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February sales up, prices still lower

The Carleton on 76th Avenue S.E. had several condos on the market this past year. - Rebecca Mar/Staff Photo
The Carleton on 76th Avenue S.E. had several condos on the market this past year.
— image credit: Rebecca Mar/Staff Photo

Prices are still lower here for homes and condominiums, but the good news is that activity is holding steady. Prices on single family Island homes fell by more than 40 percent last month from February 2010, but more homes sold or are about to be sold at the end of February 2011, according to the latest statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Overall, with single family and condominiums combined, the Island saw 44 new residential listings come on the market last month, compared to 50 a year ago. There are a total of 139 residential listings on the Island at the present time. Last year there were 173.

There were just three condominiums that closed last month, compared to only one a year ago; the median price for the condos sold this past month was $479,500.

Yet there were 33 residences that were counted as pending sales at the end of last month, almost double the number of mutually agreed contracts reported in February 2010.

But the number of homes that are bank-owned or in foreclosure is higher than before.

While any foreclosures or distressed properties are too many, the impact is minimal in some areas. In West Bellevue there are only seven bank-owned single family homes on the market. Here on the Island, principal managing broker of Coldwell Banker Bain,  EJ Bowlds, said that there are 39 homes in some state of foreclosure. Thirteen of those are bank-owned and have yet to be listed, and six are going to auction between now and the middle of May. In most cases, the seller owes more on the house than what it is worth.

“Another 20 maybe have gone to auction, but the county records haven’t caught up with them yet,” Bowlds said.

Bowlds said an internal company report stated that up to eight percent of Mercer Island homes on the market are distressed. Only one bank-owned property on Mercer Island is listed now.

The “2010 Year in Review” report from Windermere Real Estate states that “bank-owned homes made up only 10 percent of all homes closed (23 of 220) on the Island for the year. Short sales and bank-owned properties did account for 40 percent of all condos sold on the Island in 2010 (16 out of 40 units, or 40 percent), the highest level in the region.

The Windermere review breaks down sales activity and pricing on the Island by neighborhood.

The greatest number of sales occurred in the Island’s northwest corner with 40 single family homes sold in the North end neighborhood, or nearly one-fifth of the Island sales for the year. The East Seattle neighborhood had 27 sales, and the First Hill neighborhood had 20.

The Windermere report also compared the average listed price with the average final sale prices by area. In all but two neighborhoods, homes sold within five to 10 percent of the initial asking price.

Overall, the market average closed sale price for 2010 was $1,135,100, 94 percent of average list prices.

Neighborhoods where the asking price was closest to the sales price included Mercerwood, South end homes and East Seattle.

• The North end’s average list price was $1,526,788 with an average sales price of $1,375,935.

• East Seattle average list price was $1,080,425 with an average sales price of $1,014,994.

• The west side had an average list price of $2,072,028 with an average sales price of $1,882,285.

• Homes in the mid-Island area had an average list price of $922,939 with an average sales price of $851,250.

• Homes on the east side had an average list price of $1,415,875 with an average sales price of $1,244,633.

• South end homes had an average list price of $1,135,928 with an average sales price of $1,069,648.

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