Thursday, April 24, 2014

The longer-term view of Madison Park real estate

2013 in context

As we often caution, sales statistics for Madison Park can be misleading given that ours is a pretty small market, with relatively few sales in each period.  Moreover, the mix of housing in the neighborhood is eclectic, to say the least.  Mansions abound in Broadmoor and Washington Park, with mega-houses now a feature in each of the three major sections of Madison Park.  Yet at the same time, there are plenty of less-imposing structures even in the more exclusive enclaves, and there’s a wide mix of construction styles throughout the neighborhood. Because of this hodgepodge, appraisers have reported that it’s more difficult to find good comps here than in most other Seattle neighborhoods.

Statistical information about Madison Park housing, therefore, should be looked at over the long term, rather than on a month-by-month or quarter-by quarter basis.   Perhaps a good way to evaluate the trend of housing values here is to look at sales price per square foot over a period of years.  The chart below shows the movement in value for single-family residences sold in the neighborhood since the height of the market, at least in terms of this variable, in 2008:

While Madison Park remains 21% below the high of $534.70 per square foot achieved five years earlier, it’s worth noting that there were almost twice as many total house sales in 2013 as there were in 2008, 103 versus just 56.  A wider mix of sales may skew the numbers in some respect.  Last year was a banner year for single-family homes sales in the Park, the 103 total sales being an increase of 32% over the previous year’s 78 sales.  In 2008 sales lagged at just 46.  Unfortunately, as we’ve chronicled in recent months, buyers during 2013 took most of the for-sale housing in Madison Park, and potential sellers did not replenish the inventory.  We note as an aside that there are fewer than 20 houses for sale in the market today.

What the price-per-square-foot chart tells us is that by this measure the market has been bumping along at about the same level for the past four years.  The fact that 25% of the 2013 sales were of houses priced at less than $1 million may have had the effect of pushing the average price per square foot down for the year.  Lower-priced homes do not command the same per-square-foot price as the more expensive abodes.

The most expensive house sale

In 2013, almost as many houses changed hands at the $2 million or more level as were sold at the under $1 million level: 21 in total.  Six of these were over $4 million, the most expensive being a “Georgian colonial…with sweeping, jaw-dropping views” (to quote the sales brochure), along McGilvra Boulevard in Washington Park, which sold for $4.8 million.  The house, built in the final year of the last century, has 5,270 sq. ft., with five bedrooms and five bathrooms.  Its $904 price per square foot is nearly double the average for the market as a whole, which pretty well demonstrates our earlier point.

Average days on market for houses sold in 2013 was just 98.  Forty houses sold in 30 days or fewer, including three houses priced at more than $3 million. Each of them sold within a week.  On the other hand, some sellers really held out for the long term, one home selling after 869 days (and at a significant discount) and two others selling in over 600 days.

As is always the case, there were differences in the average sales prices for houses located in Washington Park and Broadmoor versus the rest of Madison Park.  The differential between these more exclusive sections and the less well heeled was $200,000 to $300,000.

Broadmoor had the highest median sale price, at $1,520,000.  This is basically even with 2012 and down 8% from 2009. Broadmoor’s high-water mark was a $2 million median sale price in 2007.  21 houses changed hands in this most-exclusive enclave last year, a 250% increase over the dismal six sales recorded in 2012. The most expensive house sold for $4.3 million.  Only one home sold for under $1 million, though almost 50% of total Broadmoor sales were for houses priced under $1.5 million.  That’s what passes for affordable in the context of Broadmoor.

Washington Park, meanwhile, recorded a median sales price of $1,405,000.  Houses took a bit longer to sell than those in Broadmoor (121 days versus 98 days for Broadmoor), but sellers took a slightly lower discount from list price than those in the gated community.  The least expensive house sold in Washington Park during 2013 was a $580,000 cottage, built in 1941, located on Lake Washington Boulevard E. A total of 11 houses sold for $1 million or less in Washington Park, all of them on 33rd Avenue E. or further west, an area that’s considered to be Madison Valley by many residents at or near the top of the hill in Washington Park.

In the rest of the Park, the median house sold for $1,212,500 during 2013. This is a big increase over previous years and is almost as high as the $1,250,000 median price at the height of the market in 2008. The average days on market was 77 and the average price per square foot was $412.88. The most expensive home sold was a secluded 6,280 sq. ft. house on the 1900 block of 37th Place E., built in 2000. It went for $3,495,000.

The most expensive condo sale was in this building

There were also 39 condos sold in Madison Park during 2013, with a median price of $445,000, average square feet of 1,141, and an average price per square foot of $454.60.  The highest priced condo sold last year was a 1,400 sq. ft. unit in a condo building on 43rd Avenue E., across the street from Swingset Park, which sold for $1,150,000.  Condos spent an average of 136 days on the market, though one notable exception was a condo that that languished for 1885 days---owned apparently by someone those in the industry would probably characterize as “an unmotivated seller.”

[Thanks, as always, to Laura Halliday of Windermere Real Estate for her help in providing sales statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.  Current market data provided by Redfin.]

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