2011 Island real estate market looks a lot like 2008

The 2011 Mercer Island real estate market, appears to have made up some lost ground price-wise since 2007 and 2008. - File photo
The 2011 Mercer Island real estate market, appears to have made up some lost ground price-wise since 2007 and 2008.
— image credit: File photo

It is something we look forward to every year.

The reports prepared by local real estate offices give us a detailed look at Island real estate market each year. These detailed reports are just about Island homes grouped by neighborhoods, condo buildings and even waterfront. They give us a chance to check on how our neighbors’ homes have sold and for how much. The offer details about just how long they lingered on the market, and how close the actual sales price was to the asking price. They help us figure out how much our own home might be worth and how its value has weathered the downturn in the economy.

According to the excellent and easy-to-read summary by the Mercer Island Windermere office, sales of Island homes in 2011 clearly reflect a rebound to pre-recession values.

The number of Island homes sold in 2011 was up by nearly 20 percent in 2010.

According to the report, 261 Island homes sold in 2011, the highest level since 2007, when 301 Island single family homes sold. The same can be said of Island condos, with 42 selling last year while 43 sold in 2007, again the year with the highest level of sales. The dollar per square foot of $339 for single family homes sold last year was still lower than the peak year of 2007, when homes sold at an average of $425 per square foot.

The number of days that homes were on the market was still well over the market time in 2007, when single family homes sold in just two months’ time. Single family stayed on the market for an average of 103 days last year.

Was it because homes were over-priced last year? A bit, but not compared to 2009, when homes sold for just 72 percent of their initial asking price. Last year, homes sold at an average of 10 percent below the initial price. In 2007, homes sold at prices at an average of just 6 percent below the first price.

Nine pieces of vacant land sold in 2011, while 10 sold in 2007, again the highest year in five.

And where did most of the home sales take place? In 2011, of the 261 single family homes that changed hands, most were at the northwest, south and southeast areas of the Island. The neighborhood with the most sales was the North end, with 49 sales and an average sale price of $1.5 million. Homes in this neighborhood stayed on the market for an average of 100 days. The 40 homes that sold in the South end were on the market just 76 days and sold for an average of just over $1 million. These statistics are, however, somewhat less than robust because 38 single family homes of 15 percent of homes that sold last year were not assigned a neighborhood.

Slicing the number of single family homes with waterfront last year shows similar trends. Twenty-five waterfront properties sold for an average of $2.7 million and remained on the market for 116 days. The waterfront home with the highest sale price was a 6,100-square-foot home built in 1942, with 150 feet of waterfront on 2.42 acres. It had an asking price just a hair below $7 million. It sold in 18 days at just four percent less than the list price.

The Windermere brochure states that single family homes and condominiums for the coming year will still be affected by the level of ‘distressed’ properties, which bring sales prices down.

A total of 42 condominiums sold on the Island in 2011. They lingered on the market for an average of five months and sold at an average of 91 percent of the asking price. Eleven condos in the 7800 Plaza building, completed in 2009, represented the highest number of condos sold. They were on the market for an average of 244 days. The mean sales price for those were $549,500 — the highest for all Island condominium buildings.


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