NWMLS: Listings surge as sales and prices soften a bit

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June market stats were published by the NWMLS last week. Here’s a quick look at the home salesperson spin via their press release:

Brokers seeing “simple economic recipe for a softening housing market”

Home buyers around many parts of Washington state had more choices and less competition during June, prompting some industry leaders to comment on “a feeling of change in the market.”

“Inventory is up and demand has dropped,” reported Robert Wasser, an officer with the board of directors at Northwest Multiple Listing Service. That combination is “a pretty simple economic recipe for a softening market,” he added in commenting on the latest MLS statistics.

“Although still a quick response market, with more new listings coming on the market during the summer months, we experienced dispersed buyer energy due to the greater availability and selection,” stated J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate.

No need for alarm! It’s just a “simple economic recipe”!

Anyway, let’s look at the actual numbers.


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):

June 2018 Number MOM YOY Buyers Sellers
Active Listings 3,718 +27.7% +42.9%
Closed Sales 2,758 +11.5% -4.6%
SAAS (?) 1.46 -8.5% +6.8%
Pending Sales 2,977 -10.1% -12.2%
Months of Supply 1.35 +14.5% +49.8%
Median Price* $715,000 -1.6% +9.5%

The big news in this month’s numbers is yet again the big bump in total on-market inventory. That said, prices look like they’re beginning to soften as well, which is unusual for what is normally the hottest time of year for price gains.

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

King County SFH Inventory

Inventory rose twenty-eight percent from May to June, and was up forty-three percent from last year. We’re definitely forming an interesting trend now. This year has seen listings building up a lot faster than any recent year. Meanwhile, sales are softening, too…

Here’s the chart of new listings:

King County SFH New Listings

New listings were up two percent from a year ago, but dipped slightly from the record high level posted in May.

Here’s your closed sales yearly comparison chart:

King County SFH Closed Sales

Closed sales rose eleven percent between May and June. Last year over the same period closed sales were up about the same. Year-over-year closed sales were down five percent.

King County SFH Pending Sales

Pending sales were down ten percent from May to June, and were down twelve percent year-over-year.

Here’s the supply/demand YOY graph. “Demand” in this chart is represented by closed sales, which have had a consistent definition throughout the decade (unlike pending sales from NWMLS).

King County Supply vs Demand % Change YOY

The recent surge in listings is extremely evident in the above chart. June saw the largest year-over-year listings increase since April 2008.

Here’s the median home price YOY change graph:

King County SFH YOY Price Change

Year-over-year home price movement dipped back below ten percent again.

And lastly, here is the chart comparing King County SFH prices each month for every year back to 1994 (not adjusted for inflation).

King County SFH Prices

It’s interesting to me that we’ve been flat to slightly down since April. That’s a pretty big deviation from normal years. Between 2000 and 2017, April to June has seen an average gain of 3.5 percent. Over the last six years the lowest gain we’ve seen over those months was 4.2 percent. This year prices fell 1.4 percent. Very curious.

May 2018: $715,000
July 2007: $481,000 (previous cycle high)

Here’s the article from the Seattle Times: Market shift? Big spike in Seattle-area homes for sale slows price growth

June Stats Preview: Listings surge even higher in June

Last month we noticed a big surge in listings in King County in our preview data for May, and in June it looks like the trend is getting stronger. On-market listings of single-family homes nearly hit their highest point in four years in June, surging 28 percent in a single month.

The overall summary for June is that sales edged up from May, but saw the biggest year-over-year decline since April 2011. Listings shot up and are starting to form a very interesting trend. Foreclosures are still few and far between.

Case-Shiller: Seattle’s streak on top continues…

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

Up 2.7 percent March to April
Up 13.1 percent year-over-year.
Up 30.8 percent from the July 2007 peak

Over the same period last year prices were up 2.6 percent month-over-month and year-over-year prices were up 12.9 percent.

Seattle still leads the nation in both year-over-year and month-over-month home price growth. Seattle has had the highest year-over-year price growth since September 2016. The only other metro areas with double-digit price growth from a year earlier in April were Las Vegas at 12.7 percent and San Francisco at 10.9 percent.

Around the Sound: King County sees the biggest gains in listings

We know that inventory is growing in King County, but let’s look at broader Puget Sound area. Now that May is over, let’s update our “Around the Sound” statistics for King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties.

The biggest gains in new listings and active inventory were in King County. Snohomish and Pierce also saw some decent increases, but further out it’s more of a mixed bag, with some counties still seeing declining listings and inventory.

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New listing absorption falls to a seven-year low

The big increase in listings is the first interesting development we’ve seen in the local real estate market in months, so here are a few alternative takes on recent home listing activity.

First up, here’s a chart of new listing absorption. This is a simple look at the ratio of pending sales to new listings. If more homes are going pending in a month than there are being listed, this ratio goes above 100 percent, which is obviously not great for buyers.

As of May, the absorption metric has dropped to 79 percent—its lowest level since June 2011. Interestingly, the rate was at its all-time highest level just last December at 162 percent. The absorption rate typically hits its lowest point of the year in June or July, so seeing it drop this low this fast is highly unusual.

NWMLS: New listings hit highest point since 2007 as inventory finally grows

May market stats have been published by the NWMLS, but their press release isn’t out yet, so let’s just dive into the numbers.

The big news in this month’s numbers is the big bump in both new listings and total on-market inventory. The last time we had more than 4,000 new single-family listings in a single month in King County was July 2007.