Puget Sound Counties August NWMLS Update

Let’s check in on the NWMLS statistics from around the sound.

Here’s where the YOY stats stand for each of the six counties as of August 2008:

King – Price: -11.2% | Listings: +16.0% | Sales: -16.1% | MOS: 6.8
Snohomish – Price: -9.4% | Listings: +2.3% | Sales: -19.4% | MOS: 8.1
Pierce – Price: -11.6% | Listings: -8.9% | Sales: -3.8% | MOS: 7.6
Kitsap – Price: -6.5% | Listings: -0.6% | Sales: -7.6% | MOS: 8.8
Thurston – Price: -7.6% | Listings: -9.9% | Sales: -6.1% | MOS: 5.9
Island – Price: -17.4% | Listings: +6.0% | Sales: -21.2% | MOS: 13.8
Skagit – Price: -9.3% | Listings: +8.1% | Sales: -41.1% | MOS:10.2

Following below are the graphs you’ve come to expect. Click below to continue reading.

These graphs only represent the market action since January 2006. If you want to see the long-term trends, feel free to download the spreadsheet (or in Excel 2003 format) that all of these graphs come from, and adjust the x-axis to your liking. Also included in the spreadsheet is data for Whatcom County, for anyone up north that might be interested.

First up, it’s raw median prices.

Puget Sound Median SFH Prices
Click to enlarge

Median prices declined from July to August in every county but Kitsap and Island.  The largest drop this month was in King County, where the median price dropped over $21,000.

Here’s how each of the counties look compared to their peak:

King – Peak: July 2007 | Down 11.9%
Snohomish – Peak: March 2007 | Down 11.1%
Pierce – Peak: August 2007 | Down 11.6%
Kitsap – Peak: September 2007 | Down 8.1%
Thurston – Peak: July 2007 | Down 9.6%
Island – Peak: August 2007 | Down 17.4%
Skagit – Peak: June 2007 | Down 16.1%

With the slight increase in Kitsap’s median, that county now holds the prize for smallest overall decline, still at almost 10% off the peak.

Here’s another take on Median Prices, looking at the year-to-year changes over the last two years.

Puget Sound Median SFH YOY Price Changes
Click to enlarge

Everybody’s in the negative this month, with year-over-year drops ranging from 6.5% in Kitsap to 17.4% in Island.

Here’s the graph of listings for each county, indexed to January 2006.

Puget Sound SFH Listings
Click to enlarge

Listings seem to have reached a plateau across all seven Puget Sound counties, with King County still leading the pack in overall listing increases.

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

Puget Sound SFH Listings YOY
Click to enlarge

Again, Thurston and Pierce are actually seeing fewer listings than this time last year, while King County is still at nearly +20%.

Pending sales, also indexed to January 2006:

Puget Sound SFH Pending Sales
Click to enlarge

Only Kitsap and Skagit were able to sell more homes in August than in January 2006.  As predicted, sales volumes in King County declined from the month prior.

Lastly, here’s the YOY graph of sales:

Puget Sound SFH Pending Sales YOY
Click to enlarge

There’s a definite upward trend in every county but Skagit, however the year-over-year sales data is still in the negative for every county in the Sound.

Island County is still taking the biggest hit in price and “months of supply,” but there really isn’t any county around the Sound where the real estate market could be described as anything other than weak, which is great news for homebuyers that are continuing to wait and watch as prices keep falling.

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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
    Chris says:

    Island’s certainly getting hammered. A house just down from our cabin was put on the market in July 07 for $812K. Got relisted over the weekend for $595K. I’d hate to be the folks next door to it that bought their place last year for $540 that’s half the size, half the quality and half the lot.

  2. 2


  3. 3
    timber says:

    TIMBER!!! The bailout will only slow down if ever so slightly the housing collapse which has already been set in motion. The numbers are speeding up in the sound and the bottom isn’t anywhere in sight.

  4. 4
    John says:

    Look man, Microsoft, Boeing, got that? We special.

  5. 5
    Mike2 says:

    Anyone have any insight on why Kitsap looks relatively strong? Is it sales mix, or something more fundamental?

  6. 6
    richie says:

    NWMLS statistics does not include houses that were taken out of the market for calculating MOS. My experience is that for every house sold, five were removed from the market. Many of them became rental properties. Sometimes they may resurface as new listings. Here are some examples:

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/2421-N-75-98103/home/306905 (on the market for more than nine months then disappeared but is showing as a new listing at $20k discount.)

    (On the market for more than nine months then disappeared but is showing as a new listing at $50k discount)

    (On the market for more than a year rather than 96 days on redfin)

    (On the market for more than a year, owner dropped $210,000, disappeared for a month and just resurfaced again.)

    (An unsuccessful pre-foreclosed sale of $699,000 for nine months; court auctioned and bought by a flipper for $531,251 on 8/1/08 and was removed from the market, resurfaced lately as a new listing.)

    This house actually has been on the market for ten months rather than 93 days. The owner relisted four times.

  7. 7
    Buceri says:

    The events of the last few months are making me reconsider my estimated bottom of $150/sq.ft.

    We might be looking at $125 or below. Of course, this would be for King/Snoho.

  8. 8
    Red says:

    What would be the bottom price per SqFt for Redmond(in King county), once we hit the real bottom in realestate.

    I strongly belive still the current prices are still too much in Redmond? Any comments?

  9. 9
    attybrian says:

    Sorry to be crass, but what in the hell are sellers and seller’s agents thinking? I’m up here in Snohomish County, waiting to buy a house. I am living with friends, so have no real hurry; I make good money, but lately all the new houses I’ve seen on the market that are acceptable are priced anywhere from 160 to 180 bucks a foot. WTF?
    These houses are just gonna sit, aren’t they?

  10. 10
    MarkM says:

    145 days on average to sell in Seattle if this article is correct:


  11. 11
    Rodney says:

    To respond to John: my Microsoft team (20 people on it) just hired two full time guys that are placed in the new Vancouver BC MS campus. Two full time jobs that couldn’t be located here because of visas. Tons more of the *new* positions will end up there, because VA BC has few restrictions on foreign employees.

    Bottom line: WaMu will lose thousands of 70k jobs locally. Boeing will stop hiring and eventually start laying off as they always do as demand slows down. New MS positions that pay 70k plus will increasingly head north of the border. The recession is just starting.

    Part of the reason prices skyrocketed in our area was that literally anyone could get a loan. Now the buyers have been reduced to only those with good credit and good jobs. The inflation that this market incurred because of all those under-qualified buyers will now be corrected. The baliouts are only delaying the effects. Look for another 15 – 20% drop (which is still less than many places in the country) before prices start heading up again.

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