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Condos missing in real estate market

By MARY L. GRADY
Mercer Island Reporter Editor
December 11, 2012 · 11:25 AM
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Built in 1962, this five-bedroom, three-bath, 2,850-square-foot home on the South end at 7215 91st Ave. S.E. is offered at $560,000. It is a short sale. The lot size is 10,600 square feet. The website describes it as a “California-style rambler with a private courtyard with open swimming pool in the middle.” The ad also indicates the home “needs TLC.” It was first listed in September at a price of $699,000. The price has been adjusted downward three times since then. / John L. Scott/Contributed Photo

Condos — or the lack thereof — is the story for November real estate on Mercer Island.

Of the 114 homes and condos available for sale in November, just four were condos, down from 19 condos a year ago. Just two condos were added to the Island inventory in November.

Across Western Washington, the numbers of closed sales and selling prices both rose during November versus a year ago, while the selection continued to shrink.

As a rule, fewer homes or condos are offered for sale as the holidays near. According to the latest market review by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, last month’s falloff was less than what some industry veterans anticipated. But perhaps everything has already sold. The number of final sales for November was a record. For the 21 counties within the NWMLS, there were reported 6,522 pending sales last month — the highest total for November in six years.

The number of Island homes and condos listed for sale on the Island fell by more than 20 percent in November, down from 114 for sale a year ago, to 90. Just 20 new homes or condos were added in November. The number of closed sales for the month was 12 down from 30 a year ago. The number of pending sales was up by five, over a year ago, to 28. The median sale price for the month was $662,000 — about even with last year, with the median price up just about 3 percent.

“There continues to be extremely low inventory levels and high buyer demand, which is causing multiple offers in many local areas,” reported OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. He also noted a “definite uptick” in the number of cash buyers, “many of which are investors.”

Commenting on the expected dip in activity, Jacobi said it “was less than we usually experience during this time of year.” Based on the current combination of sparse inventory and high buyer demand, Jacobi said those who are considering selling are encouraged to “list their homes sooner rather than later” in order to take advantage of unique market conditions.

The number of new listings added to the inventory of homes for sale in NWMLS counties fell by 12 percent. Inventory, which typically shrinks during the holidays, fell by more than 30 percent from 12 months ago. The NWMLS condo inventory is at half the prior year’s levels.

In King County, single family homes that closed during November commanded the highest median price at $385,000 (up 19.7 percent), edging out San Juan County’s median selling price of $375,000.

 

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