A Puget Sound Waterfront Analysis

Realogics Sotheby's International Realty recently released a Waterfront Update that examines regions across Puget Sound and highlights popular waterfront communities with information regarding home values, sales trends and market activity. The report is centered around price trends and the typical location factors that affect the value of any real estate. Waterfront sales, however, may also be influenced by other aquatic factors including docks, moorage, beach or tidelands access, and more. 

Looking at broad trends, waterfront prices have generally been on an upward trend since 2014. It is important to note that in many areas covered by the report—the Four Points and Kirkland in particular—the number of sales are easily skewed by outliers (even on an annual basis) and are too small to reliably discern trends regarding price and volume. The annual prices for 2014 to 2017, and the first half of 2018 are shown in the following table: 

Average Selling Prices 2014 to 2017; H1 2018

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Seattle Spotlight

Queen Anne/Magnolia - Ballard/Green Lake - North Seattle

In the sub-region of Seattle north of downtown, and including North Seattle, Ballard, and Magnolia, there were 8 waterfront single-family home sales from January 2018 through the end of May 2018. The average price among these sales was $2,168,333, at $564.45 per square foot. Sales were closed at an average CDOM of 181 days. Although waterfront property is more plentiful in Seattle than in many other cities, sales are irregular due to the infrequency with which these properties change hands. Areas that have seen many sales in recent years may see very few sales for a period thereafter, not due to a lack of demand, but rather to a shortage of supply.

Leschi - Madison Park - Mount Baker - Seward Park

The Seattle (Central) sub-region comprises that portion of Seattle east from South Lake Union and southbound along the Lake Washington shoreline from the Montlake Cut to Bryn Mawr. There were 5 sales here from January 2018 through May 2018, at an average selling price of $1.8 million, and an average price per square foot of nearly $500. What was noted for the northern sub-region of Seattle is perhaps even more relevant here: single-family waterfront homes along the shores of Lake Washington are infrequently sold. There are only a small handful of such sales between Foster Island and Seward Park annually, while condo sales are somewhat less rarely seen. When they do hit the market, these homes are highly valued; and once sold, they might remain in family estates for generations. Sales on Lake Union and south of Seward Park are more frequent.

Burien - Dash Point - Des Moines - Normandy Park - Redondo Beach - Three Tree Point

The Puget Sound shoreline in South King County runs south from Seola Beach to Dash Point State Park. Because this area was historically outside “the city,” it has taken longer to develop. There are consequently more properties available for sale, at selling prices that have escalated into the millions of dollars in recent years, especially in Burien and Normandy Park at the northern end. Sixteen waterfront single-family homes were sold from January 2018 through May 2018, at an average selling price of over $1.5 million dollars ($1,510,416)—although at an average market time of just over 6 months, homes here have taken a bit longer to sell than homes in Seattle.

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