Mercer Island Sees 17+% Median Sales Price Increase Over 2016 Annual Report – What about Seattle and the Greater Eastside?

Mercer Island Sees 17+% Median Sales Price Increase Over 2016 Annual Report – What about Seattle and the Greater Eastside?

Article written by Julie Barrows, owner of Windermere Real Estate / Mercer Island.

YIR_SeattleSeattle area real estate paid off big yet again in 2017 with a 14.1% median price increase to $708,000.  In fact, over the past five years, prices are up 58.7%.  A Seattle house that was $446,000 in 2013 would sell for a whopping $708,000 today, or $262,000 more.

Grappling with gridlock and buyer push-back over steeply escalating prices, Seattle saw the strongest price growth in neighborhoods further from the downtown core—namely South Seattle, Shoreline, and West Seattle. These more affordable regions offered home buyers more for their money than many of the core in-city hoods…although the quaint, inviting homes with signature “Seattle Charm” are pretty hard to pass up.


The median sale price on Mercer Island increased 17.1% (to $1,546,000) over 2016. Lack of available housing was the biggest contributor in driving prices up in this often-coveted island community nestled in the heart of the metro region between Seattle and Bellevue.

New residential development regulations implemented in November impacted the size and placement of new construction and remodeled homes. Given the current buyer demand in the Mercer Island market, the new restrictions generally only affected values where total building size was significantly diminished.


Median price appreciation on the Eastside fared even better than Seattle with year-over-year prices up 15.2% to $868,000.  Over the past five years, prices are up 54.8%.

The entire Eastside—comprised primarily of the cities of Bellevue, Medina, Clyde Hill, Yarrow Point, Hunts Point, Kirkland, Issaquah, Redmond, Sammamish, Woodinville, Carnation and Duvall—grew at a frenzied pace as buyers competed for fewer and fewer homes in Seattle’s newer and more spacious neighboring Eastside region. Those communities closest to the metro core and I-90/520 arterials fared best but homeowners in more remote Eastside neighborhoods are hardly complaining.

Waterfront-ReportChallenged 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.

Condo-ReportIn desperately short supply, condos have become a favorite, or the only option, for buyers looking for walkability, convenience, and affordability in one nifty little package. Experiencing one of their best years in decades, condo prices flourished in 2017 and will likely see similar gains in 2018. Well-run buildings with reasonable monthly dues, those with all the bells and whistles, and good proximity to essential services are especially popular right now.

Seattle area real estate paid off big yet again in 2017 with a 14.1% median price increase to $708,000. The Eastside fared even better—up 15.2% to $868,000. In fact, over the past five years, prices are up 58.7% and 54.8% respectively. A Seattle house that was $446,000 in 2013 would sell for a whopping $708,000 today, or $262,000 more.

Stack that up against nearly any other investment—oh, and don’t forget that gain is based on the value of the entire asset and not just what you invested in it (i.e. down payment and closing costs). If you purchased said home in 2013 for $446,000, putting 20% ($89,200) down and financing the remainder with about $10,000 in loan fees, you would have invested about $100,000 for a gain of $262,000. A 262% return in five years assuming no major improvements were made.

While 2018 should be another good year for real estate, it might not see the hefty appreciation gains of 2017. Expect to see some slowing and a build-up of inventory in the luxury sector while the tight supply of entry-level homes steals the attention (and dollars) of would-be buyers. Other big winners will be highly coveted one-level homes that allow boomers to age in place, and communities with high walkability or those adjacent to highly-reliable rapid transit.

Seattle’s higher cost of living (and traffic) may push telecommuters and retirees alike further from the Seattle-Bellevue metro region as they cash-in their blooming equity for a lower-cost lifestyle in the burbs and beyond—leaving the costlier in-city abodes to high-income earners who want the hip urban life despite the cost.



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2017 Holiday Happenings Around Seattle, Washington

2017 Holiday Happenings Around Seattle, Washington

2017 Holiday Events Around Seattle

Forget about the rain. Whether it’s skating at the Winterfest Ice Rink, watching the “snow” fall at Snowflake Lane, or meandering through a dazzling light show, there are so many ways to make the most of our Northwest holidays…

WildLights at Woodland Park Zoo

5500 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98103 | click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/24/17 – 1/1/18 | 5:30-8:30 pm
  • Cost: $7.95-$11.95 per person (ages 2 and under are free)
  • Promotion: Get 50% off daily zoo admission if you present your WildLights ticket at the gate between Dec. 1st and Dec. 14th. You can also get discounts on WildLights tickets for groups of 20+.
  • Parking: Free parking at the north (Bear Lot), inner north (Otter Lot) and and northwest lot (Penguin Lot). Zoo entry is at the West Entrance only (5500 Phinney Ave N).
  • Food: Refreshments are available at food kiosks, Pizza Corner, and at the Pacific Chowder House (with covered seating). You are also welcome to bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Special Events and Activities
  • Holiday Closures: 12/24 & 12/25
Image courtesy of

Winterfest at Seattle Center

305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA 98109


Garden d’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden

12001 Main Street, Bellevue WA 98005 | click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/25/17 – 12/31/17 | 4:30-9:00 pm
  • Cost: $5 per person (ages 10 and under are free)
  • Promotion: Free admission nights on November 27, 28, 29, 30, and December 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Parking: Premium parking is $5 per car in the Garden’s lot (cash only) as space allows OR park for free at Wilburton Hill Park
  • Food: Hot drinks and snacks are available at the Aaron Education Center
  • Holiday Closures: None
Image courtesy of

Snowflake & Celebration Lane at the Bellevue Collection

Bellevue Way & NE 8th Street, Bellevue WA 98004

  • Dates/Times: Nightly 11/24/17 – 12/31/17 | 20 minute show starts at 7 pm
  • Cost: Free for all ages
  • Parking: Free parking at Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place and Lincoln Square.
  • Food: A variety of dining options (from happy hour, to kid fare, to gourmet meal) are all within walking distance
  • Special Events & Activities: Ice Skating, Santa Parade & Tree Lighting
  • Holiday Closure: 12/25
Image courtesy of

Christmas Ship Festival

Launch locations include Lake Union Park, Kirkland City Dock, Hyatt Regency, Leschi Marina, Des Moines Marina, Poulsbo Marina, Seattle Waterfront – Pier 55, Tacoma (Dock Street Marina), Port of Edmonds Marina, and Shilsole Bay Marina | click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Click here for the full schedule
  • Cost: $20-$62 per person (ages 3 and under are free)
  • Parking: Varies by location
  • Food: While dining ahead of time is recommended, there are snacks and drinks available for purchase on the ship. You can also pre-order Ingallina’s boxed meals (with vegetarian and gluten-free options) at least 48 hours prior to your cruise. Outside food/drinks are not allowed.
  • Special Events: Parade of Boats Night, Grand Finale Night

Ivar’s Clam Lights at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park

1201 Lake Washington Blvd N, Renton, WA 98056

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 12/1/17 – 1/1/18 | 5-9 pm
  • Cost: Free for all ages
  • Parking: Park for free at the Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park parking lot
  • Kickoff Event on December 1st, 5:30-7:30: Official lighting ceremony, music, photo stations, Parade of Boats viewing, and a visit from the Christmas Ship and Dickens Carolers
  • Holiday Closures: None
Image courtesy of

©Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island

Join Us for a Free Kids’ Planting Event at Summer Celebration: July 8 & 9, 2017

Join Us for a Free Kids’ Planting Event at Summer Celebration: July 8 & 9, 2017

The Windermere Mercer Island team is incredibly excited about Summer Celebration this year. Summer Celebration’s 2017 theme is “Out of this World!”

We have a new booth that we’ll be debuting in Mercerdale Park. Stop by to check it out, and make sure to bring the kids to participate our coloring contest.

We’ll be hosting our 12th annual My First Garden children’s planting event and…. Ciscoe Morris will be leading it this year! Ciscoe will offer his fun, entertaining plant knowledge and gardening experience to this year’s My First Garden as he leads the young gardeners through planting a flower in a decorated pot to take home.

In addition, we’re proud to be the sponsor of the Windermere Stage. There’s a great line up of musical acts scheduled to perform over the weekend!

Below is the schedule of Windermere sponsored events, which will occur in the Mercerdale Park festival location.

My First Garden with Ciscoe Morris, a kid’s free flowing planting event sponsored by Windermere Real Estate
Windermere Stage, 2 pm Saturday

Entertainment on the Windermere Stage
Saturday, 7/8 from 11 am – 7 pm
Sunday, 7/9 from 10 am – 5 pm

The Windermere Booth Coloring Contest and Giveaways
Saturday, 7/8 from 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday, 7/9 from 10 am – 5 pm

Click here to access more details about the weekend schedule.

Giving Back: Annual Recycle Event & Community Service Day

Giving Back: Annual Recycle Event & Community Service Day

During the months of May and June, the WindermereMI team participate in two important community events we look forward to each year – our office’s annual recycle event and Community Service Day.

We love assisting our clients, and the members of our community, to be able to easily recycle those bigger items, like old appliances and hard to recycle computers & electronics, plus offer secure document shredding services. We’re able to help with spring cleaning and keep these objects out of the landfill. Win – WIN!

Community Service Day is dear to our hearts. It’s a foundational event that all Windermere Real Estate offices participate in. Since 1989, we’ve closed our doors for a day to give back to our communities by offering our service to a local non-profit. This year, just like last year, we worked with Eastside Baby Corner. The WindermereMI team helped at their distribution center sorting donations, putting together furniture like cribs, and assembling basic necessity packs for families with babies.

In addition to the work we completed at the EBC distribution center, our office donated 100 sheet sets – crib, twin, and full – to be given to local families in need. The mission of Eastside Baby Corner is to provide basic necessities for local children in need, through their partners that include social service agencies, food banks, and schools.

“We were thrilled to once again spend time with the amazing team of people at Eastside Baby Corner this year. From packaging diapers and sorting clothes by size to assembling cribs and bicycles, our team was quickly put to work. Helping an organization like Eastside Baby Corner is good for the soul!”

—Julie Barrows, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island

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Brokers and staff who participated in Community Service Day 2017: Lis Brown, Andrew Jackson, Allen Hovsepian, Robert Craven, Fred Fox, Julie Baker, Katy Crouch, Nancy LaVallee, Tom Fine, Doug McKiernan, Codi Nelson, Denise Coe, Marianne Parks, Cynthia Schoonmaker, Lisa Dong, Julie Barrows, Julie Wilson, Wendy Chan, Ina Bahner, Linda Psyk, Cherrie Lee, Jane Malone, Erin Ewing, Emily Roberts, Peni Schwartz, Nicole Demers-Changelo, Seamus Pelan, Kathryn Buchanan

*Photos courtesy of Nancy LaVallee, Andrew Jackson, Cherrie Lee, Seamus Pelan, and Eastside Baby Corner.

2017 Windermere Real Estate Eastside Kick-off: We’re Ready For What This Year Will Bring!


If you follow Windermere Mercer Island on social media, a week ago Friday you saw our brokers attended the 2017 Eastside Windermere Real Estate Kick-off event. And what an event! Over 500 brokers from of the Eastside offices, and the Chelan area, gathered together to get energized for the New Year.

The event, held at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel, opened with a lovely continental breakfast and the opportunity to network.  The opening emcee was Matt Deasy, owner of Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc. Mr. Deasy discussed how Windermere brokers provide value to their clients in 3 different ways: opportunity, synergy, and endurance. Windermere brokers are distinctively primed to take advantage of the strong local economy and educate clients regarding the hot Seattle area housing market.

eastsidekickoff-161The Top Producer Broker Panel featured 5 amazing brokers from Windermere offices around the region. Mike Connolly, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Central, Inc., moderated this panel that included Nicole Mangina (Bellevue Commons), Ruth Harle (Bellevue-South), Jay Agoado (Mercer Island), Clive Egdes (Kirkland – Central), and Tony Butz (Bellevue-South). Each of the stories shared by this group were unique, but their success in real estate all contained common characteristics: determination, hard work, establishing real connections with people in their communities, not being afraid of technology, and offering concierge level customer service. The panel interaction, delivered in an Inman Connect Interview format, was fast-paced and engaging. A key take-away was the importance of adding value for clients who are already data savvy regarding real estate, and to own that professional value proposition.

Tech Tools to Make You Look Like a Rock Star

eastsidekickoff-211Shawn Prutsman, Vice President of Technology with Windermere Services, was introduced by Julie Barrows, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. She moderated this segment by asking Mr. Prutsman about the impressive new tools that will be available to Windermere brokers during 2017, and what technology updates to expect. An exciting topic was the updated listing photo gallery, and all of its amazing features, that debuted at the end of 2016. All the tools and updates scheduled for 2017 will provide further assistance to Windermere brokers– helping them effectively and beautifully market homes, assist buyer clients in our fast-paced local market, and stay cutting-edge in a region where technology is what helps drive our economy.

Amy Adams, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Bellevue Commons, presented a wonderful introduction of the man everyone in the room was eagerly waiting to hear speak – Matthew Gardner. As chief economist of Windermere Real Estate, Mr. Gardner prepares an annual forecast addressing his predictions for our economic and real estate climates. First, he covered our local economy – which is experiencing remarkable growth. The economies of the large cities in western states have been generally robust, and Washington metro areas have been at the top of the list. He sees this trend continuing into 2017, along with low unemployment. In fact, we should see more people relocating to our area during 2017 to fill jobs in the tech sector, and escape higher priced real estate in the Bay area. Two sectors he noted as slower growing are manufacturing and construction. We’re seeing that trend play out in lower numbers of single family residential permits being issued. Less new construction places pressure on our resale market, which will contribute to our housing market’s continued low inventory this year. House prices will see more increases in Western Washington. Housing affordability is an issue that needs to be addressed. King County homes are not affordable for many first time home buyers, which we’re seeing translated into people opting to purchase outside of Seattle metro.


NW Home Design Trends to Watch

eastsidekickoff-277Peter Hickey, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Northeast, Inc., moderated a panel of architecture and design specialists who detailed current home design trends that are especially popular in the Pacific Northwest.  Sheri Olson of Sheri Olson Architecture, Susan Marinello of Susan Marinello Interiors, Inc., and Brenda Gage with JayMarc Homes shared their favorite trends along with what they are seeing out in the field. New materials, exploring the color black as a neutral, and simplicity are all sought after in the interior design environment.  Modern, yet informal gathering places – both inside and out – are desired by homeowners in our region. Aging in place is also a hot topic in home design — with main floor masters, or dual masters on upper and main floors, an increasingly requested home feature.

The Right Mindset for 2017

eastsidekickoff-288Dan Givens, of Windermere Professional Development, closed out this year’s Kick-off event with a short presentation on having the right mindset to succeed at both work and home. He shared three simple, but impactful, mindsets that can redirect your outlook in a positive direction.

  1. Decide you are going to have fun.
  2. Set out to meet nice people each day.
  3. Help someone solve a problem.

Mr. Givens stressed during his presentation that affirmations don’t just happen by accident. If you consciously set out to change your outlook to meet your desired affirmation, that’s when the real change begins! His message offered simple ways to stay positive, and be effective in changing a habit or adding a new activity to your day.

eastsidekickoff-303What a great way to start of the year! The information shared during the event is so useful, and gave each broker who was in attendance tools that can help them improve their businesses, and deliver to their clients even better customer service during 2017. A round of applause is due for the owners and managers of the Eastside offices for offering such a terrific annual event to your brokers. And a special thank you to Julie Barrows, owner of the Mercer Island office, who organized this year’s Eastside Kick-off.

Photo credit: Frances Gaul

Local builder chooses to renovate an existing Mercer Island home rather than tear it down

Green building is a hot topic in our area. Home buyers want to feel good about their home purchase and also support environmentally sound practices. When discussing green building, new construction often comes to mind – green builders develop their plan for environmentally friendly homes right from the design phase. In our region land is at a premium, and to accommodate new construction builders have been purchasing existing homes, which are then torn down to make way for the new, green home.

A local builder who lives on Mercer Island, Justin Davis of True Design Build, approaches his design and remodeling projects with a focus on creating a greener home, rather than tearing down an existing residence. Davis enjoys the challenge a remodel presents – he works diligently to find the balance between a project’s goals and retaining a portion of a home’s original character. So when a Mercer Island house came to market last year in East Seattle, one where the estate did not want to sell the property to anyone who would tear it down, Davis decided to submit an offer. He had a plan for reinventing this home to fit both the neighborhood and today’s lifestyle.

In our current market, selling over asking price is common. However, the managers of the Blauman estate, Mr. Blauman’s sons, wanted to make sure their father’s legacy lived on. Mr. Blauman had been remodeling his home as a labor of love, and was not able to finish what he started. The home contained special touches, like tongue and groove joints, car decking material, and Blauman’s signature “wavy brick” design he installed on the sides of the house. It was important to his sons that the property be finished, rather than torn down, because it was Mr. Blauman’s dream to build a quality home for his family. When Davis submitted an offer, along with a commitment to remodel rather than tear down, the estate was willing to take his offer even though it was not the highest.

Davis was then able to take Mr. Blauman’s dream and make it a reality, while following his own passion for green building. He composed a remodel design that effectively used the existing space and available resources, while keeping a significant amount of debris out of local landfills. The studs-out remodel allowed for installation of products that provide better heating and cooling efficiency, water-saving fixtures, and an energy efficient gas tankless water heater. Davis preserved the wavy brick that was originally installed, and he reused resources – for example, he repurposed the garage door for the barn-style master bath doorway.

The finished house fits the scale and style of the other homes on the East Seattle street it resides on. The neighbors have been quite complimentary of the process and the final product. They expressed their gratitude for keeping the existing home in place, while Davis’ vision, and work of True Design Build’s team, made it shine. The neighbors are eager for new owners to move in!

Davis shared that there are similar properties in the Mercer Island community that possess the same potential as the Blauman home. He would love to see more properties revamped rather than torn down, “The community is something I am already invested in as a resident on Mercer Island, and by building beautiful, healthy, well-designed homes I can continue to contribute to the future of the island. The island is changing quickly and it is important to me to do what I can to make the changes intentional…” With the city of Mercer Island’s having the most tear downs, per capita, in King County, and the trend to replace existing properties with ones twice as large, exploring creative solutions to building is a noteworthy topic. The reality is it often comes down to the numbers – how can a builder make it work, from the purchase of the property, and then afford the remodeling costs. It’s a conversation that will continue here on Mercer Island, as the community continues to grow.

The home described in this article is listed for sale, mls number 1024199. If you would like to speak with Justin Davis, owner of True Design Build, he can be reached via his office (206-294-5227), cell (323-481-6805), or by email .

Need timely Seattle Region information? Windermere Mercer Island Is Here To Help!

seattle-1114705_960_720Windermere Mercer Island publishes a variety of resources to help you keep a pulse on our local real estate market.  Check out the details below to get the scoop on all the rich Seattle Region information that is readily available for your perusal!

Here on Mercer Island Pulse, we share timely real estate news, community information, company events, design trends, and home tips. You can subscribe to have each new article delivered to your inbox by clicking the Follow button in the lower right hand corner of the homepage.

You can keep track of the housing market in your favorite neighborhoods on The Market Talks, which offers weekly, monthly, and quarterly statistics for our region’s neighborhoods. If you subscribe to The Market Talks, each week you’ll receive informative market updates emailed to you as they are posted.

If you are interested in waterfront properties and lux trends, head on over to The Waterfront Report. Subscribe to receive quarterly reviews covering Seattle, Mercer Island, The Eastside, and Lake Sammamish, along with up-to-date luxury news and trends delivered to your inbox.

Are you eager to learn more about the bigger picture regarding our housing market and local economy? We have a YouTube playlist on our office channel with all the Housing 101 videos filmed by Windermere Real Estate’s chief economist, Matthew Gardner.  Click here to access the playlist. We add to it each time Mr. Gardner releases a new Housing 101 video.

If you are looking to relocate to the Seattle Region, or you already live here but want to find a neighborhood that is a better compliment to your needs and lifestyle, make sure and check out Live On Guides. You can research neighborhoods, school districts, and look at maps, all in one place.

Photo credit: Y Yoncee • Pixabay

Please Join Us This Weekend At Mercer Island’s Summer Celebration !


SummerCelebrationWebSummer Celebration is coming back to Mercer Island’s Mercerdale Park and Luther Burbank Park on July 9th and 10th, complete with live entertainment and events at our Windermere Stage. We’ll be at the Saturday morning parade handing out festive swag and cheering on the parade participants.  Our office is proud to be sponsoring a fun children’s gardening event and a booth with fun giveaways for kids and grownups alike…


“My First Garden” Free Planting Event for Kids
Saturday, 7/9 at 1:45 pm
The Windermere Stage


Coloring Contest and Giveaways
Saturday, 7/9 from 10am – 7pm
Sunday, 7/10 from 10am – 5pm
The Windermere Booth


More from the Mercer Island city website:

“Summer Celebration 2016 theme is “Symphony of Summer” and is all about music! Come enjoy a weekend of musical entertainment and fun all weekend long, July 9th and 10th in downtown Mercer Island. Join us for community karaoke, arts & crafts, community parade, car show, Obliteride Kids Ride, Boat Rides Around the Island, music activities, Food vendors, fireworks, live bands & entertainment, and a Swedish Pancake Breakfast.”

Events include:  ParadeBoat RidesFood VendorsArts & CraftsCar ShowChildren’s Fun ZoneCommunity KaraokeFireworksObliteride Kids’ RideMusicEntertainment


Festival Hours:

    Sat., July 9 10 am – Parade Town Center
11 am to 7 pm
6:00 pm to 10:30 pm
~10:00 pm – Fireworks
Festival at Mercerdale Park
Luther Burbank Park
Luther Burbank Park
    Sun., July 10 10 am to 5 pm Festival at Mercerdale Park

Click here to download the full schedule of events!

Festival Locations:
Mercerdale Park (Main Festival, Parade, Obliteride Kids’ Ride)
3249 78th Ave SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040

Luther Burbank Park (Fireworks, Shakespeare, Boat Rides)
2040 84th Ave. SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040

Comcast’s “Neighborhoods” Show Covering Mercer Island [Video]

Comcast’s “Neighborhoods” put together this fantastic video highlighting many of the special features here on Mercer Island. Join host Sabrina Register as she tours Mercer Island, takes a look at island businesses, and explores the history of the city.

Hat tip to Doug McKiernan for sharing the link to this video.

Mercer Island Farmers Market: June 26, 2016

Mercer Island Farmers Market
Sunday, June 26th, will be the last Garden Month market at Mercer Island Farmers Market (MIFM). Market organizers enjoy the opportunity to invite garden vendors to make the first month of the season really special. During June they endeavor to provide the Mercer Island community “something special and unique to bring to the table along with the fabulous food our farmers and food vendors provide.”

June 26th will be the last time these vendors will be at MIFM until their Harvest Market in November. Enjoy the sunshine forecast for Sunday while supporting these local artists — some of the items that will be available  include the following:

Live music will be provided by Zach Lombardo. Following June’s Garden Month theme, the activity at the Children’s Table center on Garden Visitors – I wonder if slugs will make an appearance during this activity!

Featured vendor will be Mercer Island-based Coco Beza – take a look at their line of soaps, salves, balms and solid lotion bars that feature sustainable, organic, eco-friendly ingredients. A larger snapshot of Coca Beza is available on the MIFM website.