Thursday, February 20, 2014

Keeping up

Tacos are in our future (and sushi?)

The rumor we picked up and reported a few weeks ago that a taco stand could be moving into the space once occupied by Best Buds flower shop at 41st and E. Blaine has proven  true. A company called Taco Bar LLC has applied for a liquor license for that site, though no construction activity is currently underway there.

Meanwhile, there's a new rumor, though unsubstantiated (that's the thing about rumors), that the replacement for the departed Mad Pizza on Madison St. might be "something Japanese."  As with the old Best Buds shop, however, the former pizza parlor is not undergoing rehabilitation at this point.

Finally on the food scene, Madison Park Conservatory served its last meal on Saturday, chef/proprietor Cormac Mahoney and some of his great crew posing for a final shot in the kitchen:

Those so choosing can leave their best wishes on the restaurant's Facebook page.

As an aside, Madison Parkers might be interested in reading a postmortem of MPC at one of the KOMO News websites, Seattle Refined, wherein blogger Frank Guanco muses, "maybe the neighborhood didn't deserve Madison Park Conservatory."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fourth Quarter Real Estate Report

2315 38th Avenue E.: sold at list price in five days

Who moved our inventory?

As the new year began, Madison Park exhibited all the aspects of a "hot" real estate market except for one. It's hard to sustain a vibrant market when there are virtually no houses for sale; and at the end of January there were just nine Madison Park listings. That  represents one and a half months of inventory, based on fourth quarter 2013 sales levels.  Those who have been waiting for the right moment to put their house on the market, however, will be heartened to learn that houses are now selling in record time and they're selling, in many cases, at the initial asking list price---or even higher.  Those are both significant changes from what was true when last year began.

Here's a rundown of the market's sales activity in the fourth quarter:


Sales:  18
Median Sale Price:  $1,590,000
Average Sq. Ft.:  3,651
Average Price per Sq. Ft.:  $432
Average Days on Market:  63
Average Discount from List Price:  6.8%


Sales: 3
Median Sale Price:  $435,000
Average Sq. Ft.:  1,515
Average Price per Sq. Ft.:  $585
Average Days on Market:  218
Average Discount from List Price: 7.7%

For the most part, the six houses that on average sold per month during the fourth quarter moved quickly from "listed" to "sold."  Excluding the two houses that changed hands above $2 million, the remaining 16 lower-priced houses sold in an average of just 39 days. Five of these properties were closed in fewer than ten days.

Moreover, five of the 18 house sellers had the pleasant experience of quickly receiving offers at or above the list price. One house sold in seven days at a 12% premium to list.  The average discount from original list price of 6.8% reflects the fact that some sellers were not as fortunate.  One house originally listed at $3,350,000 sold during the quarter at $2,400,000 (a 28% discount from the initial list price) after 280 days on the market.  Another house, originally listed at $1,689,000, sold for $1,400,000 (a 17% discount) after only 49 days on the market.

The condo market was not as frothy during the fourth quarter, but the average days on market showed a decline in spite of the fact that one of the three condos sold 476 days from listing.

2053 42nd Avenue E.: pending sale seven days from list

It appears to be an excellent time to sell a house in Madison Park, with potential buyers having a rather limited set of options to choose from.  This was the state of the market at the end of January, based on NW Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) data provided through Redfin:


Listings:  9
Median List Price:  $1,795,000
Median Sq. Ft.:  3,540
Median Price per Sq. Ft.:  $507
Average Days on Market:  192
Percentage with Price Reductions:  66%
New Listings:  1
Pending Sales:  3


Listings:  4
Median List Price:  $435,000
Median Sq. Ft.:  950
Median Price per Sq. Ft.:  $459
Average Days on Market:  137
Percentage with Price Reductions:  50%
New Listings:  1
Pending Sales:  1

The number of new listings in January was anemic, and that situation seems to be holding for February as well, with just a couple of new houses coming onto the market. With pending sales now exceeding new listings, there's an obvious imbalance.  The three pending houses on the market, by the way, were each listed below $1 million and received offers in under ten days.  The houses that have not sold, for the most part, are much pricier, with four of the nine listed at $2,500,000 or more.

Madison Park's market mirrors the state of the market for Puget Sound as a whole, with a lack of inventory being the number one problem for buyers and real estate professionals alike.  But for the region as a whole, new listings are actually up this year, according to the NWMLS, while in Madison Park listings are significantly lower than at this point last year. There were ten new listings in January 2013 and just two new listings this year. There were 28 houses on the market at this time last year, and there are just nine this month.  For the overall Puget Sound region there is a 4.5 month supply of inventory on hand (and for King County, inventory of 2.5 months), while in Madison Park we're down to 1.5 months of inventory.

Got a house you want to sell?

4100 E. Highland: a new February listing at $2,795,000

[Thanks to Laura Halliday 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. Photos provided through Redfin, courtesy of Windermere Real Estate and Coldwell Banker (middle photo).]

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Madison Park Conservatory to close

In an email to its regular patrons yesterday afternoon, Madison Park Conservatory's maestro/chef, Cormac Mahoney, announced that the end is near:

"It is with a heavy heart that we let everyone know MPC will be closing its doors after service on February 15th. Restaurants are a crazy thing and many stars have to align to create a successful and enduring place. Although, we would have the liked our run to be much longer we are very proud of the past three years and have many fond memories to look back on. Most importantly, I want to thank our staff, both current and past, for accompanying us on this journey. Also I want to thank all our customers who have enjoyed MPC. So to all those MPC regulars, first dates, birthdays, anniversaries, company parties, wine clubs, family reunions, friendly gatherings, happy hour fans and sunset cocktail sippers - much love for allowing us to spend time with you. The everyday relationships made at MPC is what we'll miss the most. Lastly, thank you to all our vendors. We have been proud of our food because it is always started with great ingredients and it's the tireless work of our many vendors that makes our food possible.

The restaurant, which was the recipient of many favorable editorial reviews since its inception in November 2010, had been seeing a decline in patronage for some time. As Mahoney learned to his chagrin, restaurants are a tough business.

The loss of Madison Park Conservatory leaves another void in the neighborhood's business district at a time when some claim to detect a downward trajectory for Madison Park as a "destination neighborhood."  In that respect, this closing is not only a sad experience for the staff and patrons of the MPC but may also foreshadow the neighborhood's longterm retail vitality (or lack thereof).

Time will tell.