Market goes gangbusters as year ends
To the delight of sellers and real estate agents alike, 2012 ended on a very high note with a total of 36 Madison Park homes changing hands in the final quarter. To put this into perspective you need only compare it to the same period in the prior year, when only 27 homes were sold. So fourth quarter 2012’s numbers actually represent a 33% uptick in sales activity year over year. Not bad.
But the good news doesn’t end there, at least on the selling side. Compared to Q4 2011, the discounts from original listing price were much lower in the fourth quarter (7.6% versus 13.0%) and the number of days on market for sold properties also declined (from 129 in 2011 to 92 in 2012) for single-family houses.
Before we get into the details, here’s the rundown of sales in Madison Park (Washington Park and Broadmoor included) during the quarter, as provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service:
Median Sale Price: $1,350,000
Average Sq. Ft.: 3,449
Average Price per Sq. Ft.: $414
Average Days on Market: 92
Average Discount from List Price: 7.6%
Median Sale Price: $550,000
Average Sq. Ft.: 1,552
Average Price per Sq. Ft.: $482
Average Days on Market: 148
Average Discount from List Price: 13.1%
Sellers clearly benefited from historically low market inventory (more on that below) and, perhaps, a confluence of other factors such as low interest rates, easier bank-mortgage underwriting, and pent up demand on the part of buyers. Whatever the cause, however, it resulted in several cases of multiple bids and no fewer than five houses selling at their original list price or even higher. One Madison Park home sold at list after only two days on the market. Another home sold for a full 6.5% over list after just eight days:
|Remodeling, as in this case, can improve a home's resale value|
Of course this sell-for-list did not work for everyone last quarter. The biggest discount from an original list price (34%) was taken by the owner of a Broadmoor mansion that was put on the market at $2,350,000 and sold 234 days later for $1,550,000. The longest time on market for any sold home was 357 days. At $6,950,000, that particular Washington Park sale was by far the biggest that took place during the quarter (the next most expensive being the $2,222,500 sale of a Broadmoor house):
|The view from here|
The fourth quarter, with its 36 sales, was by a wide margin the best quarter last year. During the quarter the market showed a strong acceleration in activity over the usually brisker summer months, when there were just 26 sales. It’s unlikely, however, that the acceleration can be sustained in the current quarter, the reason being the low number of homes currently for sale here.
This is how the market looked at the end of January, as reported by real estate website Redfin:
Median List Price: $1,500,000
Median Sq. Ft.: 4,200
Median Price per Sq. Ft.: $357
Average Days on Market: 165
Percentage with Price Reductions: 39%
New Listings: 6
Pending Sales: 5
Median List Price: $465,000
Median Sq. Ft.: 1,041
Median Price per Sq. Ft.: $447
Average Days on Market: 162
Percentage with Price Reductions: 43%
New Listings: 4
Pending Sales: 3
The 41 total listings appear to be a record low level. That is just slightly more than a three-month supply of inventory, based on the fourth-quarter sales level. Just to put that number into context, there were 102 listings at this time two years ago. The number of new listings (last 30 days), meanwhile, is only slightly higher than the number of pending sales. The means it’s not evident that potential home sellers are deciding to enter the market at this point. The winter months are generally slow in this regard, so the spring listings should be a better indicator of 2013 trends.
It’s worth noting that the homes sold in Madison Park last quarter had median sales prices that were pretty much in line with the with the median listing prices for homes currently on the market. There was a time not that long ago when the relationship between the two was less closely correlated. In the under-heated environment of the last several years, it was strikingly evident that the more affordable houses (or at least the more affordable, given Madison Park standards) were being sold and the least affordable were languishing. In 2010 the median list price of a Madison Park home was in the $2,000,000 range while the median sale price was in the neighborhood of $1,200,000. Today that relationship is $1,500,000 (list) versus $1,350,000 (sell).
|This listing at 489 39th Ave. E. is priced near the $1,350,000 median sale price|
Next month we will compare the Madison Park market in 2012 to that of previous years—and with regard to local real estate, at least, we will try to answer the existential question “Are we there yet?”
Thanks to Laura Halliday of Windermere Real Estate/Madison Park for her help in compiling the sales data. Listing data courtesy of Redfin, using information from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
[Upper photo: This classic 1904 Washington Park mansion, listed at $2,995,000, is located at 627 36th Avenue E. It sits on a third of an acre and has 4,500 sq. ft. of living space. Mary Snyder is the listing agent. Photo by John McKinney, courtesy of Windermere Real Estate. Other photos courtesy of Redfin.]