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.

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:  $605,00