In last week’s post, Homeaggedon Part 1, we looked a the declining prices of the Mercer Island real estate market over the last three and a half years. It was grim! This week we take a look at what is selling, and for how much.
Interesting takeaways from looking at sales by # of bedrooms:
- 4-bedroom home sales are the most common, but they are subject to the most price reductions and negotiation (sale to list price of 85.5%, meaning sellers got only about 86% of what they originally listed for).
- 6-bedroom homes actually sell for a little less than 5-bedroom homes, on average in this sample.
- Larger condos (3-bedrooms) also don’t do well from a sale-to-list perspective, perhaps because those buyers are looking for deals in either houses or condos and so have more flexibility than others.
Now let’s take a look by price tiers:
What do price tiers tell us?
- For houses, the most and least expensive homes have the lowest sale-to-list prices, meaning the sellers get less of what they originally ask for.
- Not too much to learn from condos. There’s only one high-tier condo sale, so no useful sample there. Other condos sell at about 90% of list.
There’s a lot of stories in this data, and we’ll do at least one more Homeageddon update in the coming weeks, so check back. And leave a comment if you have a perspective on what this data says.
The entire workbook is published and interactive on Tableau Public. You can even get the raw data if you like that kind of thing. As always, data from Redfin.com.
Talk of a housing non-recovery or a real recovery has got me thinking about the Mercer Island market again. So in a series of blogs we’ll look at the numbers to get the story: about 3 and 1/2 years of sales data.
Single family homes
The view above shows trends in single family homes:
- Volume hasn’t changed much, despite the housing implosion.
- But median home price is down from about $1.08 million in December of 2007 to $865k so far in June 2011. Lest you think it’s just smaller homes selling, the price per square foot has dropped substantially too.
Condos & Townhomes
What’s the story in condos & townhomes?
For starters, if you didn’t already know, Mercer Island is primarily a single family home market, with 20-30 home sales in the summer months to 5-10 condo sales, generally. But condo sales have been picking up in the last two years as new downtown condo buildings sell their inventory.
The median home price for a condo has taken a hit as well, from about $405k in Dec 2007 to about $321k so far in June.
Future Real Estate Infoporn
Note that the post title says Part 1: in coming weeks we’ll geek out on this same data, looking at it different ways until we’ve got a good picture of where the market stands. So check back.
All these graphs are interactive and you can find them here. Data courtesy Redfin and visualization courtesy Tableau Public.
There’s another big one up for sale in Mercer Island, this one just off West Mercer Way and going for $28.8 million.
It comes with a pool. And a lake.
According to the Redfin listing, if you bought with Redfin you’d get a refund of $432,000. That’s enough to buy another house.
Ample parking, apparently.
The Puget Sound Business Journal found out who the owners are. And for less than $30 million, the next owners could be you.
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal has a story on how the house got built and came to be on the market.
Interesting perspective on the development of Mercer Island housing styles from the Greater Seattle Homes blog:
The first floating bridge to provide a real path to the eastside was built across Lake Washington in 1940, about where I-90 is today, and development of Mercer Island and Bellevue commenced. From a housing point of view, most of the housing on the Seattle side of Lake Washington is at least 50 years old, built in the styles of those times, usually with nice formal rooms like living room and dining room, tending toward pretty utilitarian kitchens and baths, and often with a basement – usually finished out and incorporated into the living space by now.
Map for showing the housing development waves for the Greater Seattle area
Development on Mercer Island and Bellevue, including Medina and Clyde Hill, and Kirkland proceeded pretty rapidly during the 50’s and 60’s, and the typical housing style was a rambler, or a ‘daylight rambler’ on a hillside, and basements were uncommon in that era.
Housing styles changed rapidly in the 70’s with the popularity of natural wood (usually cedar), exposed beams, and big windows – perhaps influenced by the spectacular house in the great 1959 thriller film North by Northwest with Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason.
The other major housing style to emerge on the eastside in the 70’s was the tri-level, a new design with the entry at mid-level, and living spaces either a half-flight up or a half flight down. Another common design during this period was the tri-level, a very livable and still popular design for sloping lots.
North by Northwest house image credit: Dailyicon.net
Seattle Bubble carries a nice interactive viz showing that while median price is still falling all over Puget Sound, it rose 124% year-over-year on Mercer Island! Now that’s on only six sales so it’s essentially meaningless data, but quite heartening and positive meaningless data nonetheless.
Go to the post to see this and other more statistically meaningful data.
Now if we could only get that Mediterranean Mansion to auction off at $25 million+ in April with no other sales, we’d see another huge jump in median price! Yeah!
A North Island mansion is up for auction by Sheldon Good & Company.
From the auctioneer:
“Encompassing two manicured acres on Lake Washington¹s exclusive Mercer Island, the 22,800 sq. ft. Mediterranean-inspired estate extends over three levels… Additional highlights include a one-of-a-kind 12 foot Chihuly chandelier, a grand master suite with lavish master bath salon, a personal workout gym, expansive wardrobe wing, two wine cellars, and a spectacular 66¹ indoor saltwater pool.”
The mansion previously listed at $40 million. Current minimum bid is $15 million; sealed bids due August 14 if you’re interested. Redifn shows only one home for sale on the Island above $10 million, a $32 million home on Boulevard Place.
A few weeks ago we looked at what’s been selling on Mercer Island in the last two years. Prices are indeed down. But what if you’re selling today?
There were 172 homes listed for sale as of Nov. 29, 2009. That’s in line with recent seasonal trends of as many as 225 homes for sale in the summer and as few as 150 for sale in the winter. Let’s see how those listings shake out.
In the first chart, we can see that Mercer Island homes on the market today are listing for on average 150% of their last sale price. So sellers are getting some appreciation, especially in Mid Island and South Island listings.
But a Long Wait
If you’re putting your home on the market, don’t make plans to move anytime soon. Homes are taking a while to sell: average days on market is 155 days, meaning sales take more than 5 months on average. The second chart shows that some sellers have waited well over a year with their homes still for sale.
Methodology & sources: Listing info is from Redfin and the analysis was done with Tableau Software. Areas are somewhat arbitrarily designated as North Island (north of SE 40th St), Mid Island (north of SE 60th St), and South Island (south of SE 60th St).
It’s time for a look at the health of the Mercer Island real estate market. Windermere said, “September 2009 Awesome for Mercer Island!“
But was it awesome? Homes were indeed selling this summer:
With the exception of two bigger sales, $4 million was about the top of the market– Mercer Island’s biggest and blingiest homes either weren’t selling or were selling for much less than normal.
Comparing 2009 (YTD) to 2008
More interesting is to look at what homes have been selling for. Here I’ve broken it down by month and neighborhood.
Some interesting findings:
- Prices down: Though it’s hard to see in the line chart, prices have declined from 2008 to 2009. On the Island as a whole, the average price per square foot dropped from $440 per square foot to $341.
- Especially in South Island: South Island houses saw the biggest decline, from $485 per quare foot to $323 per square foot.
- Lower offers: As you might expect with these drops, owners were getting less than they listed their houses for. Average sale-to-original-list price dropped from 91% Island-wide to 87%. This means that in 2008, when an owner put a house for sale, the ultimate price would be on average 91% of the list price (excluding any price drops), but in 2009 the ultimate price would be only 87% on average.
- Volume down: 262 homes sold in 2008 and 176 have sold year-to-date in 2009, with about two months to go.
- More condos: Already 41 condos have sold on the Island vs. 27 last year, probably due to the new developments in the business district.
Methodology & sources: I downloaded the last two years of home sale records from Redfin and did a bit of analysis with them with Tableau Software. Areas are somewhat arbitrarily designated as North Island (north of SE 40th St), Mid Island (north of SE 60th St), and South Island (south of SE 60th St). And by the way, I’m not affiliated with any real estate organization, just a homeowner.
In part 2 we’ll look at listings: homes currently for sale on the Island.
The construction on North Island is finally finishing up, opening up some new retail space.
Which begs the question: what should go in there? My top ideas are
- An independent bakery and coffee shop
- A Trader Joe’s, though I suspect Mercer Island is too small for it
- A killer dessert place. Could be a new ice cream place now that Maggie Moo’s is gone, or cupcakes, or just desserts.
- A great Indian place.
What we have so far is a new bank:
Useful but not high on the exciting-meter.
Leave a comment– what stores do you want to see in North Island?
Bonus Link: MIHS Can Write
Mercer Island resident Hannah Wood has just been selected as one of two new Youth Writers-in-Residence at Seattle’s Hugo House. If you’re not familiar with it, Hugo House is a well-respected center supporting writing and the literary arts. It’s a big honor to be named a writer-in-residence. Congratulations Hannah!
Ken Glass tipped me off to this report by ZipRealty that cites Mercer Island one of the coldest real estate marekts in the Seattle area. By that they mean that buyers receive the greatest discount to list price. Well, Mercer Island does have a higher median sale price and high-end homes hurt the most in a downturn so that’s not too surprising. In this downtown, difficulty getting jumbo loans compounds the problem.
Here’s the data, this time from Redfin:
There are over 200 houses on the market here and 234 houses and condos in total, so we’re near our seasonal high. Redfin’s graph shows that was consistent with (slightly higher than) last year’s peak:
Mercer Island might be a “cold” market, but there are still plenty of high-end houses on the market. Some have been on the market over 400 days, but this one came on only about 40 days ago. At 0.6 acres of waterfront with over 7,600 square feet, it’s a bargain if you’ve got a little over $5 million to spend.
(both homes & condos)