Living & Community May 6, 2021

Community Drive Benefiting Eastside Baby Corner

For the past 30 years, Eastside Baby Corner has been there to help kids access the essentials they need to grow, play, learn and thrive. As part of our annual Community Service Day, our agents and owners are pitching in to support EBC with funds and the items they need most right now. You can help too! Support local children from birth through 12 years old (and expectant mothers) with a donation of diapers, diaper wipes, shampoo, conditioner, detangler, body wash, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, or funds to purchase those items.

 

IN PERSON DROP-OFF

Drop off new items at our office: 2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island 98040  Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm

Plus, Saturday, May 22nd from 9 am-2pm during our annual paper shredding event (because why not get your old docs shredded for free while you’re doing something great for the community?!)

 

DONATE ONLINE

Contribute funds to allow Eastside Baby Corner staff to purchase the items most needed: Donate funds directly to Eastside Baby Corner

 

SHOP ONLINE

Choose items from EBC’s Wish List of needed items (ships directly to EBC)

 

PRINTABLE FLYER

View the PDF flyer with all the details

 

Windermere Community Service Day

 


Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research | Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

 

Market Reports April 12, 2021

How’s the Market? Q1 Real Estate Review…

An extreme sellers’ market, driven by too few homes for sale and incredibly low mortgage interest rates, led to the most aggressive multiple offer bidding wars we have experienced in our region. There are simply dozens of buyers for nearly every home that comes to market. To be competitive, most buyers did their home research prior to writing an offer, waived typical protective contingencies—including financing, appraisal, title, and inspection—and drained their savings and investment accounts to pay cash or fund discrepancies between the purchase price and appraised value.

 

The ability to secure a suitable home in a neighborhood of choice is a luxury not afforded to many buyers, regardless of assets. Indeed, the lack of inventory for sale and competitiveness of the market has kept many current homeowners from moving to a home that would better suit their needs or commute.

 

Home affordability, or unaffordability, is at crisis levels. Most homes are completely unaffordable to first-time buyers and moderate wage earners who are finding it increasingly difficult to work and live within King County. Snohomish and Pierce Counties are not far behind. While cities and counties are coming to the table to address this issue, the potential solutions will take years to implement and see relief.

 

Time will tell if For Sale inventory levels will increase as we move further into our peak spring season market.

 

Click or scroll down to find your area report:

Seattle  |  Eastside  |  Mercer Island  |  Condos  |  Waterfront

 


SEATTLE

Seattle’s Median Sale Price increased by 7% to $800,000 (up from $750,000 a year ago in Q1 2020). Shoreline (+11%), Lake Forest Park-Kenmore (+11%), and South Seattle (+9%) outperformed the average while West Seattle (-2%) and Queen Anne-Magnolia (+4%) lagged.

 

There was a 39% increase in the number of Seattle homes sold in Q1 (2,271) compared to Q1 2020 (1,632)—much of which can be attributed to emerging COVID concerns in 2020 coupled with increased mobility in 2021. Queen Anne-Magnolia (+91%), West Seattle (+51%), and North Seattle (+47%) had the largest increases in number of homes sold, although all neighborhoods except Lake Forest Park-Kenmore saw double-digit increases in total sales.

 

75% of all Seattle homes, and 19% of those priced above $1 million, sold at or above their listed price. The most competitive Seattle markets were Kenmore-Lake Forest Park and North Seattle, with sales in the first 10 days averaging 111% and 110% of their listed price, compared to the 107% average for all Seattle neighborhoods combined.

 

Seattle Recap

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

Seattle Report

 

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EASTSIDE

The Eastside’s Median Sale Price was $1,300,000 in Q1, up 31% over Q1 2020 ($989,950). Movement of companies and households to the Eastside and the extreme lack of a supply of homes for sale were the biggest contributors to this increase. South of I-90 (+39%) saw the largest gains, while the higher-priced markets of Kirkland (+16%), Mercer Island (+17%), and West Bellevue (+22%) had the smallest year-over-year increases—although being well into the double-digits, they could hardly be considered small.

 

85% of all Eastside homes, and 59% of homes priced above one million dollars, sold for at or above their list price. With 71% fewer homes for sale than in Q1 2020, the entire Eastside market remained ultra-competitive. East Bellevue sales topped the charts with an average sale price of 112% above list price for sales occurring in the first 10 days on the market.

 

The Eastside market saw Months of Inventory (the number of months it would take to sell all homes currently for sale) remain at historical lows of between .3 and .6 months. Despite the limited supply of homes for sale, there was a 25% increase in the number of Eastside homes sold in Q1 (1,413) compared to Q1 2020 (1,133)—much of which can be attributed to emerging COVID concerns in 2020 and in-migration to the Eastside.

 

Eastside Recap

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

Eastside Report

 

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MERCER ISLAND

Most notable on the Island was the continued lack of affordable housing options with no sales below $1 million, and only 10 sales below $1.5 million, in Q1. High end sales dominated the market with 30 of the Island’s 64 sales of homes priced $2 million and above. Mercer Island waterfront listings remained depleted with an average of 2 waterfront homes for sale at any given time and a mere 3 sales in all of Q1.

 

Q1 saw an average of only 17 homes available for sale—an unbelievable low for a typically burgeoning Q1 on the Island. This has led to a continued ultra-competitive market for the most desirable homes, especially those offering one-level living, a main floor owner’s suite or prime waterfront.

 

A staggering 81% of all homes sold at or above their listed price and those that sold in the first 10 days (75% of all sales) closed for an average of 110% of their listed price. That increase equated to sellers receiving an average of nearly $200,000 above their listed price at Island’s median sale price.

 

Mercer Island Recap

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

Mercer Island Report

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CONDOS – SEATTLE & EASTSIDE

Condos have remained an attractive and more affordable option for entry-level buyers who might otherwise rent. As single-family home markets become more competitive, condo ownership becomes a more compelling—and many times the only—option for those wishing to begin their homeownership journey.

 

While the number of single-family homes for sale has been on the decline regionally, Seattle condos experienced a 45% increase in the number of units for sale while Eastside condos saw 23% fewer units for sale compared to Q1 2020. Both Seattle (+18%) and the Eastside (+30%) saw an increase in the number of Q1 sales.

 

Seattle condos saw a 3% increase (to $476,000) and Eastside condos saw a 9% increase (to $535,000) in Median Sale Price compared to Q1 2020. Fueled by new construction townhome development, South Seattle posted a 56% increase in its Median Sale Price during that same period. On the Eastside, with townhomes providing a solid alternative to lacking single-family homes, Sammamish was a standout with a 16% increase over Q1 2020

 

51% of Seattle condos and 70% of Eastside condos sold at or above their listed price. Those that were sold in the first 10 days (35% of Seattle and 55% of Eastside sales) sold for an average of 103% of their listed price.

 

Check out area-by-area details the full condo report.

 

Condo Report

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WATERFRONT

With a meager combined average of only 7 homes for sale (compared to 26 in Q1 2020) Mercer Island and Eastside waterfront headlines could only read that there was nearly nothing available for sale in Q1. The Seattle market was just above typical inventory levels (with an average of 12 homes for sale compared to 10 in Q1 2020) while Lake Sammamish maintained its two-year running low of 5 homes for sale.

 

While many waterfront homes went under contract in mere days, they did not see the dramatic price escalations in Q1 that the more affordable, non-waterfront market has experienced. In fact, only one sale closed at (a fraction of 1%) above its listed price. While 4 of the 14 Q1 sales closed at 100% of their listed price, a fair amount of price negotiation was far more common.

 

This top-level overview of the entire Seattle-Eastside private waterfront market, including Mercer Island and Lake Sammamish, provides a glance into the trends occurring in our region over time. It is interesting, and insightful, but in no way replaces an in-depth analysis on waterfront value provided by a savvy broker with years of local waterfront experience.

 

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Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research | Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

© Copyright 2021, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.

Home Buyer Tips March 2, 2021

Should I Be a Homebuyer in this Market?

Fourteen offers, all contingencies waived, earnest money deposit released to seller on offer acceptance. This is the norm rather than the exception in our current market. Sound crazy? It is! And we’ve been here before. Today’s buyers are likely paying considerably above market values to “win” the war and snag a house that they can live with for the foreseeable future. So long as prices keep increasing and demand is insatiable, that gamble might pay off nicely.

But eventually, something has to give. We know this because market cycles are inevitable. They keep our economy healthy and in check. If for example, mortgage interest rates increase too quickly, home prices become too unaffordable, or local or national events significantly impact consumer confidence, the market can turn on a dime. When it does, someone always gets left holding the bag (or an unsaleable house) as the market shifts from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market.

You might be wondering why a real estate company is suggesting you think twice before making the plunge. The truth is, we’re in it for the long haul and we know informed buyers are the best buyers. If you are a home seller wondering if we just showed your cards, fear not—having an informed buyer who has done their homework means they’re more likely to follow through to closing (and less likely to seek retribution from you later because of unknown or undisclosed defects). Read on!

 

FIRST THINGS FIRST

You know yourself and your situation better than anyone else. You need to be financially comfortable with the monthly payment, down payment, and ongoing costs of home ownership (see Should I Rent or Buy a Home?).

You will also want to consider whether an unexpected relocation could be in your near future. Do you feel secure in your employment situation? Knowing you could comfortably stay put and ride out the storm of any downturn in the market protects you considerably compared to being in a must-sell predicament. If you feel unsure about your financial position or might be required to relocate in the next couple of years, now might not be the right time for you to buy.

Your broker will be able to recommend prominent local lenders, inspectors, and other necessary vendors. Do your homework to select the right lender for you and make formal loan application with them to obtain underwriting approval. Beyond just pre-approval, underwriting approval assures you that your loan will go through (unless your employment situation changes or there is an issue with the house itself). This is well worth the time and effort to accomplish. While you’re at it, research potential inspectors to determine who you think will do the best job and what their options for completing an inspection within a tight timeline are.

If cash offers or those with waived financing contingencies are commonplace in the area you are searching, explore alternatives for funding your purchase. In addition to getting pre-underwritten, can you temporarily borrow funds from a 401k, investment account, or line of credit to allow you to better compete with cash? Do you have other interim options that would allow you to get in the door and obtain a purchase mortgage loan post-purchase? There are many nuances to making this work, but it might just be worth investigating if it is right for you.

Consider your risk tolerance level. This is something only you can determine, and everyone will have a different baseline. If you’ve checked off the items suggested above and decided you are financially and emotionally ready to get in the ring, how do you protect yourself when buying a home in an extreme seller’s market? Read on for things you can do to put yourself in the best possible position when buying a home—even in an ultra-competitive market. In this article, we will focus on critical aspects of the home itself and the home-specific research you should do before submitting an offer.

 

ASPECTS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU GET INTERESTED

Here are four attributes, beyond the number of bedrooms and baths, that you should have your eye on. Many buyers overlook undesirable aspects of a home when there are few choices, however “Grade A” properties will have the highest resale potential even in a future buyer’s market.

Home (building) quality: Well-built homes with “good bones” will outlast mediocre quality homes (and their components and systems) any day of the week. Determining quality is somewhat subjective. You will notice it in well-designed details, cabinetry and components that stand out from the competition. If the home has had renovations, do they match or exceed the quality of the original structure? Granted, affordability will impact quality, but it is critical to size up any home you are considering so that you’re comparing apples to apples. You don’t pay the latest iPhone price for a no name brand phone, and the same applies here. If you purchase a fair quality home at the going rate of higher quality homes, you are likely overpaying.

Immediate to-dos and deferred maintenance: Different than quality, a home’s upkeep requirements include the to-do list of items that need to be done to maintain its integrity. A home that has been well maintained over its life typically is a better investment than one that hasn’t. The true cost of deferred maintenance often adds up to more than the cost of the repairs themselves. Don’t forget to factor in the reduced life span of other components—like replacement of damaged wood beneath peeling paint or mold remediation in a damp basement caused by a clogged foundation drain. Also consider that if you know the furnace, roof, and exterior haven’t been properly maintained, what else also hasn’t been maintained that you don’t know about? Be careful to look past any “fluff” that may have been quickly done to prep the home for sale. See the Home-Specific Due Diligence below on how you can assess this before writing your offer. This article on Assessing the Real Cost of a Fixer is also a great resource.

Setting: The saying “location, location, location” didn’t get its fame from nowhere. A home with an ideal setting on its lot and in the neighborhood—away from busy roads and utility poles/boxes, with adequate privacy, good topography, best positioned to capture views if available, and not adjacent to undesirable elements—will have more value than a less-ideally situated home. Builders do this with lot premiums in new developments. When deciding what to pay for a property it is critical that you evaluate these aspects and any others relevant to a specific neighborhood to determine the +/- effect on value as compared to other recent sales.

Floor plan: How a home lives—flow from room to room, size of rooms, open/closed-off spaces, and below ground vs. above ground living—are every bit as important as the total home square footage. You can change a lot of things about a home, but it is more difficult to change a bad floor plan. Ensure that the floor plan is one that will work for you for the foreseeable future. That might mean more available bedrooms than you currently need, the structural ability to easily expand, or one-level living to allow you to age in place. When you are deciding a home’s potential value, consider the future relevancy of the floor plan for your lifestyle.

 

HOME-SPECIFIC RESEARCH

A great home hits the market and buyers are already lined up make an offer. It looks like an “A” property or something close. The clock is ticking, and you don’t want to lose out (again). Rather than getting caught up in the frenzy, take a deep breath, keep your wits about you and get to work. There is so much intel you and your broker can gather to ensure that the home you are considering won’t turn into your worst nightmare. Time is of the essence, so this is something you will want to do expeditiously.

Property photos and info: Of course, everyone looks at the home photos as soon as a new listing hits the market. Consider pulling them up on a big display and looking closely at things like room flow; condition of windows, floors, and major components like the roof and exterior; floor plan; proximity of neighboring properties; sun exposure; and topography. There is so much you can see when you are specifically looking for it. Don’t forget to check the description for key requirements that you can’t live without. Closer scrutiny of the info available before you go further will help you avoid wasted time.

Online research: Check out online maps of the street, neighborhood, and surrounds. Are there major roads or freeways, high voltage power lines, adverse topography, or other concerns that might affect your decision? Are there parks or other amenities that make this home more compelling? Is it located in an area with good cell coverage and high-speed internet? Even in our tech-oriented world, you’d be surprised how many pockets of inadequate coverage exist in our region. You can research this info, public records, and more using the Research tab on our website. This is a great first step in researching a home before you even jump in your car.

Property history: A simple search of the home address will bring up the listing and sale history on broker search websites. Your buyer broker can also access detailed listing, sale, and transfer history going back two decades or more. Use this information to better understand the property’s past. Was it recently sold as a fixer? Previously a foreclosure? Is it a flip? Those don’t necessarily eliminate a property, but they do add the need for another level of scrutiny. Do the previous photos or descriptions indicate non-permitted remodeling or otherwise warrant concern? What recent listings and sales have occurred in the vicinity? Do they support this home’s value? This will help you get a better picture of any home you are considering.

Seller disclosures and seller-procured inspections: With few exceptions, home sellers have had to disclose known defects and issues for more than three decades now via a Real Property Transfer Disclosure Statement aka Form 17. This document is typically uploaded to the listing and accessible to your buyer broker. Like everything you have done to this point, a close review of this disclosure lets you know more about this home. See Seller Property Disclosure: What You Need to Know Before You Buy.

Given the many components that make up a structure, every home will have some disclosed issues. If there are none, that should be a red flag itself. If the seller hired an inspector to conduct a pre-inspection, it will be noted in the disclosure and the inspection should be made available for your review. You are looking for a better understanding of past issues, resolutions, current issues, and ongoing concerns that might require further research.

Visiting the home: You’ve done your homework, and everything looks good so far. Take a drive by the home and neighborhood while you are waiting for your showing appointment to visit the home in person. While you are in the home, assuming it checks your boxes and you want to move forward, take a few minutes to take closer notice of typical problem areas. Here is a great guide on How to Spot Big Issues Before You Pay for a Home Inspection.

Buyer pre-inspections: A home inspection offers invaluable information on not only the current condition, but also on ongoing maintenance needs and items to be mindful of so they don’t become a bigger problem later. Unlike waiving most other contingencies in a purchase offer, where the worst that could happen is you lose your earnest money deposit, buying a home without an inspection could cost you tens or hundreds of thousands in unexpected repairs after closing. Here is a great home buyer book written by a local home inspector: The Confident House Hunter: A Home Inspector’s Tips for Finding Your Perfect House.

Let’s be honest, pre-inspections are hard to get scheduled right now. Sellers and listing brokers are just trying to get everyone in the door to see the home and blocking out a big chunk of time for a pre-inspection is often a challenge. With a little planning and coordination, here are some potential solutions to this challenge if scheduling an inspection during normal hours is not possible: see if the seller will allow a two-hour inspection at 7 am before the day’s showings; ask about conducting an inspection during a time when someone else is already inspecting (assuming all parties can properly distance and are okay with this); if all else fails, ask your inspector if they would consider reviewing any seller pre-inspection to help you assess its completeness.

In a less competitive environment, you might be able to simply include an inspection contingency with your offer. Also, don’t forget about wells and septic tanks. They’re kind of essential to you actually living in the home and having a non-performing well of a failed septic system is a bigger dilemma than you might imagine.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

You’ve done what you need to do to investigate the property as thoroughly as possible and you want to proceed. Now is the time to determine if this is a “have to have” or “nice to have” home based on others that you’ve seen and strategize your offer accordingly. You might decide to waive typical contingencies and release all or part of your earnest money to the seller to make your offer more competitive. While there is no doubt a degree of risk in doing this, if you’ve done your due diligence ahead of time, this can be a compelling approach that doesn’t cost you any more at the closing table.

Of course, it is essential to have a competent real estate broker who can help you navigate these waters, determine the value (as compared to similar properties), history (permits, prior sales, etc.), and activity (other offers, pre-inspections, expressions of interest) of potential properties you are interested in. This helps you go in armed with the information to make sound decisions with a clear offer strategy that will help you win far more effectively than the typical guesswork that goes in too many offers written without this guidance.

Working with a reputable broker also makes for a more reputable offer. Any seller is looking for the assurance that their sale will close on time and as agreed. Most sellers feel more comfortable accepting an offer when there is good communication, a solid realtor, and a knowledgeable buyer behind it.

Lastly, be prepared for the adventure. There will be joy, surprise, heartbreak, anger, frustration, and bliss along the way. If you go in knowing it will be a challenge, you’ll be much better prepared for the market we are currently faced with.

Still have questions? Contact one of our knowledgeable brokers for assistance with how to purchase, sell, or determine the value of any property you are considering.


Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research | Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

© Copyright 2021 Windermere Mercer Island.

Market Reports January 11, 2021

How Did Seattle Real Estate Fare in 2020?

Our local real estate market overcame all odds in the surreal and tumultuous year laid at our doorstep. Despite many economic woes, home sellers were the big winners in 2020 as too few homes for sale could not keep up with increased buyer demand, leading to the most aggressive multiple offer bidding wars we have seen in decades—and likely ever.

 

Ridiculously low mortgage interest rates—below 3% for much of the year—were the primary factor motivating buyers to purchase as monthly mortgage payments looked increasingly attractive compared to rent. Our new work-from-home environment was also a contributing factor as the desire to improve one’s current living situation became paramount to many who were now spending most of their waking hours at home.

 

The Seattle and Eastside markets operated very independently from each other as prominent tech companies announced significant expansion or relocation in Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland and Seattle struggled with civil unrest and new employer taxation concerns.

 

Driven by buyer demand, both regions did see an increase in Median Sale Price with the Eastside up 10% and Seattle up 6% over 2019. With multiple offer bidding wars being the norm rather than the exception, 60% of all Seattle homes and 62% of all Eastside homes sold went under contract in the first 10 days on the market at an average of 104% of their listed price in both Seattle the Eastside.

 

While consumer confidence continues to be challenged by local and national events—including COVID, unemployment, racial inequality, and our political environment—the desire to secure the best home environment possible, coupled with record low mortgage interest rates, continues to fuel local buyer demand. For many, COVID has changed perceptions of what is important. More buyers are reaching for their dream home or a second home in lieu of travel and other purchases.

 

Home affordability is quickly becoming one of the most prominent emerging concerns. Most homes are now unaffordable to first-time buyers and moderate wage earners who are finding it increasingly difficult to work in higher cost communities. Expect this issue to be at the center of any housing market discussion in years to come.

 

Click or scroll down to find your area report:

Seattle  |  Eastside  |  Mercer Island  |  Condos  |  Waterfront

 


SEATTLE

Seattle’s Median Sale Price increased by 6% to $785,000 over $740,000 in 2019. North Seattle (+8%), South Seattle (+7%), and Queen Anne-Magnolia (+7%) outperformed the average while Central Seattle (+2%) and West Seattle (+4%) lagged.

 

Most notable for the year was a 15% increase in the number of Seattle homes sold in 2020 (9,632) compared to 2019 (8,362). Central Seattle (+25%) and Queen Anne-Magnolia (+21%) had the largest increase in homes sold. Lake Forest Park-Kenmore saw a decrease in the number of sales (-2%).

 

69% of all Seattle homes, and 16% of those priced above $1 million, sold at or above their listed price. The most competitive Seattle markets were Kenmore-Lake Forest Park and North Seattle, with sales in the first 10 days averaging 105% of their listed price.

 

The highest Seattle home sale was a 2014-built, 5612 square foot Washington Park waterfront home for just shy of $14.3 million and the lowest was a 1979-built, 162 square foot approved floating home in a leased slip on Lake Union (Ballard-Green Lake) for $134,000.

 

Seattle Recap

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

 

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EASTSIDE

The Eastside’s Median Sale Price was $1,021,000 in 2020, up 10% over 2019 ($930,000) with the most significant gains in the second half of the year. East Bellevue (+12%) and the Eastside south of I-90 (+11%) outperformed the average while Mercer Island (+3%) and Redmond (+3%) had the smallest year-over-year increases.

 

69% of all Eastside homes, and 34% of homes priced above one million dollars, sold for at or above their list price. The entire Eastside market remained ultra-competitive throughout the year with East Bellevue sales topping the charts with an average sale price 106% above list price.

 

The Eastside market saw Months of Inventory (the number of months it would take to sell all homes currently for sale) drop well below 1 month for most of the year and end the year with the coffers nearly empty. Despite the limited supply of homes for sale, the total number of homes sold increased slightly by 5% to 7,641.

 

The highest sale was a record-setting $60 million, 2012-built Hunts Point estate with 356 feet of waterfront and the lowest sale was a 1924-built Skykomish cabin for $130,000.

 

Eastside Recap

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

 

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MERCER ISLAND

An astounding 123, of the Island’s 332 sales in 2020, were of homes priced above $2 million. There were only 11 sales below $1 million. Mercer Island waterfront listings were virtually all but depleted in the second half of the year as buyers snapped up their dream lifestyle opportunities.

 

As the year came to an end, there were only 9 homes for sale Island-wide—a new historic low for Mercer Island three times over. This shortage of available homes on the market has led to an extremely competitive market for the most desirable homes, especially those offering one-level living, a main floor owner’s suite or prime waterfront.

 

58% of all homes, and 16% of homes priced above two million dollars, sold at or above their listed price. The highest Mercer Island sale was a $11.2 million, Forest Avenue waterfront home on the Westside with 178 feet of waterfront. The lowest sale was a $815,000 West Mercer rambler sold at land value.

 

Mercer Island Recap

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

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CONDOS – SEATTLE & EASTSIDE

Housing affordability due to ultra-low interest rates and lifestyle choices sculpted condominium ownership in 2020. Condos offered an attractive and often more affordable option for entry-level buyers who might otherwise rent. Alternatively, many buyers who might previously have chosen a condo living environment found the idea of a single-family home (if they could snag one) more compelling.

 

The concept that real estate is local applied more to condos this year than ever before. Condo stats in both Seattle and Eastside neighborhoods varied from one to the next so significantly that looking at the overview stats is almost meaningless. As a result, we’ve delved into the community details as much as possible in our market summary below.

 

NUMBER FOR SALE – While the number of single-family homes for sale has been on the decline, several condo markets experienced substantial year-over-year increases. The number of units for sale in West Bellevue (+55%), Mercer Island (+55%), Sammamish (+48%), Central Seattle (+45%), Redmond (+41%), West Seattle (+38%), and Downtown Seattle (+32%) were all up markedly over 2019. The third quarter of 2020 was the most active quarter in number of sales for every region except Bellevue and Kirkland—which had the most activity in the fourth quarter.

 

NUMBER SOLD – Downtown Seattle (+47%) and West Bellevue (+45%) both saw record increases in the number of units sold compared to 2019. While some of rise in sales can be attributed to COVID-motivated movement away from dense housing environments and urban flight, much of it was due to the final completion and closing of new construction units. South Seattle (+29%), Mercer Island (+28%), Ballard-Green Lake (+25%), and Kirkland (+23%) also saw noteworthy increases in their year-over-year numbers.

 

MEDIAN SALE PRICE – West Bellevue saw a 42% increase in year-over-year Median Sale Price, mostly influenced by the completion of the Bosa 188 project. Kirkland (+17%), Redmond (+16%), Woodinville (+16%) also saw significant Median Sale Price increases in 2020 while Downtown Seattle was the only area to see no increase from 2019.

 

% OF ASKING PRICE – 57% of Seattle condos and 65% of Eastside condos sold at or above their listed price. 38% of Seattle condos and 55% of Eastside condos sold in the first 10 days on the market for an average of 101% and 102% of their asking price, respectively. Downtown Seattle’s lack of appreciation in 2020 made it relatively more affordable and resulted in 61% of all listings selling at or above their list price.

 

Check out area-by-area details the full condo report.

 

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WATERFRONT

Fifteen waterfront sales topped the $10 million benchmark in 2020 as the local waterfront home market came alive amid international trends focusing on home and lifestyle. A shortage of supply in available homes for sale dominated the waterfront scene, which typically has a glut of inventory for sale, resulting in the scooping up of nearly everything on the market by the year’s end.

 

The Eastside had 46 waterfront sales, including a record-setting $60 million 2012-built Hunt’s Point estate with 356 feet of coveted waterfront. The Eastside ended the year with just 10 waterfront homes for sale from Kenmore to Kennydale.

 

Mercer Island had a good year with 31 waterfront sales in 2020 and ended the year with only 2 waterfront homes for sale, both on the east side of the Island. The highest sale was an $11.2 million Forest Avenue abode with 9,790 square feet on 178 feet of west side waterfront.

 

Lake Sammamish also enjoyed 31 waterfront sales of its own during the year. The highest sale was of an 11,750 square foot 2006-built home on the west side of the lake for $6.4 million. There were just 3 waterfront homes for sale on Lake Sammamish at year end.

 

We saw much the same story in Seattle with 43 waterfront sales in 2020 and only 8 homes for sale at the end of the year. The highest Seattle sale was a $14.3 million Washington Park home sited on 60 feet of Lake Washington waterfront.

 

This top-level overview of the entire Seattle-Eastside private waterfront market, including Mercer Island and Lake Sammamish, provides a glance into the trends occurring in our region over time. It is interesting, and insightful, but in no way replaces an in-depth analysis on waterfront value provided by a knowledgeable broker with years of local waterfront experience.

 

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Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research | Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

© Copyright 2021 Windermere Mercer Island.

Home Seller Tips December 18, 2020

The Downside of Selling Your Home Off Market

Who wouldn’t want the enticement of a full price offer on their home before it even comes to market? At first glance it seems like a compelling opportunity, but it comes at a steep price.

With the shortage of homes today, friends and neighbors are all on the lookout for up-and-coming listings. They aren’t hard to spot amongst the buzz of spruce up activity that often occurs as a home is being prepped for the market. Often the buyer or their broker contact the seller or their broker to request an early showing and you can guess what transpires from there. You and your broker have a list price in mind and the buyer’s offer comes in at that price. What could be better?

Are you leaving money on the table?

For starters, consider that homes in the Seattle-Eastside region are typically selling well above their asking prices. Local market data shows most homes bring in 3-8% above their listed prices during the last several months. This occurs when multiple buyers are competing for the same property…something that doesn’t happen when negotiating off market with a single buyer. Consider a home at Seattle’s median price of $800,000, 3-8% equates to $24,000-$64,000 left on the table.

But that isn’t all there is to consider. In our current highly competitive market, it isn’t unusual for buyers to waive contingencies such as financing and appraisal, pre-inspect or waive the inspection contingency, and often even release their earnest money as non-refundable. This does not often happen in a non-competing situation and leaves you vulnerable to transaction challenges before closing.

In addition, it is often the buyers who can’t effectively compete in an open market that are most motivated to try to get you to sell off market. This benefits the buyer significantly, but eliminates the benefits to you of a strong seller-favored market.

 

What about iBuyer company offers?

iBuyers are companies that agree to pay a set amount for your home up front and then list it for sale after you move out. They have gained popularity in some markets-Phoenix and Atlanta especially. In 2019, they had 59,000 transactions nationwide or about half of one percent market share of the 5.38 million transactions last year. Amidst COVID and economic concerns, iBuyer market share was down dramatically in 2020 and remains uncertain for 2021.

Nationally, their sweet spot has been predictable subdivision homes priced around $250,000. They have traditionally avoided higher priced markets due to the added risk in pricing. And they have historically avoided Washington State because of our real property transfer tax that adds ~2% to the cost of sale.

While selling to an iBuyer might seem easy and intriguing, it helps to remember these companies are in business to make a profit at your expense. iBuyers charge a 6-10% service fee in addition to factoring in the cost of needed repairs or updates (data shows an average of 2-5% of the sale price). Atypical expenses, like our state’s 2% transfer tax, are also calculated into the net. Add it all up and it is a hefty price to pay for the convenience of not having to go through the sale process.

On other thing to note is that iBuyers also profit by selling the names of homeowners who contact them for a bid, but do not accept that bid (93-98% of inquiries, depending on the company), to real estate agents without an established client base who are willing to pay for leads. These are typically not the most successful real estate brokers in a given marketplace. Not only do sellers who use these brokers often lose out on the benefits of working with a knowledgeable and established Realtor, that broker’s marketing budget is consumed largely by paying for leads instead of prominently marketing your home.

 

Final thoughts

It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of an off-market offer. And it’s flattering to feel like your home is so appealing that people are knocking on your door before it even debuts. For some, the privacy of an off-market sale offsets the considerable dollars left on the table. But for most of us, those dollars matter. And having multiple interested buyers instead of just one means better terms and more certainty as you head towards the closing table.

Still have questions? Contact one of our knowledgeable brokers for assistance with how to purchase, sell, or determine the value of any property you are considering.

 


Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research | Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

© Copyright 2020 Windermere Mercer Island.

Waterfront December 11, 2020

Life on the Water’s Edge

Your Seattle waterfront resource…with definitions, maps, and quick links.

 

Waterfront terminology is ever elusive and nearly always subject to interpretation. We tracked down several Puget Sound and Washington State resources not only to help you know the lingo when it comes to waterfront speak, but to give you quick access tools to research waterfront to your heart’s content.

 

Waterfront Terminology

Bluff    Most beaches on Puget Sound are backed by bluffs. These bluffs can vary from spectacular, high eroding cliffs to low, vegetated banks. The erosion of bluffs is a significant source of sediment on many Puget Sound beaches. One way of classifying bluffs is by the amount of sediment they provide to local beaches as they erode. This is based on how fast they erode, how high they are, and how much sand and gravel they contain. In these maps, bluffs are assigned to the following categories: Exceptional Feeder Bluffs; Feeder Bluffs; Feeder Bluff – talus; and Transport Zones. This Department of Ecology Feeder Bluffs and Coastal Landforms Map is a great tool for identifying bluff categories.

Boathouse   A building designed for the storage of boats or watercraft to provide protection from the elements. The building of boathouses is generally prohibited under current environment regulations, but many grandfathered boathouses remain throughout the region.

Bulkhead   A solid or open pile wall of rock, concrete, steel or timber or other materials or a combination of these materials erected generally parallel to and near the ordinary high water mark for the purpose of protecting adjacent wetlands and uplands from waves or currents.

Dock or Pier   A raised walkway over water, often supported by widely spread pilings or pillars. Recent dock requirements encourage the use of decking structures and systems that encourage light and air flow to the water below.

Dock inspection   A structural and functional evaluation by an individual or company who specializes in dock construction and repair. This can involve an underwater dive evaluation when portions of the supporting structure is in question or unobservable from above.

High bank waterfront    Land that sits substantially above the natural water line, making the waterfront inaccessible without stairs or other structures, if at all.

Low bank waterfront   Land that sits just above the natural water line, often delineated with a bulkhead protecting the shoreline. Low and no bank waterfront abutting a navigable lake is often considered the most desirable waterfront in the Puget Sound region.

Medium bank waterfront   The most subjective of terms, this represents moderate bank land that is lower than high bank and higher than low bank waterfront.

Moorage    A place where a boat or ship are secured in the water. As it pertains to waterfront real estate, this is typically on a privately owned dock or boathouse.

Navigable water   “Navigability or navigable” means that a body of water is capable or susceptible of having been or being used for the transport of useful commerce. The state of Washington considers all bodies of water meandered by government surveyors as navigable unless otherwise declared by a court. See Who Owns the Water?

No bank waterfront   Land that graduates out to the natural water line without a bulkhead separating it from the shoreline. Often described as rolling waterfront, its spacious feel at lakeside is highly desirable.

Ordinary High Water    “Ordinary high water” means, for the purpose of asserting state ownership, the line of permanent upland vegetation along the shores of nontidal navigable waters. In the absence of vegetation, it is the line of mean high water.

Private Waterfront    Land abutting the water owned exclusively by an individual land parcel. Greater waterfront footage and amenities (beach/dock/moorage) create a more valuable parcel than one with limited waterfront footage or amenities.

Shared Waterfront    Land abutting the water owned in common (deeded) by owners of other often adjoining, land parcels. Fewer owner shares and deeded amenities (dock access/moorage) create a more valuable shared waterfront parcel than one with many owners or fewer amenities.

Shorelands    Land which is alternately covered and left dry by the rising and falling of the water level of a lake, river, or tidal area.

“First class shorelands” means the shores of a navigable lake or river belonging to the state not subject to tidal flow, lying between the line of ordinary high water and the line of navigability, or the inner harbor line where established and within or in front of the corporate limits of any city, or within two miles thereof upon either side (RCW 79.105.060(3)). These boundary descriptions represent the general rule; however exceptions do exist. To determine if the shorelands are within two miles of the corporate limits of a city, the distance is measured along the shoreline from the intersection of the corporate limit with the shoreline.

“Second class shorelands” means the shores of a navigable lake or river belonging to the state, not subject to tidal flow, lying between the line of ordinary high water and the line of navigability, and more than two miles from the corporate limits of any city (RCW 79.105.060(17)). These boundary definitions represent the general rule; however, exceptions do exist. To determine if shorelands are more than two miles from the corporate limits of a city, the distance is measured along the shoreline from the intersection of the corporate limit with the shoreline.

(Public) Tidelands   Land belonging to and held in public trust by the state for the citizens of the state, which are not devoted to or reserved for a particular use by law. Typically, the portion of land below the ordinary high water mark and the navigable water. Tidelines have been an area of great controversy in Washington State. Considered public domain through the Public Trust Doctrine. The Public Trust Doctrine does not allow the public to trespass over privately-owned uplands to access the tidelands. It does, however, protect public use of navigable water bodies below the ordinary high water mark.

“First class tidelands” means the shores of navigable tidal waters belonging to the state lying within or in front of the corporate limits of any city, or within one mile thereof upon either side and between the line of ordinary high tide and the inner harbor line; and within two miles of the corporate limits on either side and between the line of ordinary high tide and the line of extreme low tide (RCW 79.105.060(4)). In general, the line of ordinary high tide is the landward boundary. The line of extreme low tide, or the inner harbor line where established, is the waterward boundary. To determine if the tidelands are within two miles of the corporate limits of a city, the distance is measured along the shoreline from the intersection of the corporate limit with the shoreline.

“Second class tidelands” means the shores of navigable tidal waters belonging to the state, lying outside of and more than two miles from the corporate limits of any city and between the line of ordinary high tide and the line of extreme low tide (RCW 79.105.060(18)). In general, the line of ordinary high tide is the landward boundary. The line of extreme low tide is the waterward boundary. To determine if the tidelands are more than two miles from the corporate limits of a city, the distance is measured along the shoreline from the intersection of the corporate limit with the shoreline. Excerpt from the Department of Ecology Public Trust Doctrine.

 

Waterfront Footage   The linear feet that span the water’s edge of a land parcel.

Watershed   A watershed is the land area draining to a nearby river or lake, or sound.

 

MAPS

 

King County iMap

iMap Parcel Lookup Instructions (PDF)

Washington DNR Natural Hazards Geological Maps

Washington Geographic Information Portal Map

Department of Ecology Feeder Bluffs and Coastal Landforms Map

Department of Ecology Wetlands Inventory Map

NOAA Puget Sound Water Depth Chart

 

 

RESOURCES

King County   

King County currently has about 1200 documented residential docks and 58 private boat ramps (see shoreline land use facts). A permit is required to build, modify, alter the land abutting a shoreline.

King County Shoreline Management Fact Sheets and Links

King County Shoreline Permit Submittal Requirements (PDF)

King County Bulkhead Shoreline Requirements (PDF)  

Shoreline Site Plan Requirements (PDF)

King County Shoreline Property Owner Resources

King County Lake Services and Information

Puget Sound Shoreline Stewardship Guidebook

King County Water and Shorelines Glossary

 

Washington State

Washington State (RCW) Aquatic Land legal definitions

DFW – Your Marine Waterfront (PDF)

DNR – Puget Sound and Coastal Geology

DNR – Puget Lowland Geological Province

Dept of Ecology – Mapping Bluffs and Beaches of Puget Sound (PDF)

WSU Guide for Shoreline Living (PDF)

UW Puget Sound Fact Book (PDF)

 

Environmental Protection Agency

EPA – Puget Sound

Shoreline and Wetland Tools and Resources

King County watershed overview map

Cedar River – Lake Washington Watershed (Lake Washington waterfront properties)

Central Puget Sound Watershed (North/West Seattle waterfront on Puget Sound)

Green-Duwamish River Watershed (South Seattle waterfront properties on Puget Sound)

Sammamish Watershed (Lake Sammamish waterfront properties)

 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA Portal

ERMA visualization map of Puget Sound

Bluffs, landforms and habitat classifications

 

The Watershed Company (site evaluation contractor) Articles

A home buyer’s guide to property with critical areas

Shoreline planning and permitting

Enhance your shoreline

 

We hope this provides an outstanding starting point in your waterfront journey. In addition to this specific research, don’t forget to evaluate all the typical aspects of your potential new home and neighborhood. We’ve compiled links to research tools from schools and geological hazards to market reports and census data.

While you’re there, you can also look up neighborhood info, including crime reporting, local government resources, parks and recreation, and school boundaries.

Of course, nothing tops having an experienced broker to guide you through the process. They’ve seen hundreds upon hundreds of homes and can help you identify the solid finds from the duds with gorgeous looking veneer.

Choosing the right broker can save you thousands on your home purchase. Whether through local market knowledge and pricing analysis allowing you to make a smarter offer, recommendations and resources to thoroughly conduct your due diligence and avoid costly mistakes, or savvy contract negotiation to help you get the terms you need, having a Windermere broker on your side is one advantage you can’t afford to sacrifice.

 


Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research | Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

© Copyright 2020 Windermere Mercer Island.

Market Reports October 16, 2020

Q3 2020 Reports: Market Update

The volume of Q3 transactions made up for Q2’s fewer sales and then some. Truth be told, the market could have absorbed twice the number of transactions, if only there were more homes on the market to sell. Too few homes for sale is the defining character of the Q3 Seattle region real estate market as evidenced by multiple offer bidding wars being the norm rather than the exception. Nearly 66% of all homes sold went under contract in the first 10 days on the market at an average of 103% of their listed price in Seattle and 105% of that price on the Eastside.

 

As predicted by Windermere’s chief economist, Matthew Gardner, the second half of 2020 is indeed shaping up to be the brightest spot in our local economy. While consumer confidence continues to be challenged by local and national events—including COVID, unemployment, racial inequality, and uncertainty around the presidential election—the desire to secure the best home environment possible coupled with ridiculously low mortgage interest rates continue to fuel local buyer demand.

 

In addition to typical real estate activity, new and changing home needs (especially for those working virtually with children) have driven many to question the adequacy of their current living situation. This has added to the already significant buyer demand we are experiencing. For many, COVID has changed their perception of what is important. More buyers are reaching for their dream home or a second home in lieu of world travel and luxury goods.

 

As demand drives up local home prices further, affordability is quickly becoming one of the most prominent emerging concerns. Currently only a sliver of homes are considered affordable to first time buyers at their projected median income. Teachers, first responders, and critical infrastructure workers that keep our region going are finding it increasingly difficult to work in higher cost communities. Will our children be able to buy a home in the Seattle region? Not unless something changes to create lower cost housing options. One does not need a crystal ball to see that this problem will get worse when mortgage interest rates increase closer to their norms. Expect this issue to be at the center of any housing market discussion in years to come.

 

Click or scroll down to find your area report:

Seattle  |  Eastside  |  Mercer Island  |  Condos  |  Waterfront

 


SEATTLE

Seattle’s median sale price increased by 3% (to $800,000) over Q2 ($780,000) and by 7% over Q3 2019 ($749,000). Neighborhoods to the north experienced the largest increase in median sale price with Kenmore-Lake Forest Park (+10%) and Shoreline-Richmond Beach (+8%) over Q2. In addition, Queen Anne-Magnolia, North Seattle, Shoreline-Richmond Beach, and South Seattle all saw double-digit increases over Q3 of 2019.

 

71% of Seattle homes (all price points), and 18% of homes priced above $1 million, sold at or above their listed price. The most competitive Seattle markets were Kenmore-Lake Forest Park and North Seattle, with sales in the first 10 days averaging 107% and 106% of their listed price, respectively.

 

There were 50% more Seattle home sales in Q3 (2,929) than in Q2 (1,956) and 29% more sales than in Q3 of 2019 (2,279).

 

The highest Seattle home sale was a 2014-built, 6400 square foot Laurelhurst (North Seattle) waterfront home for just shy of $11.5 million and the lowest was a 1982-built, 240 square foot approved floating home in a leased slip on Lake Union (Ballard-Green Lake) for $187,500.

 

Seattle Recap

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

 

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EASTSIDE

The Eastside median sale price broke the million-dollar barrier, coming in at $1,025,100 in Q3, up 7% over Q2 ($958,000) and 11% over Q3 2019 ($925,000). Kirkland-Bridle Trails (+18%) and the Eastside South of I-90 (+10%) performed best over Q2. while Eastside South, East Bellevue, West Bellevue, and East Lake Sammamish all saw double-digit increases over Q3 2019.

 

67% of Eastside homes, and 32% of homes priced above one million dollars, sold for at or above their listed price. The most competitive Eastside markets were East Bellevue, Mercer Island and Redmond-Carnation, with sales in the first 10 days averaging 105%, 104% and 104% of their listed price, respectively.

 

There were 56% more Eastside home sales in Q3 (2,448) than in Q2 (1,570) and 19% more sales than in Q3 of 2019 (2,055).

 

The highest sale was a $23.5 million 1908-built Hunts Point estate on 1.59 acres sold off-market and the lowest sale was a 1960-built Stossel Creek fixer without documented well or septic on 4.79 acres in Duvall for $235,000.

 

Eastside Recap

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

 

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MERCER ISLAND

Of Mercer Island’s 113 Q3 sales, all but two were for over $1 million and 41 were above $2 million. There were 14 sales above $3 million in Q3, compared to only 4 in Q2.

 

As the quarter came to an end, there were only 35 homes for sale compared to 75 in Q3 2019. This shortage of available homes on the market has led to an extremely competitive market for the most desirable homes, especially those offering one-level living or a main floor owner’s suite.

 

58% of all homes, and 16% of homes priced above two million dollars, sold for at or above their listed price.

 

The highest Mercer Island sale was a $10.2 million, Faben Point waterfront home. The lowest sale was a $925,000 North End fixer sold at land value.

 

Mercer Island Recap

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

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CONDOS – SEATTLE & EASTSIDE

The number of Seattle condos for sale has increased markedly, and while the pace of sales is up, it is nonetheless struggling to keep up with the volume of condos coming to market. Condos fared well overall with a median sale price up by 5% (to $479,925) over Q2 ($455,000) and by 9% over Q3 2019 ($438,500). Condos in Shoreline-Richmond Beach, Queen Anne-Magnolia, and South Seattle experienced double-digit increases in median sale price while the Downtown-Belltown median sale price was 6% lower than Q2.

 

54% of Seattle condos (all price points), and 4% of those priced above $1 million, sold at or above their listed price. 48% sold in the first 10 days on the market. There were 68% more Seattle condo sales in Q3 (784) than in Q2 (468) and 11% more sales than in Q3 of 2019 (706).

 

On the Eastside, the median sale price was down 5% to $499,950 in Q3 following a record setting Q2 ($525,000), but up 6% over Q3 2019 ($471,000). Condos in Kirkland-Bridle Trails (+13%) and West Bellevue (+11%) saw increases in median sale price while the Eastside South of I-90 (-15%) and East Bellevue (-17%) saw declines from Q2.

 

60% of Eastside condos (all price points), and 3% of those priced above $1 million, sold at or above their listed price. 49% sold in the first 10 days on the market. There were 72% more Eastside condo sales in Q3 (755) than in Q2 (440) and 17% more sales than in Q3 of 2019 (643).

 

Check out area-by-area details the full condo report.

 

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WATERFRONT

Waterfront rebounded in a big way in Q3 with record setting sales velocity. The Eastside had more sales this quarter (18) than the last three prior quarters combined. The supply of inventory fell to 3 months (from an average of 10 months of supply) with only 16 waterfront homes for sale at quarter end. Lake Sammamish posted 14 sales after a sleepy prior four quarters with a combined total of 14 sales. For sale inventory is in step with the Eastside at 3 months of supply (from an average of 5 months of supply).

 

Mercer Island saw 12 waterfront sales in Q3, a sharp increase from its average of five sales per quarter. With only 8 waterfront homes on the market, Mercer Island’s available inventory fell from an average 12 months to just 2 months of supply. Seattle posted 12 sales, maintaining its typical pace of sales. There were 17 waterfront homes for sale at the end of Q3 and Seattle’s for sale inventory remained a steady 4 months of supply.

 

The highest sale was a $23.5 million 1908-built Hunts Point estate on 1.59 acres sold off-market with 138 feet of premium Lake Washington waterfront. The most affordable was a $1.1 million Holmes Point home built in 1928 with 36 feet of waterfront on the lake.

 

This top-level overview of the entire Seattle-Eastside private waterfront market, including Mercer Island and Lake Sammamish, provides a glance into the trends occurring in our region over time. Interesting, and certainly insightful, it in no way replaces an in-depth analysis on waterfront value provided by a savvy broker with years of local waterfront experience.

 

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Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research | Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

© Copyright 2020 Windermere Mercer Island.

Home Buyer Tips August 3, 2020

Interest Rates Make a BIG Difference When You Buy…

You probably know that interest rates affect your monthly mortgage payments, but most of us aren’t aware of just how big an impact they really have on a home loan.  Each 1% change in interest rate equates to roughly a 10% change in buying power.  This means you can qualify for a much more expensive home when rates are low, whereas higher rates mean you qualify for less home—even though you still pay the same monthly payment.

 

This first chart shows how much house you can buy for a set monthly payment. If you have $4,000 a month to budget for a house payment (before taxes and insurance), you could purchase a $949,000 house at today’s historically low 3% mortgage rate. If rates went up to 4%, the same monthly payment would only get you an $838,000 home. Your buying power diminishes considerably with each bump up in rates.

 

What you can afford based on the current interest rate..

 

Scrolling down, this second chart shows how interest rates impact monthly payments.  If you’re purchasing a $950,000 house at today’s 3% interest rate, you’ll be paying $530 less every month than if you’d bought that same house when rates were 4%.  That adds up quick…$6,360 in one year alone!  This explains why so many renters are eagerly looking to buy right now, and why homeowners are refinancing at record rates.

 

Your monthly payment based on the current interest rate

 

Want to know how you can best take advantage of these historical low mortgage rates?  Reach out to us for help evaluating whether it would make financial sense to refinance, buy, or sell while rates are low.  We are always happy to be a resource!

 


Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research | Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

© Copyright 2020 Windermere Mercer Island.

Market Reports July 13, 2020

Q2 2020 Reports: Market Update

Q2 was a story of resilience for the Seattle market. It began with our region fully entrenched in a new normal amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but ended with a strong seller’s market and historic low interest rates. Buyers have returned in droves to battle for the limited supply of homes for sale. With a shortage of listings due both to economic/health concerns and sellers who can’t find anywhere to go, we could double our current supply of homes for sale and still fall short of demand.

 

Our region’s typical peak season was delayed with April feeling more like February and picking up momentum through the end of June. Possibly motivated as much by the changing home requirements of our newly revised lifestyles as it is by the opportunity to snag a coveted mortgage interest rate (a 1% change in interest rate equates to a 10% change in buying power), buyers are eager to find a place to call home.

 

Residential home prices are generally up throughout the region in Q2 while condominium prices are mixed depending on the building amenities and how well they have addressed COVID-19 concerns.

 

Click or scroll down to find your area report:

Seattle  |  Eastside  |  Mercer Island  |  Condos  |  Waterfront

 


SEATTLE

Seattle’s median sale price increased by 3% in Q2 to $780,000. Queen Anne-Magnolia (+8%) and South Seattle (+7%) were top performers in the Seattle region while the Richmond Beach-Shoreline area was down 1% compared to Q2 2019.

 

68% of Seattle homes (all price points) sold at or above their listed price, while only 15% of homes priced above $1 million did so. The average number of days to sell decreased to 20 from 27 in Q2 of the year prior. There were 21% fewer Seattle home sales in Q2 2020 (1,956) compared to Q2 2019 (2,479) due to a shortage of homes for sale.

 

The highest Seattle home sale was a 2008-built Laurelhurst (North Seattle) waterfront home for $10,500,000 and the lowest was a 1979-built 1-bedroom approved floating home in a leased slip on Lake Union for $134,000..

 

Seattle Recap

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

 

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EASTSIDE

The Eastside median sale price was $958,000 in Q2, up 1% over Q2 2019. West Bellevue (+10%) and East Bellevue (+8%) performed best, while Mercer Island saw an 11% decrease in its median sale price with fewer luxury sales.

 

65% of Eastside homes, and 26% of homes priced above one million dollars, sold for at or above their listed price. The average number of days to sell decreased to 24 from 36 in Q2 of the year prior. There were 33% fewer Eastside home sales in Q2 2020 (1,570) compared to Q2 2019 (2,334) due to fewer homes available for sale.

 

The highest sale was a $11.75 million 2004-built Evergreen Point shared waterfront home on just over an acre and the lowest sale was a 1924 Skykomish cabin on Old Cascade Hwy.

 

Eastside Recap

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

 

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MERCER ISLAND

There was not a single Mercer Island home sale below $1 M in Q2. The bulk of Island sales were in the $1.2 M to $2 M price point (40 of 63 sales) and there were only four sales above $3 M.

 

The Island’s record shortage of homes for sale in Q2 continues to create a bottleneck of buyer activity with multiple offers common in the $1.2 M to $2 M segment of the market. Buyers are winning the competition by pre-inspecting and waiving typical contingencies more so than drastically escalating offer prices.

 

52% of all homes, and 8% of homes priced above two million dollars, sold for at or above their listed price. The highest Mercer Island sale was a $4.185 million, 2002-built Eastside waterfront home. Two “as-is” mid-island homes tied for the lowest sale of at $1,000,000.

 

Mercer Island Q1 2020 Recap

Click here for the full report and neighborhood-by-neighborhood statistics!

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CONDOS – SEATTLE & EASTSIDE

Condo sales have been more impacted by COVID-19 concerns than most residential homes. Condo buildings with individual outside access and those with stellar cleanliness policies tended to be more desirable than buildings that did not clearly address exposure concerns.

 

The Seattle median condo sale price was down 6% to $455,000 in Q2 as compared to Q2 2019 ($483,500). There were only 468 sales for the quarter vs. 764 sales in the same quarter last year. Downtown-Belltown condos (+6%) outperformed the region while Richmond Beach & Shoreline condos were down 20% over Q2 of the prior year (fewer higher end sales). 55% of Seattle condos (all prices), and 4% of condos priced above one million dollars, sold for at or above their listed price.

 

On the Eastside, the median sale price was up 9% to $525,000 (from $460,000 in Q2 2019). East Bellevue (+21%) and Redmond (+19%) condos far outpaced gains seen in surrounding cities. A total of 440 units sold on the Eastside this quarter. 65% of all Eastside condos, and 6% of those priced above one million dollars, sold for at or above their listed price.

 

Check out all of these factoids and more in the full condo report.

 

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WATERFRONT

Sales of waterfront homes in Q2 with exclusive (not shared) access to the water picked up some momentum after a sleepy Q1 but remain far below typical norms. Seattle had 12 private waterfront home sales while Mercer Island and Lake Sammamish each had 5 sales and the Eastside had 4 sales.

 

Six (23%) of the 26 total sales closed at higher than their listing price, including one West of Market sale that went for $2 M above its listed price. Three sales (12%) closed right at their listed price and 17 (65%) closed below their listed price. Homes sold above their listed price sold in an average of 27 days for 11% higher than list. Homes sold below their listed price sold in an average of 125 days for 6% less than their listed price.

 

The highest Q2 private waterfront sale was in Laurelhurst at $10.5 million with 145 feet of Lake Washington waterfront. The most affordable was a $1.6 million West Lake Sammamish home with 50 feet of waterfront on the lake.

 

This top-level overview of the entire Seattle-Eastside private waterfront market, including Mercer Island and Lake Sammamish, provides a glance into the trends occurring in our region over time. Interesting, and certainly insightful, it in no way replaces an in-depth analysis on waterfront value provided by a savvy broker with years of local waterfront experience.

 

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Home Seller TipsWaterfront May 11, 2020

What You Need to Know about the Washington State Seller Property Disclosure – Form 17

Washington State requires sellers of residential real property to thoroughly disclose material facts on a form called the Residential Real Property Disclosure Statement (often referred to as Form 17). Unless the buyer has expressly waived their rights, the seller must deliver this completed disclosure with 5 days after mutual acceptance.  The buyer then has a window of time to walk away with their earnest money at their discretion.

While sellers have always been required to disclose material facts, the Form 17 has been required by law (RCW 64.06.020) since January 1, 1995. It has undergone ten revisions since its inception, the last of which will go into effect in January. In addition to the residential disclosure, the state added an unimproved property (land) disclosure in 2007 (RCW 64.06.015) and a commercial property disclosure in 2012 (RCW 64.06.013). The current form is 6 pages long and includes most of the typical property issues requiring disclosure with a catchall question for anything left out.

 

Is every seller required to complete this form? Are there exemptions?

The statute allows very limited exceptions RCW (64.06.010) to completing the disclosure statement. They include transfers…

  • by foreclosure or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure
  • that are gifts to a parent, spouse, domestic partner, or child
  • related to marital dissolution or dissolution of a state registered domestic partnership
  • to buyers who had a prior ownership interest in the property in the last two years
  • of an interest that is less than fee simple
  • made by the personal representative of the estate or by a trustee in bankruptcy
  • in which the buyer has expressly waived the receipt of the seller disclosure statement

However, if the answer to any of the questions in the section entitled “Environmental” would be “yes,” the buyer may not waive the receipt of the “Environmental” section of the seller disclosure statement.

 

What happens after delivery of the disclosure statement?

The buyer has three business days from receipt of the disclosure statement to cancel the agreement for the purchase of the property (unless they waived their rights to do so in writing).

This right to rescind is statutory, and the decision to revoke the offer may be made by the buyer at the buyer’s sole discretion. If the buyer elects to rescind the agreement, the buyer must deliver written notice of rescission to the seller within the three-business-day period.

Upon delivery of the written rescission notice the buyer is entitled to immediate return of all earnest money deposits and the agreement for purchase becomes void.

If the buyer does not deliver notice the disclosure statement is deemed approved and accepted by the buyer. The full provisions of this right are found in RCW (64.06.030).

 

What happens if the seller doesn’t deliver a completed disclosure?

If the seller fails or refuses to provide a disclosure statement to buyer within 5 days, the prospective buyer’s right of rescission extends until the earlier of three business days after receipt of the disclosure statement or the date the transfer has closed (unless the buyer has otherwise waived the right of rescission in writing). After closing, per RCW 64.06.040 (3) the seller’s obligation to deliver the disclosure statement and the buyer’s rights and remedies related to it terminate.

 

Some sellers are more forthcoming than others…

When sellers claim there are no issues to explain, you should be wary…very wary. In 34 years of practice, I have yet to see a perfect house. Whether a 10-million-dollar estate, a newly constructed home, or a $300,000 starter home, every house has a story and every buyer has a right to know about it so they can knowledgeably complete their due diligence.

Making full disclosure actually benefits the seller, too. By disclosing a condition, the seller shifts the burden of investigation to the buyer under Washington law. By remaining silent, a seller risks the appearance of concealment and a lawsuit.  Think of it this way: disclose an issue and if the buyer accepts it you move forward with no worries since they are barred from seeking compensation later; fail to disclose it and you could be looking over your shoulder for years.

I like to see issues disclosed on a disclosure statement. It makes me feel like the seller has been honest and transparent. When I see a “perfect” disclosure, I know the seller is either in total denial or has decided not to disclosure the little (or big) issues they know about. Most buyers expect far more disclosure from the seller than the law requires. While sellers don’t have a duty to inspect their home or look for defects, they do have a duty to disclose defects that affect the value, physical condition, or title to the property. Sellers should consider disclosure to be a form of insurance.

Instead of minimizing disclosures, a prudent seller will try to consider the property from the perspective of a buyer and then disclose what a buyer would want to know. Many of the conditions that lead to lawsuits would have been acceptable to the buyer if they had been disclosed in advance. Other conditions simply are not important enough to the buyer to fully investigate before purchasing a property. To maximize the benefit of disclosure law, sellers may want to make full disclosure of the property and neighborhood even if they have no legal duty to do so. It is usually better to be over-insured than not insured at all.

 

Buyers have duties, too…

In addition to a thorough inspection, investigating issues raised in the seller disclosure statement is one of the most important parts of due diligence in a real estate transaction. Buyers have a duty of thoroughness and inspection that should not be taken lightly.

The buyer should evaluate each disclosed item, and (especially) those items not disclosed, but easily discovered during a walk-through and inspection. If there are many items identified and not disclosed, a buyer should be concerned about other unseen issues that might also not be disclosed. A savvy buyer will investigate a home with limited disclosure more thoroughly and/or make the decision not to purchase form a seller who is seemingly not transparent with the truth.

It is also important to note that sellers typically have no duty to disclose neighborhood conditions or past events at the property, even though these may be issues of concern to the buyer. For instance, sellers usually have no legal duty to disclose the following conditions either at the property or in the neighborhood:

  • Death, murders, suicides, rapes or other crimes
  • Ongoing criminal or gang activity in the neighborhood
  • Registered sex offenders in the neighborhood (RCW 64.06.021)
  • Future development in the area
  • Political or religious activities in the area

If these or similar matters are of concern, buyer should conduct their due diligence prior to submitting an offer or include an inspection and “Neighborhood Review” contingency in the offer to allow them time to complete it as part of their purchase agreement.

 

What is the seller’s responsibility after delivery of disclosure statement?

The disclosure statute (64.06.040) states that if after delivering a completed disclosure statement, the seller learns from a source other than the buyer or others acting on the buyer’s behalf such as an inspector of additional information or an adverse change which makes any of the disclosures made inaccurate, the seller shall amend the real property transfer disclosure statement, and deliver the amendment to the buyer. The buyer then has the right to rescind the purchase agreement within three business days after receiving the amended disclosure statement.

No amendment is required if the seller takes whatever corrective action is necessary so that the accuracy of the disclosure is restored, or the adverse change is corrected, at least three business days prior to the closing date.

 

The seller disclosure statement is not a warranty

RCW 64.06.050 says the seller shall not be liable for any error, inaccuracy, or omission in the disclosure statement if the seller had no actual knowledge of the error, inaccuracy, or omission. This includes disclosures based on information provided by public agencies, or by other persons providing information within the scope of their professional license or expertise, including, but not limited to, a report or opinion delivered by a land surveyor, title company, title insurance company, structural inspector, pest inspector, licensed engineer, or contractor. This applies to the seller’s real estate broker as well.

This should give a conscientious seller the assurance that the statute provides for property disclosure only and is not a warranty of current or ongoing condition. Provided a seller discloses everything they know, or that a reasonable seller should have known, about their property, a seller should feel good in knowing they are not held liable for its condition.

 

Here are a few great online resources to add to your knowledge base:

Current local Form 17 Real Property Transfer Disclosure Statement: https://windermeremicom/files/2019/08/17_SellerDisclosureForm.pdf

The complete text of the Washington State Real Property Transfer Act: https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=64.06&full=true

NOLO Article: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/residential-home-sellers-washington-what-the-law-requires-you-disclose.html

 

Of course, nothing tops having an experienced pro to guide you through the process. They’ve seen hundreds upon hundreds of homes and can help you identify the solid finds from the duds with gorgeous looking veneer.

Choosing the right broker can save you thousands on your home purchase. Whether through local market knowledge and pricing analysis allowing you to make a smarter offer, recommendations and resources to thoroughly conduct your due diligence and avoid costly mistakes, or savvy contract negotiation to help you get the terms you need, having a Windermere broker on your side is an advantage you can’t afford to sacrifice.

 


Find a Home | Sell Your Home | Property Research | Neighborhoods | Market Reports | Our Team

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

© Copyright 2020 Windermere Mercer Island.