Most Neighborhoods See End of Summer Sales Slowdown

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It’s time for us to take a look at this month’s numbers to see how the sales mix shifted around the county in August.

In order to explore this concept, we break King County down into three regions, based on the NWMLS-defined “areas”:

  • low end: South County (areas 100-130 & 300-360)
  • mid range: Seattle / North County (areas 140, 380-390, & 700-800)
  • high end: Eastside (areas 500-600)

Here’s where each region’s median prices came in as of August data:

  • low end: $291,000-$397,250
  • mid range: $405,000-$762,500
  • high end: $532,200-$1,725,000

First up, let’s have a look at each region’s (approximate) median price (actually the median of the medians for each area within the region).

Median Price of Single Family Homes Sold

Only the middle tier actually saw a month-over-month gain in its respective median-median price, while the low and high tiers both fell slightly. At $499,500 in August, the middle tier is still slightly shy of its all-time high of $502,000 set in April. Month-over-month, the median price in the low tier fell 1.9 percent, the middle tier increased 7.4 percent, and the high tier lost 6.2 percent.

Twenty-seven of the twenty-nine NWMLS regions in King County with single-family home sales in August had a higher median price than a year ago, while sixteen had a month-over-month increase in the median price.

Here’s how the median prices changed year-over-year. Low tier: up 18.2 percent, middle tier: up 25.2 percent, high tier: flat.

Next up, the percentage of each month’s closed sales that took place in each of the three regions.

% of Total King Co. SFH Sales by NWMLS Area

Sales in all three tiers fell between July and August, with the low and middle tiers seeing the biggest dip. The sales mix shifted slightly toward the high tier since those regions didn’t see sales fall quite as much. Month-over-month sales were down 12.5 percent in the low tier, down 13.8 percent in the middle tier, and down 7.2 percent in the high tier.

Year-over-year sales increased in all three tiers. Compared to a year ago, sales increased 14.7 percent in the low tier, rose 4.0 percent in the middle tier, and gained 5.6 percent in the high tier.

As of August 2015, 34.3 percent of sales were in the low end regions (up from 32.3 percent a year ago), 32.1 percent in the mid range (down from 33.3 percent a year ago), and 33.6 percent in the high end (down from 34.4 percent a year ago).

Here’s that information in a visual format:

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

Finally, here’s an updated look at the percentage of sales data all the way back through 2000:

% of Total King Co. SFH Sales by NWMLS Area since 2000

It’s interesting that the median price in the high tier regions was flat, despite double-digit gains in both of the other tiers. Sales aren’t really slowing much yet, what we’re seeing right now seems to be mostly a seasonal slowdown. This fall and winter we’ll be watching the market closely to see if any significant change is likely next year.


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.

70 comments:

  1. 1
    Kip Wallbanger says:

    If home ownership is near a 30 year low, I wonder if a collapsing rental market is going to lead the way.

    High density appears to be being built at an unprecedented rate. Definitely seems 10x faster than single family homes.

  2. 2

    Rental Vacancies in the Future?

    Good question, who knows. The big corps building large apartments make money anyway and can walk away with no loss if that happened. The government bails ’em out.

  3. 3
    sleepless says:

    RE: Kip Wallbanger @ 1 – Lets see when the rates go in September. It will tell the story. If the rates remain at 0, the “show will go on” for a little bit longer. If they start to move, and keep moving, then it will be the game over. It is the game-over in either case, except in one case it would come later in the other one it could come as soon as this year.

  4. 4
    Shoeguy says:

    They’re saying that interest rates aren’t going to go up in September, but rather (possibly, maybe, we’ll see) in December.

    Great to know that after printing trillions of dollars of Funny Money for the 1%ers, the Fed can’t even squeeze out a quarter point without there being dire economic consequences.

    Working as intended!

  5. 5

    RE: sleepless @ 3

    Watch the per capita and household incomes of “all first time buyers” too. Don’t mix the “outside the group” in the data base, they make much higher incomes.

  6. 6
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: sleepless @ 3 – Powerful prognostication! How are your gold and silver purchases holding up?

    RE: Shoeguy @ 4 – Who needs a rate increase? Not people putting together productive enterprises. We are awash in guys with money, but no ideas. Why should the dumb money fare better than, say, labor?

  7. 7

    RE: whatsmyname @ 6
    Whatsmyname, I Think I understand your Blog

    We need competent planning not just nice sounding planning…..

  8. 8
    ess says:

    List of overvalued housing. Interesting to see who made and didn’t make the list.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-most-overvalued-housing-markets-in-america-2015-09-15?page=1

  9. 9
    Erik says:

    RE: ess @ 8
    Seattle real estate prices have a ways to go in my opinion. Not so sure about the dumpy areas, but Seattle prices will continue upward for a while,

  10. 10
    Iancredible says:

    Looking for some advice:

    I put an offer on a shortsale in edmonds several months back and I think i have a good chance of getting it. If I get the house at my asking price, There is a recently flipped comp to that house that is worth 100k over mine. The shortsale definitely needs some TLC.

    I was going to fix up the place over time and make it my own, but i purchased another house in the mean time which is going to occupy my time and funds. Should I walk away from the house? Is there any other way you think i can get some money out of it that I am not thinking about? It needs enough work that it can’t be rented out in the near future, so for now that is off the table. Any thoughts are much appreciated.

  11. 11
    Macro Investor says:

    Warning, document fraud still going on. Has anyone mentioned these articles before (I can’t find a search function)? First article mentions Seattle did an audit of real estate records, but has refused to release any information. Similar audits around the country did find fraud.

    As a property owner, it would be nice to know what one should do to protect yourself. The banks will stoop to anything to get what they want, and law enforcement has no interest in stopping them.

    https://theintercept.com/2015/09/14/officials-cover-housing-bubbles-scummy-residue-fraudulent-foreclosure-document/
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/09/proof-of-ongoing-foreclosure-fraud-and-mortgage-document-fabrication-in-five-emails.html

  12. 12
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: Iancredible @ 10

    Can’t you just send a certified letter rescinding your offer?

  13. 13
    Iancredible says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 12

    Of Course I can… but is there a way i can make money from it is my question?

  14. 14
    Boxkicker says:

    Market is still going well for sellers in parts of South King County….Put a house on the market last Wednesday and received multiple offers. Signed mutual acceptance for $16K over asking.

  15. 15
    ess says:

    By Boxkicker @ 14:

    Market is still going well for sellers in parts of South King County….Put a house on the market last Wednesday and received multiple offers. Signed mutual acceptance for $16K over asking.

    That is great Boxkicker – hope the deal goes through without complications

    Question – South King County is a less expensive area, compared to Seattle and the Eastside. Do you meet potential buyers who have been priced out of the Seattle and Eastside market, just folks who wish to live in that area, or a combination of both? Of those who have been priced out of Seattle and the Eastside, is that number increasing, decreasing or holding steady?

  16. 16
    bingo says:

    RE: Iancredible @ 13

    You need to determine if your Purchase & Sale Agreement is “assignable” to another buyer. If so, you need to find a Buyer/Investor to assign your contract to in exchange for a fee paid to you.

    If you are using a standard NWMLS P&S Agreement, Kary, Ira or Ardell can tell you whether or not it is assignable.

  17. 17

    RE: Iancredible @ 10

    I Bought a Short Sale

    but family lives in it, my daughter. The house was purchased for $26K in Kansas City as a foreclosed home from a landlord. Yes, I needed to pour about $4K into the furnace, dead tree removal and outside trim replacement with painting.

    Keeping tenants in it is no problem….my daughter lives there rent free…LOL…a built in property manager.

  18. 18
    Blurtman says:

    No rate increase. Yellen frozen with fear.

  19. 19
    ess says:

    Rents are still going up – but the average throughout the US is not as high as the average for both buying and renting in Seattle and area.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/home-renters-face-biggest-price-hike-in-seven-years-2015-09-16?dist=afterbell

  20. 20
    MD says:

    No rate increase = housing prices will keep going up.

  21. 21
    David B. says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 18 – When the chairman of the Fed says something, everyone hears it.

    Because she’s Yellen.

  22. 22
    Jay says:

    RE: MD @ 20 – I thought rate was going to go up early this year, but instead it wend down again in early 2015.

  23. 23
    MD says:

    RE: Jay @ 22 – Interest rates will never go up. ZIRP is the new normal. The Fed knows that if it ever tries to normalize interest rates, the economy will crash.

  24. 24
    Jay says:

    RE: MD @ 23 – We have been talking about rate increase for a long time here. A few years ago, people here said that price should crash more, but it didn’t. Then they thought 2013 was the peak, but 2015 is even crazier than 2013. Flippers who bought in 2013, can still flip for a pretty good gain in 2015.

  25. 25
    Erik says:

    RE: MD @ 23
    Prices will likely crash in the next 9 years. Be ready to sell at the top and buy at the bottom.

  26. 26

    RE: Blurtman @ 18
    Yesterday the Markets Needed Yellen Not to Raise Rates or Doom

    Today is doom anyway on the markets because the fed didn’t raise rates, they call this fiscal planning? LOL

  27. 27
    Amy says:

    RE: MD @ 23

    Maybe if the economy depends on ZIRP / easy money to not crash, then it’s incredibly distorted and needs to crash. :\ It’s a really unfortunate situation, but it’s easy to see why the Fed fears deflation so much when the whole economy is built on massive debt. However, they’re not going to be able to prop it up forever and the pain is going to be that much worse when it eventually crashes if they keep kicking the can. I wish they’d just start easing us back into more normal interest rates already.

  28. 28
    Blurtman says:

    Anti-totalitarian actions “…will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.”
    http://www.wnd.com/2013/03/holder-admits-some-banks-too-big-to-jail/#5l8QvHWGaytIHqJb.99

  29. 29
    MD says:

    RE: Amy @ 27 – I don’t disagree. But the fact is, too many people’s retirements and jobs depend on an inflated stock market and inflated home values. Oil companies depend on low interest rates to finance projects that otherwise might have a low ROI.

    If home values are expensive now, wait until the Fed decides it wants negative interest rates…

  30. 30
    Blurtman says:

    By MD @ 29:

    RE: Amy @ 27

    If home values are expensive now, wait until the Fed decides it wants negative interest rates…

    Ha, ha, ha…. If that were to be announced, expect Mr. Market to take a swoon, in the short term.

    And from the above, conversely, you must believe that higher rates will lower prices. The proposed rate increase was rather modest, no?

  31. 31
    Ron says:

    I think higher rates will lower prices, but they won’t lower as much as you would expect.

    With higher rates and lower affordability, I think sellers will psychologically not want to entertain a lower price than what they saw in the past.

    The lack of inventory will also keep prices higher as well.

    For the people that have tons of cash, maybe they’d get a discount if prices went down due to higher rates, but if you are financing with 20% down I expect monthly payments to be roughly the same. Hard to say though. Anything is possible!

  32. 32
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 30

    RE: negative interest rates

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/switzerland/housing-index

    I think the operative dates are everything after January.

  33. 33
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Amy @ 27

    My friend’s mom is on heart medication. Her system is incredibly distorted, but I don’t know that it needs to crash. True; they’re not going to be able to prop it up forever. Still, I am not confident that the pain is going to be that much worse if it doesn’t crash sooner. She doesn’t think it’s just kicking the can, although I suppose you could describe it that way. Perhaps you can break down why the doctors should just start easing her back into more normal medication already.

  34. 34
    Blurtman says:

    By whatsmyname @ 32:

    RE: Blurtman @ 30

    RE: negative interest rates

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/switzerland/housing-index

    I think the operative dates are everything after January.

    Negative rates would seem to be an incredible admission of failure by the Fed.

  35. 35
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 34
    While I don’t expect negative rates from the Fed, they have them already in Switzerland.
    And to my point – increased house prices too.

  36. 36
    Blurtman says:

    By whatsmyname @ 35:

    RE: Blurtman @ 34
    While I don’t expect negative rates from the Fed, they have them already in Switzerland.
    And to my point – increased house prices too.

    Sure, a lot of folks would concur that lower rates increase home prices. But the need to continually lower rates may send a negative message about the real health of the economy.

  37. 37
    whatsmyname says:

    By Blurtman @ 36:
    Sure, a lot of folks would concur that lower rates increase home prices. But the need to continually lower rates may send a negative message about the real health of the economy.

    I’m just citing the limited real world evidence regarding negative rates and house prices.

    The “need” to continually lower rates is just the mirror image of the “need” to continually increase them. Both actions are ultimately finite, and depend on the symptoms and goals. House prices are way, way down that list. The goal is modest inflation. You don’t treat deflationary symptoms with treatment for hyperinflation just because some people are tired of treating the current problem. Or vice versa. It will all turn around eventually.

  38. 38
    Blurtman says:

    By whatsmyname @ 37:

    By Blurtman @ 36:

    The “need” to continually lower rates is just the mirror image of the “need” to continually increase them. .

    Can you recall when interest rates in the USA were negative in the past?

  39. 39

    RE: MD @ 20
    Nothing Makes Sense

    When Yellen threatened a rate increase, stocks shot up…..when she delayed it the next day, stocks shot back down.
    Best not use a 0.25% maybe change to predict anything…..even house prices.

  40. 40

    RE: Blurtman @ 38

    Did Anyone Say Mattresses

    To replace banks? LOL

  41. 41

    RE: Blurtman @ 36
    40% Real Unemployment Rate Today

    Both Forbes and Trump agree….when give-ups and such are extracted from the data base.

  42. 42
    MD says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 37

    But the need to continually lower rates may send a negative message about the real health of the economy.

    And keeping rates at zero for the past 9 years sends what message, exactly, about the real health of the economy?

  43. 43
    Blurtman says:

    46 million ‘Mericans are still on food stamps. Yes, a very robust recovery.

    And one could argue that the gubberment’s inflation data does not capture reality.

    There is rent inflation, asset inflation including equities, etc.

    Keeping the moolah out of the hands of the commoners helps temper how much prices can rise.

  44. 44
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 38 – “Can you recall when interest rates in the USA were negative in the past?”

    Swiss negative rates don’t count because you want to argue USA exceptionalism? Besides being disappointing in its own right, this is a not the point argument as to whether an upward bias and a downward bias mirror each other. But to address your argument on its own terms, I also can’t recall a time in the present when USA rates were negative. Prior to the last quarter of the 20th Century I cannot recall a time when mortgage rates approached 18% either. Yet, somehow we survived crossing a new frontier.

  45. 45
    whatsmyname says:

    By MD @ 42:

    And keeping rates at zero for the past 9 years sends what message, exactly, about the real health of the economy?

    1. Factual correction: nobody has kept rates at zero for the past 9 years.
    2. The Fed’s job is to use monetary policy to benefit the economy, not to propagandize it. Whatever we may think of the job they have done, it is absurd to fault them for not pretty paging enough.

  46. 46
    whatsmyname says:

    By Blurtman @ 43:

    46 million ‘Mericans are still on food stamps. Yes, a very robust recovery.

    And one could argue that the gubberment’s inflation data does not capture reality.

    There is rent inflation, asset inflation including equities, etc.

    Keeping the moolah out of the hands of the commoners helps temper how much prices can rise.

    No one is arguing a robust recovery; quite the opposite. That would be a reason to consider raising the rates; so again, quite the opposite is called for.

    We don’t live in a world where everything goes up or down together. If you insist on cherrypicking, I’d suggest wages is the best indicator for working people.

    You think low interest rates keeps moolah out of the hands of commoners? I’d love to hear the mechanics behind that.

  47. 47
    Blurtman says:

    By whatsmyname @ 46:

    By Blurtman @ 43:

    46 million ‘Mericans are still on food stamps. Yes, a very robust recovery.

    And one could argue that the gubberment’s inflation data does not capture reality.

    There is rent inflation, asset inflation including equities, etc.

    Keeping the moolah out of the hands of the commoners helps temper how much prices can rise.

    You think low interest rates keeps moolah out of the hands of commoners? I’d love to hear the mechanics behind that.

    No, no. Flat wages does that.

  48. 48
    Blurtman says:

    By whatsmyname @ 44:

    RE: Blurtman @ 38 – “Can you recall when interest rates in the USA were negative in the past?”

    But to address your argument on its own terms, I also can’t recall a time in the present when USA rates were negative.

    RE: whatsmyname @ 44

    Yes, I believe they never were.

  49. 49
    whatsmyname says:

    By Blurtman @ 47:

    No, no. Flat wages does that.

    Exactly: Flat wages and declining real wages. And since the real economy is driven by people buying from and selling to each other, this creates drag on the real economy. Therefore the Fed’s response to this issue should not be to create more downward pressure on wages.

  50. 50
    Blurtman says:

    By whatsmyname @ 49:

    By Blurtman @ 47:

    No, no. Flat wages does that.

    Therefore the Fed’s response to this issue should not be to create more downward pressure on wages.

    There seems to be at least a six year lag between lowered rates and increasing wages.

  51. 51
    whatsmyname says:

    By Blurtman @ 50:

    There seems to be at least a six year lag between lowered rates and increasing wages.

    Monetary policy creates a pressure, not total control. If the congressional current is pushing my boat downstream at 2 miles per hour, and the wind of business culture exercises another 2 mile per hour downstream pressure; then a 4 mile per hour upstream effort from the Fed will not improve my position. However, to reduce or reverse that effort will only make my position worse. I don’t understand why this is so difficult for you, Are you just having me on?

  52. 52
    Blurtman says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 51

    “Are you just having me on?”

    Merely questioning dogma.

  53. 53
    whatsmyname says:

    By Blurtman @ 52:

    Merely questioning dogma.

    In this case, I can see how that would be preferable to defending your position.

  54. 54
    Blurtman says:

    By whatsmyname @ 53:

    By Blurtman @ 52:

    Merely questioning dogma.

    In this case, I can see how that would be preferable to defending your position.

    I have a position?

  55. 55
    whatsmyname says:

    By Blurtman @ 54:

    I have a position?

    Where I came in, you had just made a clear statement that negative rates would tank the housing market. Your rhetorical questions are one sided and sloppy. This is positioning, not inquiry. So yes, you have a position.

  56. 56
    Blurtman says:

    By whatsmyname @ 55:

    By Blurtman @ 54:

    I have a position?

    Where I came in, you had just made a clear statement that negative rates would tank the housing market.

    Really? Where?

  57. 57
    whatsmyname says:

    By Blurtman @ 56:

    Really? Where?

    Post 30, responding to MD’s’ “If home values are expensive now, wait until the Fed decides it wants negative interest rates…”

    “Ha, ha, ha…. If that were to be announced, expect Mr. Market to take a swoon, in the short term.”

  58. 58
    Blurtman says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 57

    Mr. Stock Market, which did not take kindly to Yellen’s inaction.

  59. 59
    whatsmyname says:

    By Blurtman @ 58:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 57

    Mr. Stock Market, which did not take kindly to Yellen’s inaction.

    That wouldn’t have been relevant to the point you were challenging. Or consistent with your followup, “And from the above, conversely, you must believe that higher rates will lower prices. The proposed rate increase was rather modest, no?”

    If I was the fool to read coherency in your comments, congratulations.

  60. 60
    Blurtman says:

    By whatsmyname @ 59:

    By Blurtman @ 58:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 57

    Mr. Stock Market, which did not take kindly to Yellen’s inaction.

    That wouldn’t have been relevant to the point you were challenging. Or consistent with your followup, “And from the above, conversely, you must believe that higher rates will lower prices. The proposed rate increase was rather modest, no?”

    If I was the fool to read coherency in your comments, congratulations.

    I was not challenging a point. There has been some debate on this blog about the relationship of rates to home price. Some folks have stated that raising rates would not lower price.

    Here is a reference to Mr. Market. You may identify with some of the traits. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-warren-buffett-says-mr-125010039.html

  61. 61
    ess says:

    Good news on housing – those who have lots of money are betting on rising rents and tight markets for single family houses.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/big-landlords-in-talks-to-merge-betting-on-rising-rents-1442808003?mod=rss_whats_news_us

  62. 62
    ess says:

    By Blurtman @ 60:

    By whatsmyname @ 59:

    By Blurtman @ 58:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 57

    Mr. Stock Market, which did not take kindly to Yellen’s inaction.

    That wouldn’t have been relevant to the point you were challenging. Or consistent with your followup, “And from the above, conversely, you must believe that higher rates will lower prices. The proposed rate increase was rather modest, no?”

    If I was the fool to read coherency in your comments, congratulations.

    I was not challenging a point. There has been some debate on this blog about the relationship of rates to home price. Some folks have stated that raising rates would not lower price.

    Here is a reference to Mr. Market. You may identify with some of the traits. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-warren-buffett-says-mr-125010039.html

    The term “Mr. Market” was originated or popularized in a book called The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham which was first published in the late 1940s. It is a great book, and some of the lessons of that book can be applied to the Seattle real estate investment scene. I heartily recommend that book, it is an easy read filled with much common sense.

  63. 63
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 60
    “Here is a reference to Mr. Market. You may identify with some of the traits.”
    -Good one.

    “Some folks have stated that raising rates would not lower price.”
    – Indeed. Does Blurtman have an opinion on this? And will he state it?

  64. 64
    Blurtman says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 63 – I am on the path of perpetual learning. How does history instruct?

  65. 65
    Jonness says:

    By softwarengineer @ 17:

    The house was purchased for $26K in Kansas City as a foreclosed home from a landlord. Yes, I needed to pour about $4K into the furnace, dead tree removal and outside trim replacement with painting.

    What about mold remediation?

  66. 66
    Jonness says:

    By Blurtman @ 36:

    Sure, a lot of folks would concur that lower rates increase home prices. But the need to continually lower rates may send a negative message about the real health of the economy.

    Yes, the Fed has been progressively lowering rates for 34 years. And we’ve finally hit the zero-bound.

    Now the question is, what major economic force will be able to replace a 34-year economic stimulation tactic, now that business as usual no longer works? Some argue the major force is a depression. Others argue inflation is still a possibility. Or do we just slowly drift into economic irrelevance?

  67. 67
    boater says:

    RE: Jonness @ 66
    Zero is not turning out to be a bound as the Swiss found out.

    We are in an odd situation. There is so much money in the system at the moment it’s hard to charge interest. At least as long as it’s concentrated in the hands of a few.

  68. 68
    Blurtman says:

    RE: boater @ 67 – Yes and see posts 32 and 35. We all (homeowners, that is) must support NIRP.

    NIRP.
    NIRP.
    NIRP.

  69. 69
    Mike says:

    By softwarengineer @ 5:

    RE: sleepless @ 3

    Watch the per capita and household incomes of “all first time buyers” too. Don’t mix the “outside the group” in the data base, they make much higher incomes.

    The seem to be really damn high right now. A couple we’re friends with (just had first kid) are planning on leaving their apartment and buying a house. They’re looking in the $800K range.

  70. 70
    David B. says:

    RE: Jonness @ 66 – Given where the public debt currently is, some degree of the government inflating its way out of that debt is always a possibility. I certainly don’t expect inflation (and interest rates) to stay as low as they presently are indefinitely. It’s one of the reasons I’m not paying off my mortgage any faster than I am required to pay it.

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