What you need to know about local and military housing on Whidbey Island

Working at a military base in the Pacific Northwest is an honor. Living in Military housing on Whidbey Island, you can also take advantage of the many great local attractions, communities, and events. Better Homes and Gardens McKenzie Realty specializes in serving military members and has a unique knowledge of the Island's military housing options and real estate. Here’s an overview of housing in the area.


Understanding Military Housing on Whidbey Island

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)

A helpful benefit of military service in the U.S. is that they provide service members with equitable housing compensation. This support isn’t meant to pay for housing fully but can ease the family’s burden when allocating their income. This compensation is adjusted every year to reflect the local rental market. 

The amount you qualify for varies depending on your geographic region, rank, and dependents status. The median rent in Oak Harbor for an off-base house is $2,345, a townhouse is $2,100, and an apartment is $1,416. Here are a few examples of how much you could be reimbursed in 2024 when your home base is Oak Harbor, Washington:

  • Rank E1: $1,400 – 1,800
  • Rank W1: $1,800 – 1,500
  • Rank O7: $2,800 – 3,100

Not all service members qualify for loans or BAH, namely if they’re within 12 months of their EAOS.

Learn more about the BAH on the Defence Travel Management Office Website.

Military housing options

If you want to live on base at Whidbey Island's Naval Air Station, you must have received your PCS. Your application package will be sent to you within 30 days of your assignment. 

Many military families at the Whidbey Island station live in nearby Public/Private Venture (PPV) Housing. These communities cater to military service members but are managed by third-party rental companies. 

PPV housing at Whidbey Island is a partnership between the Navy and the Hunt Military Communities (Constitution Park, West Sound, and Whidbey Island communities) and Carrolls Creek Landing on the mainland just off the I5 between Arlington and Marysville. These communities are primarily for military personnel but may occasionally house non-military families. In these communities, you’ll get a minimum one-year lease. Your BAH will be given in your paycheck, and housing reimbursements paid allotment to the PPV partner.

Off-base Housing Options

If you prefer, Better Homes and Gardens McKenzie Realty can provide insights into the local off-base housing market, including local insights into neighborhoods, schools, and commute times to nearby military bases.

Our firm aims to “take the stress out of your PCS.” When we help you with your housing search near the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, you get our vast knowledge of the local community, housing market, and your unique needs as a military service member. 

We also understand that moving your family is more than buying a new house close to the “office.” 

Your move may include:

  • Ensuring your partner can find work.
  • Choosing the best schools.
  • Finding a community and home that meets all your other family needs.

That’s why we work with you to create a relocation plan that meets your needs and goals. 

Book a call to begin your Oak Harbor housing search. 

Purchasing a Home & Building Wealth


Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, and the surrounding areas,  are wonderful places to live. Here’s what you need to know about relocating to the island:

Applying for a VA loan

You can apply for a VA loan to help you buy, build or maintain your personal residence. These loans support Veterans, Servicemembers, and eligible surviving spouses. The amount of your benefit can vary depending on your service record or duration, duty status, and character of service.

Banks and private lenders provide VA Loans, but the Veterans Affairs office guarantees a portion of your loan, which usually leads to great benefits, including:

  • No requirement for a downpayment (Some banks may still require it, but VA doesn't need it).
  • Lower interest rates
  • Limited closing costs

Better Homes and Gardens McKenzie Realty can help you find mortgage lenders who provide VA loans. We can also help you understand the process and one that offers the Homes for Heroes program. Ask us for more details. 

Finding the right home

The process of finding the right home for your move to the Oak Harbor area is the same, regardless of your reasons for moving. Here are some considerations:

  • Is the home close (or an easy commute) to the base or your place of employment?
  • Does the home have the features you need?
  • What’s the property’s potential for resale or rental in the future?
  • Is it close enough to the community services, recreation, and amenities you need?

Here are some of our current listings on Whidbey Island. 

Relocation and PCS moves

As you know, Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves are standard in military life. You also have many support services to make these moves easier on you and your family, including: 

  • Checklists to help you plan your move.
  • Support transferring your spouses' professional licenses to find work in your new city.
  • Support to find the community services you need in your new community.
  • Resources to make the move easier for your children.
  • Referrals for companies to ship your personal belongings and vehicles. 

Learn more about PCS moves at Military OneSource

Our team at BHG Makenzie can also help with your move, including selling your current home and finding a new one in Whidbey Island. 

Anticipating Your Questions

  • Investment Potential: Is buying a home a good investment considering potential future relocations?

  • Local Market Trends: What are the current trends in the Washington real estate market?

  • Schools and Community: What are the best neighborhoods for families and schools?

Our Services

What makes us best suited to help with your move to Whidbey Island? 

We support our servicemen and women with:

  • Uniquely tailored assistance: We understand military life. Our dedicated broker, Craig McKenzie, served in the US Navy for eight and a half years, including seven change of stations. He understands firsthand the logistical and emotional struggles of moving with the military. 
  • We have expertise in VA Loans and military benefits: We can help you navigate these supports so you can use them to make your relocation easier. 
  • We’re local (Whidbey Island) real estate experts: We proudly support military families as well as civilian families, couples, individuals, and retirees to find their perfect “for now” or “forever home” in our community. 
  • Homes for Heroes program is the nation’s largest hero savings program. We’re proud to have donated over 2.3 million dollars and served over 740 heroes. We’re the local Homes for Heroes affiliate for Whidbey Island, Camano Island, Anacortes, & La Conner.

From house hunting to closing, we're with you every step of the way. Learn more about our values and team.

Final Tips

Here are a few last tips to make your PCS move to Whidbey Island easier: 

  • Plan Ahead: Start exploring options early, especially if you have a PCS move coming up.
  • Budget Wisely: Consider all expenses, including property taxes, maintenance, and utilities.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with changes in BAH rates and VA loan policies.
  • Choose wise advisors: A great real estate broker with deep knowledge of the local community and PCS moves (such as BHG McKenzie Realty) can help you with all the details of your move. 

The BHG team is an expert in military housing. We're here to guide you through every aspect of finding and purchasing a home for your family. We aim to ensure that you make an informed decision that aligns with your personal and professional life, offering stability and comfort for your military family.

As a real estate brokerage specializing in military housing, we recommend that service members start exploring their housing options early, especially if a PCS move is not yet official. Plan your budget carefully, considering all expenses, and stay informed about changes in BAH rates and VA loan policies to make the most informed decision.


Take advantage of the chance to be part of this incredible community. Contact Better Home and Garden McKenzie Real Estate today - Let us help you find your perfect home in Bayview, Washington.