NWMLS Statistics from Around the Sound

A number of readers have pointed out that despite what Seattle residents may think, there is in fact a world outside of King County. These inquiring readers are interested in seeing what the stats we discuss on Seattle Bubble look like for other local counties around the Puget Sound. Well, this post is for you. Following is a graphical look at the NWMLS data on prices, listings, and pending sales from January 2000 through January 2008 for King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, and Skagit counties. It doesn’t get much more Puget Sound than this.

This post has a total of seven different graphs, so click below to continue reading.

First up, let’s have a look at raw median prices.

Puget Sound Median SFH Prices
Click to enlarge

Nothing too surprising here. King County sits way on top, with prices in Snohomish County following about 12-18 months behind. Prices in the remaining counties all clump together at 60-65% of King County’s level.

Here’s another take on the same data. This chart shows the total percent increase since January 2000 for each of the counties around the sound.

Puget Sound Median SFH Price Increase: 2000-2007
Click to enlarge

Obviously the first thing that jumps out about this chart is how much more prices seem to have increased in Kitsap County versus the rest. Peaking at 232% in September 2007 (versus King County’s peak of 204% in July), there’s definitely something odd going on in Kitsap County. Perhaps it’s got something to do with Bainbridge Island and California migration. I wonder if our resident Bainbridge expert could shed some light on that…

You may also notice that there’s a fair amount of volatility in the numbers from the less populated counties such as Skagit and Kitsap. Given the significantly lower volume of sales in these counties (see below), this is to be expected.

Here’s one more take on median prices, looking at YOY changes.

Puget Sound Median SFH YOY Price Changes
Click to enlarge

The volatility in the smaller counties is amplified even more here, turning it into a bit of a mess. Generally though, all six Puget Sound counties have followed pretty much the same pattern since 2000, with peak appreciation coming in Fall 2005, and January’s YOY price change ranging from -4.0% in Skagit to +3.7% in Pierce.

Moving on to listings:

Puget Sound SFH Listings
Click to enlarge

It would seem that the larger the county, the larger the seasonal swing in listings. Again, all six counties show a pretty similar pattern of record-low inventory through 2005 and early 2006, with record-high inventory piling up throughout 2007.

Here’s a look at the YOY change in listings.

Puget Sound SFH Listings YOY
Click to enlarge

What’s interesting to me here is the fairly broad range of time that it took for each county to head back into YOY positive territory. Thurston led the pack in July 2005, while King picked up the rear in May 2006. There’s also a fairly broad difference in the trend line for each county in the last six months. Inventory is still growing in all six counties, but in King the growth appears to be rapidly accelerating, while in some of the outlying counties like Skagit and Thurston, the growth is slowing (but still at over 10% YOY).

Lastly, let’s check out pending sales:

Puget Sound SFH Pending Sales
Click to enlarge

Pretty much the same story as listings. The hot market in 2005 saw record sales, while the bottoms seems to be dropping out in latter half of 2007. Of course the effect is amplified in the counties with more houses to sell.

Here’s the YOY graph of sales:

Puget Sound SFH Pending Sales YOY
Click to enlarge

Most everybody headed into YOY negative territory in late 2005 and have remained there since. Skagit has popped up into YOY positive a few times since then, but given the low total volume of sales, such volatility is not out of the ordinary. Another interesting thing is that pretty much every county had a little spike in March of last year. Don’t know why that is exactly, but it’s worth noting.

So here’s where each of the six counties stand as of January 2008:

King – Price: +1.3% | Listings: +55.6% | Sales: -30.6% | MOS: 7.5
Snohomish – Price: -1.5% | Listings: +41.9% | Sales: -36.8% | MOS: 8.8
Pierce – Price: -2.2% | Listings: +26.3% | Sales: -36.6% | MOS: 11.3
Kitsap – Price: -0.5% | Listings: +32.9% | Sales: -8.9% | MOS: 9.8
Thurston – Price: +3.7% | Listings: +11.2% | Sales: -23.7% | MOS: 7.0
Skagit – Price: -4.1% | Listings: +17.6% | Sales: -23.4% | MOS: 9.5

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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


    Thanks again!!!

  2. 2
    Everett_Tom says:

    Ok Tim, admit it.. you worked with Elizabeth to time it so you both released articles at about the same time :)

    Housing inventory continues to swell in February by Elizabeth Rhodes

    Thanks for the breakdown, being out of King County, this really help keep in mind that up here in Everett we’re in the same boat.. even though there aren’t as many charts and graphs to look at..

  3. 3
    The Tim says:

    Actually I wasn’t expecting February’s data to come out until tomorrow. Now I have to go and push this post further down the front page. Grr.

  4. 4
    Marc says:

    February’s numbers are out and my neighborhood is up 14.53%. Whoo hoo!! Gotta love the Bluff.


    King County, prices flat as a board and holding on for dear life.

  5. 5
    The Tim says:

    Marc, those links won’t work on any site other than the NWMLS itself.

  6. 6
    Marc says:

    My bad. Guess I got too excited by the double digit appreciation on single families in area 700. In that case, folks should go to http://www.nwrealestate.com and click on Marketing Statistics. The King County and Snohomish County break outs are available there.

  7. 7
    Marc says:

    single family homes that is; the families are extra.

  8. 8
    blueskitten says:

    Thanks so much for throwing this bone to us south-sounders!

    One suggestion: A 100% increase means the price has doubled. I understand that you’re using 2000 as the baseline at 100%, but it could be misleading to state there has been a 200% increase since 2000 (which would mean the price has tripled).

    For an amusing explanation of using “100 percent” versus “2 times” versus “twice as much”, visit http://www.theslot.com/times.html

    OK, so it’s a topic that is only amusing if you’re a copy editor or in accounting, and I happen to be both. So sue me.

  9. 9
    The Tim says:

    Hmm, I suppose my wording was a bit ambiguous there. When I said Kitsap’s prices peaked at 232%, I didn’t mean they’d increased 232%, but that at their peak they were 232% of their 2000 level. An important distinction. I’ll be mindful of making that more clear in the future.

  10. 10
    Geode says:

    Thanks so much for reaching out beyond King.

  11. 11
    Pierce Anon says:

    Tim, thanks for thinking of the us peasants outside of King County. Love the graphs, keep up the good work.

  12. 12

    […] below are updates to the seven graphs I introduced with January’s data earlier this month. Click below to continue […]

  13. 13

    […] below are updates to the seven graphs I introduced with January’s data. Click below to continue […]

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