Seattle’s real estate is hot. Bremerton’s is getting warm

Bremerton is a place where people of many income levels live beside one another. It’s been that way for decades. People here were brought together by the military, and they could stay together because of low housing prices.

But things are changing. It’s the speed of the market that really grabs people now. A house goes up for sale in Bremerton on a Friday and, according to real estate agent Maggie Conyer, “by Monday we’re seeing a trend where there’s going to be four to five offers on the house already.”

“There are cash offers.”

Many of these offers are from people outside Bremerton. Interest in Bremerton is up, and for locals it’s a challenging situation. They are fighting for homes with people who have cash.  

“We’re just a young military couple, and we don’t have that kind of equity,” said Elizabeth Leonhardt. She and her husband had been trying to buy a house for months when they successfully pounced on 1,700 square feet with original hardwood in a sought-after neighborhood named Manette. “Finally.”

Their fortunes turned only after they got help. They found Debra Gartin, a retiree with an interest in real estate and fast reflexes. Gartin watched for the right house on the local Multiple Listings Service.

“She was very into it, so she would tell me something right away that would pop up on the MLS, because sometimes I’d be at work.”

Even with the help, the couple was only second in line. A cash offer had initially trumped theirs — again. When that offer stumbled, they were next. They paid $280,000, a price not much seen in Bremerton until recently.

Leonhardt pinches herself a little during her short commute to Bremerton’s downtown. “The drive to work now is beautiful,” she said. “It’s mountains and water and ferries and – I never thought I’d be living in such a beautiful place.”

In Bremerton, it’s all about the mix. Different life stages, different backgrounds: They all meet here. When you meet people…

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