Mercer Island Real Estate Update, Recession 2009 Edition

Well, the worst housing market of 30 or so years has turned into the worst job market since the early 80’s and an overall miserable economic climate. How has our local market held up over the last twelve months?

Mercer Island Home Prices Over 12 Months


Charts include single family homes only, not condos. Thanks to Tableau Desktop’s drag-and drop data visualization, with data from Redfin.

The average price per square foot of North and South Island homes actually went up, and Mid Island went down. There’s too much variability to take away anything concrete from this, except that prices haven’t fallen off a cliff.

South Island Still More Expensive– No Surprise There

Now let’s look at the last 12 months of sales in aggregate.


The average price of homes in South Island is about $1.6 million, and almost $500 per square foot. Note that in South Island there’s a lot of expensive waterfront driving up prices. Homes on North Island tend to be smaller than homes on the rest of the Island, and a little cheaper.

The number of records tells a story, though. When we did this analysis last March, there had been 305 home sales in the last year. But in the last twelve months, only 237 homes were sold. Listings that were getting low or no offers may have been pulled from the market.

Price Per Square Foot Around the Island

Just for fun, let’s map the last 12 months of home sales. No surprise- a lot of waterfront is strong orange or neutral, meaning it’s sale price per square foot was relatively high.



For this map, I excluded 6815 West Mercer Way because it skewed the results, at more than $4,000 per square foot. I don’t know why that one was so expensive- any thoughts?

On The Market For 4 Months

Now to listings: homes are sitting on market for an average of 131 days- about four months.  Redfin’s market stats show that 176 homes are for sale in Mercer Island, a slight increase from 145 last September when we last checked. The number of homes on market is seasonal– over 200 were for sale last summer, and we can expect this to go up again this summer.

In Sum

Home sale prices have stayed remarkably stong, but there may be a lot of failed listings we don’t see in the sale numbers. And it’s not a great time to be a seller: homes are on sale for 4 months, and I’ve seen many that have been on the market for much longer. And in a sad turn of events, there are now two foreclosures on Mercer Island, where before there were none. So don’t sell unless you have to, and be realistic about price and time on market if you do.


2 responses to “Mercer Island Real Estate Update, Recession 2009 Edition

  1. 6815 West Mercer (waterfront, almost an acre)was purchased with an adjacent lot by the owner of 6855, who himself build a 12k sq ft house in 2002. Total assessed value of 6815 and lot is $4.9mm, so value seems fair. Just another tycoon expanding his compound. (smile)

  2. mercerislandblogger

    Thanks for the background, Keith. So it was bought for land- the existing house may have been very small, which is what would have thrown off the price per square foot figures.

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