Q1 2016 Waterfront Report for Seattle, Eastside Lake Sammamish and Mercer Island

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With only two sales to hang its hat on, private waterfront in Seattle saw a very sleepy first quarter. The water’s edge to the East of Seattle had the most activity with 2 new listings and 3 pending sales, while West Seattle and Magnolia were the sole benefactors of a single closed sale each.

Increasing prices, higher list price to sale price ratios, and longer market times are some of the conflicting elements that make this quarter’s data in Seattle about as clear as mud. Not an anomaly with first quarter data given the small number of sales to evaluate.

Seattle’s diverse private waterfront consists of both rugged Puget Sound saltwater coastline and protected Lake Washington shoreline. In the first quester, both Seattle waterfront sales were located to the West along Puget Sound. In contrast, more than half of all 2015 sales were of homes located along the shores of Lake Washington.
The first of Seattle’s two Q1 sales is a 1968 NW Contemporary with 4200 square feet sited on a .22-acre lot lot with 61 feet of waterfront bulkhead on Puget Sound saltwater just North of Discovery Park. On the market for 881 days, it sold for 99% of its final listed price. The second sale was of a remodeled 1925-built Beach Drive home with 4200 square foot on a .16 acre lot with 60 feet of waterfront bulkhead on Puget Sound just South of Alki in West Seattle. It sold at 95% of its original listed price after 79 days on the market.


Mercer Island waterfront saw solid price growth in Q1 as the low supply of inventory—both on the water and off—increased demand for the most desirable properties. That said, not a single private waterfront home transacted at higher than its list price, with the average ratio of list price to sale price standing at 92%.

There were 9 new private waterfront listings in the first quarter leading to an average of 13 active listings at any given time. 7 pending and 7 closed sales resulted in a respectable level of pre-peak season activity and is a good indication of a strong spring market ahead.

The highest sale, a 4800 square foot Avalon Drive craftsman sited on just over a 1/3-acre lot with 60 feet of low-bank waterfront with a separate guest apartment, private dock and covered lift, sold for $4,075,000—94% of its listed price, after 209 days on market. The most affordable sale, at $2,375,000, was also located in the southeast quadrant of the Island. It’s beautiful grounds and 55 feet of waterfront were strong qualities of this 1980-built contemporary home sold at its full reduced list price after 153 days on the market.


Waterfront prices on the Eastside have been on the rise. Of the 9 private waterfront sales, 8 sold above $3 million—and of those, 75% transacted with a sale price above $3.5 million. West Bellevue and Yarrow Point were the most active locales.

Sixteen new listings entered the market in Q1 bringing the average listing count at any one time to 22 active listings on the market. There were 10 pending sales reported with the activity shared between January and March with a very quiet February.

The highest Eastside sale in the first quarter was a 6900 square foot 1988-built William Buchan resale with 118 feet (+ a one-half interest in an adjacent 22 feet) of no bank waterfront on a rare 2/3-acre lot located in Enatai. An estate sale, this home sold $4.68 million—95% of its list price—in mid-January after 75 days on the market.
The most affordable private waterfront home, at $2.25 million, was a 1986 Juanita Point two-story sited on a 1/3 acre lot with 70 feet of south-facing no-bank waterfront. The traditional floor plan featured 4400 square feet with stunning water and Mount Rainier views from most rooms.


With 5 of the 6 new listings in Q1 the West side of Lake Sammamish saw far more activity than the East side of the lake did—although the four sales were evenly divided between the two areas. Still a very tight market with an average of only 5 active listings for sale, the six new listings were offset by 4 pending and 4 closed sales.

Lake Sammamish has indeed grown up as a luxury community—having gained incredible popularity over the past two years as a comfortable and protected lakefront community in close proximity to the hustle and bustle of both the Seattle and Eastside metro areas. The highest Lake Samm sale transacted for $3.75 million. A 6600 square foot, 2002-built modern with 160 feet along the water’s edge and sited on just over an acre with window walls, a lush wooded setting, four decks, and a private dock. Located just South of Idlywood Park on the West side of the lake, this home sold at 93% of its list price in early February after 160 days on the market.

The most affordable private waterfront home on the lake, at $2.3 million, was a 1979-built home with 100 feet of waterfront on a street-to-water lot just East of Tam O’Shanter. It sold at 94% of its listed price after 137 days on the market.


© Copyright 2011-2016, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. Statistics provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing service and deemed accurate but not guaranteed. For questions or comments, email Julie Barrows at julie@windermere.com.