NWMLS: Nearly everything about the Seattle-area housing market continued to tilt in sellers’ favor in October

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

Key indicators for Western Washington housing still rising, but brokers detect slowdown and uncertainty

Early seasonal snow and questions swirling around the tax plan unveiled last week by House Republicans could make the usual seasonal slowdown more pronounced, say industry leaders from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. For October, however, key indicators trended upwards.

“The challenge for buyers actually isn’t lack of choice, it is the rapid pace of sales,” suggested Ken Anderson, president/owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty.

J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, noted October was the “best ever for sales activity in the Puget Sound region.”

Compared to spring months, Scott expects volumes in the next few months will be at 30-to-50 percent of spring totals. “The stage is set once again for a frenzy housing market after the first of the year in the price ranges where there is a shortage of active listings for sale.”

Lennox sure likes that word “frenzy.” He seems to think that it has positive connotations. Personally I think it’s exactly the opposite. People do irrational and stupid things in a frenzy that they usually regret later. Is he saying that’s true of the current housing market? Maybe we actually agree more than I thought…

Now let’s dive into the numbers for October.


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):

October 2017 Number MOM YOY Buyers Sellers
Active Listings 2,619 -15.6% -13.4%
Closed Sales 2,441 -2.8% -2.9%
SAAS (?) 1.03 -11.7% +14.3%
Pending Sales 2,760 +0.9% -2.4%
Months of Supply 1.07 -13.2% -10.8%
Median Price* $630,000 +0.8% +14.5%

The only tiny shred of kind-of good news for buyers is that closed sales and pending sales are down slightly from a year ago. Of course, listings are down considerably more than sales, so the market overall is still trending in sellers’ favor.

Here’s your closed sales yearly comparison chart:

King County SFH Closed Sales

Closed sales fell three percent between September and October. Last year over the same period closed sales were down just a tenth of a percent. Year-over-year closed sales were down three percent.

King County SFH Pending Sales

Pending sales were up one percent from September to October, and were down two percent year-over-year. Year-to-date pending sales are down four percent from 2016. Meanwhile year-to-date closed sales are up one percent. I still don’t know exactly why that’s happening, but my guess would be that fewer pending sales are collapsing this year than last year.

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

King County SFH Inventory

Inventory fell sixteen percent from September to October, and was down about the same amount from last year.

Here’s the chart of new listings:

King County SFH New Listings

One tiny bit of good news: new listings were up eleven percent from a year ago.

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

Still nothing new here. It seems like it’s been the same story forever: It’s a great time to be a seller and a terrible time to be a buyer.

Here’s the median home price YOY change graph:

King County SFH YOY Price Change

Year-over-year price changes fell a couple points between September and October and are still sit at a very high level.

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

Up slightly from September, but not quite back to the all-time high hit in July.

October 2017: $630,000
July 2007: $481,000 (previous cycle high)

Here’s the article from the Seattle Times: Seattle home prices jump nearly 18 percent; West Bellevue median hits $2.6 million

Case-Shiller: Seattle Home Price Gains Still Strong in August

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

Up 0.2 percent July to August
Up 13.2 percent year-over-year.
Up 20.4 percent from the July 2007 peak

Over the same period last year prices were up 0.4 percent month-over-month and year-over-year prices were up 11.3 percent.

Here’s an update of the chart I posted last month showing the year-over-year home price changes in all twenty Case-Shiller cities over the past year and a half…

Matthew Gardner: “It’s not a housing bubble”

I’m still not really sure whether or not we’re in the midst of another housing bubble in the Seattle area, but here’s a strong sign that we might be: Local real estate cheerleader and permabull Matthew Gardner is loudly proclaiming that “No, it’s not a housing bubble.” No, we’re not in a housing bubble. Now […]

September Stats Preview: The Last Gasp of Inventory in 2017

Let’s take a look at regular monthly “preview” charts. Now that September is in the past let’s take a look at the local housing market stats for the month. Short story: Inventory hit the highest point since a year ago in King County and were just slightly below last month’s high in Snohomish. Sales are still strong, and foreclosures are nearly non-existent.

Sadly I have nothing particularly new or interesting to share about what happened in the market in September. It’s more of the same cruddy market for buyers: Listings are scarce and sales are still strong…

Case-Shiller: Everybody get on board the Seattle real estate rocket ship!

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

Up 0.6 percent June to July
Up 13.5 percent year-over-year.
Up 20.2 percent from the July 2007 peak

Over the same period last year prices were up 0.6 percent month-over-month and year-over-year prices were up 11.2 percent.

To get a sense of just how nuts it is here in Seattle compared to pretty much everywhere else, consider this chart of year-over-year home price changes in all twenty Case-Shiller cities over the past year and a half…

Amazon, Go

Okay, okay, let’s talk about Amazon HQ2

Everybody is talking about it, and it’s definitely going to have some kind of effect on the local economy in Seattle, so even though it’s a bit late, let’s talk about Amazon’s HQ2.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt seen the news that Amazon is seeking to build a second headquarters somewhere “in North America” that “will be a full equal to our current campus in Seattle.” GeekWire has been covering the story extensively (including a data-based city analysis by yours truly), so if you need to catch up on the facts, head over there. For the discussion here, let’s focus on the possible impact this development will have on the Seattle-area real estate market.