Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Real Estate Report: August/September 2010

The market’s turned, but not by much

There’s really no getting around the fact that as we head into the fall the Madison Park real estate market is doing no better than just holding its own. Although the late spring and early summer months seemed to augur a resurgence, the late summer numbers show a decline in sales, an increase in the days on market for sold homes, and higher discounts being accepted by sellers.

It probably doesn’t help any to know that our situation is mirrored by the Puget Sound real estate market as a whole. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service (MLS) recently reported, for example, that in September King County home sales were down 27% over the previous year, while pending sales were down 26% and inventory levels were on the increase. For our neighborhood, however, October inventory levels are about the same as last year’s, but home sales in August and September were down 16% over the same two-month period in 2009.

Broadmoor experienced the biggest comedown during the last two months of summer. While nine home sales had occurred there in June and July, the MLS reported not a single sale in Broadmoor during August and September, though the King County Assessor reported two non-MLS sales. With these included, Madison Park overall had 16 sales during the two-month period. This eight-sales-per-month average is still well in advance of the sales level experienced during the market’s trough, so we can take comfort from the fact that buyers, sellers, agents, and financing sources are continuing to find ways to get deals done.

Here’s a look at the August/September numbers from the MLS:


Sales: 3/5
Median Sale Price: $960,000/$1,450,000
Average Sq. Ft.: 2,737/4,121
Average Price per Sq. Ft.: $390/$362
Average Days on Market: 36/264
Average Discount from Original List Price: 10.4%/10.1%


Sales: 4/2
Median Sale Price: $496,500/$605,000
Average Sq. Ft.: 1,094/1,475
Average Price per Sq. Ft.: $453/$374
Average Days on Market: 219/408
Average Discount from Original List Price: 7.4%/18.8%

There are currently seven properties on the market, four houses and three condos, which have been for sale for more than 500 days (including two that exceed 1,000 days). On the opposite end of the spectrum, 34 listings were added in the last 60 days, representing 36% of the properties for sale in Madison Park. The chances of selling a house quickly continue to be significantly higher for the bottom end of the market than for the upper end. The houses listed at $1.5 million or less this month have been on the market for an average of only 89 days, while those listed above that level have been available for 182 days on average. The most expensive listing is for a 10,000 sq. ft. house in Broadmoor, listed at $11,950,000. The least expensive house is a 1931 Madison Park cottage listed at $590,000.

As noted, inventory is not higher today than it was at this time last year, and it remains in line with levels seen earlier in the summer. For the Seattle market as a whole, inventory levels are actually rising. Possible market stagnation is the implication of increasing inventories coupled with a decline in pending sales (down 30% in Seattle during September, year over year). However, there also could be a seasonality factor at play, according to some local real estate professionals. Expect slower sales through the winter, with a pick up in the spring. That’s at least the hope.

This is a current snapshot of the Madison Park market (Broadmoor and Washington Park included), as provided by Redfin:


Listings: 64
Median List Price: $1,795,000
Median Sq. Ft.: 3,670
Median Price per Sq. Ft.: $489
Average Days on Market: 147
Percentage with Price Reductions: 33%
Pending Sales: 7


Listings: 30
Median List Price: $435,000
Median Sq. Ft.: 1,091
Median Price per Sq. Ft.: $399
Average Days on Market: 197
Percentage with Price Reductions: 50%
Pending Sales: 3

As we’ve noted previously, Madison Park’s real estate market is really too small for a year-over-year comparison of house sales prices to be of much value. However, for the wider local market (including Capitol Hill, Madrona, and Montlake), the MLS reports that in September the median price of a sold house was up 34% over the previous year. Obviously, this is an anomaly. At the same time, the number of sales was off by 33%, and pending sales were off by almost 50%. This wider market, however, is probably much more impacted by the end of the federal tax credit program for home buyers than our neighborhood is. Only 16% of the houses for sale in the Park this month are listed at below $1 million, which is now a pretty typical pattern for our rarefied market.

[Thanks to Wendy Skerritt of Windermere Real Estate for her help in compiling the sales data. Listing data courtesy of Redfin, using information from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

[Photo: This 2005 contemporary home located at 2319 38th Avenue E., in the Canterbury section of Madison Park, is listed at $1,699,995. A Broadmoor Golf Course fairway abuts the house’s backyard.]


  1. "There are currently seven properties on the market, four houses and three condos, which have been for sale for more than 500 days (including two that exceed 1,000 days)."

    Someone's gotta drop their price.

  2. No disrespect, I really like the neighborhood, but if I can buy three condos in Redmond plus a house in Arizona and live off the rent of the condos, why would I buy a single one here instead?

    I think the folks who still manage to sell in this climate can count themselves lucky and pity the fools who bought.

  3. We've been looking at buying a place for about 2 years now, but just can't justify the lack of correction in the market here in Seattle. We did put an offer in on one house, but were turned off by the fact the the investor that had bought the house expected to turn almost a 200k profit for 6 months of work. He paid 300k and put about 125k into it. Some sucker bought the house for almost 600k and we walked away happy. I don't expect to get a house in the Park or the top of Queen Anne for 200k, but it is crazy to expect someone to pay almost $600k for a 750 sq ft house in Madison park on a tiny lot like one of the recent listings that just got pulled from the market. I'll stick with renting for another year thank you...

  4. There is only so much land in Seattle. If you want to pay 600k for a nice place close to the lake with a decent size lot, then check out areas near the I-90 like Mt. Baker. The nearby farmers market was ranked by CNN as one of the top 10 in the country.

  5. I have a condo listed in Washington Park Tower on the 7th floor for $775k which is a drop of over $24k from original price. It has been on the market for just over 90 days and has had 5 showings just in the last week...???
    Can't figure that out?

    Stephen Saunders, Coldwell Banker Managing Broker

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