August Seasonally-Adjusted Active Supply by Neighborhood

Let’s check in again on our regular monthly neighborhood update to Seasonally-Adjusted Active Supply (SAAS). For an explanation of what seasonally-adjusted active supply is, please refer to this post. Also, you may view a map of the areas discussed in this post.

As usual, the sweet interactive data visualizations in today’s post come to you courtesy Tableau Software.

In the charts below I have taken the calculated value for SAAS and subtracted 2, in order to better visualize the difference between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market. Using this method, negative SAAS values indicate a seller’s market, while positive values indicate a buyer’s market.

Summary

Seasonally-Adjusted Active Supply

With new listings continuing to wane, King County’s overall SAAS finally dropped below the “balanced” level, coming in at 1.88 for August (July was 2.01). 10 of 30 areas came in below 1.75 as seller’s markets, 7 of 30 came in above 2.25 as buyer’s markets, and the remaining 13 were more or less balanced between 1.75 and 2.25.

Hit the jump for the rest of this month’s interactive charts and commentary.

Here’s a year-over-year comparison for each NWMLS neighborhood.

Year-Over-Year Comparison

Y-o-Y Dashboard

Other than downtown condos, Seattle proper had the strongest showing last month for Sellers, with five of its eight areas coming in below 2.0.

Regional History

by Region Dashboard

Most regions saw declining SAAS values from July to August, probably because people aren’t listing their homes as summer winds down unless they absolutely need to sell.

The three toughest markets for sellers were Downtown Seattle condos (701) at 3.8, Enumclaw (300) at 2.8, and Des Moines / Redondo (120) at 2.7.

The three best markets for sellers as of last month were Vashon Island (800), Queen Anne / Magnolia (700), and Richmond Beach / Shoreline (715), all tied at about 1.5.


About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

58 comments:

  1. 1
    Objectivity says:

    If I have to hear another Baby Boomer say: “I wouldn’t sell now…the market is too bad. I’ll wait a couple years”….I’m going to go nuts. Lets see if they like the price when its down another 30%.

  2. 2
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Objectivity @ 1 – Whatever, it’s their decision. And they’ll be very happy if we end up with inflation and prices are up 30%. Neither scenario is impossible.

  3. 3
    frugal says:

    Agree – what i worry about is inflation, not in the near term but in the next 5+ years

    anyway, i’m a first time buyer and i’ve been looking for almost a year. I did make a few offers but got bidden by investors with cash :(
    I’m a single guy and currently renting but i thought this might be a good time to look more seriously into buying a house. what do you advice?

    buy ? keep renting ?

    My rent is cheap – Im sharing a room in large house for 500 / month including utilities
    My job is stable
    credit score is good (750)

  4. 4
    akfish says:

    Objectivity: Yeah, drives me nuts to hear so many existing homeowners complain that prices are “too low right now.” I’m with Krismer; inflation will make a lot of people happy. Then they can finally sell and feel good they were smart, waited it out, and “make a profit!”

    While inflation is allegedly low right now, I think we’ve already had stealthy ninja inflation. Housing is expensive (so lets stimulate prices until they stabilize!), gas is back to $3/gallon (at least it’s not $4!) food boxes are smaller (but not more expensive!) … The housing/gas bubble, combined with a general acceptance of debt, and followed by a bit of a price contraction acclimated the general consumer to high prices.

    The only people who stand to benefit from high prices are those who want to downsize. Everyone else should be cheering for as low prices as possible, but even young families I’ve talked to want prices to go back up again. They want to sell, make a profit, and get a bigger house, without considering that bigger houses will cost more as well.

  5. 5
    Matsayswhat says:

    RE: akfish @ 4

    I definitely agree. My one hope is that we’ll at least see people saving more, which will hopefully stablize the economy going forward, but that’s also my optimistic side talking.

  6. 6
    AMS says:

    RE: frugal @ 3 – How much cash do you have? What price range? Why do you want to buy?

  7. 7
    frugal says:

    RE: AMS @ 6

    30K in cash
    50K in stock (but dont wanna sell my stocks now though)

    price rang – around 300K

    Yes i want to buy, if i find a good deal. I’m no hurry though

  8. 8

    RE: frugal @ 3
    AMS’s question of why you want to buy is most important. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a logical reason. Some people just know they’re going to be happier in their own home. But if you want to buy a home because it’s a financially astute thing to do, well….it’s not risk free.
    The fact that you’re not paying much rent now would make me reluctant to want to jump into home buying, but if you feel certain that you’d be happier owning your own home, and if your income can easily cover the mortgage payments without much added stress, and you’ll still have a reserve of cash, and you plan on living in the house for 7+ years, then sure, there are some good deals out there, and there will probably be more good deals coming up. It’s a great time to look. But if buying a house is going to be a major sacrifice, if you’re going to barely be able to make the payments, if you think you might want to sell in a year or two, then keep saving money.

  9. 9
    AMS says:

    RE: frugal @ 7 – The last question was why not do.

    Unless you sell the stock, you’ll have less than 10% down…

    There are other questions, such as current debt level, other assets, other obligations, and so on.

    Without much further data, if you have an annual income of $100k+, or at least 33% of the purchase price, go ahead and buy. Less than $75k in income and we are starting to get quite risky.

  10. 10
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    I would sort of agree with Ira on the low rent thing. That makes it very hard to jump. Two stories:

    1. Guy has an apartment with a fantastic view of the sound and the Olympics. He’s only paying about $700 a month, and has secretly fixed the place up. At the time a similar condo would have cost probably $200,000-250,000.

    2. Guy has a sweetheart deal for a house in Skyway where he’s only paying about $600 a month. The house isn’t great, but it does have a garage for his tools of the trade.

    In both cases they had each been there at least 5 years in 2007, but in both cases the ownership changed in 2007. I don’t know what happened to the first guy, but the second guy got forced out. Sweetheart deals can end, but also prices can go down if you buy. There is no risk free behavior.

  11. 11
    AMS says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 10 – With high enough income, the risk can be mitigated. The big problem is low income earners going into high expense properties, and it’s often to make that extra cash in housing.

  12. 12
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: AMS @ 11 – That sort of hits on another thing I was going to add.

    If “frugal” is currently putting away about $1,000 a month or more into savings (which is possible given the numbers posted above), then buying might not disrupt his/her lifestyle much. But if they are not, then buying will seriously affect their lifestyle, because their monthly housing outflow will increase significantly. This is the flip side of what I complain about on bank approvals. If someone has low rent and no savings, I don’t know why a bank would think they could make significant mortgage payments going forward, no matter what their credit score.

  13. 13
    AMS says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12 – “If someone has low rent and no savings, I don’t know why a bank would think they could make significant mortgage payments going forward, no matter what their credit score. ”

    Negative amortization, maybe?

  14. 14
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: AMS @ 13 – Credit card cash advances. ;-)

  15. 15
    frugal says:

    Ira & Kary,
    Yes you are right about the rent thing… it does makes me a little hesitate to jump. If buy, i plan to live in the house for 7+ years and maybe forever if possible …
    i agree that there’s no risk free decisions and i’ll have to think about it real hard before decide to buy.

    AMS i’m debt free and have no other obligations. I do not make $100K :(

    Thanks all for your thoughtful comments! much appreciated

  16. 16
    frugal says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12
    Kary, you are right, i’ve been putting away more than 1000 / month

  17. 17
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By frugal @ 16:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12
    Kary, you are right, i’ve been putting away more than 1000 / month

    Don’t let the bank know. That might disqualify you! ;-) :-D

  18. 18
    AMS says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 14 – Refi all those credit card balances into a new negative-amortized mortgage, maybe?

  19. 19

    RE: Objectivity @ 1

    I Agree with that Boomer if its Retirement Matching Funds Investing

    The problem, objectivity, is much of the younger generation switches jobs so much, doesn’t save their money, work for globalist companies with no matching funds [or worse yet, don’t contribute to their matching fund retirement, when they have a chance] and aren’t preparing for retirements in general, IMO. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the Baby Boomers are guilty of this too; look at the Boomers today with $200-300K 2nd mortgage debts on houses they bought for like $80K decades ago….

    Think about it, even if you lose half the matching fund investment in the stock market, you still have the other half.

    Would I invest in the stock market with cash outside of retirement or a non-matching fund 401K? Hades no.

  20. 20

    RE: softwarengineer @ 19

    Update to blog above:

    I was referring to the stock market, not housing market cash out…..I agree with you on the housing market, Boomers are generally tight fisted and pig headed when it comes to Seattle homes.

    I think “sell now”, reduce your price 10-20%….whatever it takes. If they follow my advice, I’d give it extremely good odds they’ll give me a big hug a couple years from now, or as you said, lose another 30% waiting in greed.

  21. 21
    patient says:

    frugal and other young singles or couples make sure you consider the very likely possibility of a purchased home to become a sort of “prison”. It’s not at all unlikely that you will endup under water on your mortgage for many, many years. It’s of ourse possible to get out by paying the difference up front but it hurts a lot and many do not have the cash to do it, especially not after making common upgrades to your new home with appliances, decks, paint etc, etc. For most it’s not that given that you will never want to move of reasons as enriching your life with new experiences, cultures, studies or jump on that dream job that is only available some where else. I’m 40 years old and have moved around the world and lived for an extended period in three continents and have had a blast doing so. I’ve mostly rented and enjoyed the freedom of it all. Now my wife and I have small kids and are paying more than the average mortgage in day care fees. That’s another thing to consider, if you don’t have free daycare by a non working family member I can strongly suggest to put off the home purchase until you have cleared the day care stage, it’s expensive. I don’t understand couples who rush to buy a home when they find out they will become parents. My advice, until owning and renting is much closer in price, be cautious and don’t rush to buy, owning it’s not the key to happiness that it’s made out to be, but rather the opposite if it endup in financial strains.

  22. 22
    Dave0 says:

    By Objectivity @ 1:

    If I have to hear another Baby Boomer say: “I wouldn’t sell now…the market is too bad. I’ll wait a couple years”….I’m going to go nuts. Lets see if they like the price when its down another 30%.

    As Warren Buffet would say “be greedy when others are fearful, be fearful when others are greedy”. I see this as just another sign that the populus is shifting from greedy to fearful. The time to buy is approaching… :)

  23. 23
    AMS says:

    RE: patient @ 21 – If a person has they money, then he or she can spend it however they want. You are pointing out the financial bounds and risks of being over-leveraged.

    I do not doubt, however, that a $300k house could go down more than frugal’s ability to keep up, given the relatively low income.

  24. 24
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Dave0 @ 22 – I don’t think that really applies to this site.

  25. 25

    RE: Objectivity @ 1
    You may want to blame baby boomers for all of the problems in our society, but I’m seeing younger homeowners and older homeowners both with that ” I’ll wait to sell, the market is too bad” attitude.
    I’m not in a position to think about selling my own home, and I’ve advised people not to wait, given the uncertainty of the market, but if I were in that position, I just don’t know how I’d react.

  26. 26
    frugal says:

    RE: patient @ 21

    good point about daycare. I do plan to get Married in the next 2 years and although i dont want to have kid too soon, it could happen

  27. 27
    patient says:

    RE: AMS @ 23 – AMS, people can and do spend money how they want, I certainly can’t fobid anyone to do otherwise. I’m just advising caution in this environment and pointing out some things to consider. This is not a situation with a stable economy built on solid fundation. It’s an economy with high unemployment porpped up by government dollars. The real estate market is in limbo with very high foreclousre rates and can’t function without government aid though FHA, Fannie and Freddie, tax credits, low interest rates etc. It’s a very weak and fragile environment and no one expects a quick recovery to the levels seen pre the credit bubble crash. The national debt will be a boat anchor for years to come. So the histroic view on when and it’s good to purchase a home is not neccessarily viable in this situation. So i advice be cautious and be patient even if you have the dough. So I don not agree with your advice @9

    ” if you have an annual income of $100k+, or at least 33% of the purchase price, go ahead and buy.”

    I think it’s not that easy as a mathematical income/debt formula to do the wise thing here.

  28. 28
    AMS says:

    RE: patient @ 27 – Certainly at some income point with no other obligations, debt, and so on, you would agree that a $300k purchase becomes insignficant. Maybe $1M? Maybe $10M? Similarly with some level of capital. Start with $300k, just enough to purchase the home, and go up until you say that he has sufficient capital to buy, given his lifestyle.

    Plenty of people spend mounds of cash on unnecessary items, and yet it is generally accepted, so long as they have the ability/cash. We have discussed buying a new computer when the old one still functions.

    I am not suggesting for everyone to buy, but if someone wants to buy, and understands the risks, has the ability, then so be it. Personally I think renting in this environment is a better way to go, but I am looking at this market from a finance perspective, rather than a buy it and enjoy it perspective. There is nothing wrong with buying something to enjoy, but at the same time let’s not fool anyone into thinking they are buying to make big bucks.

  29. 29
    AMS says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 25 – How many people don’t want/cannot sell short, so they are forced to wait?

    I know of a few…

    They remind me of the banks that delay the inevitable. Do you want to die a quick death, or a slow and painful one? For whatever reason, the slow and painful one with a small chance of recovery is preferred to the quick death.

  30. 30
    AMS says:

    RE: frugal @ 26 – I am guessing that a new wife won’t be too happy living within your current situation, and thus you won’t be happy staying in your current arrangement. Once again, the question of “why buy” must be answered.

  31. 31
    patient says:

    RE: AMS @ 28 – For how many is the price of a home insignificant? You go fom giving a very general advice (33% of income ) to defending it with an extremely uncommon and specific situation. It doesn’t add up. But for what it’s worth to you I agree if the money is insignificant to you, your need for caution is insignificant as well.

  32. 32
    AMS says:

    RE: patient @ 31

    “You go fom giving a very general advice (33% of income ) to defending it with an extremely uncommon and specific situation.”

    The 33% is a good starting point. Obviously a higher percentage is lower risk. It’s not a question of if there exists some point of very low risk, it’s a question of where that point is. Also we are discussing this one person’s individual, specific, uncommon situation. How many people, in terms of percentage of population, are in his situation?

    Do tell, what percentage do you think is high enough to sufficiently lower the risk?

  33. 33
    AMS says:

    RE: patient @ 31 – One more comment: If a person’s income is not a minimum of 200% of the value of their car, I am going to suggest that they have too much of a car. Yes, this is a generalization, but it’s a good starting point. I’d like to see a person’s income at a minimum of about 400% of the value of the car. Minimum income of $20k, or so, to avoid boundary problems on the lower end.

  34. 34
    patient says:

    “Do tell, what percentage do you think is high enough to sufficiently lower the risk?”

    The risk of making an unwise decision in this market is not based on percentage of income to me. I don’t think it’s wise to buy in the current environment. It’s just to fragile and volatile. When the economy and housing can stand on it’s own wihout government intervention we can talk about percentages in terms of income/debt ratio again. For now, I would look more at underlying value and discount to current market prices if I felt I just had to buy today. I wouldn’t look at anything less than 25% below market pricing which probably narrows it down to distressed properties. Not ending up underwater on the mortgage is imperative but not good enough for me, I want to have an overwhelming likelyhood of beeing able to sell the home without a loss in a short enough timeframe should I find myself in a situation where i would like or had to unload the home.

  35. 35
    AMS says:

    RE: patient @ 34 – That does not answer the question. At some percentage the risk is low enough.

  36. 36
    Matsayswhat says:

    RE: frugal @ 7

    Frugal, I’m generally an optimistic (bear) and with your savings and estimated income even I wouldn’t buy a house over 250k, even that might be pushing it.

    If you’re set on the 300k price point, I’d suggest waiting and continuing to save. Even if prices go up, I can’t imagine they’re going to go up so much that you’ll suddenly be priced out of home ownership.

    Edit: I just noticed you’re planning to get married in the next two years. Assuming your fiance (or to be fiance) has a decent income (30k/yr+) that’ll definitely help your purchasing power and make up for any possible increase in prices (which really I don’t think anyone would argue that we’ll see more than 5% over the next two years). And besides, your future wife probably wouldn’t mind being involved in choosing which house you’re going to live in! :)

  37. 37
    kfhoz says:

    RE: AMS @ 30 – A new wife is going to have lots of opinions on the home to live in! Almost regardless of the financial considerations I think it would be better to wait and make the choice together as equal partners. That also helps make the home an “our house”.

  38. 38
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: AMS @ 33 – Driving way less car than you can afford is one of the great wealth-building tools. It never gets the credit it deserves.

  39. 39
    patient says:

    RE: AMS @ 35 – The risk of what? Making a poor decision? Just because you can afford doesn’t make it wise. So no, there is no percentage where the risk of making a poor decision is low enough. Less dangerous yes, but still poorer than the alternative.

  40. 40
    Drone says:

    RE: frugal @ 26 – Marriage is EXPENSIVE. I was in almost your exact situation recently, pondering whether to buy or not. We did our wedding relatively cheap (not super-cheap where family provides everything, but we shopped deals and scrimped wherever possible). My entire wedding (lead-up events, ceremony, food, photographer, rings, honeymoon) cost $25k.

    Now, I’m not suggesting that your life will look exactly like mine… your wedding may be cheaper or more expensive (depends a lot on the woman!). But I was much happier to kill those savings rather than go into debt.

    If you’re lucky your future wife will arrive without debt of her own…

  41. 41

    RE: wreckingbull @ 38

    2000 Chevy Lumina here. Bought at the auction four years ago featuring government surplus cars. Fully paid for. And sure impresses those clients.
    ” That poor man. We’d better buy a house from him. Look at what he’s driving.”

  42. 42
    Tyler says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 41

    Ira, I love the quote. I often wondered what the idea was behind Realtors driving cars that their own clients couldn’t (refuse to) afford.

  43. 43
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 41 – You know you can’t beat my 89 Ranger in that competition. I just hope they come out with either CNG or economical electric only vehicles in Washington before that thing dies, because I’d like to keep it around for use as a truck.

    BTW, any idea how the state gets its road taxes on electric only vehicles?

  44. 44
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By Tyler @ 42:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 41

    Ira, I love the quote. I often wondered what the idea was behind Realtors driving cars that their own clients couldn’t (refuse to) afford.

    It’s appearances. Doctors have it easy. All they need is a piece of paper on the wall and a white jacket. Instant way too much credibility.

    I used to like the reverse appearances people. Old guy wearing overalls, driving a beater pickup, who’s worth millions.

  45. 45
    AMS says:

    RE: patient @ 39 – Aw come on, if Gates wants to buy a $300k home, no one would blink an eye, and that includes you.

    I certainly appreciate your position on the housing market: Any purchase is a poor decision. But that does not address the underlying issue at hand.

    At some level of income, there is essentially no risk, as the purchase is not significant enough for a significant risk to exist.

    It’s not a question of if, but at what income level relative to the home purchase.

  46. 46

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 43
    Do you drive clients around in the Ranger?

  47. 47
    AMS says:

    RE: kfhoz @ 37 – Let’s not get into the legal issues of what point is the best point in time to buy the home. I’ll leave that to others.

    In general a free and clear home purchased before the marriage will remain the property of the person who purchased it, but there are all kinds of complications here.

    “Our home” only lasts as long as the marriage, and who gets married to simply divorce? Brittany Spears, maybe?

    The complications of non-financial analysis.

  48. 48
    AMS says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 41 – I must say, you remind me of Jim the Realtor with his “Late 1960s Chevy Pickup Truck with the Corvette motor.”

    lol

  49. 49
    AMS says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 46 – Inside is better than putting them in the box!

  50. 50
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 46 – I try to avoid it, but I have for at least three clients, all of which bought.

    It’s actually in pretty good shape, but it’s still an 89 Ranger.

  51. 51
    AMS says:

    By Drone @ 40:

    RE: frugal @ 26 – Marriage is EXPENSIVE.

    Is marriage worth it?

    Is a house worth it?

  52. 52
    AMS says:

    By wreckingbull @ 38:

    RE: AMS @ 33 – Driving way less car than you can afford is one of the great wealth-building tools. It never gets the credit it deserves.

    One need ‘no credit’ to drive a clunker. :-)

    As a guy who understands finance, I simply cannot understand the mentality of driving expensive cars. I can hear the sucking noise of the vacuum cleaning out the person’s wallet.

  53. 53
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Drone @ 40

    Marriage is EXPENSIVE.

    Divorce is even pricier. Like Kenny Smyth says:

    Take out the middleman. Find someone you hate and give ’em a house.

  54. 54
    AMS says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 53 – I know a guy who complained that he had to pay 25% of his retirement to his second ex-wife. I asked, “How much would you have retained had you stayed married?” His reply was simple, “I’d never thought about it that way.”

  55. 55
    Angie says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 44:

    I used to like the reverse appearances people. Old guy wearing overalls, driving a beater pickup, who’s worth millions.

    Oh, yeah. There’s someone in Columbia City who fits that bill: ratty old windbreaker, taped up glasses, looks like they’re a missed welfare check away from homelessness…who owns half the neighborhood.

    My husband and I were discussing this person one day. “Why does she dress that way?” he said. I said, “Who exactly does she need to impress?”

  56. 56
    BillE says:

    By wreckingbull @ 38:

    RE: AMS @ 33 – Driving way less car than you can afford is one of the great wealth-building tools. It never gets the credit it deserves.

    It’s sad how few people understand that.

  57. 57
    The Tim says:

    By Drone @ 40:

    We did our wedding relatively cheap (not super-cheap where family provides everything, but we shopped deals and scrimped wherever possible). My entire wedding (lead-up events, ceremony, food, photographer, rings, honeymoon) cost $25k.

    Wow, we have pretty different definitions of “relatively cheap.” FWIW, people around Seattle are allegedly spending between $25,854 and $43,091 on their weddings, so I guess $25k is near the low end (and does count honeymoon), but still… When I read “relatively cheap” I was definitely thinking something in the $3-$5k range (which is what our wedding cost), heh.

  58. 58
    Pjysics says:

    Perhaps this was discussed before… the only thing I don’t like about SAAS is that it does not contain information about historic relative volume. What/where is the best way to get a sense of the number of closed sales now compared to years past?

    Really appreciate all your fine work TIm!

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