Island 2006 real estate wrap up

Reporter Staff

Again the message is without variation: location, location, location. Western Washington real estate, Mercer Island real estate in particular, continues to be golden.

For Puget Sound real estate and Island homes, the news for the real estate market for 2006 is more of the same.With a relatively flat or even declining number of homes and condos available for sale at any given time, higher prices have followed.

According to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), the average closed sale price for all residential homes and condos sold in 2006 was $1,130,000, up nearly 12 percent over the average price in 2005. The median price for 2006 was $887,000, up by 11 percent over 2005. In 2006, about 150 homes sold above the $1 million mark.

Island homes sold for $296 per square foot in 2000. Last year the sales price averaged $375 per square foot.

The number of homes and condos that sold on the Island during the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2006, fell more than 10 percent, In 2006, 378 homes sold, about 50 fewer than 2005. More than 425 sold in 2005.

The number of single-family homes and condos on the market at the end of 2005 was 82 units, essentially the same number at the end of 2006, with 85. The total number offered for sale each year was 578 and 509 respectively. The median asking price remained even from 2005 to 2006 at about $ 2.9 million.

The region has the distinction of being one of the few areas in the United States where the housing market remains robust. A good regional job market, a better-than-average commute and an award-winning school district continue to draw buyers and push up prices.

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