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Chiwawa River Pines – Effects of Rental Ban?

Posted by Geordie Romer on August 16, 2009

The Chiwawa River Pines neighborhood in Plain had a lengthy debate in 2008 about permitting vacation rentals in their neighborhood.

At the time, I took the position that I thought that enforcing the existing (but unenforced) prohibition on short term (nightly / weekly) rentals would be bad for home values.  My experience tells me that vacation home buyers (who drive the Leavenworth and Lake Wenatchee real estate market) prefer to have the option to rent their home when they aren’t using it. Not every vacation home owner does rent their cabin, but most prefer to have that as an option.

A few owners in Chiwawa River Pines wrote in..

“Many of us that did not purchase a home 5 or more years ago are paying a pretty penny to find a vacation home in Leavenworth. While we would all likely to be independently wealthy, many of us look to supplement the cost of a mortgage with nightly rental proceeds. I also believe that the values will decline since you are removing a subset of the buyers from this community.”

Al Lorenz, an owner in Chiwawa River Pines, a real estate agent in Chelan, and the author of the NCW Real Estate Blog, took an opposing view.

“It has really only been in the last few years that there has been this noticeable rental activity. Certainly 4 years ago I never noticed it. Now, in certain parts of the development it is a problem. I’ll use my speeding analogy again, just because I didn’t get caught last week doesn’t mean I won’t get caught tomorrow. That’s also why I don’t think the values will be negatively impacted. The folks that bought in Chiwawa River Pines have always known rentals weren’t allowed.”

In September of 2008 the members of the Chiwawa Communities Association voted to amend their covenants to prohibit any rentals for periods less than 6 months.

What has happened since then?

Of the 53 homes that have sold in Leavenworth and Lake Wenatchee, only 3 were in Chiwawa River Pines. One of these homes was a bank owned property that had been foreclosed upon.

Currently there are 184 homes for sale in Leavenworth and Lake Wenatchee. 20 of these homes are in Chiwawa River Pines (and one of these was recently foreclosed upon and is now bank owned.)

What do these numbers tell me?

A home in Chiwawa River Pines is less likely to sell than a home in another neighborhood. 6% of the sales occurred here, but they have 11% of the homes currently  for sale.

At the current rate of sales, there is a 5 1/2 YEAR supply of homes on the market in the neighborhood.
I think any Leavenworth or Lake Wenatchee neighborhood that is considering banning vacation rentals should consider its effect on home values and what is happening in Chiwawa River Pines.

Required Disclaimer
NOTE: This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the North Central Washington Association of Realtors or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the Association nor its MLS guarantees or are in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the Market.



    If you’re planning to buy a home in this area, the best place to start is with the Leavenworth Home Buyer’s Guide.

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