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

Now that January is done, let’s look at our regular monthly “preview” charts. I apologize for the delay in this post. Our inventory tracker from Estately is down and I was hoping it would come back up, but so far no luck there.

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.

Next, let’s look at total home sales as measured by the number of “Warranty Deeds” filed with King County:

King County Warranty Deeds

Sales in King County decreased thirty percent between December and January (a year ago they fell twenty-three percent over the same period), and were down nine percent year-over-year.

Here’s a look at Snohomish County Deeds, but keep in mind that Snohomish County files Warranty Deeds (regular sales) and Trustee Deeds (bank foreclosure repossessions) together under the category of “Deeds (except QCDS),” so this chart is not as good a measure of plain vanilla sales as the Warranty Deed only data we have in King County.

Snohomish County Deeds

Deeds in Snohomish decreased twenty-two percent month-over-month (vs. an eighteen percent decrease in the same period last year) and were down six percent from a year earlier.

Next, here’s Notices of Trustee Sale, which are an indication of the number of homes currently in the foreclosure process:

King County Notices of Trustee Sale

Snohomish County Notices of Trustee Sale

Foreclosure notices in King County were down thirty-two percent from a year ago and Snohomish County foreclosure notices were down fifty-five percent from last year. The monthly number of foreclosures never really historically goes lower than it is right now.

Here’s another measure of foreclosures for King County, looking at Trustee Deeds, which is the type of document filed with the county when the bank actually repossesses a house through the trustee auction process. Note that there are other ways for the bank to repossess a house that result in different documents being filed, such as when a borrower “turns in the keys” and files a “Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.”

King County Trustee Deeds

Trustee Deeds were down thirty-seven percent from a year ago. The number edged up from December, but is still near historic lows.

Lastly, here’s an update of the inventory charts, updated with previous months’ inventory data from the NWMLS.

King County SFH Active Listings

Snohomish County SFH Active Listings

Inventory rose four percent between December and January in King County, but was still down twenty-three percent from a year earlier.

In Snohomish County listings were up seven percent month-over-month and down fifteen percent year-over-year.

Note that most of the charts above are based on broad county-wide data that is available through a simple search of King County and Snohomish County public records. If you have additional stats you’d like to see in the preview, drop a line in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Stay tuned later this month a for more detailed look at each of these metrics as the “official” data is released from various sources.


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.

63 comments:

  1. 1
    Wile E. Millenial says:

    So happy to have recently acquired property in King County.

    Unrelated question, how much should I be paying to get rats out of the attic and crawlspace of a small home? Trying to decide if a quote passes the smell test.

  2. 2
    Justme says:

    In other news, we welcome Jerome Powell as the new chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. That plus Donny Trump talking up the stock market was good for a stock market blip that lasted maybe 2 hours. Looks like the great Trump Pump is officially over, and it is time for the Trump Dump.

  3. 3

    By Wile E. Millenial @ 1:

    Unrelated question, how much should I be paying to get rats out of the attic and crawlspace of a small home? Trying to decide if a quote passes the smell test.

    I’ve seen bids in the $300 range, but their terms of service vary widely as to what you get.

    I’m only writing to say I’ve come to the conclusion that monthly (or semi-monthly) monitoring is not worth the money. You’re better off checking the attic and crawlspace periodically yourself, IMHO.

    But don’t eradicate on your own! I’ve seen damages well in excess of the cost of eradication from DIY.

  4. 4
    Justme says:

    Holy moly. AMZN momentarily hit the 1320 handle today after previous (Friday) closing at 1430. That is one heck of a steep drop.

    Right now it is “only” down 2.25% at 1397. What a ride, people are rightfully getting scared.

  5. 5
    uwp says:

    By Justme @ 4:

    Yesterday AMZN popped from 599 close to 682 after hours, Now it is down again to 657. It is sliding downwards because investors are realizing that the AWS numbers were not good. So, yeah, I’d call that a reversal in the making.

    Oh, wait. That was your post from April 2016. Sorry. My mistake.

  6. 6
    GoHawks! says:

    RE: uwp @ 5 – Mic drop.

  7. 7
    Erik says:

    RE: Wile E. Millenial @ 1
    Welcome to the winners circle.

  8. 8
    N says:

    Tim – Do you have a chart somewhere that would show King County monthly ending inventory for each year for say the last decade plus?

  9. 9
    uwp says:

    And the 10 year dropped from a high of 2.88% to 2.73% right now. Will we get minute by minute updates on that from Eastsider as well?

    Someday (maybe tomorrow!) Amazon will fall.
    Someday Seattle house prices will fall.
    Someday mortgage rates will go up to 5% (6%, 7%!).

    And I’m sure they will be here to say I told you so no matter when it happens.

  10. 10
    Erik says:

    RE: N @ 8
    When you first go to the Seattlebubble site, scroll past all the articles. There is a section called “Inventory.” In that section, it lists in each county how many houses and how many condos are for sale. Click on the number of houses or condos for sale. Now you can scroll through all the data you want regarding the number of houses and condos for sale for the past 5 years or so.

  11. 11
    N says:

    @ Erik 8 – Thanks. I discovered that a while back, just wanted to point out that something in graphical form similar to what Tim just posted for 2017/2018 would be useful, rather than shifting through 24 hours of daily numbers for the last decade.

  12. 12
    Justme says:

    RE: uwp @ 9

    TNX (the yield) dropped because of the flight to safety from a crashing stock market. But junk bonds dropped and junk yields increased correspondingly. But that does not mean that investors will think that mortgage rates should not increase. It is highly likely that the spread between TNX and 30-year mortgages will increase in the near future.

  13. 13
    Doug says:

    I think the real news is what Yellen did to Wells Fargo on her way out. I did not know that in addition to their duel mandate the Fed was also responsible for regulating public companies and punishing share holders for consumer abuses. I guess I thought that’s why we have the FTC.

    This was a warning shot to all banks that apparently the Fed can do whatever they want whenever they want since it was delivered well after the initial scandal broke and has already been remedied. Is this what a centrally controlled economy feels like?

  14. 14
    redmondjp says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 3:

    By Wile E. Millenial @ 1:

    Unrelated question, how much should I be paying to get rats out of the attic and crawlspace of a small home? Trying to decide if a quote passes the smell test.

    But don’t eradicate on your own! I’ve seen damages well in excess of the cost of eradication from DIY.

    What in Sam Hill are you talking about Kary? If you can slap some peanut butter on a Victor rat trap, you’re more qualified than most pest-control workers (who typically just put out the poison bait stations).

    I catch about 20-30 rats per year in my neighborhood (23 last year, 30 the year before). I’ve already caught three this year, and two of them were YUUUUGGGGEEEE!

  15. 15

    RE: Doug @ 13

    I think it was Greenspan saying the stock market is a bubble on Wednesday.

  16. 16
    toad37 says:

    Bull markets end on good news…

  17. 17
    Doug says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 15 – I think that adds to it, but I was specifically referring to the sanctions that Yellen put on Wells Fargo that cap their asset growth until the Fed says otherwise.

  18. 18

    RE: redmondjp @ 14

    Most of the cost of pest issues when it is a real estate transaction is getting all new insulation both in the attic and in the crawl space and new visqueen. In a normal residential service they plug up the holes from where they think the rodents are coming in. Then they set traps and keep coming back until they have no more coming in or hanging out. Then they do the insulation and visqueen. Sometimes they have to do a lot more treatment if the pee smell doesn’t leave with the insulation and visqueen. This for what I call “a big fat rat party house”. Usually near a stream. They have a drink and then take a nap in your crawl or attic and pee and poop while they are there.

    If the pink insulation is covered in black pellets it costs more than if you have one little burrowed tunnel. :)

    I’m not a big fan of rodent problems, but still not as bad as septic problems. :)

    I’ve seen bills for thousands of dollars to clean up a rat party house as part of a sale.

  19. 19
    N says:

    @ Doug 13 – Wells Fargo has remedied something?? Maybe, but the evidence doesn’t seem to add up. Seems like the hits keep on coming for them, from one huge misbehavior to another…

    http://fortune.com/2017/01/24/wells-fargo-scandals/

    Blinding Watchdogs
    dding another layer to the phony account scandal, it appears that management and employees at the bank’s branches across the country had at least 24 hours warning about when internal watchdogs were scheduled to come and perform inspections checking the validity and integrity of account handling, according to the Wall Street Journal. Such warning gave time for employees to shred incriminating paperwork and forge necessary signatures. Wells Fargo has announced new guidelines for inspections and oversight, but in many cases managers are still given advance notice in order to ensure there is enough staff on hand to deal with inspectors and customers.

    Retaliating Against Corporate Whistleblowers
    Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan admitted last week that there is evidence to suggest that some employees may have faced retaliation for calling the company’s ethics hotline and reporting objectionable behavior. The bank had hired a third party to investigate instances over the last five years where an employee was fired within 12 months of calling the hotline. Often, lateness or some other trivial reason would be concocted to justify terminating a worker, according to a report in CNNMoney

    Charging Bogus Mortgage Late Fees
    Four former employees of the Los Angeles region claim the bank improperly charged customers with late fees to extend their promised interest rate even when the delay was the bank’s fault, according to ProPublica. The scam typically cost customers $1,000 to $1,500, depending on how big the loan was. In some cases borrowers were given unnecessary paperwork to fill out, or tasked with providing inconsequential documents in order to ensure they would not meet the deadlines.

  20. 20
    ARDELL DellaLoggia says:

    RE: Doug @ 17

    I’m emersed in Black Friday and Blacker Monday due to the Deja Vu. Realized after I typed that I may be the only one on that particular wave length today as to The Dow. The last two minutes was like the reverse of watching My Eagles win yesterday. Both jawdroppers. :)

  21. 21
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Doug @ 13 – Yellen took a lot of hits from folks for not disciplining the criminal banks who caused the Great Depression 2. It’s good to see her take action on the way out. I doubt we will see anything from the Justice Department.

    “On her way out the door of the Fed, Janet Yellen gave Wells Fargo a well-deserved kick in the pants. Yellen’s last day in office was Friday, and the Federal Reserve announced that day that it is restricting Wells Fargo’s growth and demanding the replacement of four board members in response to “widespread consumer abuses and compliance breakdowns,” according to NPR.

    The punishment sounds harsh, but considering that Wells Fargo opened up as many as 3.5 million fake bank accounts and credit cards, sold unneeded auto insurance to 570,000 customers, and allegedly fired anyone who reported the unethical behavior, it’s pretty fitting.

    “We cannot tolerate pervasive and persistent misconduct at any bank,” Yellen said in a statement. “The consumers harmed by Wells Fargo expect that robust and comprehensive reforms will be put in place to make certain that the abuses do not occur again.”

    In addition to these new penalties, Wells Fargo has already paid a $185 million fine, was hit with a well-deserved $142 million class-action lawsuit, and said adieu to CEO John Stumpf. In addition, it will have to have a third-party review of its risk compliance plan to make sure this nonsense and abuse of power never happens again. Unless the Trump Administration’s incoming Fed chief decides to overrule the penalty, of course.”
    https://www.fastcompany.com/40526619/janet-yellen-just-dropped-the-hammer-on-wells-fargo

  22. 22

    By redmondjp @ 14:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 3:

    By Wile E. Millenial @ 1:

    Unrelated question, how much should I be paying to get rats out of the attic and crawlspace of a small home? Trying to decide if a quote passes the smell test.

    But don’t eradicate on your own! I’ve seen damages well in excess of the cost of eradication from DIY.

    What in Sam Hill are you talking about Kary? If you can slap some peanut butter on a Victor rat trap, you’re more qualified than most pest-control workers (who typically just put out the poison bait stations).

    I catch about 20-30 rats per year in my neighborhood (23 last year, 30 the year before). I’ve already caught three this year, and two of them were YUUUUGGGGEEEE!

    Are you talking inside our outside?

    I’ve seen people lock rodents in (close off their entrances) before eradicating them, which causes a real mess, or install a new vapor barrier when the problem has not yet been corrected, and also heard of people using poison in crawlspaces rather than traps. I can’t personally say I can provide evidence of the last item causing a problem, but seemingly that would cause an issue because you don’t know where the thing will die in the crawlspace. It certainly will be harder to remove than if a trap was used.

    I don’t have a problem with setting traps to see if you have a problem, and in fact have suggested leaving them baited in a crawlspace or attic because that makes your periodic inspections a bit faster. But when rodents are getting inside I think the pros are better at figuring out how they are getting in and actually eliminating them.

  23. 23

    Gasoline All Over the Stock Market Now?

    And if you oppose the WALL and want a shutdown over DACA the match gets lit?

    Good-bye to your retirements if that happens.

  24. 24

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 18:

    RE: redmondjp @ 14

    Most of the cost of pest issues when it is a real estate transaction is getting all new insulation both in the attic and in the crawl space and new visqueen. In a normal residential service they plug up the holes from where they think the rodents are coming in. Then they set traps and keep coming back until they have no more coming in or hanging out. Then they do the insulation and visqueen.

    What I’ve seen is setting the traps to reduce or eliminate the population, then closing the gaps, then more trapping until they’re all gone, then the cleanup.

  25. 25

    By N @ 8:

    Tim – Do you have a chart somewhere that would show King County monthly ending inventory for each year for say the last decade plus?

    Isn’t the third (Inventory) graph of the NWMLS posts what you’re asking for?

    http://seattlebubble.com/blog/2018/01/05/nwmls-listings-drought-intensifies-months-supply-hits-new-record-low-december/

  26. 26

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 24

    Make sense. In a real estate transaction or when someone’s getting ready for market the process has to speed up a lot.

  27. 27

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 26:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 24

    Make sense. In a real estate transaction or when someone’s getting ready for market the process has to speed up a lot.

    Which is another reason to leave it to the pros, and might explain my bias.

  28. 28
    ARDELL DellaLoggia says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 27

    I was talking about the pros. Never saw someone try to handle that themselves in a real estate transaction. I’ve seen one that cost $8,000.

  29. 29
    S-Crow says:

    2018 Property Tax rate update:

    Snohomish Co property 2018 tax rolls are now live and now join Pierce and Skagit that were already live. King Co. property taxes are still not online (will be by Feb. 16 says King Co website).

    Why this is important:

    Sales taking place prior to the new 2018 Property Tax assessments showing are generally prorated based upon 2017 figures (which means almost everything will be higher). This is reflected in Escrow Instructions for those that are the type that actually reads them as a special comment or within the prorations section depending upon your escrow co. and how they address the issue. It can be confusing for buyers and those that are very detailed (you know who you are!) may ask ….”ok then, then does that mean on my purchase the credit I received from the seller for the time they lived in the house for 1st half property taxes may be a little shy since it’s based upon 2017 figures?” Yup. It’s just the way it is when buying in the period right after the 1st of the new year when 2018 property taxes were not yet out.

    Snohomish County just had a very large levy rate increases tied to schools (many of which were completely renovated or rebuilt over the last couple years or so). Once again (almost like clockwork) we now have on our current Snohomish County Ballot an additional increase request for schools and local Fire District. It’s pretty unbelievable for those that are actually paying attention. My overall property tax bill has doubled and then some since ownership and 13% YOY.

  30. 30

    RE: S-Crow @ 29 – I wonder if there’s any hangover from Hirst in there, with taxes being pushed onto improved properties.

  31. 31

    Well Erik is out of luck. Last week was not a very good week for Seattle in Olympia. Neither of their preemption removal proposals (rent control and guns) made it out of committee. Very odd there’s so little news on the topic, I only found two stories, one detailing minor bills that did make it out of committee, and this one from the NRA highlighting the bills that didn’t make it out.

    https://www.nraila.org/articles/20180204/washington-gun-control-bills-fail-to-meet-deadline

    I don’t find any of this terribly surprising because the Democrats don’t have that much of an advantage in Olympia, and much of what Seattle is trying to push down there has zero popularity in much of the state.

  32. 32

    From the Heat Index thread:

    By Deerhawke @ 535:

    The Seattle Times has its write up online. The spring market has clearly started with a bang.

    King County’s median price is now $628,000. Seattle has gone above the median price set last summer and hit a new high of $757,000. But West Bellevue has basically doubled in the last year and now has a median of $2.27 million.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/king-county-housing-market-kicks-off-2018-even-hotter-than-before-as-seattle-breaks-price-record/

    My take is that the low inventory is starting to impact sales–they were down considerably. That could have also helped push the median up, but I haven’t really looked at that–just a guess.

    The new listings were almost identical.

    References to numbers that are published by the NWMLS, but not guaranteed.

  33. 33
    Wile E. Millenial says:

    I got quoted $2k for “exclusion” (quite a bit of work included in the proposal, admittedly), plus a fairly competitive-looking bid from the same company to install new R-49 in the attic and R-25 in the crawlspace (the rats are in both places and there’s no insulation). I was actually pretty impressed by the professionalism of the guy they sent and he has very nearly talked me into it.

  34. 34

    RE: Wile E. Millenial @ 33 – Without knowing what’s involved or anything about the house it would be impossible to say if that’s a lot, but I can see why you asked.

    If you have furnace ducting and it is not insulated, then I would highly recommend getting it sealed and insulated. That could have a bigger impact that the rest of it.

    Also, check your utility company for rebates.

  35. 35
    robert says:

    New Fed Chair + interest rate hike will be interesting. Wondering if the rate increase will put the screws on the asset bubble that’s been forming due to low rates. My guess is once it’s more expensive to get a loan we’ll see more people opt out of buying and bring prices down.

  36. 36
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 31
    I missed out that time. I just want builders to stop building.

  37. 37
    Hugh Dominic says:

    By uwp @ 5:

    By Justme @ 4:

    Yesterday AMZN popped from 599 close to 682 after hours, Now it is down again to 657. It is sliding downwards because investors are realizing that the AWS numbers were not good. So, yeah, I’d call that a reversal in the making.

    Oh, wait. That was your post from April 2016. Sorry. My mistake.

    Ohhhhh no! Burrrrrrrn!!

  38. 38
    wreckingbull says:

    I’m pretty sure you guys are being trolled by “Wile E. Millenial “. Perhaps I am just too jaded, but these posts just can’t be real.

  39. 39
    redmondjp says:

    By wreckingbull @ 38:

    I’m pretty sure you guys are being trolled by “Wile E. Millenial “. Perhaps I am just too jaded, but these posts just can’t be real.

    Maybe we need to hire a professional to do an eradication on this blog; we have been discussing rats, after all . . .

    OT but it’s been a bit quiet in the office lately regarding crypto – last fall there were lots of millenials all giddy about it, standing around the water cooler talking to each other about how to ‘invest’ in it.

  40. 40
    ess says:

    The market continues on it’s upward spiral.

    Between the shortage of housing of all types, not to mention interest rates that are edging higher, it will be an interesting spring market, which is but a few short weeks away.

    Will higher interest rates cool the market, or just encourage those on the sidelines to buy before interest rates go higher? Will the higher interest rates be partially offset by increasing wage growth?

    We will all have to see.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/king-county-housing-market-kicks-off-2018-even-hotter-than-before-as-seattle-breaks-price-record/

  41. 41
    ess says:

    Thanks for he heads up on rent control, Kary

    https://www.seattlemet.com/articles/2018/2/5/state-will-uphold-its-ban-on-rent-control

    DANG!!!!
    (using stronger language when the children are not in the immediate area)

    Here I was hoping for the rent control ban to be removed, so that the value of all housing would skyrocket by introducing foolish rent control in places such as Seattle, thus allowing me to have a better retirement in another state.

    Well, you lose some, and win some (see article in prior post #40)

  42. 42

    By redmondjp @ 39:

    OT but it’s been a bit quiet in the office lately regarding crypto – last fall there were lots of millenials all giddy about it, standing around the water cooler talking to each other about how to ‘invest’ in it.

    It tried to crack $6,000 twice last night. But I predict it will recover after the next earnings report.

  43. 43
    Deerhawke says:

    If you look at the figures in the Seattle Times this morning, you will see that sales are down double digits across the board.

    Seattle -17.5%
    Eastside -16.9%
    North KC -16.7%
    Southwest KC -16.5%
    Southeast KC -28.7%

    It looks like the relentlessly low level of inventory is finally having an effect on overall sales. As this spring market gears up, that is bound to lead to a really tough market for buyers.

  44. 44
    Jon says:

    Sales could also be down because of caution about HQ2 and the end of a rush to buy before interest rates going up and deductions going down.

  45. 45

    By Deerhawke @ 43:

    If you look at the figures in the Seattle Times this morning, you will see that sales are down double digits across the board.

    Seattle -17.5%
    Eastside -16.9%
    North KC -16.7%
    Southwest KC -16.5%
    Southeast KC -28.7%

    It looks like the relentlessly low level of inventory is finally having an effect on overall sales. As this spring market gears up, that is bound to lead to a really tough market for buyers.

    If only someone had mentioned that before, like maybe in post 32. ;-)

    Seriously, it’s amazed me how well sales have held up despite the low inventory. That seems to be cracking–at least based on one month’s worth of data.

  46. 46

    RE: Wile E. Millenial @ 33
    Plastic Exterior Dryer Vents Damaged With Weed Eaters

    Or doggy doors too….are their easiest ways in…

    Make sure your crawl space cover is closed completely too…they can slide through a 1/8″ slot.

  47. 47

    By Jon @ 44:

    Sales could also be down because of caution about HQ2 and the end of a rush to buy before interest rates going up and deductions going down.

    If it were demand-side issues you probably wouldn’t see inventory significantly drop. Also, if that were a big concern you’d probably see more inventory coming on the market as opposed to new listings being virtually flat.

    Disclaimer: “Significantly drop” and “flat” reference NWMLS data which is believed accurate but not guaranteed.

  48. 48

    By ess @ 41:

    Thanks for he heads up on rent control, Kary

    https://www.seattlemet.com/articles/2018/2/5/state-will-uphold-its-ban-on-rent-control

    From article:

    “Given the gridlock on this issue for so long, the fact that it was heard in both chambers is a remarkable achievement,” said Lily Wilson, acting director of the city’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations, during the council briefing Monday.

    I’m somewhat familiar with the process down in Olympia, which is why I was looking for cutoff news. But isn’t this just a result of the Dems having slight majorities in both houses? I would assume they now have better control over what gets a hearing.

  49. 49
    ARDELL DellaLoggia says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 38

    In my world, rats are much more on topic as to real estate than bitcoin.

    Yesterday on the buy side we bypassed the rat party house and went with another that ended up with over 20 offers. When the not winners were notified the agent for the seller started getting hate mail. That’s a somewhat new development.

    Today and tomorrow are the official review dates of the ones I have my eyes on. Mine went early on Sunday. The one I had an offer in on went early, yesterday. Will be interesting to see if rat party house and another we bypassed also go pending by Thursday.

    I’m still watching The DOW today on the edge of my seat.

    1st Quarter anecdotally speaking is always the most interesting.

  50. 50
    Wile E. Millenial says:

    Trolling? By asking about rat prices? Man, the trolling game has softened a lot since I was a kid.

    Several of my coworkers are bitcoin junkies. One of them was explaining to me why it wasn’t a bubble the other day and told me he could make money because he “knew what times of day the market was going to move”. He is an otherwise smart guy who earnestly explained to me how Bitcoin has all the same philosophical properties as cash. I believe he told me his current portfolio is 50% BTC (lol).

    My friends just use bitcoin to buy drugs online like normal people.

  51. 51
    uwp says:

    By ARDELL DellaLoggia @ 49:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 38
    When the not winners were notified the agent for the seller started getting hate mail. That’s a somewhat new development.

    Wow. Good luck to those folks dealing with that agent in the future.

  52. 52
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: Jon @ 44

    I can tell you a bit about the demand-side these days.

    These days I mainly build single family and have agents previewing the house as soon as the roof is on. And I don’t even know the agent. Last week some stranger with a couple in tow was giving a guided tour while we were putting in insulation.

    Ok, I know, a single anecdote may be misleading. Data is more important. How about this– $500-550 per square foot for new construction on a super busy arterial?

    I know the townhouse/rowhouse market well and have friends that build for it. A guy I know bought a 4-unit townhouse site a block or two west of Fred Meyers on the north side of 85th St. in Greenwood. I actually counseled him against it and told him it was a death zone. He would have to price it really low to get rid of the product. Way, way too much traffic zooming by. Pot shops sprouting all over the place. Bad alley.

    Anyway, the land was really cheap, so he went ahead.

    I went by for the second open house this weekend. One of the places had already sold on the first day. Waves of people were coming through. Every time the door opened 6 or 8 people would walk in. The foyer was so filled with shoes, it was hard to find a place to drop mine.

    Everything sold in 4 days. Prices at mid-high 7’s in front (with the traffic noise) and mid-high 8’s in back (away from the traffic noise). The agent said she could have sold 20 of them.

    https://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/632-NW-85th-St-98117/home/100543

    If you had been at the open house and seen the number and mix of people, I think you would know that we don’t have a demand problem on the horizon. People are not thinking about HQ2 since that is not expected to go live until 2022.

    Millennials are looking to buy now before they are priced out. What surprised me was the number of people in their late 50’s and early 60’s who are selling their bigger places to take advantage of this market and downsize.

  53. 53

    By uwp @ 51:

    By ARDELL DellaLoggia @ 49:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 38
    When the not winners were notified the agent for the seller started getting hate mail. That’s a somewhat new development.

    Wow. Good luck to those folks dealing with that agent in the future.

    I would suspect it’s the buyers, not the buyers’ agents. If so, chances are that hate mail should be directed to their own agents. It’s amazing to me some of the provisions agents put into an offer where it will be an obvious multiple offer situation, and I really doubt much of that is client driven. But you might be right–those same agents might write hateful messages to the listing agent.

  54. 54
    David says:

    RE: ARDELL DellaLoggia @ 49 – I bought a new house last year where several neighbors have backyard chickens. I then put in a bird feeder and a compost pile. Not long afterward I noticed a rat chomping away under the bird feeder. Shortly after that, I noticed one tossing the compost pile about with gusto. At first it was a bit amusing to see birds of every kind, cats and rats all making a nature show back there – viewed from three stories up.

    But then one day I watched from my perch as rats came in from three different directions through the tall grass I planted. It was like that scene on Weathertop in the Lord of the Rings when the witch-kings all moved in on Frodo.

    I quickly got poison and dropped it down the various holes they had popped out of. Bought the green stick poison at Home Depot and put peanut butter in the slits along the sides. Wrapped each in plastic wrap so the rats had to work for the peanut butter. POOF – ratless in Seattle – so far.

  55. 55
    uwp says:

    Rat Chat:

    There is a pretty good youtube channel with “Mouse Trap Monday” where a guy goes over different mouse traps. It’s pretty interesting in a macabre way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsoVcrFyrF8

  56. 56
    ronp says:

    RE: Doug @ 13 – as a wells fargo shareholder I am happy with the stiff sentence, am holding long term and it makes for good tax loss harvesting if things continue downward. capitalism only functions with strict legal frameworks and eventual punishment of immoral and unethical acts. hopefully trump and his idiots are also caught soon, but the world is an imperfect place…

  57. 57
    Blake says:

    By Deerhawke @ 52:

    RE: Jon @ 44
    What surprised me was the number of people in their late 50’s and early 60’s who are selling their bigger places to take advantage of this market and downsize.

    Why does this surprise you?

  58. 58
    Yoyobye says:

    RE: Wile E. Millenial @ 50 – I’d like to chime-in based on some rodent control experience…

    You have to fight the “battle” on the exterior of the home, or they will find ways in when the temperatures drop. Keep them outside the home to begin with. This means setting bait traps around the home. Four for smaller homes, six for larger ones. One per corner/side, and move them around as needed, if you notice one area being more active (based on bait consumption). Protecta LPs are excellent bait boxes – large enough to allow most anything wandering by to enter. Contrac Blox is what the pros use. Replace bait once per month for it to be effective, and keep them maintained once the pests are gone.

    Inside, clean up everything to track where new activity is. If you’re having trouble tracking them, spread a bit of flour / baby powder and watch for footprints. Use traditional traps along the walls, and use a small amount of peanut butter, or whatever food source you find them eating. If they don’t go for traditional trap baits, you can always try pineapple/fruit tied-down with floss (you can get pretty creative).

    Seal-up the holes in the home. You can walk the perimeter with a mirror to find spots under the trim / against the foundation. Steel wool and expanding foam are a solid combination to prevent reentry.

    We’ve had some mild winters, and the rodent population has unfortunately benefited from that. DIY pest control is very doable with the right info. Good luck.

  59. 59
    Blake says:

    This is sad… Friday’s jobs report was one of the sparks that set off that selloff:
    “Friday’s jobs report showed sharp wage growth… Average hourly wages jumped 9 cents, or 0.3%, to $26.74, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means wages have increased 2.9% over the last year.”

    The speculators are worried the Fed will raise rates and take away their punch bowl!

    But look at the numbers:
    “Since nonsupervisory workers account for about 80% of all workers, we can back them out of the total figure, and calculate the YoY% increase in wages for managers… While regular workers saw nominal wages go up a little under 0.2% per hour, their bosses saw wages go up 0.8% per hour!”
    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/02/mr-market-meltdown.html

    Same old same old… 0.2% monthly wage gain for the lower 80%? “Sharp wage growth!?
    And the monetary sadists at the Fed are afraid of inflation! Insane…

  60. 60
    redmondjp says:

    RE: Blake @ 59
    Blake – the only kind of inflation they are afraid of is wage inflation – all other types of inflation are considered desirable and necessary.

  61. 61
    S-Crow says:

    January Stats for recorded Deeds of Trust for Snohomish County from 2005 through 2018: A slice or glimpse into how each year started from 2005 -2018.

    Note: This shows not just DOT’s reflective of sales with financing but also add’s into the mix refinancing which is a market I see in the escrow biz but is not reflected in data generated by NWMLS for sales. It’s great to look at sales data but it’s equally if not far more important in my opinion to look under the hood of the market for a more complete (even with potential data flaws where 2 DOT’s are on one property) view of overall housing financing activity.

    JANUARY ONLY of each year for Snohomish County:

    05′: 5369 (5.71% 30 yr fixed)
    06′: 5534 (6.15% 30 yr fixed)
    07′: 5773 (6.22 % 30 yr fixed)
    08′: 3734 (5.76% 30 yr fixed)
    09′: 2935 (5.05% 30 yr fixed)
    10′: 2134 (5.03% 30 yr fixed)
    11′: 2685 (4.76% 30 yr fixed)
    12′: 2161 (3.92% 30 yr fixed)
    13′: 3492 (3.4% 30 Yr fixed)
    14′: 1669 (4.4 % 30 yr fixed) (Very low home and refinance activity to start the year)
    15′: 2188 (3.67% 30 yr fixed)
    16′: 2303 (3.87% 30 yr fixed)
    17′: 3060 (4.15% 30 yr fixed)
    18′: 2931 (4.22% 30 yr fixed)

  62. 62
    Blurtman says:

    RE: S-Crow @ 61 – Do we really need to pay a needless tithe to the banksters, to borrow our own money?

  63. 63
    Blake says:

    By Blurtman @ 62:

    RE: S-Crow @ 61 – Do we really need to pay a needless tithe to the banksters, to borrow our own money?

    Nope… they are inefficient and not needed.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-07/are-banks-worthless
    … “Here is a hilarious paper from Juliane Begenau of Stanford and Erik Stafford of Harvard called “Do Banks Have an Edge?” No, is their answer. You’d be better off just passively buying Treasuries than buying the complicated mix of stuff that banks actually own…
    “… This suggests that the specialized asset-based activities of banks have contributed negatively to bank performance over this period.”

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