Monthly Archives: April 2016

Average apartment rent in Kitsap reaches $1,077

12096541_10206510262029092_907327638897249611_nKitsap’s rental market remains tight, but rents and vacancy rates seem to be steadying.

Average rent at large apartment complexes was $1,077 a month in the first quarter of 2016, a $6 increase from the fourth quarter of 2015.

Rent was up about $116 from a year ago, a 12 percent change, according to numbers provided by Tom Cain of Apartment Insights Washington.

Vacancy rates ticked up for the third straight quarter, reaching 4.22 percent.

The opening of the 71-unit 606 apartments in downtown Bremerton likely played a role in increasing vacancies. Bremerton’s vacancy rate jumped from 2.64 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 4.53 percent in first quarter of 2016.

Poulsbo/Bainbridge Island remained the tightest submarket, with a 2.91 percent vacancy rate.

In his quarterly report, Cain noted the shortage of homes for sale in the region has been a boon for rental owners.

“The tight home sale market and moderate level of new apartment construction will help keep pressure on rentals,” Cain wrote. “We expect the market to flourish this year.”

Here’s a graphical look at Kitsap rental trends:

2015 was a big year for Kitsap Bank

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Steve Politakis

The parent company for Kitsap Bank announced a 30 percent increase in earnings in 2015, capping what it called a “milestone year.”

Olympic Bancorp recorded net income of $8.42 million last year, according to a news release summarizing year-end results. Deposits grew 15 percent, reaching $962 million, and loans increased 22 percent to $584 million.

The Port Orchard-based bank topped $1 billion in assets for the first time, ending 2015 with nearly $1.1 billion. Kitsap Bank recently acquired Fife Commercial Bank, and completed a systems conversion in December.

“The economy in our market is rebounding, and we are seeing very positive signs with housing appreciation and new construction,” Kitsap Bank CEO Steve Politakis said in the release. “Business owners are expanding and investing in their companies.  We remain focused on the long term and are optimistic about the future.”

The bank donated more than $408,000 to charities last year, with an additional $504,000 committed to South Kitsap School District to replace an athletic field

Olympic Bancorp’s annual report can be viewed here.

Kitsap Bank is one of two banks headquartered in Kitsap County. The other is Liberty Bank in Poulsbo.

Click here for a graphic showing banks, bank branches and deposits in Kitsap County.

Why not convert Harrison Bremerton into affordable housing?

Harrison Medical Center’s consolidation in Silverdale will leave a 450,000-square-foot hospital vacant in East Bremerton three years from now.

FeelingTheSqueezeHarrison parent company CHI Franciscan Health is still determining if the building can be repurposed or should be torn down.

Given the looming affordable housing crisis in Kitsap, reader Kim Edgar in Poulsbo wondered if Harrison Bremerton could be converted into dorm rooms for Olympic College students or some other form of low-cost housing.

“The rooms are large enough to be dorm rooms and they have their own bathrooms,” Edgar pointed out in an email.

674094_5539855_ver1.0_640_480-1“Throw in a small fridge and a microwave and you’ve got a dorm room. They could convert the nurses station in to a common room, laundry room and a common kitchen area.

“Or, maybe Kitsap Housing Authority could turn the hospital into an affordable apartment complex and possible temporary housing for the homeless.”

Edgar probably isn’t the only Kitsap resident eyeing the Harrison Bremerton building as a potential home for affordable rentals, so I asked Kurt Wiest with Bremerton Housing Authority if the idea sounded feasible.

“The simple answer,” Wiest said, “is it’s complicated.”

The Housing Authority has been interested in the site since Harrison announced its relocation plans. But Wiest said retrofitting the aging hospital into apartments would almost certainly be cost prohibitive.

Since portions of the building were built decades ago, Wiest said there are likely hazardous materials like lead or asbestos present that would make residential conversion a complex and expensive prospect.

Wiest believes there is potential to create housing at the Cherry Avenue campus if the hospital is demolished. Much will depend on what CHI Franciscan decides to do with the property.

Have an idea for creating affordable housing in Kitsap? Drop a comment below or write me at tad.sooter@kitsapsun.com.

Marijuana store approved on Hwy 303

A recreational marijuana store has been approved for a space near Walmart on Highway 303.

The retailer, licensed by the Liquor and Cannabis Board on Friday, is called Pacific Northwest Green Leaf. Its listed address is 6733 Highway 303 NE in East Bremerton (but outside city limits).

Green Leaf is the 14th marijuana seller approved in Kitsap. The state will issue a total of 20 retail licenses in the county.

Nine Kitsap marijuana stores posted sales in March. These were the top five performing stores by gross revenue in the first quarter of 2016 (before the 37 percent excise tax and other taxes are subtracted):

1. The Pot Zone (Port Orchard)

First quarter sales: $890,399
Excise tax:  $329,448

2. Destination Hwy 420 (Bremerton)

First quarter sales: $755,53
Excise tax: $279,549

3. Hwy 420 (Bremerton)

First quarter sales: $745,941
Excise tax: $275,998

4. Paper & Leaf (Bainbridge Island)

First quarter sales:  $652,043
Excise tax: $241,256

5. Pacific Cannabis Co. (Bremerton)

First quarter sales:  $470,718
Excise tax:$174,166

(The Suquamish Tribe’s Agate Dreams store is excluded from this list as its revenue is not made public.)

Here’s a graphical look at recreational marijuana sales in Kitsap:

Kitsap real estate market keeps getting tighter

20050918-090653-pic-789628832Kitsap’s already-strained housing market somehow squeezed tighter in March.

There were nearly as many home sales pending in the county last month (559) as there were homes available for sale (566), according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Active listings were down nearly 33 percent in March from the same period of 2015.

Low inventory dampened sales activity across the Puget Sound region, but not in Kitsap where pending sales were up 4.5 percent.

The months supply of homes in Kitsap (the number of months it would take to sell off all the homes on the market if no new listings were added) fell to 1.6 months. A market is considered “balanced” when it has a supply of four to six months.

(Click here for a map showing the county’s tightest submarkets.)

Kitsap home prices remain elevated from 2015. Houses and condominiums sold for a median price of $276,387 in March, a year-over-year increase of 15 percent.

Here’s a graphical look at Kitsap real estate trends:

And here’s a map showing detailed real estate statistics by submarket. Wave your mouse over each area for details:

Poulsbo has a lot of breweries, but it’s not quite ‘Brew City USA’

blog.valhollPoulsbo is about to get a fourth brewery.

As we reported last week, Silverdale’s Rainy Daze Brewing will move north late this summer to take over Sound Brewery‘s original tasting room on Bovela Lane. (Sound is moving its tasting room to the current Campana’s Italian Restaurant building on Viking Avenue.)

B0013216035--291405Rainy Daze will join Sound, Slippery Pig Brewery and Valholl Brewing in Little Norway.

With four breweries in a city of less than 10,000 residents, Poulsbo will certainly have an embarrassment of malty riches. So it’s fun to wonder where Poulsbo rates among craft beer crazy towns.

There are all kinds of ways to rank cities and states based on beer. Which has the most breweries? The most breweries relative to population? What city produces the most barrels or consumes the most beer? And which has the “best” breweries?

When it comes to breweries per capita at least, Poulsbo isn’t ready to claim the title of “Brew City USA,” as it was recently dubbed in the North Kitsap Herald.

There are a number of cities here in Washington with higher ratios of breweries to people. After all, we live in a state with more than 300 licensed breweries and a lot of very small cities.

Using a database of licensed breweries from 2015 provided by the Liquor and Cannabis Board, and the state’s official population estimates, I put together a quick list of Washington cities blessed with high brewery-to-population ratios. I ignored breweries that didn’t report any production in 2015 and stuck with incorporated cities.

Poulsbo
Population: 9,950
Breweries: 4 (once Rainy Daze opens)
Ratio: 1 brewery per 2,488 residents

Westport
Population: 2,110
Breweries: 3
Ratio: 1 brewery per 703 residents

Stevenson
Population: 1,530
Breweries: 2
Ratio: 1 brewery per 765 residents

Roslyn
Population: 890
Breweries: 1
Ratio: 1 brewery per 890 residents

La Conner
Population: 895
Breweries: 1
Ratio: 1 brewery per 895 residents

White Salmon
Population: 2,420
Breweries: 1
Ratio: 1 brewery per 2,420 residents.

Based on a quick scan, it does appear Poulsbo could become the smallest city in the state with four or more breweries. That by itself would be an accolade worth toasting.

Marijuana grow licensed in North Kitsap

The Liquor and Cannabis board approved a recreational marijuana business last week for a space at Twelve Trees Business Park in North Kitsap.

The new producer/processor is called Sound Extracts.

It’s the twelfth marijuana production company licensed in the county. Unlike retail licenses, there is no cap on the number of producer and processor licenses the state will approve.

Taco Bell planned for Highway 303

taco.bellUPDATE: For those of you wondering, it appears the applicants for the new Taco Bell project are also owners of the existing Taco Bell on Wheaton Way.

A Taco Bell with drive-thru is planned for a vacant lot on Highway 303, south of Fairgrounds Road, according to a permit application filed with the county.

The 2,000-square-foot restaurant will be built adjacent to Starbucks, Quiznos and, most interestingly, a Taco del Mar.

(Taco Time is located on the same stretch of highway, and there’s a Taco Bell less than 2 miles south on Wheaton Way.)

Click on the image above to see the site plan for the new Taco Bell.