November 2018 Real Estate Market Update

December 10, 2018 | by Erin Sirianni

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Following a notable shift in the local market, the recent month of market activity showed a bit more excitement and enthusiasm from buyers.  

The number of sales increased again compared to the previous month, and over a quarter of listings sold at or above listing price, indicating that certain properties are still attracting multiple offers. This was the case with our recent listing (pictured above), which was under contract in two days. 

Because of this recent experience and the real estate roller coaster ride of the past year, we were interested to read The Seattle Times article, “Big switch in Seattle homebuying: from most to fewest bidding wars in the country.” According to the article, there was a bidding war on 81.4% of homes in Seattle in February 2018; in November, only 21.5% of home sales involved a bidding war. 

The article is insightful about the reasons for the significant change, citing increases in inventory, higher interest rates, a reduction in international investment interest, and the “barrier of affordability.”  

These reasons are influencing our somewhat conservative expectations for local real estate market activity in the months ahead – we anticipate that December and January to be quiet months. Though we also appreciate that every property has its own story, and Mercer Island is a unique hyperlocal market of its own. So we’re eager to find out what the New Year will bring.  

An Overview of Mercer Island’s Single-Family Residential Market

In November, there were 19 new listings, down from 27 new listings in October – a decrease we expected as fewer homeowners list their homes as the holidays approach. By the same token, homeowners/sellers generally were more motivated than they were last year, as there were only 12 new listings in November 2017.

There were 20 home sales last month, slightly up from 18 sales in October 2018, though down from the 24 sales in November 2017. Despite the year-over-year difference, we are encouraged by the numbers, especially considering that there were only 13 home sales in September of this year when the market took a dramatic pause.

Mercer Island Price Trends

As shown in the table below, the median home sale price was similar to last month, and somewhat decreased compared to the same month last year. The average sale price was even higher than last month – which was notably high – and also increased year-over-year, in part due to the sale of two waterfront home sales – over $6 million each.

A quick note about our new “Trends at a Glance” table in regard to median and average sale price:  The Mercer Island monthly sales data set is small, and we provide the median and average sale prices from one month ago and one year ago as an interesting comparison. However, waterfront or luxury sales can skew the average and median monthly sale prices to the high side. To get a more accurate sense of appreciation on Mercer Island, we suggest that you look at quarterly and annual Mercer Island market reports.

A Snapshot of Current Inventory

Mercer Island had 68 active listings as of December 10th, 2018. Inventory has continued to decrease month-after-month since it peaked in August 2018, when we counted 87 active listings in our market snapshot. However, we’ve seen the biggest decreases in the number of properties priced above $2 million, while the total inventory of homes priced below $2 million has remained similar month-over-month.  Until mid-summer, homes priced below $2 million sold very quickly, but now buyers are enjoying more options and a bit more time to make their purchasing decisions, depending on the property.   

Mercer Island new listings, pending sales, homes for sale, and homes sold for the past 15 months (single-family homes – does not include condos)*

*Trendgraphix data may vary from other data provided in this monthly market update. For example, while a listing may appear to be a “new listing” to Trendgraphix, it may have been canceled and re-entered into the MLS as a strategy to repopulate IDX feeds. Additionally, town homes are occasionally listed as both a single-family home and as a condominium home. We filter for these types of “new” listings and duplicate listings.

Mercer Island absorption rate based on homes sold for the past 15 months (single-family homes)*

The absorption rate indicates how quickly homes are selling. It is calculated by taking the number of properties sold divided by the number of properties for sale (as a percentage). In a buyer’s market, the absorption rate is 16.67% or lower. In a balanced market, the absorption rate range is from 16.67% to 33.33%, and in a seller’s market, the absorption rate is 33.33% and above.

November 2018 Real Estate Market Stats

Single-Family Residential Market (All)

  • 19 new listings
  • 20 sold homes
  • Median sale price:  $1,642,500
  • Average sale price: $2,211,592
  • Lowest sale price:  $735,000
  • Highest sale price:  $6,750,000

Non-Waterfront Homes

  • 18 new listings
  • 17 sold homes

Waterfront Homes

  • 1 new listing (Westside)
  • 3 sold homes (North End; Westside; Eastside)

Mercer Island Condo Market

  • 5 new listings
  • 3 sold homes
  • Lowest sale price:  $370,000
  • Highest sale price:  $605,000

Mercer Island “Nosy Neighbor Report” – November 2018

Here’s our monthly “nosy neighbor” report with data for all single-family home sales on Mercer Island (not including unlisted sales). If you’re curious about a recent sale in your neighborhood, you can learn the details with a quick glance at the report below or by clicking on the map for sale details.

Click here for full-size PDF.

Map not appearing correctly? Click here.

Current Mercer Island Listings

By Home Type / Location

By Price

If you are in need of real estate services, we would love to help. Get in touch today. Check out all of our recent sales here, visit our Listings Portfolio here, and read our testimonials here.

Charlie Sirianni / JD, CRS, ABR
Managing Broker | Premier Associate
Windermere Real Estate Mercer Island
Call: 206-992-6151
Email: [email protected]
Erin Sirianni / CRS, ABR
Residential Broker | Premier Associate
Windermere Real Estate Mercer Island
Call: 206-992-5272
Email: [email protected]


Feature photo: Our recent listing on Mercer Island; this beautifully updated home overlooks Luther Burbank Park.