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New Feature: Sidebar Inventory Tracker

I’d like to introduce a new feature that I have added to Seattle Bubble: Sidebar Inventory Tracking.

Over on the left sidebar, you will notice a new section titled “Inventory.” With the number of homes on the market continuing to climb daily into record territory, I thought it would be fun to see the inventory at-a-glance. I now have the ability to automatically update the number of listings on the market (in the MLS) in any Western Washington county and of any type (SFH, condo, etc.).

So far, I’ve only added King County SFH, since this is the number that I highlight in the monthly stats reports. However, since it is fairly easy to add other counties or property types, I would like to solicit requests from you, the readers.

Which counties and property types would you like to see added the the hourly inventory tracker? Also, do you have any fun suggestions for other features I could add to the site?

Update: I have added SFH and Condos for King, Pierce, and Snohomish. I’ll try to make time this weekend to add some contextual info as well. And to make the forum link at the top of the page bigger.

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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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

37 comments:

  1. 1
    S-crow says:

    Snohomish, as indicated by my recent update in the forums.

  2. 2
    biliruben says:

    A number isn’t particularly enlightening unless it’s compared to something to give it meaning.

    % change Y0Y or MOM, or better – a constantly updating graph, though I’m sure that would be quite a programming chore.

  3. 3
    Alan says:

    Cool.

    I started recording values from Windermere late last month. The past few weeks have been steady, but inventory has been climbing quickly this week.

    Monday I recorded 9695. Today it is at 9871. That is an average of nearly 59 houses added a day. That is a 0.6% increase a day == 18% a month == 220% a year (not compounded).

    I came here to post this and what do I see but an incredibly timely post. Outstanding work, Tim.

  4. 4
    deejayoh says:

    Excellent work Tim. I am going to have a beer when it hits 10,000.

    Come to think of it, maybe I’ll have a beer anyway.

  5. 5
    Orion says:

    Tim, it would be cool if you could give it some context, such as months of inventory or compare it to different time periods. How about adding Pierce co.?

    Alan, I’ve been tracking inventory for Tacoma and Gig Harbor since Feb 06 from ZipRealty and I noticed inventory plateau in June. I thought maybe we’d hit the limit for the year, but now all of a sudden it’s taking off again. I was thinking maybe a lot of contracts with RE agents expired and sellers had to shop their house to another agent. Anyone else have any insight?

    I drove through the area south of Puyallup today, called Frederickson (not sure if it’s actually in Graham or not) and there were housing and condo complexes going up everywhere, not to mention lots of road construction crews out. These houses are packed together like the proverbial sardines. I also saw a sign off the road that said something about “This property has appreciated $45,000 since (some span of months)” and they’re pushing it as investment property. One development was only an empty lot with bulldozers frantically getting it ready. There is a lot of inventory still to come online in Pierce county.

  6. 6
    Cory says:

    I think Pierce & Snohomish counties are obvious candidates since their real estate markets have a direct impact on King County. Many people live in these counties but commute into King County (Seattle/Bellevue) for work. There is a class/group of people that work in Seattle/Bellevue and would like to live close in, but are drawn far out to buy the promise of a larger home on a larger lot, for less money. These people have a direct affect on King County real estate.

  7. 7
    Cory says:

    The Bubble Markets Inventory Tracking web page (linked on the right) has historical data for the combination of King + Snohomish counties. It even identifies that the all time high inventory for these two counties combined is 31,538 when adjusted for population growth (current inventory is 18,547). The previous high was 25,660 back in 1991 when the population of these two counties was 2.0 million, compared to today’s 2.46 million.

  8. 8
    Ed Barkley says:

    It would be nice to see last year’s numbers for this month for comparison

  9. 9
    SeattleHotty says:

    Condo inventory would interest me.

  10. 10
    Finance says:

    Cory, now that you mention population growth, it would be interesting to see the correlation between the number of people living in Seattle and the number of houses over the last 10 years…thus, if we had several years of tight inventory (which would cause rising prices) then its justified.

    Maybe these extra houses are needed in the market to find an equilibrium point, which means that housing appreciation flattens out. After all in the last year the population in the Seattle region increased by 1.5% and the vacancy rate for apartments/housing in Seattle is ~2% (which is causing rents to rise).

    The low vacancy rate also applies to commercial RE (especially in Bellevue & Seattle).

  11. 11
    EconE says:

    Seattlebubble.com t-shirts

  12. 12
    Confusa says:

    I second the request for condos. I imagine there will be an overwhelming amount with all the building going up.

    Wish there was a way to separate out those atrocious “craftsman” style townhomes that are turning Seattle into Anytown USA….

  13. 13
    The Tim says:

    Also worth noting is that the auto-grab is also generating a log, which can be accessed here (for now).

    I like the idea of giving the numbers context. I might be able to add a YOY comparison to the current month’s year-ago month-end total. I’ll have to play around with it.

    Months of Supply is more tricky, because it requires the sales, which I know of no way to find outside of the NWMLS month-end reports.

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Keep it coming!

  14. 14
    MisterBubble says:

    “Cory, now that you mention population growth, it would be interesting to see the correlation between the number of people living in Seattle and the number of houses over the last 10 years…thus, if we had several years of tight inventory (which would cause rising prices) then its justified.”

    Finance, minus 10 points for not reading the sidebar.

  15. 15
    MisterBubble says:

    Tim,

    I’d love to see the numbers rendered on a real-estate sign.

    You know…for irony. :-)

  16. 16
    Alan says:

    Oh sure, Tim. You post your fancy hourly records and now I can’t post a unqiue graph in a few months. Are you trying to put me out of a job…er… hobby?

    It should be neat to see how the hourly graphs change across the 24 hours of the day. We’ll get a little bit of insight into what hours they work over at Windermere.

  17. 17
    flawedreality says:

    you rock, Tim. All the work you put into the site is appreciated.

  18. 18
    refractedthought says:

    Awesome. Another vote for context — as much as possible: YOY, the amount racked up from the first of the month, months/years since number was last seen (would take some doing, but still feasible). Whatever you can do. I love it. :)

  19. 19
    Joel says:

    Unrelated, but funny: [Strong Language Warning] Sleazy Tricks Real Estate Agents Often Try.
    The writer doesn’t care to have a comments section (too lazy to police it) so others have put up sites to post comments on. She’s complained about sellers not willing to lower prices in a slumping market so maybe she’s a bubble watcher like us.

  20. 20
    david losh says:

    Pricing is what interests me. The impact of inventory on pricing would be the point. What I have noticed is that the price of proprties that may have been five hundred thousand a year ago are now selling in the mid fours. There is a tendency by Real Estate agents to price a property low in hopes of getting multiple offers. The trick is how low will the seller go.
    So the price drop could or should be on a standard property. I don’t know how to establish an average property but something on the lines of three bedrooms two baths would be nice.

  21. 21
    Matthew says:

    I’d like to put my vote in for the YOY change in inventory, and most certainly the months of inventory. I understand that only the monthly figures are available and it’s not really current, like the inventory is, but it’s the best number available and it’s still relevant.

    I can imagine that it could provide bad data though. Near the end of a month where there is usually a statistically large uptick in sales (spring) you’ll be using current inventory (large) with old sales (small) which will incorrectly amplify the statistic.

    It might be getting a little complex, but you could take historic increases/decreases in sales between successive months and use that percentage to extrapolate from the previous end-of-month figure, depending on how far into the month we are.

  22. 22
    Matthew says:

    Who is this guy ^. It’s not me, the Matthew that has been posting on here for years and the guy that is registered in the forums.

  23. 23
    carlislematthew says:

    It’s me. It seems that Firefox (or something) is auto-filling the boxes.

    Sorry to burst your bubble (pun intended) but there may be another person called Matthew in this world, aside from you and that dude in the Bible.

  24. 24
    Matthew says:

    There were four Matthews in my senior class in high school. I realize that it is a common name, however, for confusion sake, it is generally considered courtesy not to take the name of someone else that was on the forum before you arrived. I am assuming it wasn’t intentional, no need to get defensive.

  25. 25
    Matthew says:

    My apologies for not researching the blog history of all members with similar names to my own, while accidentally posting under a name that isn’t my nickname in the forums.

    You say “no need to get defensive”, but you’re being a complete ass, so why wouldn’t I response in kind?

    “it is generally considered courtesy not to take the name of someone else that was on the forum before you arrived”

    Listen to yourself.. I “took” your name. Wow. Your online stature must be incredibly threatened.

    Yes, I posted as “Matthew” again. I may do it again in the future. Who knows…

  26. 26
    Pgniss Mcgee says:

    I see a lot coming on the market, but for where I’m looking, most of what’s coming up is garbage, or overpriced remodels that just make me laugh. There’s been so much
    improved of the tired stock that used to keep certain areas cheap that it’s all selling at a high price, or its a loser for some reason or another. The people who thought they could improve a loser and flip it when it is still fundamentally a loser are gonna hurt, but until the people sell the good stuff at a discount, or at the prices of even a short 4-5 years ago, it wont really matter to me. Shoreline average old stock used to be 200K five years ago. Now its 300K. That sucks for an entry level buyer. Unforunately, Seattle was still somewhat cheap five years ago just outside of the center. Plus when you figure the asian takeover of the US west coast, we may never go back down until they hurt and we hurt, and then noone will be able to get a mortgage.

  27. 27
    david losh says:

    I see a very distinct decrease in pricing. You are right there is nothing in Shoreline less than $200K. Then again a dump on 185th for $275K looks like a good building site to me. Five years ago I would have wanted that lot for $200K but the way the construction business is a builder can build cheaper and sell for more. Thank your municipal governments for that, so please don’t blame me.
    A House though needs to be priced cheaper in order to sell. Smaller less expensive mortgages are being kept by the owners. It’s the mid price range that many buyers can’t afford to hold onto that are selling for less.
    The properties over a million are in a seperate catagory. Many buyers in the million plus range are pretty happy that the market is soft.
    It would be a matter of finding apples to apples. My thought is to zestimate a particular home, centrally located, based on comparable sales. Does that make sense? Just pick a place, three bedrooms one and three quarter baths, then run a comparative market analysis every quarter.

  28. 28
    Katie of Germany says:

    I’d like to see Kitsap please:*) And can you list multi-family as well?

  29. 29
    Greg says:

    How about adding the rate? i.e. SHF/day

  30. 30
    Alan says:

    One small request: Would you format the invetory logs so that the fields are separated by a tab instead of a space? That would make it easier to paste them into Excel.

  31. 31
    Nathan says:

    Wow, deejayoh. Looks like you might have that beer before the afternoon is over!

  32. 32
    deejayoh says:

    I’d like it if the value for each was actually a hyperlink to the log, so you could just click and open the location to see the trend.

    And I noticed something very cool – you can paste the logs into Excel and use as a live feed – at least you can using excel 2007.

  33. 33
    geon says:

    What’s the high-water mark for KC? I see we just breached 10K. Oh yeah!

  34. 34
    Alan says:

    I think we are currently at the high water mark for KC. According to a previous post, 9600 several weeks ago was the 100 year record.

  35. 35

    […] Nathan to New Feature: Sidebar Inventory Tracker: Wow, deejayoh. Looks like you might have that beer before the… […]

  36. 36
    The Tim says:

    One small request: Would you format the invetory logs so that the fields are separated by a tab instead of a space? That would make it easier to paste them into Excel.

    I’d like it if the value for each was actually a hyperlink to the log, so you could just click and open the location to see the trend.

    Done and done.

  37. 37
    Alan says:

    I really like the hyperlinks. Great idea, DJ.

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