The latest Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) statistics for December show record-low numbers of homes for sale on Mercer Island and realtors say, coupled with rock-bottom interest rates, the market is ready for rising home prices in 2013.
Just 62 homes were offered for sale in all of December: 54 single-family homes and eight condominiums, according to the NWMLS, 33 percent lower than during the same period last year. According to NWMLS statistics from 2001 to 2012, the closest monthly number Mercer Island Patch could find to compare to that number was 82 homes for sale in December 2005. Realtors say more than half of sellers reached agreements with buyers — 37 pending offers were recorded — and 25 homes and condos sold with a median price of $850,000. Eighteen single-family homes were sold at a median price of $893,500 — a 10.2 percent drop compared with last year. Mercer Island was also one of a handful of markets in King County to see a year-over-year drop in median single-family home sales prices in December.
Coldwell Banker Bain Mercer Island Managing Broker E. J. Bowlds said the inventory of local homes for sale in 2012 was the lowest his office had seen in over a decade.
“People usually take their homes off the market at the end of the year, but inventory all last year lagged behind other years.” he said. “It’s a classic supply and demand squeeze. There will be upward demand on prices.”
He suggested that area home prices could rise 8 or 9 percent this year if the real estate market follows the historical trend of a cycle of appreciation after a decline.
“Anecdotally, we are seeing more listings coming on (to the Mercer Island market),” he said. “We always have a healthy springtime housing market her on Mercer Island starting in mid to late January. We are looking for more listings, but how many more will come to market? That’s the $64,000 question.”
Mercer Island is following a similar pattern of declining inventory as the rest of King County. At the end of December, there were only 17,718 properties for sale, which compares to 26,639 active listings for the same time a year ago (down 33.5 percent). Months of supply declined to 3.3 months, down from about 5 months of supply for the same period a year ago.
The most expensive home sold on Mercer Island was a half-acre Faben Point waterfront mansion, which sold for $6.6 million on Dec. 14. The 5 bed, 7 bathroom home was 7,730 square feet in size.
The least expensive home sold last month was a one-bedroom, one-bathroom condominium at Ridgewood Condominums, which went for $160,000 on Dec. 28. The ground-floor condo, located near the Town Center area above Island Crest Way at 3200 81st Place, is 645 square-feet in size.
As of Jan. 7, there were 59 residential properties on Mercer Island were listed for sale, according to Redfin.com.
Only seven properties for sale are condominiums, ranging in price from $119,900 to $718,000. Single-family homes range in price from $475,000 to $7.8 million.