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Decade-Low Number of Homes For Sale on Mercer Island

Realtors say area home prices could rise 8 or 9 percent in 2013 if the real estate market, coupled with low interest rates and a diminishing number of homes for sale, follows the historical trend.

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.

Jerry Gropp Architect AIA January 08, 2013 at 05:26 PM
. PatchEditors get up early to bring us the local news we need to keep up with what's going on right here. JerryG-
Kendall Watson January 08, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Thanks Jerry.
JayMarc Homes January 08, 2013 at 05:51 PM
We understand this completely. JayMarc Homes can't build our Mercer Island homes fast enough. We currently have three homes on Mercer Island under construction. One of the homes will soon be featured in a video series called "Building a JayMarc Home." For more info, go to our web site: http://www.JayMarcHomes.com.
Kendall Watson January 08, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Cool, thanks for the information, JayMarc! I believe these homes are in the Madrona Crest neighborhood, just behind Clise Park.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA January 08, 2013 at 09:14 PM
. JayMarc Homes seems to be a big step above many of the "SpecBuilders" that have operated here in past years. Their online advertising is certainly well done. JerryG-
Ken Urman, Real Estate Broker January 08, 2013 at 09:14 PM
JayMarc's timing for those 3 new houses is excellent. Demand is definitely ahead of inventory, it should continue to increase as we get into Spring and better weather. For those that haven't wanted to sell due to loss in value over the last few years, now's the time to re-evaluate. If you are interested in learning more about how these market conditions affect your home value or ability to purchase, please contact me at 206-499-4948 or Ken@ewingandclark.com.
JayMarc Homes January 10, 2013 at 12:41 AM
Thanks Jerry.
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA January 10, 2013 at 01:41 AM
JayMarc- Mercer Island deserves good builders doing well-built, well-designed homes. While I'm retired, I like to encourage those I see doing the right thing. JerryG-
Jerry Gropp Architect AIA February 17, 2013 at 02:41 AM
Good news for those selling, less so for those buying. JG-

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