Seattle, Eastside and Mercer Island 2013 Year in Reviews Posted!

MERCER ISLAND

It was a banner year for real estate on Mercer Island, mirroring the trend seen across much of the Greater Seattle area. The median sales price on the Island increased by a whopping 13% in 2013, while the average sales price increased less than 1%. This unusual discrepancy was the result of several extraordinarily high sales in the luxury market in 2012. Extracting these from the data would result in average price gains similar to the median price gains seen in 2013.

The number of home sales increased markedly, up 19% from 2012 levels. Worthy of mention was a massive 55% increase in the number of sales in the $1,000,000+ price point, with the bulk of that gain occurring in homes that sold between $1,000,000 and $1,500,000.

2013 also saw decreased market times, coupled with increased sales ratios. The average market time fell from 91 to 65 days for single-family homes. Very desirable properties received offers–and, often, multiple offers–within seven days of coming on the market. Sales ratios (the relationship between asking prices and selling prices) were up as well.

Condominium and townhome sales saw very strong growth. Average market time fell from 117 days to just 35, and like single-family homes many condominiums and townhomes received multiple offers. The shortage of available condominium homes also created sensitivity in pricing, with median prices up a substantial 19% from 2012.

So what fueled 2013’s improved numbers? Improved local, regional, and national economies have helped real estate rebound throughout the country. Some of the biggest impetus in 2013 came from historically low interest rates. This year the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.98%, with the first half of the year seeing extremely low rates. Mid-year saw rates beginning to rise, ending just under 4.6% in December. As every 1% increase in interest rates leads to a corresponding decrease of 10% of purchasing power, it will be interesting to see how the interest rates of 2014 impact our market in the coming year.

Click here for the full Mercer Island report!

SEATTLE

The volume of single-family home sales increased monumentally to 8,070 homes sold in 2013 from 6,864 (2012) and 5,714 (2011). That’s an 18% increase in sales volume. Worthy of mention was a 62% increase in the number of sales in the $1,000,000 and above price bracket–496 in 2013 compared to 306 in 2012. The median price for a single-family home was up 11% over 2012, increasing to $446,000. Coming on the tail of strong performance in 2012, this makes 2013 a solid growth trend year.

Historically low interest rates provided much of the stimulus for our real estate market, supported by improved local, regional, and national economies. Rates started the year very low and rose throughout 2013, ending at 4.6% in December. As every 1% increase in interest rates leads to a corresponding 10% decrease in purchasing power, it will be interesting to see how the interest rates of 2014 impact our market in the coming year.

Very high absorption rates–the percentages of homes that go under contract as compared to all available homes for sale–continue to dominate the Seattle market. A “balanced” market allows for 4-5 months of inventory; in 2013 we saw a strong seller’s market, with less than two months of inventory available in most price points.

Activity in the Seattle condominium market increased 20% in 2013, with 2,731 sales compared to 2,278 in 2012. The median price increased 8% to $270,000.

Average market time fell from 60 to 34 days for single-family homes and from 103 to 63 days for condominiums and townhomes. Highly desirable properties received offers–and often, multiple offers–within 7 days of coming to market.

Click here for the full Seattle report and to see how prices have changed in your neighborhood!

EASTSIDE

On Seattle’s Eastside (Bellevue, Bothell, Carnation, Duvall, Kirkland, Issaquah, Mercer Island, Redmond and Woodinville), the median sales price of single-family homes rose a solid 12%. This comes after a remarkable 2012–making 2013 truly a banner year.

There were 8,206 homes sold–an increase of 15% in 2013. That’s up from 7,226 homes in 2012, and 5,883 in 2011, and a clear continuation of a strong upward trajectory. Homes closest to employment hubs in Seattle and Bellevue/Redmond will likely continue to see the greatest levels of appreciation in 2014. The number of condominium sales increased as well–by 15% over 2012 levels.

Of the single-family home sales, 897 (11%) were above $1,000,000–a significant increase from 620 in 2012 and 471 in 2011.

Two factors led to a decrease in both median and average sales prices for condominiums in 2013. One was a market correction following the huge 30% increase in sales prices the year prior; the other was a large number of short sales/foreclosures. Industry experts predict that these “distressed” sales will decrease in 2014.

The average market time decreased, from 126 days (2012) to 46 days (2013) for single-family homes. Condos saw similar decreases–from 105 to 48 days. Highly desirable properties of all types received offers–and often multiple offers–within seven days of coming to market.

Improved local, regional, and national economies have helped real estate rebound throughout the country. Some of the biggest impetus in 2013 came from historically low interest rates, which averaged 3.98% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The year started off with extremely low rates in the first half, but by mid-year interest rates began to rise, ending at 4.6% in December. As every 1% increase in rates leads to a corresponding 10% decrease in purchasing power, it will be interesting to see how 2014 interest rates impact our market in the coming year.

Click here for the full Eastside report!

© Copyright 2014, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed.

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