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Fast Ferry Could Add Pressure To Kitsap County's Housing Market

The new fast ferry, Rich Passage 1, connecting Seattle and Bremerton

The fast ferry between Bremerton and Seattle has been up and running since July. It cuts travel time between the two in half. The quicker commute could entice some Seattle residents to head west with hopes of finding more affordable housing.

But is that really the case? 88.5’s Kirsten Kendrick spoke with Kitsap Sun business reporter Tad Sooter to find out.

Housing stock is low in Kitsap County with the median home price countywide at around $300,000. In Bremerton the price is closer to $200,000.

"Just in July, there were probably about 600 homes for sale in the entire county and the inventory's been dwindling," Sooter said.

The median price of a home in Bremerton increased by 30 percent in 2016. Sooter says it's gone up another 17 percent just this year. Renters are also feeling the squeeze with the average monthly rent topping $1,200.

"One thing we've been seeing is an influx of investors buying large apartment complexes in our county. And they tend to buy up older complexes that they think they can add value to," Sooter said. "So they've been spending hundreds of millions of dollars in our county on these complexes and they tend to do some light renovation, fix them up a bit and then increase rents. That's one of the drivers for the rental increases we've been seeing, and it has displaced quite a number of tenants."

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.