Cash and International Buyers Fuel Seattle’s Luxury Housing Market

Last year’s record-setting real estate market was fueled by high demand and low inventory, and the luxury market reflected the same intensity. High-end home sales were brisk and competition, boosted by a steady influx of international buyers, made for a particularly strong year. In 2015, 34 homes sold for $5 million or more according to NWMLS statistics. That compares to 31 sales in 2014.

$5 million+ home sales:

·         64% of the 34 sales were all cash
·         25 of the 34 sales were waterfront
·         29 of the 34 sales were located on the Eastside
·         7 of the 34 properties sold in 10 days or less

Total number of $5 million+ home sales in 2015 by location:

City
# of sales
Mercer Island
7
Bellevue
7
Clyde Hill
5
Medina
4
Seattle
4
Yarrow Point
3
Hunts Point
3
San Juan Island
1
TOTAL
34

Buyer Demographics

Windermere brokers were involved in 25 of the 34 $5 million+ sales. Based on those transactions, Windermere estimates that international buyers, primarily from China, accounted for 39% of the sales. Six of the seven properties that sold within ten days of coming on the market were purchased by local buyers, five of which paid cash. It’s interesting to note that the age of those buying $5 million+ homes in 2015 ranged from their 20s to their 60s. As for the professions of the buyers, 73% were business owners, 18% were corporate executives, and 9% were entertainers/athletes.

Highest Priced Sales/Listings

The highest priced home sold in 2015 was a $13.8 million waterfront estate on Mercer Island. The highest priced home sold west of Lake Washington (Seattle) was a $5.75 million home in Washington Park. The highest priced single family home currently on the market in the greater Seattle area is a Meydenbauer waterfront estate listed for $32.8 million (see it here). The highest priced condominium currently on the market is a Madison Tower penthouse in Seattle listed for $9.99 million (see it here). Both are listed with Windermere Real Estate.
“2015 ended very strong for luxury home sales and we expect the demand to remain high in the coming year. With so many companies hiring, and no one wanting to leave, we expect the trends of 2015 to carry on through 2016,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate.
Read more about the Seattle luxury housing market on the Seattle Times.

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