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Mercer Island real estate listings remain static during summer

There are 148 single family and condominium listings on the market on the Island, seven more than June, but down from 215 listings a year ago.

Split up, there are 121 single family residences and 27 condos. The median price continues to see-saw. In June, it was $875,950; in July, the median sales price dropped to $770,000, compared to $872,500 a year ago. But if you remember last year, July was the tail end of the rush to buy before the expiration of the federal homebuyer tax credit.

Pending sales, those with mutually agreed contracts that have not yet closed numbered 31 in July — exactly the same as last year, with single family homes accounting for 28 of the sales.

In spite of all the grim economic news of the past couple of weeks, John Deely, principal managing broker of Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle, said he doesn’t think home ownership has lost its appeal. Deely worked at the Mercer Island office for 15 years and has been in the industry for 30 years.

“If you go back not that far, people didn’t look at a home as an investment, rather a life issue,” Deely said. “It’s our nature as human beings to pursue happiness in the place we live.”

Deely said the low supply is a positive sign. He said the market offers the most affordable choices seen in years. Acknowledging that interest rates, which are hovering around 4 percent, are attractive, he also noted that lenders are closely scrutinizing everyone who wants to borrow money.

Mercer Island is known for upper-end homes, which Deely said are traditionally a cash market.

“We’re seeing buyers come in for those trophy properties because they’re at a historical low,” he said.

However, Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, said, “Lower sales activity is being reported in the outlying markets and in the high end.”

Deely doesn’t think recent economic news will have a devastating affect on the market because, he said, housing is a fundamental need. Joe Spencer, president and COO of John L. Scott Real Estate, said he expects consumer confidence and sales to continue rising now that the fear over the national debt crisis has subsided.

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