NWMLS: Closed sales plummet, listings still scarce

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January market stats have been published by the NWMLS. Here’s a quick excerpt from their press release:

Home Buyers Still Competing for Sparse Inventory in Western Washington, Driving Up Prices – Especially for Sought-After Condominiums

“The Seattle area real estate market hasn’t skipped a beat with pent-up demand from buyers is stronger than ever,” remarked broker John Deely in reacting to the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The report on January activity shows a slight year-over-year gain in pending sales, a double-digit increase in prices, and continued shortages of inventory.

“The decline in sales last month can’t be blamed on the holidays, weather or football. It’s simply due to the ongoing shortage of housing that continues to plague markets throughout Western Washington,” said OB Jacobi, the president of Windermere Real Estate.

Bummer for home salespeople that they can’t use the “football” excuse they usually throw out in January. Not that there’s really anything in these latest numbers for them to be concerned about.

Now let’s dive into the numbers for January.

CAUTION

NWMLS monthly reports include an undisclosed and varying number of
sales from previous months in their pending and closed sales statistics.

Here’s your King County SFH summary, with the arrows to show whether the year-over-year direction of each indicator is favorable or unfavorable news for buyers and sellers (green = favorable, red = unfavorable):

January 2018 Number MOM YOY Buyers Sellers
Active Listings 1,243 +6.4% -20.8%
Closed Sales 1,259 -39.9% -20.4%
SAAS (?) 1.01 +17.4% +26.1%
Pending Sales 1,747 +19.7% -9.9%
Months of Supply 0.99 +77.0% -0.5%
Median Price* $628,388 -1.0% +19.7%

Inventory is at its lowest January level ever, and new listings were only barely above last year’s record-low level. Despite having nearly the same number of new listings as last year, closed sales and pending sales are both down considerably. Meanwhile, prices are up nearly twenty percent year-over-year.

Here’s your closed sales yearly comparison chart:

King County SFH Closed Sales

Closed sales fell forty percent between December and January. Last year over the same period closed sales were down twenty-seven percent. Year-over-year closed sales were down twenty percent. That’s a pretty big decline. It will be interesting to see if sales pick up in the next few months or keep dropping.

King County SFH Pending Sales

Pending sales were up twenty percent from December to January, and were down ten percent year-over-year.

Here’s the graph of inventory with each year overlaid on the same chart.

King County SFH Inventory

Inventory rose six percent from December to January, and was down twenty-one percent from last year. Total on-market listings are the lowest level for any January on record.

Here’s the chart of new listings:

King County SFH New Listings

New listings were up just 0.3 percent from a year ago—a whopping six more homes hit the market this January compared to January 2017.

Here’s the supply/demand YOY graph. “Demand” in this chart is represented by closed sales, which have had a consistent definition throughout the decade (unlike pending sales from NWMLS).

King County Supply vs Demand % Change YOY

The drop in closed sales is actually pretty sudden and severe in this chart. The last time the year-over-year change in closed sales was anywhere near this low was late 2010.

Here’s the median home price YOY change graph:

King County SFH YOY Price Change

Year-over-year price changes shot up to their highest level since March 2016, nearly hitting twenty percent again.

And lastly, here is the chart comparing King County SFH prices each month for every year back to 1994 (not adjusted for inflation).

King County SFH Prices

Down slightly from December and currently about $30k below the all-time high hit last July.

January 2018: $628,388
July 2007: $481,000 (previous cycle high)

Here’s the article from the Seattle Times: King County housing market kicks off 2018 even hotter than before, as Seattle breaks price record

January Stats Preview: 2018 kicks off with the same tight market as 2017

Here’s the summary for January: Yet another new all-time low point for inventory in both counties. Sales were lower than a year earlier, but not dramatically. Foreclosures are still basically zero.

Here’s the snapshot of all the data as far back as my historical information goes, with the latest, high, and low values highlighted for each series:

King & Snohomish County Stats Preview

So far there are no glimmers of hope for buyers as 2018 kicks off.

Real Estate Heat Index off the charts in 2017

After the final 2017 Seattle-area real estate sales data was released last week by the NWMLS, I updated my chart of the “Residential Real Estate Heat Index” for King County single-family homes and condos.

As a reminder, the “Residential Real Estate Heat Index” is an index that rolls changes in the median price, new listings, total inventory, pending sales and closed sales all into a single number to measure the relative “heat” of the market. Note that this index only looks at the real estate sales market. It does not factor in any other economic conditions such as wages, interest rates, rents, etc.

Below is the latest data for the heat index of King County single-family homes and condos…

Around the Sound: 2017 Puget Sound market wrap-up

It has been quite a while since we looked at the housing stats for the broader Puget Sound area. Now that 2017 is over, let’s update our “Around the Sound” statistics for King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties.

Prices are climbing and listings are declining across the board, but sales were strangely mixed. December closed sales were up from a year earlier in Snohomish, Pierce, and Island counties, while falling everywhere else…

NWMLS: Listings drought intensifies, months of supply hits a new record low in December

December market stats have been published by the NWMLS. Here’s a quick excerpt from their press release:

“Exceptionally Low” Inventory Slows Year-End Home Sales, Contributes to Steep Price Hikes around Greater Seattle region

This is the lowest level on record (going back to 2000) for months of supply. The previous record low was December 2016 at 0.76, and the record low before that was December 2015 at 0.86. Supply and demand have never been as far out of balance in the Seattle area as they are right now…

December Stats Preview: For-sale inventory hit an all-time low

With the close of December, all of 2017 is now in the books. Today we’ll look at our regular monthly “preview” charts, and the rest of this month we’ll update as many of our stats as possible to look at how the whole of 2017 played out.

Short story for December: Inventory hit a new all-time low point in both counties. Foreclosures are still basically zero, and sales were surprisingly strong given how low the inventory is.

Here’s the snapshot of all the data as far back as my historical information goes, with the latest, high, and low values highlighted for each series…

Case-Shiller: Seattle home prices edged down just barely in October

Let’s have a look at the latest data from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. According to October data that was released this week, Seattle-area home prices were:

Down 0.1 percent September to October
Up 12.7 percent year-over-year.
Up 20.0 percent from the July 2007 peak

Over the same period last year prices were up 0.1 percent month-over-month and year-over-year prices were up 10.6 percent.

Seattle still has by far the largest year-over-year price growth, despite falling off just slightly in each of the last three months of data. The only other city with double-digit price growth from a year earlier is Las Vegas at 10.2 percent.