their purchase because that's another half percent they may not have known about,”

The Book of The San Juan Islands

she said. Simonson said in her 24 years as an island broker, she never had a potential buyer tell her that either of the additional taxes halted a sale, but she admitted that clients don't always disclose why they back out of a purchase. Applicants can apply for the affordable housing funds by summer 2019, and the recipients will be selected by the following winter. Organizations that plan to apply for funds include OPAL Community Land Trust to build a 45-unit rental property on North Beach Road on Orcas Island, and San Juan Community Home Trust for an undetermined project on San Juan. “…[The affordable housing REET Funds] can be used for such a broad variety of projects,” said DeVaux. “I think it’ll be a trigger for innovation in terms of problem-solving with rental housing and homeownership in the community.”



2019-20 Information & Relocation Guide


ISLAND by Heather Spaulding


an Juan Island is the most urban of the islands, home to the only incorporated town (Friday Harbor) that serves as the county seat, and a busy port of entry for international pilots and boaters. This island has the most residents, about 8,000 year-round, yet still keeps a firm hold on its smalltown mystique. At 24 miles long and 9 miles wide, San Juan covers slightly over 55 square miles. Quiet country roads wind gently through sunny meadows and deep cool forests. You might come across an alpaca ranch, fields populated by thoughtfully ruminating cows and sheep, the terraces of Pelindaba Lavender Farm, or San Juan Vineyards’ grapevines and winery. Founded in 1909 and perched at the San Juan Island ferry landing, Friday Harbor has a mayor and town coun-

cil. As the county seat, Friday Harbor is also home to county courthouse, government headquarters, and associated agencies and public services. The town offers dozens of galleries showcasing fine art, native art and photography. The San Juan Islands Museum of Art hosts exhibits by regional artists, the San Juan Community Theatre offers an array of performing arts and the local bookstore often hosts guest speakers. There’s a movie theater, a popular county fair, a well-stocked public library and most everything else offered by any self-sustaining town, minus big-box retail stores, fast-food chains or traffic lights. Instead, small restaurants serve local flavors with flair, from a variety of ethnic cuisines. In the summertime you can find island-raised meats, cheeses, eggs, honey and organic produce at weekly farmers markets. Also nearby are the San

Tate Thomson photo

Juan Historical Museum, the Whale Museum and the University of Washington’s worldclass marine research center, the Friday Harbor Labs. The labs hosts an open house each spring, and offers undergraduate and graduate coursework as well as apprenticeships. On the northwest tip of the island in Roche Harbor, you’ll find the Hotel de Haro, named after 1787 Spanish explorer Captain de Haro. It was built in 1886 at the original Hudson’s Bay post. The harbor has a bustling marina with 377 slips, hiking

trails winding around Roche Harbor’s historic lime quarries and three fine-dining waterfront restaurants. On the west side of the island, Lime Kiln State Park is the only whale-watching park in the world. You’ll find a lighthouse built in 1919, turning 100 years old June 30, and stunning cliffside vistas with powerful currents swirling visibly at your feet. The nearby waters of Haro Strait are frequented May SEE SAN JUAN, PAGE 19


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360.378.2298 The Book of The San Juan Islands


ORCAS ISLAND by Mandi Johnson


Joe Massey photo

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• Ashley Furniture • Berg Vault • Griffith Furniture • Home Depot • Judd & Black • Lowe’s • Lyon’s Furniture • Mattress Depot • Northstar Stone & Landscape • Rolfson’s • Samuel’s Furniture • Skagit River Steel • Superior Systems • Tracys • Wilson’s Furniture •


t the highest point in the San Juan Islands stands a tower from which you can take in a 360-degree view of the Salish Sea extending out as far as your eyes can see. Just shy of 2,400 feet, Mount Constitution extends toward the sky on the eastern side of horseshoe-shaped Orcas Island. With more tree cover, Orcas is typically more cooler and wetter than Lopez and San Juan, especially noticeable in 5,252-acre Moran State Park with its miles of hiking trails through dense forest, by streams and lakes and to the peak of Mount Constitution. Though the largest of the islands, with 57 square miles of varied terrain from wetlands to dense forests, it is less populated than San Juan – with about 4,500 year-round residents. The New York Times named Orcas Island number 33 on its 52 places to go in 2019. Another sprawling preserve lies on the western side of the island – 1,718-acre Turtleback Mountain Preserve – and several small public parks offer access to pebbly beaches. In the heart of the island lies the hub of community and commerce – Eastsound, otherwise known as “town.” In this tiny village you’ll find grocery stores, a movie theater, post office, hardware store and a variety of shops. The Orcas Island Library sits atop a hill overlooking the hamlet and was remodeled in 2017 to double its size. Orcas Center showcases local performers and artists as well

2019-20 Information & Relocation Guide

as world-renowned talent throughout the year, including big-screen live streamings of National Theatre Live, The Met and The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema. The Orcas Island Senior Center is a great resource for seniors, hosting off-island shopping trips, senior lunches, recreational gatherings and support for seniors and their families and more. On summer Saturdays there’s a farmers market and music on the Village Green, where you can shop for fresh organic produce and meat, textiles, hot lunch-wagon fare and handcrafted items made by island artisans from locally sourced sheep’s wool, beach glass, rocks and more. Orcas islanders love to hold parades, and have one for every possible excuse: the Fourth of July, a pet parade and summer solstice. The latter is particularly wacky and enthusiastic as participants often flounce through Eastsound dressed in outlandish costumes. Don’t be surprised to find your neighbors scantily clad having sprouted butterfly and fairy wings toting garish giant flowers, wearing zany hats or furry creature costumes. At the edge of town is the Funhouse Commons, a place for kids and teens to hang out after school, get help doing their homework or join an art class or robotics club. The building also houses Orcas Island Park and Recreation District, which handles community recreation programs like kids’ soccer, running club, softball and baseball, adult recreational volleyball, swim-

ming lessons, sailing lessons and more. The recreation district also manages Buck Park, on the north side of Eastsound, where you’ll find the Orcas Skate Park, tennis courts, soccer fields, a playground and an off-leash area for Fido. The park grounds abut the fields of the Orcas Island Elementary, middle and high schools. Speaking of schools, the high school was ranked eighth in the state by the 2017 US News and World Report with a reported enrollment of 134 students. From Eastsound, you can follow the island’s main road southwest toward ferry landing and Deer Harbor, or southeast to Moran State Park, Olga and Doe Bay.

Orcas services CenturyLink (phone, internet and TV) 1-800-244-1111 County Council Rick Hughes 360-298-5103 Eastsound Sewer and Water 143 Cessna Road 360-376-2720 Eastsound Water Users Assoc. 360-376-2127 Fire Department District 2 Fire Chief Scott Williams

Other island hamlets include Orcas Village, home of the ferry landing, a gourmet grocery, a post office and specialty shops; Deer Harbor, on the sunny west side, with a water view, family-style restaurant, a pizza place, marina, lodging and a thriving community club that hosts monthly potluck meetings; Olga, nestled on the east shore, also has a community club – a 1913 clubhouse built by the members of the all-female “Olga Energetic Club.” Club members host the annual July Olga Daze festival and barn sale, where the scent of homemade maple doughnuts lingers in the air and intricate handmade quilts are up for raffle. Out beyond Olga is Doe Bay Resort,

45 Lavender Lane 360-376-2331 Orcas Family Health Center 1286 Mount Baker Road 360-376-7778 Orcas Library Phil Heikkinen, director 500 Rose Street 360-376-4985

which hosts the annual summer Doe Bay Music Festival and Imagine Festival. It has a general store, lodging, a clothing-optional hot tub and a restaurant where locals perform at weekly open-mic nights to benefit island nonprofits. According to, the median home value on Orcas Island was $603,900 in 2018. In the past year, values have gone up nearly 12 percent, with the median price of houses listed totaling $864,750. Also, in 2018, Orcas made national news when Oprah Winfrey purchased an $8 million home on the island. For more information about Orcas, visit Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce online at

Orcas Senior Services 62 Henry Road 360-376-2677 Sheriff’s Office Orcas Substation 1323 Mt. Baker Rd. 360-378-4151

EMERGENCY: 911 Sheriff UW Medicine Orcas Island Clinic 7 Deye Ln. 360-376-2561

West Sound Marina, inc. The Service Center of the San Juans

Orcas Power & Light Cooperative 183 Mt. Baker Rd 360-376-3500 - office 360-376-3599 - outages

“We Fix Boats”

Visitor Services • Free Map & Guide • Event & Relocation Info Representing the Business Community of Orcas Island inf o@ Orc a s Is l a n d C h a m b e r.c o m

On North Beach Rd., just off Main Street 360.376.2273 • P.O. Box 252, Eastsound, WA 98245

• Haulouts to 30 ton, 64 ft. LOA, 18’ beam at any tide. Factory certified mechanics: • Engine service and sales. • Volvo • Mercruiser • Yanmar • Evinrude E-TEC • Complete Chandlery, most everything you need for boat and crew. • Moorage: 180 year-round slips – Guest dock. • Fuel: • Gas • Diesel • Propane • Dry storage area.

P.O. Box 119 • Orcas, Washington 98280 (360) 376-2314 • Fax (360) 376-4634

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Educatio n in the island s • Columbia Virtual Academy. Grades K-12,, 360-468-2201. • Lopez School District. Grades K-12,, 360-468-2202.

376-1598. • Orcas Christian School. Grades K-12,, 360-376-6683. • Orcas Island Children’s House. Ages 1-6,, 360-376-4744. • Orcas Island School District. Grades K-12,, 360-376-2284. • Orcas Montessori School. Ages 2 1/2-6,, 360-3765350. • Salmonberry School. Ages preschool-6,, 360376-4310. • Waldron Island School. Grades K-8,, 206-3762286.

• Kaleidoscope. Ages 4 weeks-12 years,, 360-3762484. • OASIS Alternative School. Grades K-12,, 360-

• Alphabet Soup Preschool. Ages 1-6, • Children’s House Montessori School. Ages 3-6,, 360-378-5255.




• Griffin Bay School. Grades 8-12, sjisd., 360-378-3292. • Lighthouse Preschool. Ages 3-5,, 360-378-4885. • Paideia Classical School. Grades K-8,, 360-3788322. • San Juan Center Preschool Head Start. Ages 3-5,, 360-378-6030. • San Juan Island School District. Grades K-12,, 360-3784133. • Spring Street International School. Grades 5-12,, 360-3786393. • Stepping Stones Early Learning Center, 360-378-4455. • Stillpoint School. Grades K-6,, 360-378-2331.


• Shaw Island School. Grades K-8,, 360-468-2570.



he Pacific Northwest has a reputation for being damp and dreary. While Seattle is known for gray skies and rainy days, life in the San Juan Islands offers a reprieve from the seemingly endless stream of showers thanks to the Olympic rain shadow. Because of the Olympic Mountain Range to the south of the archipelago, the islands are blessed with about half the annual rainfall of Seattle. Other regional locations sheltered by the rain shadow include Sequim, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Coupeville and Victoria, British Columbia. The islands average about 20 inches of rain annually, with approximately 247 days of sunshine per year. Spring in the San Juans begins around mid- to late February. When April and May arrive, the mornings are typically in the 40s with clear skies, and afternoons can sometimes peak at about 50 degrees. Spring showers are usually short-lived – swept away by sunny skies. When Memorial Day Weekend rolls around, early summer visitors and residents are greeted by longer days and warmer, drier weather. One final winter-like storm may pass through, sprinkling a little rain and coupled along with increased wind speeds, but usually by the end of June the “warm season” is officially here. During the summer months of July, August and September, the islands reach their peak temperatures and maximum continuous days of sun. With temperatures averaging about 70 degrees, it has been known to spike up into the upper 80s at times. Autumn in the islands is relatively short-lived. For the months 14

of October and November, the rain tends to increase, along with the likelihood of freezing nights, and sometimes it will snow. November, December and January are the typical winter months in the San Juans, bringing the wettest weather and the least amount of sunny days. Winter storms in the region are commonly very windy and wet rather than snowy. Though the rare snowstorm does sweep through the islands, its effects are usually short lasting. Wind can whip across the ocean and over the islands at high speeds sometimes downing trees and damage to the few power lines that haven’t been buried underground. So, if you’re seeking respite from the gray days of the Pacific Northwest, but don’t want to travel too far, hop out to the San Juan Islands and enjoy temperate weather year-round. Month



January February March April May June July August September October November December

46/36 48/36 53/39 57/41 63/45 67/48 71/51 71/50 66/48 58/44 50/39 46/36

3.57 2.28 2.17 1.78 1.66 1.29 0.88 1.06 1.26 2.85 4.33 3.70

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WELCOME FROM PAGE 8 Summer is a time of festive parades, with the hum of weekend crowds browsing at farmers markets or relaxing at music festivals. The islands are home to a thriving culinary arts community, with local artisans crafting brews, ciders and fine wines; fromagers; shellfish farmers; and chocolatiers. Year-round islanders take a deep breath as the mists of gray October creep in, and life returns to a slower pace. Wintertime has its own quiet island rhythm. Friends gather to enjoy indoor activities watching plays, movies or poetry readings, or bundle up and explore the great outdoors. San Juan County consistently ranks among Washington

state’s healthiest counties, thanks to low crime rates, access to health care, good air quality and residents’ physical activity. The county also boasts a high level of education: 47 percent hold bachelor’s degrees or higher; and 95 percent are high school graduates. Islanders come from all walks of life, experiences and income brackets, but are united by a deep and abiding sense of community and care for one another and for the earth and its creatures. Residents have created and support a phenomenal number of nonprofits, more than 400 countywide. There’s no place like San Juan County for a warm sense of belonging and nurturing, a bond created both with the people and the land.


360.376.6683 • WWW.OICS.ORG

Did you Know That: Grades 6-12 each scored, in National Testing*, at an accelerated rate, more than one grade level higher or above their current grade over the past school year’s performance. Grade 12, Seniors scored at or above college level!

Focused on nutrition- prepared daily hot lunches and member of the Federal: Free, Reduced, affordable meal program!

OCS is the only private school in the Islands that is Washington State Certified.

Annual High School International and Domestic Mission trips.

Small Class sizes with a growing emphasis on “STEM.”

*ITBS is an assessment test of student achievement that measures student performance nationally, not just with their peers in WA. State.

Monthly field trips, on and off island.

The Book of The San Juan Islands



Miles Becker photo

Iceberg Point on Lopez Island. by Miles Becker


opez is the first stop for Washington State Ferries winding through the San Juan Islands, and the least populated of the three largest islands. The smaller community of less than 3,000 year-round residents maintains a sense of easy familiarity, noticeable on the roads by drivers waving in passing. The quiet and spread-out village adds to the feeling of a slower island pace that attracts people in search of a peaceful retreat. Beneath the calm surface is an active and vibrant community. Covering much of the island’s gently sloping hills and valleys are pastoral views of grazing cattle or flocks of sheep with their guard llama standing vigilant. Several small-scale vegetable farmers supply both farm stands and the local natural foods store with fresh produce throughout the year. The farmers themselves can be found with their bounty at both the summer and winter farmers markets. Joining them are artisan food vendors offering wood-fired bread and pastries, Lopez beef and lamb burgers, Jalisco-style al pastor tacos, jars of pickled krout and kimchee, and the occasional lemonade stand 16

run by a very young entrepreneur. Wood-turned bowls made from local hardwoods, small-batch ceramic mugs and bowls, floral-patterned silkscreen textiles, and other Lopez-made crafts also show up at the markets. More work by local artists are on display in the Chimera cooperative in Lopez Village. Next door are the friendly Lopez Coffee Shop, the hard to resist Holly B’s Bakery and the Lopez Bookshop. Elsewhere in the village you can discover a few more restaurants, including a noodle bar and the creative fine-dining experience of Ursa Minor, a locals meeting place disguised as Isabel’s Coffee, and several organizations serving the community. The Lopez Center for Community and the Arts is the heart of live performances on the island. Audiences listen to musicians from around the world in the auditorium and rock out to local bands on the lawn outside in summer. Youth hang out at the center’s skate park and show off their talent in annual dance recitals. Complementing the center’s entertainment are the health and human services of the Lopez Island Family Resource Center, now in its new building. Residents walk into the resource center for everything from preschool, tax filing advice and surplus

2019-20 Information & Relocation Guide

foods to small-business development. The resource center organizes summer workshops that offer everyone a diverse list of options: sailing, survival skills and pottery to name a few. Another boost for islanders’ health is the gym located downstairs, Lopez Fit. Across the street is The Hamlet, a housing community where seniors age in comfort. Hamlet residents have easy access to the UW Medicine Lopez Clinic down the street. Outside the village, just past Fisherman Bay, the senior center at Woodmen Hall has weekly events and meals. Located farther south is the Grange, a gathering place that hosts monthly square dances and a summer outdoor movie series. Another helpful resource in the village is the main office for the San Juan Islands National monument. Under the Bureau of Land Management, the monument was established by presidential proclamation in 2013 to protect lands described as “an unmatched landscape of contrasts, where forests seem to spring from gray rock and distant, snow-capped peaks provide the backdrop for sandy beaches.” The largest contiguous areas of these public lands are on the south end of Lopez. Trails wander through fields of wildflowers and mixed conifer forest at Iceberg Point, Point Colville and Chadwick Hill. During summer, swimmers and dog-walkers often fill up the beach tucked into Watmough Bay. Scenic vistas and natural landscapes can be found on other public lands throughout the island. San Juan County Parks

Lopez services County Council Chairman Jamie Stephens 360-378-2898 Fire Department J.M. Harner, chief 2228 Fisherman Bay Road 360-468-2991 Lopez Island Public Library 2225 Fisherman Bay Road 360-468-2265 Senior Services Lopez Senior Center Woodmen Hall 4102 Fisherman Bay Road 360-468-2421 Sheriff’s Office 2228 Fisherman Bay Road 360-378-4151 (non-emergency dispatch) EMERGENCY: 911 Sheriff

operates several day-use areas and the Odlin Park campground near the ferry terminal. Camping with a more private feel is available at Spencer Spit State Park, where visitors can also rent kayaks, walk the spit jetting out into Lopez Sound and circle around fire pits near the beach. The county land bank manages several preserves on island, including the largest tract of public forest, Lopez Hill, where you can find a well-maintained trail system weaving through rocky outcrops and gnarled trees. Not far from Lopez Hill in the center of the island is the Lopez School. The newly renovated school consists of K-12 classrooms for the fewer than 300 students in the district. Students of all ages share a common lunch room where meals are prepared from food grown in the campus garden. They also rally together in sporting events held on the athletic fields where parents come to cheer under clear or cloudy skies. Another learning resource for kids and adults alike is the outstanding Lopez Island Library, recognized as a Washington Star Library yet again in 2018. Current real estate prices for the approximately 40 listed properties on Lopez range from $60,000 for a half-acre land lot with a water view to $1.95 million for a new home on 50 acres overlooking the water. The recent average sale price was $747,475. Many homes have private or small shared wells, in addition to on-site septic systems.

UW Medicine Lopez Clinic 103 Washburn Place Lopez Village 360-468-2245 CenturyLink (phone, internet and TV) 1-800-244-1111 Fisherman Bay Sewer District 295 Village Road, #201 360-468-2131 Fisherman Bay Water Assoc. 2205 Fisherman Bay Road 360-468-2002 Orcas Power and Light  Cooperative 4232 Center Road 360-376-3544

REAL ESTATE Browse a Complete Catalog of Properties for Sale on Lopez Island at our site:

Rock Island Communications 360-378-5884 The Book of The San Juan Islands

265 Lopez Rd Ste A 360.298.9045 17





San Juan Island, Washington

Stories of the Pacific Rim & Beyond 2299807 FRIDAY HARBOR FILM FESTIVAL full color


25-27 2019

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2019-20 Information & Relocation Guide

SAN JUAN FROM PAGE 11 through September by three Southern resident Orca pods: J, K and L. At the southern end, San Juan Island National Historic Park offers wide-open prairie views soaked in sunshine. South Beach, Jakle’s Lagoon, Fourth of July Beach and Grandma’s Cove are just a few amazing places to explore in this vast park. Miles of gravelly beach alongside miles of hiking trails offer many perfect options for a blissful afternoon. Former U.S. Pig War encampments — American and English camps — are situated on opposite sides of the island. The joint British-U.S. occupation of San Juan began in 1859 and ended in 1867; as the border between Canada and the United States were negotiated. The camps are now peaceful parks for wildlife and island folk to wander, as well as sets for occasional histori-

San Juan services County Council Bill Watson Mailing: 350 Court St. 360-370-7473 CenturyLink (phone, internet and TV) 1-800-244-1111 Fire Department District 3 Fire Chief Brad Creesy 1011 Mullis St. 360-378-5334 Mullis Community Senior Center 589 Nash St. 360-378-2677 Orcas Power and Light Co-operative 1034 Guard Street Office: 360-376-3500 Outages: 360-376-3599 Peace Island Medical Center 1117 Spring Street 360-378-2141 peace-island-medical-center

Port of Friday Harbor Marina: 360-378-2688 204 Front Street Airport: 360-378-4724 800 Franklin Rd. Rock Island Communication 360-378-5884

cal reenactments. San Juan is the only island with regular mass transit, with a circuit to popular spots provided daily by San Juan Transit shuttle buses. There are also cars and mopeds for rent. Current real estate prices range from $26,500 for a slip at a local marina to $20 million for a 99-acre luxury estate. Recently, the median sale price was $699,000. San Juan tends to be sunnier and drier than Orcas Island, especially the south end. Average temperatures range from a low of 35 to a high of 71 degrees. The strongest winds recorded were 53 mph, with an average of 22 mph. San Juan Island has a public elementary, middle and high school as well as a district-hosted alternative school and a handful of private elementary, middle and high schools. For more information on San Juan Island, visit the chamber of commerce at

EMERGENCY: 911 Sheriff Town of Friday Harbor Farhad Ghatan, mayor Physical: 60 Second St. Mailing: P.O. Box 219 360-378-2810 ext. 238

Water: 360-378-8353 Wastewater: 360-378-5400 Transfer Station: 360378‑8449 mayor_farhad@fridayharbor. org

SJI Chamber of Commerce Physical: 165 First Street Mailing: P.O. Box 98 360-378-5240 San Juan Island EMS 1079 Spring Street 360-378-5152 SJ Island Library Laurie Orton, director 1010 Guard Street 360-378‑2798 SJ Island School District 285 Blair Street 360-378-4133 Sheriff’s Office Ron Krebs, sheriff 96 Second St. 360-378‑4151 The Book of The San Juan Islands



File photo by Miles Becker


he smallest of the islands serviced by Washington State Ferries, Shaw is nestled between Lopez, Orcas and San Juan. The population of slightly over 200 year-round residents make do with few amenities. All commercial business on the island is located next to the ferry terminal, which consists of a marina, café, general store, and a cottage with room for up to six overnight guests. Visitors can enjoy Lopez Island Creamery ice cream scooped at the café, along with other snacks and treats. Groceries and an assortment of home goods are sold at the general store originally built in 1924. Bicycling is a great way to 20

explore Shaw Island. The relatively flat terrain and small size make the entire island accessible in a single day of pedaling. A popular destination is the soft sandy beach of Shaw County Park, facing east out of Indian Cove toward Lopez and within kayaking distance of Odlin County Park. Ample parking is available for beach lounging for the day, and 11 campsites are open year-round for longer stays. The next closest camping is at Blind Island State Park, in sight of the ferry terminal yet only reachable by personal watercraft. The road to the beach passes by the Shaw Island Community Center where most organized social events take place. Community meetings, roller skating, performances, senior

dinners and other activities play out at the center. The Shaw Emergency Response Team and the fire department, supported by a large volunteer effort, are stationed at the center as well. A small shed next to the center contains an eclectic assortment of discarded items available for free. Interesting finds are also on the shelves at the Shaw Island Library, built in 1970. Despite its modest size, the lending library keeps islanders up to date on reading and viewing material. The library is connected by breezeway to the Historical Society Museum, open for visitation a few hours on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Shaw’s history, the legacy of which is still visible today, partly shapes the character

2019-20 Information & Relocation Guide

of the island. Though never having set foot on the island, it was named after U.S. Naval Captain John Shaw, who navigated warships through the waters of the West Indies, Mediterranean and Atlantic at the turn of the 18th century. Perhaps his successful marine career inspired boat captains and bootleggers weaving in and out of the San Juan Islands. Several historic buildings are still functional. Constructed in 1890, the Shaw Island School, also known as “The Little Red Schoolhouse,” has two instructors for about a dozen K-8 students. It claims to be the longest-operating school in the state. The Museum of the Historical Society was built in 1970 using logs from the original


Shaw Island post office. many and bays front small luxurycoves home. The re22 The most FROM well-known of the along the Shawlist shoreline. cent median price for a historical institutions on Shaw Sport can be rewardhome fishing was $700,000. Most vesting pressures.monastery WDFW ing, especially during peak is the Benedictine homes on Shaw rely on well andwomen, UW students sci- salmon runs. The public marifor Our Ladyand of the water and on-site septic sysentists actively monitor and Rock, started in 1977. A difna at the ferry terminal docks tems. conduct in these a small number of vessels, ferent orderresearch of nuns previousIn 2016, average temperapreserves. And since the1976 pre- but the island is not far from ly gained attention from tures ranged from 34 to 45 serves were established, the larger marinas on neighboring to 2004, when they collected degrees in January; to beprotected fish aretraffic getting tickets and directed at islands. tween 50 and 70 degrees in larger. the ferry terminal. The nuns Real estate for sale onsummer Shaw August. Monthly Real estate for the salescenic on is limited: At press time, there currently occupying precipitation was just unShaw is lead limited: At life press were just five properties for property a spiritual der one inchhome. in July, luxury Therising retime,is not there wereisolated just four front that entirely sale, priced frominches $440,000 FROM 22 to about four in median list price forthe a properties for community. sale, priced cent from the greater for a three-bedroom waterwinterwas months of November, home $700,000. Most from $275,000 for a 5-acre, Self-sufficiency is part of the front cabin to $2.2 million vesting pressures. WDFW December and January. on Shaw rely on well 1,036-square-foot monastic onhome, Shaw,sci-to homes for 42-acre waterfront estate. and UW lifestyle students and water and on-site septic sys$1.59 million for a waterand it isactively evidentmonitor from the and gar- The recent median list price entists tems. dens, orchards, and livestock for a home was $1.4 million. conduct research in these In 2016, temperacared for by thesince hardworking Most homesaverage on Shaw rely on preserves. And the pretures ranged from 34 septic to 45 nuns. Guests of all faiths are well water and on-site serves were established, the degrees in January; to bewelcome, with advance notice systems. protected fish are getting tween 50 and 70 degrees in requested, to share in the larger. labors and prayers for a few August. Monthly summer Real estate for sale on days Learn or a fullmore retreat.about Sales of precipitation justatunservices on Shawwas Island Shaw is limited: At press farm products, such as cheese, der one inch in July, rising time, there were just four yarn and herbal infusions help to Learn aboutmore four about inchesservices in the properties for sale, priced fund operations. Shaw of Island at winter on months November, from $275,000 for a 5-acre, Boaters can appreciate the December and January. 1,036-square-foot home, to $1.59 million for a water-

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ANACORTES by Joanna Massey


hile you must travel through Anacortes to get to the San Juan Islands, there is much to do in this seaside village. Named after a settler’s wife, Anacortes (inspired by Anne Curtis Bowman) is a magical gateway to the Salish Sea’s beautiful archipelago that includes both the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island, home to British Columbia’s provincial capitol. Located on Fidalgo Island, approximately 64 miles north of Seattle, Anacortes is a large town with a vibrant cultural and commercial and scenic charisma. The city measures 15.4 square miles and boasts 67 miles of hiking trails, four freshwater lakes, 12 miles of saltwater shoreline, 468 acres across a dozen city parks, a 220-acre state park and campground, and six different marinas with up to 2,500 boat slips. Long ago the area was home to the Samish and Swinomish peoples, who built longhouses over 1,000 feet long using the abundant local old-growth cedar and Doug fir. As European settlers moved into the area, local fishermen trawling Alaskan waters began returning with loads of cod for salting. Today, the southeast peninsula of Fidalgo Island is an official reservation, belonging to the Aboriginal Swinomish, Kikiallus, Lower Skagit, Kikiallus and Samish Indian Nation tribes, which operate a busy casino and gas station a few miles outside Anacortes. The Samish Indian Nation keeps its headquarters in Anacortes and operates Fidalgo Bay Resort. In other modern-day industry, Anacortes is the homeport of two major petroleum refineries: Shell and Andeavor, formerly known as Tesoro Corporation. Incorporated in 1891, Anacortes has a thriving arts community, highlighted by over 150 colorful hand-painted murals – created by local historian Bill Mitchell and friends – and small galleries, an 114seat theater and chic local boutiques. Throughout the year, Anacortes cele24

File photo

brates various community events. Each July, “Shipwreck Day” draws crowds for an annual flea market and garage sale. In August, Anacortes hosts its annual Arts Festival, and every September, 15,000 motorcyclists gather to enjoy the city’s scenic roadways during the annual Oyster Run. A privately owned shipyard on the outskirts of town, Dakota Creek Industries specializes in building and repairing steel and aluminum vessels. The largest seafood company in the United States, Trident Seafoods employs more than 250 workers. Island Hospital, a general medical and surgical health care facility, has 190 physicians and 43 beds. The Anacortes School District offers one early childhood education center, three elementary schools, one middle school and two high schools. The city of Anacortes Parks and Recreation Program operates many programs: adult tennis and co-ed softball; youth camps; early childhood enrichment programs; pee-wee sports, youth wrestling, soccer, basketball and track and field; community sailing; and Skyhawks sports camps and British soccer camps. Special events include a Daddy Daughter Dance; a 10-mile relay run on the Dallas Kloke Sunset Loop; a spring Egg Dash; a kids’ fishing derby at Heart Lake; an annual

“Bark in the Park” dog festival; a kidgeared “Kids R Best Fest”; an Art Dash Half-Marathon run along the Tommy Thompson Parkway; a family-friendly outdoor movie night; a breakfast with Santa; and a Winter Wonderland Walk at Washington Park. The Anacortes Arts Commission advises the City of Anacortes on public arts and culture. The city has a variety of arts organizations that offer year-round programming in theater, music, and visual and literary arts. The commission’s website ( gives information on where to view much of the city’s extensive collection of public art. The population of Anacortes is about 16,953. Much like the San Juans, the median resident age is higher than the state average, at about 49. The per-capita income is $37,385, and the median household income is $63,950. At press time, there were over 200 homes for sale in Anacortes, ranging from $21,000 for a quarter-acre lot to $6 million for a 7,265-square-foot manor. The latest reported median home price is $461,600. For more information about Anacortes, visit Anacortes Chamber of Commerce at, or call 360-2933832.

2019-20 Information & Relocation Guide



he Southern resident killer whales, with just 75 members remaining, are a cornerstone of life in the Salish Sea. Comprised of three family groups known as pods J, K and L, the Southern residents are the least populated, yet most famous orca species that inhabit the region. The other groups that frequent Puget Sound include the Northern residents, that – as their name implies – keep mostly to the northern waters between Vancouver Island and the Canadian mainland, and the Bigg’s, otherwise known as transients. Orcas, commonly known as killer whales, are more closely related to dolphins than whales. The large, black and white cetaceans can be between 16-26 feet long and weigh anywhere from 3 to more than 6 tons. Each orca has its own special mark behind its dorsal fin that can

be used to identify who it is. The species uses echolocation to communicate and to hunt for prey. The residents – both Northern and Southern – only eat fish, and they prefer to dine on Chinook salmon. Salmon stocks in the Salish Sea have been on the decline for decades with a 29 percent reduction in the number of harvested salmon and a 30 percent increase in the number of spawning salmon since 1999 – the year Chinook was listed as a threatened species. The Southern residents were added to the endangered species list in 2005. Pollution, vessel traffic and lack of adequate food plague the Southern residents leading to the decline that is currently occuring. The Bigg’s orcas are thriving. Bigg’s orcas are mammal

eaters that were once thought to be transients and not live in the Salish Sea year-round, but that has been disproven over the years. They can be seen anywhere along the west coast from Alaska to California. Fed by the increase in marine mammals, such as harbor seals, that were once hunted to near-extinction but are now rebounding due to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Bigg’s orcas are, for lack of a better term, fat and happy. A third species of orca – the offshore orcas – reside off the shore of Washington state, but are rarely seen and are not known to enter the waters of Puget Sound.

OTHER MARINE ANIMALS FOUND IN INLAND WATERS Bigg’s (transient) orcas Dall’s porpoise Gray whale Humpback whale Northern resident orcas Minke whale Pacific white-sided dolphin Southern resident orcas

Swaran Dhaliwal, DVM, CVA, CVFT (360) 376-6373 An integrative practice on Orcas Island, offering both Eastern and Western medicine The Book of The San Juan Islands




he Town of Friday Harbor is a wellknown destination spot in the San Juans, with its ferry landing bringing in many eager tourists. It is the only incorporated town in the county, holding the county seat, and set in a quiet bay on San Juan Island’s eastern shore. In 1906, Friday Harbor’s historic, two-story county courthouse was built, situated near the legislative building, and hosts offices for 11 elected officials, who manage and oversee county agencies, departments, assets and projects. County council’s three

elected officials reside in three geographically distinct districts: (1) San Juan Island; (2) Orcas, Blakely and Waldron islands; and (3) Lopez, Shaw and Decatur islands. These officials serve four-year terms and oversee executive and legislative powers. The council has many duties, most of which include: conducting hearings regarding public concern; adopting ordinances regarding comprehensive plans and development regulations; managing the county’s administrative offices; levying taxes; approving contracts for the county; deciding the compensation of county employees; ensuring the county’s compliance

Orcas Family Health Center

Orcas Family Health Center is a 501 C-3 non-profit rural health clinic providing comprehensive medical care to residents and visitors on Orcas Island. We take all insurance and have a sliding fee scale for people with deductibles or no insurance. Jennifer Utter, Certified Physician Assistant Karen Caley Orr, Certified Physician Assistant and David C. Shinstrom, M.D. www.Orcas Family Health 1286 Mt Baker Rd, Eastsound, WA 360-376-7778


with the county charter and all federal, state and county laws; reviewing and approving operating and capital budgets; and appointing officers. The council is also the signing authority for the county on all claims, contracts and deeds. There are many administrative departments that aren’t overseen by an elected official, but are instead supervised by the San Juan County manager, the main administrative position appointed by county council. These include Public Works, Health & Community Services, Community Development, Washington State University Extension, County Administration, Land Bank, and County Parks and Fair. The manager primarily handles the day-to-day operations of the county. There are many other elected county officials: a district court and a superior court judge; a county prosecutor; an auditor; a sheriff; an assessor; a county clerk; and a treasurer. They, and county council, are supported by numerous volunteer committees and advisory panels, as well as a strongly involved community made up of thoughtful (and sometimes strongly opinionated) individual members,

who often bring a lifetime’s wealth of experience, as well as an extraordinary level of care for their island county. And their commitment shows. In the general election of November 2018, 81.43 percent of registered voters cast their ballots. In 2005, San Juan County voters adopted a rule that allows the county to create its own voter-approved county charter by which to govern themselves within the limits of the federal and state constitutions. This “home rule” is an alternate form of county governance allowed by a 1948 amendment to the state constitution. Local voters occasionally approve updates to the county charter, tinkering with the structure of governance to better serve the needs of the community. San Juan County government has 13 junior taxing districts that provide public services, such as schools; libraries; parks and rec; and cemetery districts, all of which derive financial support from property tax levies, in varying degrees, and are supervised by their own panel of elected officials.

• For more about San Juan County, visit • For more about Friday Harbor, visit • For voter registration info, visit

2019-20 Information & Relocation Guide

Two new judges for

San Juan County by Hayley Day


U.S. Founding Father’s quote hangs above the door of the San Juan County District Court. America’s Declaration of Independence lines a wall, and a portrait of former U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall is mounted nearby. Such pieces were cultivated by Judge Stewart Andrew during his 20 years on the bench. “These artifacts are significant,” said San Juan County Prosecutor Randall Gaylord, “because they drive home an enduring feature of Judge Andrew’s legacy: a consistent application of the law in changing circumstances.” On Jan. 11, 2019, Andrew officially stepped down after two decades of unwavering service, as a new era in district court begins with his replacement Carolyn Jewett. District court is the lower court in San Juan County and has jurisdiction over cases like parking infractions, misdemeanors and preliminary hearings on felony cases. Andrew was first elected to the open seat in 1998. Back then, roughly 3,000 fewer people lived in the county, and district court had one only computer. He had been living in the islands for about a decade before he decided to run for office thanks to advice from a district court administrator. “I’m feeling my age,” he explained, “and it was time to let a younger person have the opportunity [to be judge]. I’m excited about the future of the courts.” At 28, Jewett is starting a journey that, for Andrew, stretched over five consecutive terms. Jewett, who served as the district court prosecutor for the past three years, said she decided to run for judge after witnessing the court’s “opportuni-

Tate Thomson/staff photo

Above: District Court Judge Carolyn Jewett (at left) with San Juan County Superior Court Judge Katie Loring. ties for offenders to make meaningful change.” “I’m honored to be Judge Andrew’s successor,” she said. “I think that [his] length of service in and of itself is a huge benefit to the community.” Andrew is helping Jewett transition, which includes bestowing advice on duties both inside and outside the courtroom. Personal relationships, said Jewett, can create conflicts if a familiar person appears in court, so “judges have to conduct themselves off the bench in a way that does not interfere with their duties on the bench.” This can create isolation, noted newly retired San Juan County Superior Court Judge Donald Eaton who was replaced by Katie Loring on Dec. 31, 2017. “Being a judge is a lonely occupation, The Book of The San Juan Islands

especially in a small rural community … with few judges to turn to for support,” he said. To lessen the feelings of seclusion, Eaton said he and Andrew regularly met over his eight years on the bench and encouraged both of their successors to do the same. Plans to decorate the courtroom are also on Jewett’s mind, including possibly adding Samish or Coast Salish art. Like’s Andrew’s pieces, the new judge wants to “set the tone” for visitors and leave her own mark on district court. “I’m going to be serving the public, doing work that I love and working to administer justice in our community,” she said. “That, to me, is a very exciting prospect.” 27


Despite the turbulence that the ongoing trade wars with China are causing, I still expect the U.S. economy to have one more year of relatively solid growth before we likely enter a recession in 2020. Yes, it’s the dreaded “R” word, but before you panic, there are some things to bear in mind. Firstly, any cyclical downturn will not be driven by housing. Although it is almost impossible to predict exactly what will be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”, I believe it will likely be caused by one of the following three things: an ongoing trade war, the Federal Reserve raising interest rates too quickly, or excessive corporate debt levels. That said, we still have another year of solid growth ahead of us, so I think it’s more important to focus on 2019 for now.

Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist | Windermere Real Estate | January 2019

2019 Housing Forecast 2019 Housing Forecast Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist | Windermere Real Estate | January 2019

What a year 2018 was for both the U.S. economy and the national housing market. After several EXISTING HOME SALES for both the U.S. HOME SALES a year 2018 was economy and the national housing market. years of What above-average economic andNEW home price growth, 2018 marked the After startseveral of a slowdown Home sales started to slow in theeconomic and In ahome somewhat similar manner to existing homeofsales, new home sales years of above-average price growth, 2018 marked the start a slowdown in spring the residential real estate market. As we kick off 2019, it’s time for me to dust off myball crystal ball the residential real estate market. As we kick off 2019, timeof for me to my crystal ofin2018 as we breached started to slow in theit’s spring 2018, butdust the off overall trend has been positive to see what we can expect in the year ahead. to affordability see what we can expect in the year ahead. limits and more homes since 2011. I expect that to continue in 2019 with sales increasing by 6.9%

came on the market. As a result, we to 695,000 units — the highest level seen since 2007. THE U.S. ECONOMY finished the year with a 3.1% decline That being level ofI still new construction remains Despite the turbulence that the ongoing trade wars with said, China the are causing, expect the U.S. economy to well have below the longTHE U.S. ECONOMY in sales compared to 2017. In 2019, one more year of relatively solid growth before likely enter a recession in Yes, it’s the dreaded “R” word, termwe average. Builders continue struggle with land, labor, and material Despite the turbulence that the China are causing, I still expect the U.S. economy to have I anticipate that home will ongoing but before you sales panic, there are some trade things wars to bearwith in mind. costs, and this is an issue that is not likely to be solved in 2019. Furthermore, one moremodestly year of relatively solid growth before enter a recession inimpossible 2020. Yes, it’s theexactly dreaded Firstly, any cyclical downturn will not be drivenwe by likely housing. Although it is almost to predict what “R” word, rebound and rise by 1.9% these constraints arebe forcing primarily build higher-priced will bepanic, the “straw that are breaks the camel’s I believe it will likely causeddevelopers by one of theto following three things: but you there some things back”, to bear in mind. to abefore little over 5.4 million units. an ongoing trade war, the Federal Reservehomes, raising interest toolittle quickly, or excessive corporate debt levels. That whichrates does to meet the substantial demand by first-time buyers. we still have another solid growth of us, so I think it’sitmore important to focus onto 2019 for now. Firstly, anysaid, cyclical downturn willyear notofbe driven byahead housing. Although is almost impossible predict exactly what will be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”, I believe it will likely be caused by one of the following three things: EXISTING HOME MORTGAGE RATES an ongoing trade war,PRICES the Federal Reserve raising interest rates too quickly, or excessive corporate debt levels. That We finished 2018 with a U.S. A year ago I suggested 5% interest rates be 2019 a 2019 EXISTING HOMEyear SALES said, we still have another of solid growth ahead of us, so I think that it’s more important to would focus on forstory, now. not a NEW HOME SALES median home $259,100 2018 story. This prediction has proven accurate with thesales average 30-year Homeprice sales of started to slow in the In a somewhat similar manner to existing home sales, new home 2018 In as 2019 we breached started to slow in the spring of 2018, but the trend has been positive — up 4.8%spring fromof2017. I conforming rates measured at 4.64% inoverall December. affordability limits and more homes since 2011. I expect that to continue in 2019 with sales increasing by 6.9% expect prices cameto oncontinue the market.rising, As a result, we 695,000 units — the highest level since 2007. Into2019, I expect interest rates toseen continue trending higher, but we may see finished the as year with a 3.1% decline but at a slower rate we move That being said, the level of new construction remains longperiods of modest contraction or levelling. We well willbelow likelythe end the year with in sales compared to 2017. In 2019, term average. Builders continue to struggle with land, labor, and material EXISTING HOME SALES NEW HOME SALES toward a more balanced housing I anticipate that home sales will the 30-year fixed rate at around 5.4%, which means that 6% interest rates costs, and this is an issue that is not likely to be solved in 2019. Furthermore, Home started to slow theby 1.9% modestly In a more somewhat similar manner to existing home sales, new home sales market.sales I’mrebound forecasting theandinrise these constraints areaforcing developers to primarily build higher-priced are apt to be 2020 story. to a little over 5.4 million units. spring 2018 as wetobreached homes,to which littlespring to meetof the substantial demand by first-time buyers. started slowdoes in the 2018, but the overall trend has been positive medianofhome price increase I also 2011. believe that non-conforming rates will increasing remain remarkably affordability limitsmortgage and more rates homes since I expect that to continue(or in jumbo) 2019 with sales by 6.9% by 4.4% as rising EXISTING HOME PRICES MORTGAGE RATES competitive. Banks appear to belevel comfortable with the risk and, ultimately, came on the market. As a result, we to 695,000 units — the highest seen since 2007. continue to act as a headwind to We finished 2018 with a U.S. A year ago I suggested that 5% interest rates would be a 2019 story, not a the return that this product offers, so expect jumbo loan yields to track finished the yearhome with price a 3.1% median of decline $259,100 2018 story. This prediction has proven accurate with the average 30-year home price growth. That being said, the level of new construction remains well below the long— up 4.8% from 2017. In 2019 I conforming rates at 4.64% in December. conforming loansmeasured quite closely. in sales compared to 2017. In 2019, term average. Builders continue to struggle with land, labor, and material expect prices to continue rising, In 2019, I expect interest rates to continue trending higher, but we may see I anticipatebut that at ahome slower sales rate aswill we move costs, and is an issue that is not likely to likely be solved 2019. periods of this modest contraction or levelling. We will end thein year withFurthermore, toward a more rebound modestly andbalanced rise by housing 1.9% the 30-year fixed rate at around 5.4%, which means that 6% interest rates these constraints are forcing developers to primarily build higher-priced market. I’m forecasting the are more apt to be a 2020 story. to a little over 5.4 million units. median home price to increase homes, which does little to meet the substantial demand by first-time buyers. I also believe that non-conforming (or jumbo) rates will remain remarkably

CONCLUSIONS by 4.4% as rising mortgage rates

competitive. Banks appear to be comfortable with the risk and, ultimately, to act as a headwind There arecontinue still voices out there that to seem to suggest the housing market is headed for calamity and that another housing the return that this product offers, so expect jumbo loan yields to track home price growth. bubble is forming, or in some cases, is already deflating. In all the data that I review, I just don’t see this happening. Credit EXISTING HOME PRICES MORTGAGE RATES conforming loans quite closely. quality for new mortgage holders remains very high ago and Ithe median down payment a percentage home price) We finished 2018 with a U.S. A year suggested that 5% interest(as rates would be aof 2019 story, notisa at its highest level since median home price of 2004. $259,100 2018 story. This prediction has proven accurate with the average 30-year CONCLUSIONS — up is4.8% from 2017. In 2019aren’t I conforming rates measured atare 4.64% in December. That notThere to say there several markets around the country overpriced, but just because a market is arethat still voices out there that seem to suggest the housing market isthat headed for calamity and that another housing expect prices to continue rising, bubble forming, or in some cases, is is already deflating. In all means the data that that I forward review, I just don’t see thisin happening. Credit overvalued doesis not mean that a bubble inInplace. ItI simply price growth these markets will be 2019, expect interest rates to continue trending higher, but we may see qualityrate for new holders remains very high and the median down payment (as a percentage of home price) is at but at atoslower as mortgage we move lower allow income levels to rise sufficiently. periods of modest contraction or levelling. We will likely end the year with its highest level since 2004. toward a more balanced housing the 30-year rate at around 5.4%, which that 6%While interest rates That isis not that there aren’t several markets the country that are overpriced, but justmeans because a market is these Finally, if there a to bigsaystory for this year, I believe it around will befixed the ongoing resurgence of first-time buyers. market. I’movervalued forecasting doesthe not mean that a bubble isare in place. It apt simply means that forward price growth in these markets will be more to be a 2020 story. buyers face challenges regarding student debt and the ability to save for a down payment, they are definitely on the lower to allow levels to rise sufficiently. median home price toincome increase comeback and likely more homes in 2019 any otherresurgence buyer demographic. I also believe that non-conforming jumbo)buyers. ratesWhile will remain if mortgage thereto is purchase a bigrates story for this year, I believe it willthan be the ongoing of(or first-time these remarkably by 4.4% asFinally, rising buyers face challenges regarding student debt and the ability to save for a down they are definitely on the competitive. Banks appear to bepayment, comfortable with the risk and, ultimately, continue to act as a headwind to comeback and likely to purchase more homes in 2019 than any other buyer demographic. the return that this product offers, so expect jumbo loan yields to track home price growth. conforming loans quite closely.



As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Asis Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and impact on the estate market Matthew Gardner is its responsible forreal analyzing andon interpreting both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years economic data and its impact on the real estate market on of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

There are still voices out there that seem to suggest the housing market is headed for calamity and that another housing bubble is forming, or in some cases, is already deflating. both In all the data that I review, I just has don’t this happening. Credit a local and national level. Matthew oversee 30 years of professional the U.S. and U.K. quality new mortgage holders remains very high and the median downexperience payment both (as ainpercentage of home price) is at its highest level since 2004.


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That is not to say that there aren’t several markets around the country that are overpriced, but just because a market is overvalued does not mean that a bubble is in place. It simply means that forward price growth in these markets will be lower to allow income levels to rise sufficiently.

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Almanacs - 2019 The Book