2011 Year in Review Reports for Seattle, Mercer Island and the Eastside

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Seattle      Seattle 2011 Year in Review

The Seattle real estate market saw declines in both the number of homes sold and the average sales price in 2011. Current prices, down 3% from those of 2010, are now on par with average sales prices in 2003-2004.

A major influence on price, bank-owned property sales more than doubled in 2011. Combined, bank-owned (830 sales) and short sale transactions (459 sales) made up a whopping 22.6% of all homes closed.  The condo market maintained the same sales pace as 2010 although average sales prices were down 8% from the prior year.

Mercer Island      Mercer Island 2011 Year in Review

Mercer Island gained significant sales momentum in 2011 with sales volume up 19% over 2010. More Island homes sold last year than in any of the past four years. Average sales prices and cost per square foot slipped in 2011 while median sales prices remained nearly on par with those of 2009 and 2010.

Of the year’s sales, 88 were above $1,000,000 while only 15 were below $500,000. Bank-owned and short sales made up only 10% of the sales in 2011—one of the region’s lowest ratios of distressed property sales.

At 42 sales for the year, the condominium market matched the sales volume of 2007. Even with brisk activity, an incredulous 50% of condo sales were distressed, bringing average sales prices down to $358, 152 and making the cost per square foot ($255) the lowest it has been in the past seven years.

Eastside      Eastside 2011 Year in Review

The Eastside real estate market—comprised of Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Mercer Island, Woodinville, Bothell, Carnation and Duvall—once again showed the greatest strength of any area in the Puget Sound region with sales activity up 10.6%. Yet even with such strong sales volume, prices were down nearly 8%.

Bank-owned sales (711) and short sale transactions (580) made up 21.9% of all homes closed and were a major factor in lowered sales prices posted for the year.

A surge of activity was seen in the condo market with unit sales up 19% over those of 2010. Even with an increased number of distressed sales—25% of all condos sold last year—condo sales prices fared better than single family home sales with prices down 5% from the prior year.

Single family home and condominium prices in 2012 will continue to be impacted by the volume of distressed properties still to be cleared off the books. A strong buyer’s market prevails as interest rates remain at historic lows and prices round the bottom of the curve before regaining enough momentum to move back up.

Data prepared and analyzed by Julie Nugent for Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. For questions or comments, email Julie at julie@windermere.com.