Challenged by increasing building and shoreline restrictions, aging housing stock, and an extreme scheduling backlog for quality contractors, waterfront buyers found fewer modern turn-key homes, in ideal settings, to capture their interest. Waterfront that ‘checked all the boxes’ was in high demand—commanding top prices in 2017—while those requiring considerable renovation/rebuild sat stagnant on the market or sold at well below prior market prices. Don’t expect this to turn around until builders and remodelers become more readily available.
The most active quarter of the year for waterfront in the Seattle region, Q3 saw two very distinctly separate markets. The more moderate waterfront price points below $4 million experienced an increase in the number of homes for sale while the pace of sales slowed. Turn-key homes with desirable waterfront access were few and far between and many buyers appeared unwilling to purchase a home that didn’t measure up to their expectations.
Q2, typically the second most active quarter of the year for waterfront—behind Q3—saw an expected seasonal uptick in sales on par for region. While those properties with coveted topography, easy access, prime waterfront, and turn-key condition captured the interest of more buyers, several rehab/rebuild sales transpired in Q2 as well.
The region’s strong start to Q1, with 27 private waterfront sales, contributed to reducing the overall month’s supply of inventory and primed the market for what looks to be a solid spring and summer peak season in 2017.
Evolving from years past, more waterfront buyers today are attracted to not only homes with the right location and logistics, but those that are in exquisite turn-key condition. To be sure, there is still a tear down/rebuild-renovate market, but with the uncertainties of far-reaching waterfront codes and regulatory restrictions and an emerging ‘have it now’ mindset, we are seeing greater demand from buyers who want waterfront homes ready to move in to and now.
Seattle’s diverse private waterfront consists of both rugged Puget Sound saltwater coastline and protected Lake Washington shoreline, along with a number of smaller bodies of water (not included in this report). Of Q2’s 10 waterfront sales, 6 were sited on Lake Washington north of 520, 1 on Lake Washington south of 520, and 3 on Puget Sound in West Seattle.
A head turner o a Mercer Island home – which is listed for $5.88 million – was the creation of the late Ralph Anderson, one of Seattle’s most prolific and famous architects, and his builder son Ross Anderson. Together, the two of them designed and built this 4,540 square foot waterfront home located on 4014 East Mercer Way. It turned out to be te preservationist’s second last home. They completed it in 2001. Windermere Premier Broker Larry Williams has the listing and loves talking about this quintessential Anderson home…
On the east side of Seattle, notable waterfront communities abut Lake Washington including Matthew’s Beach, Sand Point, Windermere, Laurelhurst, Mount Baker and Leschi. The western shore is also home to the University of Washington campus, along the water’s edge just south of Laurelhurst down to the Montlake Cut and Portage Bay.
Eastside waterfront fared remarkably well in the third quarter with several homes entertaining multiple offers before selling at or near their listed price—a break from the norm at this price point where listing prices are often heavily negotiated. The highest sale was a regal Mediterranean estate on Shoreland Drive in West Bellevue with west facing views of Lake Washington and the Seattle skyline at $6.7 million. Built in 2008, it’s nearly 11,000 square feet of living space is situated on a 2/3 acre lot along 80 feet of private waterfront. The least expensive waterfront was a 1951 built home on a tiny .08 acre lot with 55 feet of waterfront along the shores of Lake Washington near the Seahawk’s training facility sold above list price at $1.07 million.
Seattle’s highest private waterfront sale was a 2001 built 4400 sq. ft. Laurelhurst Colonial Revival with 50 feet of Lake Washington waterfront on .32 acres. Listed at $4,650,000 and sold for $5,220,000. The lowest sale was a 1928 Beach Drive cabin located on 40 feet of Puget Sound waterfront in West Seattle sold at list price for $1,175,000.
Lake Sammamish continues to struggle with a lack of available waterfront homes for sale. The highest sale on the lake in Q1 was a rare, shy acre 4220 sq. ft. home built in 1987 with 130′ of waterfront—originally listed at $4.2 million and sold for $3.3 million. The lowest sale was of a tiny 1947 built cabin on a 15 foot sliver of water for $660,000 (listed at $674,950) just East of Weowna Beach Park.
The Seattle, Mercer Island, Lake Sammamish and Eastside private waterfront homes had a banner year in 2014. Each area experienced it’s own micro market, but as a whole, waterfront did quite well last year. Check out the details and view the private waterfront sales on major bodies of water in the greater Seattle-Eastside area in 2014.
The 3rd quarter of 2014 was good for Seattle area waterfront with average prices up in nearly all markets. Lake Sammamish, with a severe shortage of available inventory, leads the pack with an 18% increase in the average sales price compared to the same quarter last year. The Eastside followed closely behind at 13% over Q3-2013, followed by Seattle at 5% and Mercer Island holding steady with no increase over last year.
The 2nd quarter of 2014 was very favorable to Eastside and Lake Sammamish area waterfront while Mercer Island and Seattle struggled with fewer sales and softening prices. Lake Sammamish had fewer homes for sale this quarter which lowered its sales volume while increasing prices. The Eastside enjoyed steady price growth this quarter.