2007 Neighborhood Inventory Breakdown

In a lot of the feedback we’ve been getting lately, two recurring themes are a desire for more number-crunching and more neighborhood analysis. So, let’s have some of both those things. Let’s take a more detailed look at single-family house inventory over the last year, broken down by neighborhood.

What I’ve done below is to take the “Res Only” data from the NWMLS King County Breakout pdfs for January 2007 through January 2008, and plot the total percent growth. I’ve broken the data into five separate graphs (the same groups the NWMLS uses in the breakout pdfs), in order to make it more digestable, but each graph still has the same scale on the vertical axis, so they can be easily compared. Additionally, each graph has the King County aggregate figure plotted in red with circles marking the data points.

For a description of which neighborhoods each area encompasses, as well as a map of the areas and a link to the source data, visit this page.

KC SFH Inventory Growth: SW King
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KC SFH Inventory Growth: SE King
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Note: Area 701 (Downtown Seattle) started the year with zero listings, then went up to 1 in June and 2 in January ’08, which would techincally have been an infinite percentage increase. On this chart it is displayed as a flat line.

KC SFH Inventory Growth: Seattle
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KC SFH Inventory Growth: N King
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KC SFH Inventory Growth: Eastside
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So what stands out in all this data?

First off, except for areas 110, 120, and 340 (Federal Way, Des Moines, and S. Renton), South King County doesn’t really stick out as much worse off than the county as a whole. In fact, in areas 300 and 350 (Enumclaw and N. Renton), inventory grew considerably slower than most of the county.

Most areas in Seattle proper trended fairly close to the county total, with area 390 (Capitol Hill) seeing the slowest growth. The Eastside was even more average, with the exceptions of 560 (Kirkland) on the low end and 530 (E. Bellevue) skyrocketing starting in August. North King and Vashon came in above average, with inventory on Vashon climbing the most of any area in the county.

Inventory-wise, the strongest areas (least inventory growth) as of last month were 300 (Enumclaw – 18% YOY), 320 (Maple Valley – 31% YOY), and 350 (Renton Highlands – 32% YOY). The weakest areas (most inventory growth) were 800 (Vashon – 97% YOY), 340 (S. Renton – 107% YOY), and 530 (E. Bellevue – 112%).

Make of this data what you will.

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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.


  1. 1
    Joel says:

    Looking at area 530 (East Bellevue) shows a huge increase in median selling price, but a closer look shows why the median can be misleading. If you look at SFH and Condos separately you’ll notice that closings on SFH stayed the same year over year while condo closings decreased over 50% January. Last January 37 condos were sold vs. 35 SFH (meaning the median selling price probably came from a condo) and this January it was 16 condos vs. 35 SFH (meaning the median selling price almost certainly came from a SFH).

  2. 2


    Foreclosures are like pimples, they pop up randomly and evenly in all Seattle neighborhoods.

    We don’t need a graph on that pragmatic fact.

  3. 3
    patient says:

    Nice data, especially to know that if a realtor now claims that an area is doing better it likely still means an inventory increase of about 40% except for Enumclaw that “only” has a 20% increase.

  4. 4
    rose-colored-coolaid says:

    When you get to such small numbers of listings, it seems like they might be easily influenced.

    For instance, if people believe “The Real Seattle” is around Redmond, then it might convince and extra dozen people to buy over the summer. This type of small action could be enough to create short-term skew (like where Redmond looks real strong in August, but only slighter better than the rest of the area now).

    Likewise, all the cranes in Bellevue building new condos could be enough to explain away the inventory spike there.

    I’m not suggesting either statement is true, just offer the opinion that these numbers are probably too small to make any sophisticated analysis from. We do see that all areas are trending up in a similar manner though. Which suggests that claims that certain areas will not see bloated inventory are probably false.

  5. 5
    The Tim says:

    Likewise, all the cranes in Bellevue building new condos could be enough to explain away the inventory spike there.

    That one definitely wouldn’t apply to the spike in Area 530 for two reasons:

    1. I’m only looking at single-family homes, condos are totally excluded from the graph.
    2. 530 is only east of 405, so downtown Bellevue isn’t even part of that.
  6. 6
    frede says:

    gotta love the scramble to sell off in august :)

  7. 7

    Home prices in the state of denial
    Thursday February 7, 5:58 pm ET

    By Chris Isidore, CNNMoney.com senior writer

    “Despite numerous reports showing home values in historic decline, more than three out of four homeowners believe their own home has not lost value in the past year, according to an online survey………”



  8. 8
    patient says:

    Hahaha…sorry off topic but I just got a good laugh! Don’t know if we all get the same ads or when they are cycled but I have what must be the perfect Valentine’s gift for the Rhodster in the ads on the main bubble page now: “PowerPuff Girl Bubble”. I wonder if they come in mens sizes for Mr. Yun..?

  9. 9
    Matthew says:

    Awesome job Tim, this is the type of analysis that is really undeniable.

  10. 10
    Buceri says:

    And this will look even better when Feb. data comes in. Inventory has climbed these past few days quite nicely.

    Joel – excellent point. I wonder how much longer before the median turns lower. More condos in the market, putting pricing pressure? I assume…..

  11. 11
    blueskitten says:

    Tim – do you have (or do you know where I could find) the MLS breakouts for Pierce County? I’d be interested in seeing the area-specific data for the south sound.

  12. 12
    officeboy says:

    Or how about just links to the summery info. I’m having a hard time finding monthly recaps from May 2007 and older. King county is interesting and all but I would like to try and build some of my own data up for a bit further north.

  13. 13
    The Tim says:

    blueskitten and officeboy,

    I have the data you’re looking for, but there isn’t a way to link to it publicly, so I sent you both emails. If anyone else is interested in similar data, just shoot me an email and I’ll see what I can do.

  14. 14
    Anonymous says:

    Love the graphs, but I would appreciate an explanation of the Y-axis, which I don’t see anywhere.

  15. 15
    The Tim says:

    Anonymous, the y-axis is the total percent growth in number of homes for sale on the market, with January 2007 as the base point.

  16. 16
    Runs With Scissors says:

    Graphs are great and help “peel the onion.”

    Some deeper info I would love to know and may not be available is:

    What % of Seattle area homes are not private residences?

    What % or number of foreclosures are really folks who can’t afford the payments on their home vs. “walkaways” from a speculative investment or second home?

    While we do see lot’s of doom and gloom news from states like Colorado and California, and I know we try on focusing on the Seattle area here, I can’t help but remember from living in both those states the high number of investment properties and second homes in a number of areas!

  17. 17
    Runs With Scissors says:

    Sorry, I meant “primary” residences in the first question line.

  18. 18
    Deran says:

    Really great stuff, guys. Thanks a lot. In fact, after studying the info you put together, I was able to go to a party last night and scare other people of drinks; it was like telling scary stories at a sleep over; “But, they found out the call…was coming from inside the house!” Except these were adults, and yet they seemed just as uneasy abt my tales of your graphs, as kids over a hook hand killer roaming lovers lane.

  19. 19
    Veedu says:

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Great job Tim. I hope you make this a regular feature like your King County graphs.

  20. 20

    […] the monthly value of MOS for each area. I’ve broken the data into the same five graphs as the last neighborhood breakdown post. This time I’ve plotted them on a bar graph, centered vertically on 6.0 MOS, so that it is […]

  21. 21
    SeattleMoose says:

    Great job Tim. Graphs/numbers represent a relatively “harder truth” than unsubstantiated happy talk sound bytes on TV/Radio. Unfortunately I suspect you are preaching to the choir on this site (other than the random post from the dark side). But as was pointed out by another poster, it is up to us “disciples” to get the word out. I routinely point out the Seattle RE Bubble and use your URL as a reference for my conversational “time-bombs”.

    Needless to say I get invited to fewer and fewer parties….

  22. 22

    […] Here’s an update to the King County single-family neighborhood inventory growth charts I first posted last month. […]

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