Lifestyle

2010 real estate numbers: Mercer Island fundamentals hold

Entertaining is not a problem in this spacious, open kitchen/family room that opens to the deck. There is an additional prep area and sink not shown in the photo. - Contributed Photo
Entertaining is not a problem in this spacious, open kitchen/family room that opens to the deck. There is an additional prep area and sink not shown in the photo.
— image credit: Contributed Photo

It was no surprise. Island home prices fell in 2010 as compared to 2009. The median price for a single family home was $834,500 in 2010, compared to $897,500 in 2009. Yet, familiar trends hold. Island homes sell well above most in the region. The median price for homes sold in all of King County last year was just $375,000. according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) that tracks sales statistics.

And the market here remained busy with slightly more homes selling here than last; 218 homes closed in 2010 as compared to 189 in 2009.

Within all school districts represented across the Western Washington region, homes in the Mercer Island School District had the highest median selling price, followed by Bellevue schools selling at $570,000.

The Island saw 85 million-dollar-plus sales for the year.

In terms of total shares, East King County had the most high-end sales. In single family sales, 501 homes sold for over $1 million, more than any other area.

Condominiums that sold over $500,000 were more abundant in Seattle. High-end condo sales in Seattle numbered 250 in 2010, nearly double that on the Eastside for the year.

Mercer Island’s largest single sale is not included in NWMLS data because it was sold at auction. The 23,000-square-foot waterfront mansion sold at 70 percent below what the owner first listed the home at six years ago. The home sold for $12 million to the owner of the Video Only stores, James Peter Edwards.

The home has 150 feet of lakefront and a dock large enough to accommodate a 140-foot yacht. The 66-foot indoor swimming pool is surrounded by Egyptian columns and decor.

Yet, it is a brand new year now, with homes on the Island just waiting to be sold. Some homes still languish. On the market since September of 2010 is one such home on West Mercer Way.

Listed at $845,000, the price reflects $230 per square foot — well below the average price per square foot for home sales on the Island, which was $284 in December. But it’s unconventional look from the street likely holds buyers back.

“People just need to get inside,” said listing broker Diane Rae Jones of Windermere Real Estate.

At the home along West Mercer Way, a visitor first encounters a peaceful Zen garden, which surrounds the house. The garden is visible from nearly every window in the home, which has a wall of 15-foot-tall west-facing windows. A very large kitchen/family room combo opens out onto a west-facing deck that spans the entire length of the house which has filtered views of Lake Washington.

The home was designed by an architect for himself. There is also small apartment downstairs that opens to the outdoors.

The NWMLS covers a geographical area stretching north to San Juan County, east to Ferry County, south to Clark County and west to the Washington coast.

Across that area, the number of homes sold in 2010 remained flat. There were 52,000 closed sales with a volume of $17.6 billion. Despite the increase in volume, the median price for all sales across the 21 counties in the region fell.

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