Latest news and trends in Mercer Island's Waterfront and Ultra-Luxury Real Estate Market

January 31, 2016 | by Erin Sirianni

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Business Insider magazine recently described Mercer Island as “a ritzy enclave of Seattle.” Ritzy might not be the word we would choose, but Mercer Island certainly has its fair share of ultra-luxury homes.

Photo courtesy Larry Williams, Windermere Mercer Island

Photo courtesy Larry Williams, Windermere Mercer Island. This eastside waterfront home sold earlier this month for $4.1 million

Mercer Island has gotten recent press on its ultra-luxury real estate market ($3 million or more). The The Seattle Times and the Puget Sound Business Journal both weighed in on 2015 Seattle-area sales, buyer profiles, and hottest hyperlocal markets (you guessed it … Mercer Island).

Paul Allen & Mercer Island real estate

The Business Insider article is an interesting read on one particular buyer – Mercer Island resident and the world’s 26th wealthiest man, Paul Allen. Allen bought his 13th estate on Mercer Island for $5.4 million in December 2015, according to tax records. The properties are located along Mercer Island’s westside waterfront and amount to over 11 acres.

The article reports that he owns “a total of 11 mansions on the island,” but that may be misleading. While five of the estates are waterfront, his non-waterfront property purchases were likely to have been more traditional Mercer Island residences.

Latest trends and records in local real estate

In an article published last week, The Seattle Times noted the $13.8 million sale of a Mercer Island waterfront estate that marked the highest Seattle-area sale in 2015. The buyer, reported to be Chinese, paid in cash.

Both the sale of this home and Allen’s purchase are in line with the trends recently seen in the ultra-luxury market.  Most buyers are tech business owners or foreign nationals. Most are paying in cash (about two-thirds).

The article includes an infographic showing that Mercer Island dominated the greater Seattle-area with 21 sales over $3 million in 2015. In a similar article on the $5 million-plus local market, the Puget Sound Business Journal pointed out that Mercer Island and Bellevue are “leading the way with seven luxury sales each” of 34 area-wide homes sold above the $5 million threshold in 2015.

Mercer Island continues to hold the all-time record for Seattle-area home sales with a Mercer Island mansion that sold for $21.625 million in 2012.

What’s for sale right now?

Mercer Island currently has 11 homes for sale over $3 million.  The most expensive home is a $26.8 million mansion on Mercer Island’s eastside waterfront. It’s a spectacular home – nearly 15,000 square feet on 1.88 acres with 280 feet of waterfront. You can learn the details in this Seattle Refined article.

Faben-Point (1)

Mercer Island’s Faben Point Estate, listed at $12 million. Photo courtesy Team Foster, Windermere Real Estate

The second most expensive house is Vera Fiorito’s Faben Point estate for sale at $12 million. Two homes in this price range are listed just below $11 million, one just below $9 million, one at $6.3 million, and the remaining five range from about $3 to $4.3 million.  All but two of the 11 are private waterfront homes.