REAL ESTATE CHASE | Are we on a roll? Pending sales skyrocket

As the second quarter got under way, things looked pretty dismal for the local real estate market. In fact, during the entire month of April there was only one house sold in Madison Park (Broadmoor and Washington Park included). 

While two condos also changed hands, the combined monthly volume of three total sales was the most depressed level of activity since the two-sales-per-month suffered by the market in the first quarter of 2009. 

Fortunately for sellers, the pace picked up dramatically during what passed for spring here in the Park, with a more-robust monthly total of 10 sales recorded in both May and June. 

Moreover, at the end of the quarter, a stunningly large number of houses and condos were pending sale: 24. 

As noted in last month’s column, there has been an average of 11 pendings per month over the last year, with 63 percent of these pending sales ultimately closing. Of the 19 houses and five condos currently pending, therefore, 15 or so should be expected to appear as sales in future months.

Even so, this year may still not shape up to be as strong as last year in terms of total volume. Through the end of June, there have been 41 sales, compared with 57 sales at the same point last year — a 28-percent decline. 

But the number of listings is also much lower this year: just 81 properties on the market now vs. 102 in June 2010. That’s a 21-percent smaller universe of available homes.

The market breakdown

Here’s where the market stood at the end of the second quarter in terms of inventory:


Listings: 62

Median list price: $1.55 million

Median sq. ft.: 3,490

Median price per sq. ft.: $444

Average days on market: 116

Percentage with price reductions: 42%

New listings: 12

Pending sales: 19


Listings: 19

Median list price: $550,000

Median sq. ft.: 1,025

Median price per sq. ft.: $537

Average days on market: 147

Percentage with price reductions: 47%

New listings: 4

Pending sales: 5

In June of last year, the average number of days on market for sold properties was significantly lower than the current situation: 126 days for houses last year vs. 172 days this year, and 166 days for condos last year vs. 598 days this year. 

A significant outlier skews that last number, however. One condo sold during the second quarter had been on the market for 1,572 days; the sellers finally agreed to take a 32-percent discount from their original listing price of $1.7 million.

Here is how the sales played out in the market during the second quarter:


Sales: 17

Median sale price: $1.16 million

Average sq. ft.: 3,501

Average price per sq. ft.: $416

Average days on market: 172

Average discount from list price: 12.4%


Sales: 6

Median sale price: $735,000

Average sq. ft.: 1,766

Average price per sq. Ft.: $418

Average days on market: 598

Average discount from list price: 11.2%

It is interesting to compare the median price of houses sold during the quarter with the current median list price for houses in our market: $1.16 million vs. $1.55 million — a difference of 25 percent. 

The most expensive house sold in the quarter was a 5,780-square-foot residence in Broadmoor, which went for more than $3.36 million, a 10-percent discount from the initial asking price. 

The least expensive house sold was a 1914 cabin in Washington Park, one of the original houses built in the area. With only 1,000 square feet, it went for $410,000 — 9 percent above the asking price. It will ultimately be slated for redevelopment.

Spec houses not dead yet

And speaking of redevelopment, it seems that the case was overstated a few months ago, when it was reported that there were no uncompleted speculative houses under development in Madison Park. 

The one on 39th Avenue East was missed. The house was under construction at the time it was reported that speculative building in the neighborhood was a thing of the past, but it became obvious that the report was in error when this house was completed and immediately listed for sale. 

It sold quickly, perhaps giving hope to those speculators waiting with properties ready to develop when the climate’s favorable. 

On the other hand, there are currently at least three spec houses for sale in the neighborhood, two of which have been awaiting buyers for several years. 

BRYAN TAGAS writes the Madison Park blog (, from which this column was excerpted. 

Wendy Skerritt of Windermere Real Estate assisted with compiling the sales data. 

Also, listing data courtesy of Redfin, using information from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

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