In a comment on Your Mercer Island Real Estate Market Fix, Richard asked:
Sometime it would be interesting to look at the data by Mercer Island neighborhood (are some areas in decline?) and by price band. For example, if beachfront property continues to hold its value but the rest of the island is falling in price — that means something very different than the opposite situation, even though the medians are all the same.
As a secretly obsessed data junkie, I immediately took it upon myself to ignore my normal responsibilities of work and home and dig into the answer. Keith, who seems to have a wealth of data about real estate, suggested the Tax Assessor Records. Since Redfin brings tax records into its online application, and I’m more familiar with that application, I went straight to it.
I broke the data down by neighborhood, because a price band analysis might be confounded by the changing prices themselves. I do report averages of square footage and number of beds and baths so you can see how the inventory of sold houses changed in these periods.
The somewhat arbitrarily defined neighborhoods are:
- North Mercer Island: North of SE 40th– 111 sales in the last year
- Mid-Island: SE 40th to SE 58th St- 82 sales in the last year
- South Mercer Island: South of SE 58th St- 112 sales in the last year
I downloaded recent sales in each of these areas over the last year and broke them down by quarter. I excluded condos– North Island was the only neighborhood that had condo sales– and excluded one home in Mid Island where the sale price wasn’t recorded. The average $ per square foot be neighborhood turns out as follows:
- South Mercer Island has slid from $603 per square foot to $342 in the last three months; however, note that there were only 8 sales in the past three months versus 42 at 9-12 months ago. Also, the average home size was a little larger in the past three months, although the average # of bedrooms stayed constant at around 4.
- North Mercer Island has seen a less dramatic slide, from $528 per square foot to $450. However, the average home sold in the last three months was smaller by over 1,000 square feet than homes sold 9-12 months ago- 2,436 vs. 3,524 sq. ft.
- Mid Island saw a small increase in price per square foot over the year, from $414 to $452 per square foot. The average home sold got much larger, however, the opposite of the effect in the North Island.
So Richard, you were right: even though the overall median price for Mercer Island homes has fallen only a bit, there are big differences in price per square foot trends by neighborhood.
You can find full data by neighborhood in the charts at the end of this post.
Mercer Island Waterfront
Then, I took on the waterfront question. Using lot outlines, I found the 17 waterfront properties that sold in the last year. This is a small data set, so take the results with a big, crunchy grain of salt. In particular, only 2 properties sold in the last three months and only 3 sold between three and six months ago, so aggregate data for those periods is more than questionable. In any case, here’s the same chart, now with waterfront properties broken out separately (but not removed from their original neighborhood).
Summary by neighborhood
Here are all the summary stats by neighborhood, plus waterfront:
Caveat: I may have screwed something up in this analysis, though I tried not to. If you see something strange or have an opinion on these results, leave a comment.