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
It’s been a while since we did a market update. So how is Mercer Island holding up amidst foreclosed homes, financial uncertainty, and general malaise?
Across all home types, sale to the original list price is in the 88-90% range, meaning sellers are taking a lot less than they wanted. That’s not surprising: selling in the last two years really needed to sell or wouldn’t have.
Also not surprising is the most common home sales is a 4-bedroom house.
A little surprising: 5-bedroom houses were more expensive that 6-bedroom houses. Let’s look at all the sales by location and price:
Notice the two very large sales: one was the Mediterranean Mansion and another is an undisclosed address whose neighborhood is listed as East Seattle.
But the big question is how price are trending over time:
- Smaller homes are trending up
- Mid-sized homes are in the middle
- Larger homes are going down
It’s like the three bears out there. Smaller homes are just right for many buyers, given tight credit and an uncertain labor market. Big homes are suffering from lack of financing and the aforementioned general malaise.
On Mercer Island, it’s still a buyers market. Home owners thinking of selling might want to act like the bears in hibernate through the real estate winter.
Data from Redfin.com.
Nice slideshow of a “Mercer Island Mid-Century Modern” in the WSJ Home of the Day.
Now THAT’s landscaping! (Perhaps with a photoshop touchup).
That mansion that was up for auction finally went for $12 million. Not a big surprise, as the min bid was reduced to that amount just weeks ago.
The brochure is now offline, so I’ve posted it here: auction brochure.
More interesting than the sale itself is the coverage it generated.
- The Seattle Times led with the $28 million markdown from the original price (that is a staggering amount) and had background on the sellers.
- Seattle Bubble did a nice analysis using this sale to set a ceiling on Seattle-area real estate prices.
- BizJournal reached the seller, Chuck Lytle, and got some commentary. They also noted that the place has a stocked trout pool, which is an feature I had never really considered an amenity before.
- Sound Politics fell into a rant on liberals and rich people that I found hard to understand, though apparently someone did: the first comment is “Another brilliant post.”
Best quote on the place, from the Seattle Times article: “It’s like the [Las Vegas] Bellagio without the slot machines.”
Our post on the new planning director generated strong opinions. From Bill:
Decades of (perhaps well-intentioned) planning, codification, blah, blah, blah… has resulted in concrete canyons with walls of completely uninspired architecture. A glance down any of these canyons on any day, at any time, reveals a line of vehicles, like a mechanized stream following the ravine, and only rarely an actual pedestrian. It’s basically a ghost town. If the citizens of Mercer Island want something more remarkable, it will take the energetic visions of many, and changes in the behavior of the vast majority.
“Like a mechanized stream following the ravine…”
And from Ben, some ideas:
I’m interested in working to build character on the island, I hope I’m not alone. I think there are some simple things that could be done — like adding back some of the original street names. And, some more complicated things — like turning the Luther Burbank waterfront powerhouse into some kind of cafe/coffee shop.
Ben, you are not alone. Many residents feel that downtown could be much more vibrant than it is.
Also this weekend, the condos at 7800 are having a Grand Opening. Interesting that they advertise the walkscore of downtown:
7800, welcome to the neighborhood and we hope you rent your retail space to businesses that we want to walk to, not real estate companies and banks.
Sheldon Good & Co alerted me last week that the Mediterranean Mansion that is up for auction now has a minimum bid of $12 million, down from $15 million.
From the brochure. My living room looks just like that!
They either have a bidder who wants to bid less than $15 million and are trying to draw our more, or they have yet to find a bidder. In any case, the mansion once listed for $40 million so if you’re interested, you can now get it at around 30% of that.
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!