NWMLS: Closed Sales Finally Break Back Above 2,000

May market stats were just released by the NWMLS. Two big firsts in this month’s data. The first month-to-month increase in inventory so far this year and the first time closed sales of single-family houses broke 2,000 in King County since August 2007.

Now we finally know: Greg Perry’s 2009 prediction was just 3 years too early!

Here’s their press release:

Tight inventory, record-low mortgage rates fueling Western Washington home sales.

Low listing inventory and plunging mortgage rates are fueling buyer competition for homes close to job centers, according to brokers who commented on the latest market report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

“The six month trend of low listing inventory continues to cause strong buyer competition for homes close to job centers,” noted Northwest MLS director Joe Spencer, area director for Keller Williams Northwest Region. He said he does not expect this trend to change direction “for quite some time due to what appears to be long-term economic and demographic influences.”

Our buddy Joe Spencer, always spot-on with trend-spotting.

On a more serious note, it’s interesting that the trend we noticed last month of bank-owned homes making up a smaller percentage of sales continued in May, dropping to just 13.8% of sales. When you compare that with the 19.3% of sales that were bank-owned in May last year, the 4.9% bump in median price is really more like a flatlining of prices than an increase.

Bank-Owned: Share of Total Sales - King County Single-Family

All righty, on with our usual monthly stats.

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):

May 2012 Number MOM YOY Buyers Sellers
Active Listings 5,039 +2.3% -37.4%
Closed Sales 2,056 +16.2% +24.3%
SAAS (?) 1.33 -6.7% -19.2%
Pending Sales 2,981 +4.7% +20.0%
Months of Supply 1.69 -2.3% -47.9%
Median Price* $362,000 +0.6% +4.9%

Feel free to download the updated Seattle Bubble Spreadsheet (Excel 2003 format), but keep in mind the caution above.

Here’s your closed sales yearly comparison chart:

King County SFH Closed Sales

The pattern this year is looking a lot more like the pre-boom and boom years than it is the bust years. We’re still considerably below the volume seen during a typical May through the bubble, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to suspect that we’ll get back to that level any time soon.

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

King County SFH Inventory

Hey, an increase! About time. Still at a record low point for May though.

Here’s the supply/demand YOY graph. In place of the now-unreliable measure of pending sales, the “demand” in this chart is represented by closed sales, which have had a consistent definition throughout the decade.

King County Supply vs Demand % Change YOY

No big change here. The supply and demand dynamics continue to support sellers far more than buyers in today’s market.

Here’s the median home price YOY change graph:

King County SFH YOY Price Change

Thanks to the decrease in sales of bank-owned homes, this is the highest point we’ve been on the year-over-year chart since September 2007.

And lastly, here is the chart comparing King County SFH prices each month for every year back to 1994.

King County SFH Prices

May 2012: $362,000
March 2005: $362,000

Here are the Times and P-I headlines.
Seattle Times: King County home prices rise for a second month
Seattle P-I: Seattle house prices post double-digit increase

Check back tomorrow for the full reporting roundup.


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.

24 comments:

  1. 1
    MM says:

    pathetic…it only takes a little brain, not too much, to realize that those positive numbers were just the result of over inflated and over positive propaganda this spring. let’s give them another 6-8 weeks, and we’ll see where we really stand. it is true, for a few weeks in spring a lot of homes in good condition and well priced were going quick. has anybody seen anything moving quick in the last two to three weeks? me not so much, they sit again, homes that were looking great and i really believed that they will be pending in less that a week, are sitting again…surprise, surprise. or maybe is just a misunderstanding and job data did not come out at 25% of predicted and expected….

  2. 2
    Pegasus says:

    The bank owned percentage appears to be very seasonal for the past 3 years. Looks like as our seasonal bump comes in that the banks don’t want to dampen prices any more than they already have and don’t increase the supply or lower prices by much while the demand has increased during the spring and early summer bump. If I were looking to buy and especially a bank-owned property I would be waiting until the fall.

  3. 3
    2kt says:

    So much for 10-year+ price declines predicted by one of the Jonas brothers here. The charts do work, until they do not.

    Raymondo, they are all coming back, ain’t they?

  4. 4

    By Pegasus @ 2:

    The bank owned percentage appears to be very seasonal for the past 3 years.

    The percentage is seasonal because the REO volume doesn’t change that much compared to normal volume. That is even more the case with short sale volume. It’s really the non-distressed sales volume which is seasonal, and that makes the percentage seasonal, and is having a huge impact on the median number (although I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s flat like Tim did).

  5. 5

    If you look at the last graph, prices, we’re really close to 2006 prices because the non-distressed median is at about that level. 2006, as people many recall, also had few distressed sales.

  6. 6
    corncob says:

    At least inventory is going up (though just slightly). This market sucks.

  7. 7
    willgetsome says:

    I grow tired of ‘analysts’ proclaiming trends based on one or two data points that differ from trends that have been established over many data points.

  8. 8

    Who would have ever guessed that for Greg’s prediction to come true, we needed to have very little inventory!

  9. 9
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8

    Yup, economics always works in the end- until it doesn’t. But all else being equal, it wasn’t that hard to see this coming. Just remember that flat- with some inflation- isn’t the same as up in the traditional sense.

  10. 10
    whatsmyname says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 5:

    If you look at the last graph, prices, we’re really close to 2006 prices because the non-distressed median is at about that level. 2006, as people many recall, also had few distressed sales.

    No, No, Kary. The changes in distressed sales within the mix are to be used to explain why median price increases are of no consequence. They are not to be used to normalize non-distressed prices at over the median. Bad Kary.

  11. 11
    ray pepper says:

    RE: 2kt @ 3

    Oh yes..It will take a decade but they are all coming back one way or another and priced to current market value. Watch and learn as the short sales, deeds in lieu, foreclosures, and the BEST OF ALL-Lender incentive to sellers to stay in their home and write down principle.

    They r ALL coming back!

  12. 12

    By whatsmyname @ 10:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 5:

    If you look at the last graph, prices, we’re really close to 2006 prices because the non-distressed median is at about that level. 2006, as people many recall, also had few distressed sales.

    No, No, Kary. The changes in distressed sales within the mix are to be used to explain why median price increases are of no consequence. They are not to be used to normalize non-distressed prices at over the median. Bad Kary.

    LOL. To be clear I’m not trying to suggest that we’re at 2006 values. If you’re looking just at the non-distressed median, other changes in the mix will likely have happened. The biggest one is likely that distressed properties are more concentrated in some lower end neighborhoods.

    What will be interesting is if C-S follows the NWMLS King County median up, maintaining its fairly high correlation with the median. If that happens that will be evidence that C-S is affected by mix too, notwithstanding the fact that is was their goal to not be.

  13. 13

    By ray pepper @ 11:

    RE: 2kt @ 3 – Oh yes..It will take a decade but they are all coming back one way or another and priced to current market value.

    I had a little fun at your expense the last time you said that, joking that you were making a bottom call.

    I think you mean to say “then current market value” and to imply that value will be lower than today. What you’re actually saying is something entirely different.

  14. 14
    tim2 says:

    Let’s see.
    Inventory at record lows.
    Demographic bubble.
    Locally increased hiring.
    Fewer REO.
    Must be a seasonal bounce, cause thats what it always is…….
    Until it is not!
    Bottom is in people.

  15. 15

    Tim You’re Editting My Blogs Out Now?

    My last one was eliminated. No “Freeedom of Speech” on this wbsite anymore?

    BTW, my last blog just pointed out the sudden downturn in bank owned properties from your own data chart….why would that offend you kind sir?

  16. 16

    RE: softwarengineer @ 15

    Good Job Tim

    I’m apparently not up for comment review sifting anymore. Freedom of Speech is alive and well on Seattle Bubble :-)

  17. 17

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 12:

    By whatsmyname @ 10:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 5:

    If you look at the last graph, prices, we’re really close to 2006 prices because the non-distressed median is at about that level. 2006, as people many recall, also had few distressed sales.

    No, No, Kary. The changes in distressed sales within the mix are to be used to explain why median price increases are of no consequence. They are not to be used to normalize non-distressed prices at over the median. Bad Kary.

    LOL. To be clear I’m not trying to suggest that we’re at 2006 values. If you’re looking just at the non-distressed median, other changes in the mix will likely have happened. The biggest one is likely that distressed properties are more concentrated in some lower end neighborhoods.

    What will be interesting is if C-S follows the NWMLS King County median up, maintaining its fairly high correlation with the median. If that happens that will be evidence that C-S is affected by mix too, notwithstanding the fact that is was their goal to not be.

    Hmmm…So if the non distressed median is about the same price as the median in 2006, and there’s a pretty huge variance in price changes between neighborhoods/towns around Seattle since then, what abou those markets in the Seattle area that have fallen the least since the peak? If the non distressed median county wide is at 2006 levels, what about those primo areas? Are they at 2007, or peak prices? Is that possible? I don’t sense that, my guess is that even the top of Queen Annes, the Wallingfords, the Ravennas, the West Bellevues, the Sammamishes, are still below peak prices maybe 10 or 15%? But I could be wrong. That’s happened once or twice.

  18. 18
    Joem says:

    Like Madame Defarge, I am knitting the names of the bottom callers into my shawl. For now the garment is keeping me warm. You will hear from me again.

  19. 19
    Daryl says:

    Hi Tim,

    Like your website. Some constructive criticism on the charts… make the line type mean something rather than just be random. It’s nice not to have to look back and forth from chart to key. (e.g. have dashed lines be pre-bubble and solid’s post bubble). Another thing is to have the colors change in some rational way (e.g. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet). I look at data all the time, and it’s nice to make it easy on people.

    Maybe we’re at the bottom!!!!!!!

  20. 20
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 17

    An excellent observation about pricing. We have to be in one of the most delusional market places for housing units that I have ever seen.

    In 2004, 2005, 2006, even 2007, there was a booming economy with hope for a more robust global economy to come.

    Buying into the price of housing units at the 2004, 2005 levels when the economy has crashed globally, and is teetering again, is the ultimate definition of insanity.

  21. 21
    Johnnybigspenda says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 9 – flat with a little inflation is actually ok for home owners who purchase using a mortgage…. Rents would be rising and your debt would be less of a burden in the future as dollars become less valuable due to inflation.

  22. 22
    Steve F says:

    If the bank owned properties can get and stay under 10%, we’ll be talking. Until then, the excessive number of bank owned properties is just going to keep poisoning the market. It doesn’t matter if the affordablity index is attractive when neighborhoods are blighted with decaying foreclosures holding property values down.

    Now let’s see if the 5% appreciation holds, and if the number of listings rises. If the number of listings rises and prices keep appreciating at a modest 3 – 5%, we’ll be on to something.

  23. 23
    esol esek says:

    There’s definitely a pop out there in the market, especially for lower priced homes, in areas that couldn’t get arrested before. Amazon has brought a lot of young new families into the Seattle area that are more willing to gentrify areas than commute to the Eastside. Seattle’s worst areas still seem decent to people coming from major US cities. Now you get massacres in Ravenna, so much for security of neighborhoods, although Cherry and MLK way apparently may not be as gentrified as some thought.

    Anyway, the weather here still sucks, and people are idiots to buy overpriced homes here, although apparently not as dumb as in Vancouver. Wouldn’t a nice place to winter make more sense? Still, Seattle has jobs and relative liveability, so people are probably going to keep filling it up.

    Still, the global economy is teetering, and baby boomers are retiring, so its time to unload all that prime stock, unless many have unloaded it already. I wonder what specific research on that would show?

  24. 24

    […] to the latest NWMLS numbers (May), the total number of listings on the market in King County did increase slightly last month […]

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