The cottage on 42nd Avenue East before it was demolished. Photo by Bryan Tagas

The cottage on 42nd Avenue East before it was demolished. Photo by Bryan Tagas


When The Seattle Times ran a story earlier this year on the Puget Sound neighborhoods with the hottest real estate markets, Madison Park did not make the list. Trendy neighborhoods such as Belltown and Beacon Hill saw huge spikes in median home values during 2013 – a stunning 24 percent in the case of Beacon Hill. 

Madison Park’s appreciation last year was about 7 percent – not bad, but certainly not on a par with many Seattle neighborhoods that are considered “affordable.” Beacon Hill, for example, had a median price of only $320,000 for houses sold there in 2013. Madison Park, by contrast, recorded a median price of $1.35 million for the 103 single-family homes sold here.

But in spite of our not being “hot,” Madison Park has proven over time to be an excellent neighborhood in which homeowners can benefit from long-term gains on their residential property purchases, assuming their properties were not bought at the height of the market. 

Real estate website Zillow reports that Madison Park had a 7.1-percent increase last year in our median home value, based on neighborhood sales. The Zillow Home Value Index for a median Madison Park home (single-family residences and condos combined) now stands at $925,200 (the median being the point where half of the houses have a higher value and the other half a lower value). 

Unfortunately, Zillow excludes Broadmoor in its calculations, which somewhat distorts the overall picture for Madison Park, since Broadmoor represents about one-fifth of neighborhood’s single-family housing. Nevertheless, Zillow’s calculations are useful for taking a long-term look at appreciated values in the area. 

Higher appreciation 

Zillow’s records go back to 1996, when Madison Park’s median house value was just $266,300. Five years later, in February 2001, the Zillow Home Value Index for the neighborhood had risen to $570,900 (up 114 percent); and at the 10-year mark, in February 2006, the median home here was valued at $839,400 (up an additional 47 percent). 

The height of the market in Madison Park came in September 2007, when a median home topped $1 million for three months, peaking at $1,005,700 in September. The decline from that point was swift, with the median value hitting $715,200 in February 2011, before the recovery finally began.

From the low point, according to Zillow, Madison Park’s homes have appreciated 29 percent overall. That seven-year increase may seem modest relative to the go-go years around the turn of the century, but it brings the Zillow Home Value Index to just 8 percent below the neighborhood’s all-time high. Zillow is predictinga 4.8-percent increase in values during the coming year, which will place the median list price per square foot at $529. Today’s $505 per square foot is 59 percent higher than the $317 for the city as a whole, according to Zillow.

The takeaway from all of this is that Madison Park has already lived through the cycle of rapid appreciation that certain other Seattle neighborhoods are beginning to experience, post-Great Recession. The now-rarified nature of Madison Park precludes this kind of ongoing frothiness, though Madison Park’s many virtues will continue to make the place a sought-after place to live for those who can afford it. 

Gentrification continues apace, with cottages coming down and mega-houses going up. All of this puts the neighborhood further out of reach for typical Seattle families, lessening the size of the audience for homes in the Park. Even rentals here are astronomical compared to Seattle overall ($2,950 per month at the median in Madison Park vs. $1,615 for the city as a whole, says Zillow).

An exclusive market

Proving Madison Park’s exclusivity, Zillow ran some numbers for us earlier this year, comparing Madison Park’s pricing today with that of other Seattle neighborhoods. Madison Park’s $925,200 median value came in third of the 99 neighborhoods Zillow analyzed, topped only by Laurelhurst at $1,011,800 and Windermere at $943,800. 

If only single-family residences are included, however, Madison Park tops the list at a median value of $1,242,300 (Lower Queen Anne comes next at $1,115,700, followed by Windermere and Laurelhurst, the only other Seattle neighborhoods with median house values exceeding $1 million). 

Madison Park’s year-over-year increase in its median single-family home value, 12.6 percent, was exceeded by the annual increases of 29 other Seattle neighborhoods (21.7 percent for Highpoint, and more than 17 percent for both Windermere and Laurelhurst, for example). 

Further reinforcing the conclusion that Madison Park is at the top of the exclusive zone is the fact that the current median list price per square foot here is now $660, a 38.8-percent increase over the same point last year. 

There’s no inventory left in Madison Park, and what’s available is expensive (just 11 houses currently on the market, Broadmoor included, with list prices ranging from $1.4 million to $3.5 million). 

Zillow currently rates Madison Park’s real estate market as “Very Cold” (in other words, an extreme buyer’s market).

BRYAN TAGAS writes the Madison Park blog (, from which this column was excerpted with permission. To comment on this column, write to