Living On Mercer Island, Washington

Living On Mercer Island, WA – Mercer Island has long been discussed in hushed, envious tones as the posh “wouldn’t it be nice” location to live for the rich and successful who’s who in the Seattle and Bellevue, WA area.

In addition to having Class-A public schools and sports teams, the Mercer Island location also features many waterfront properties, and quick commuter access via the I 90 freeway to the downtown core of both Seattle, Washington and Bellevue, Washington.

Living in Mercer Island, WA : Balanced Nature and Urban Lifestyle

Our friends on Mercer Island include an attorney who works at one of Seattle’s largest law firms, and successful retirees who have been there “forever.” The attorney friend has a pool at his house – an unusual luxury in the greater Seattle area where cool winter (and summer) temperatures make pools expensive to heat and impractical to use for much of the year.

I recently talked to a British gentleman who worked in importing/exporting and whose wife was a teacher. They were thinking about retiring and selling their Mercer Island home for $3 Million.

Where Is Mercer Island, Seattle Located?

This is a large island on Lake Washington that is transversed by our East-West freeway I-90. The Highway travels from the south end of downtown Seattle, across the north end of Mercer Island, and continues east to downtown Bellevue and on to Issaquah and the Cascade mountains – a great place for skiing (downhill as well as cross-country) and snowshoeing.

Living in Mercer Island, you’ll find great access to the I-90 freeway and buses along the north end. Luther Burbank park offers Lake Washington access on the north side of the island.

While it only takes about 10 minutes to drive from the freeway to some of the fanciest estates on the island’s southern tip, Mercer Island offers an ideal commuter location in an “away-from it all” high-end setting. 

What Are Some of the Reasons For Living On Mercer Island?

If you want great public schools, friends with boats, beautiful people all around, and a high price-point for entry, Mercer Island may be for you.  Although there are apartments on the island, this is largely a luxury home type of area.

The island sits in fresh water – Lake Washington. This offers opportunities for sailing, kayaking, swimming, water-skiing, jet-skis, fishing, bird-watching and other fun-in-the-sun activities. Whether you’re blessed with a lakefront home, or waterfront home or not – chances are you’ll make some friends who have water access to share.

We’ve visited friends here in the summer to watch the famous Navy Air show put on by the fighter pilots Blue Angels squad. The planes fly over Lake Washingtonduring Sea Fair Weekend at the end of July and on Mercer Island – you’ll have a great view. We got quite a show!

mesmerized by the aerobatics of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels soaring overhead
Here’s what the Blue Angel fighter jets look like before they take off. We are big fans of theirs, here in Seattle, WA!

Seattle’s Favorite Luxury Neighborhood – Mercer Island

If you are looking for a amazing luxury neighborhood near both Seattle, Washington and Bellevue, Washington, make sure you check out the unbeatable Mercer Island.

Home Prices On Mercer Island

While Mercer Island it does feature some modest homes starting around $2 million each. Home values on this small island can easily exceed $5 or 10 million.

Condo prices on Mercer Island average around $450K. Home prices average around $2.6 Million. This compares to $1 Million as the average-priced home in the city of Seattle, WA and $2.5 Million in Bellevue, WA.

Schools On Mercer Island

Public Schools on Mercer Island get an A+ at every level – elementary, middle school, and high school. They are known for great athletic teams as well as great academics, and the overwhelming proportion of students are headed to college.

I was recently on Mercer Island for a track meet with my children and one of the schools we were competing against was a French language immersion school.

Clearly, although the public schools are great, many who live here can afford to send their children to the several private school options as well.

If you are looking for a private, luxury waterfront home on Lake, Washington, where you can keep a boat, have a dock, go fishing, and dip your toes in the water, then Mercer Island is certainly a great neighborhood to explore… Assuming you can afford it.

Downsides of Living On Mercer Island

Although Mercer Island can feel like a safe, woodsy haven away from the hustle and bustle of the downtowns, but still within easy commuting distance, there are a few “cons” to living here.

First, there’s less cultural and economic diversity in this area, if that’s important to you, you may not have as much exposure for your or your kids as you would like.

Second, there’s less privacy. Overall, neighbors value their privacy, and expensive waterfront estates are likely to have screened visibility between lots and privacy on their properties, in that sense. And… with 25,000 people living on the island, the population is not small by any means. But with limited numbers of schools, grocery stores and routes through town, you’re more likely to run into people you know on a regular basis. If you like to pop out to the grocery store without doing your hair and makeup, Murphy’s law says you’re likely to bump into a neighbor who might not be too keen on your casual look. How do you feel about this?

Island Fever – My dad has always wanted to move to Hawaii, but he’s afraid he would get “island fever” looping around to the same places all the time. This may be more true on an island, where you’re likelty to haunt the same few restaurants, for example, week in and week out. Although you can go into both Bellevue and Seattle for sports games, business meetings and work, chances are, in your down time, you may tend to keep things close to home, and that could prove more limiting there than in some of Seattle’s other luxury neighborhood locations.

Many people who look at Mercer Island but choose something else also consider:

Before you decide on Mercer Island for sure, here are a couple of other Luxury Neighborhoods you might want to consider.

Relocating to Seattle - Luxury Real Estate Seattle WA - Orientation To The Best NW Neighborhoods

Buying A Home On Mercer Island

If you’d like to buy a home on Mercer Island, there are couple of things you’ll want to be aware of. First – these homes tend to go quickly.

Of course, luxury homes typically sell a little more slowly than the mid-range of the market, but even so, Mercer Island homes sell within a month (or less) on average. Check in with me for the latest market updates.

Cash is always king, if you can afford it. However, many luxury home buyers still get financing. At Mercer Island price points, you may find that you need to be looking for a jumbo loan, which can have slightly different lending requirements than a conventional mortgage, so be sure you check in with your lender to see how much you can afford to pay, as well as what your payments will look like in the current lending environment.

As a life-long Seattle native, I would love to help you determine whether Living In Mercer Island is right for you. Please call me to discuss your options. I am happy to get you into dozens of homes, if you like, so you can see what’s out there – across Seattle, Bellevue and Mercer Island – to discover what location is best for you to call home.

How Can We Help You?

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.
    (check all that apply)
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.