A busy autumn of home selling on Mercer Island finally gave way to a pattern of a seasonal slowing during November while the number of homes continues to plunge, according to the sales numbers released by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) said in a press release issued last week.
Local Realtors say just 24 homes and condos were sold on Mercer Island in November with a median price of $682,000 — a steep drop from 38 sold last month and 30 during the same period last year. During October, 35 single-family homes sales was the highest all year, but November was nearly half that with just 21 sold, with a median home price of $722,000 — a 14.9 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 November.
The modest dip in median prices, however, isn't telling the full story of what's happening on Mercer Island, said Julie Barrows, owner of Windermere Real Estate - Mercer Island.
"It is important to remember that in a market as small as Mercer Island, average and median price are enormously effected by a few high or low sales," she said, pointing out that the average home sales price in November 2012 was above $1.4 million as a result of a home sale closing for over $13 million dollars.
Local real estate agents told Nugent at a recent gathering that they believed "desirable properties" — real estate priced between $700,000 and $900,000, or in neighborhoods that had quiet streets, local parks or were built in a development with a definite boundary — had increased more than 10 percent and were drawing multiple offers. Asked for examples, Barrows suggested homes in Parkwood, The Lakes, Mercer Island Estates and Mercerwood fit either one or both of those definitions.
"We're seeing a lot of multiple offers at those price points," Barrows said.
Inventories on Mercer Island do remain low — so low that Barrows said she had to look back to 2006 to find a similar drop, before the Great Recession. There were just 90 single family homes and condos on the market in November, with a mere four condominiums were for sale. But bidders are still entering the market, despite the small number of homes available for sale. There were 28 pending offers made, compared to 23 made in the year before.
Members of the NWLS reported 6,522 pending sales last month -- the highest total for November in six years.
Closed sales and selling prices both rose during November versus a year ago, while the selection continued to shrink, the report said. On the Eastside, active inventory for residential housing was down 47 percent from November 2011, with 634 new listings compared with 677 new listings in the previous year's month, and a total of 1,570 active listings.
Closed sales were up in more affordable suburban areas, such as Eastgate and Issaquah, where sales were up nearly 40 percent with a median sales price of $465,000.
The most expensive home sold on Mercer Island was a one-acre waterfront home on the west side of the Island at 4137 Boulevard Place. The 7-bed, 8-bath 13,560 square-foot lakefront mansion $13,250,000 million on Nov. 21, and has an a three-level limestone terrace, a home theatre, two elevators, a living room with 25-foot ceilings and a resort-style pool with nine water fountains — including an outdoor hidden TV lift to fit a 152" plasma screen.
The least expensive home sold last month was a one-bedroom, one-bathroom condominium at Ridgewood Condominums, which went for $175,000 on Nov.1 . The second-floor condo, located near the Town Center area above Island Crest Way at 3200 81st Place, is 656 square-feet in size.
As of Dec. 10, there were 76 residential properties on Mercer Island were listed for sale, according to Redfin.com.
Only five properties for sale are condominiums, ranging in price from $149,950 to $534,950. Single-family homes range in price from $475,000 to $7.8 million.
(Ed. Note: The headline in this story was edited for clarity and additional information was added for the benefit of our readership.)