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A Treasure Hunt: The Mid-Century Modern Home

By Alyssa Morrison |

The Puget Sound region is dotted with homes that magnify the beauty and culture of Washington. Among those is the modern mid-century home, which reflects a movement in the mid-20th century to embody natural elements as well as incorporate Asian-inspired details.

Featured earlier this summer in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), a 1966 Ralph Anderson designed home, lovingly cared for by each of its caretakers (including the current owners), was renovated to highlight many of the original design details of the style. Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty President and CEO Dean Jones was asked to share his insight on this Northwest staple for WSJ.

“It’s a treasure hunt,” said Jones, going on to explain that it is rare to find intact mid-century modern homes on their original spacious lots. Teardowns were increasingly common in the 1990s through the early 2000s before the style had a rebirth and local land values soared.

One of these gems, however, is currently listed on Bainbridge Island. Represented by RSIR brokers Melody Paxton and Beckey Anderson, the meticulously renovated Ferncliff home boasts an ideal balance of luxurious, updated living alongside the classic mid-century design. Located on a pristine parcel with natural terrain and mature trees, there’s also nearby beach access with beautiful city views.

Following Gov. Inslee’s stay-at-home order and the subsequent social distancing measures of the COVID-19 pandemic, RSIR brokers have reported increased interest in homes farther outside of the city. This may be indicating that a work/life balance now means having enough space at home to include an office, among other benefits.

While Amazon stock values continue to skyrocket, many of the tech giant’s employees have been living in apartments, often near their South Lake Union office. Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) are a major part of the compensation for Amazon workers, which typically vest after a few years. As Jones explained, this has a massive wealth effect in the market as these luxury rental towers are acting as incubators for future home buyers. Microsoft is also experiencing a similar boom.

“Tens of thousands of relatively recent new residents, most of whom were renting, are now increasingly looking at purchasing in a bottom-up recovery.”  Thanks to low interest rates and high stock values at local tech firms such as Amazon, there is a mounting desire,” Jones said, “to buy in while purchase power is greater.”

Bainbridge Island is currently a seller’s market. And with its easy ferry access to the Seattle tech core and distinct homes like this mid-century modern abode, the market will likely keep heating up.