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Monday, January 23, 2006

For Sale: Mercer Island Home - $40 Million

Here's one just for laughs. Have a look at the real estate market from the top. Way up at the top—$40,000,000 on Mercer Island:

It's the ultimate trophy property: a five-bedroom, Mediterranean-style lakefront home on Mercer Island where your neighbors include Paul Allen and Mike Holmgren.

Asking price: $40 million. Time on market: 15 months and counting.
So who are these people, why aren't they in a rush to sell — and what do their mid-eight-figure pads look like? We went on a cross-country tour of homes that have been on the market for close to a year or more and found sellers such as a former radio-station owner, a retired Seattle-area couple and plenty of people who made their money in the real-estate market. Our visits let us into a private art wing with steel doors that drop from the ceiling, a 70-foot saltwater swimming pool and a sweeping vista over Michael Eisner's Aspen-area house way, waaaaay below.

We also found prices that didn't seem to compute.

At $40 million, for example, Chuck and Karen Lytle's home on Mercer Island is priced more than five times the high sales price on that island.

The Lytles put their home on the market after a Saudi sheik, a friend of their lighting designer, toured the property in 2004 and expressed interest in buying it. He never did, but more than a dozen people have since viewed the home on Lake Washington, said listing agent Wendy Lister.

So far, the semiretired Lytles haven't had an offer. The asking price could be one stumbling block. The home is on the water, but doesn't have the great views of downtown Seattle that can be seen from homes at higher elevations on the island. Local brokers say $32 million is a fair opening offer.
Talk about trying to make the most out of the bubble. Zowie. They're trying to bump their asking price by a dollar amount that's more than 99% of houses in Seattle even cost. Hey, if they find some sucker out there though, more power to them, I suppose. Whatever.

(Amir Efrati, Wall Street Journal via King County Journal, 01.17.2006)

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