Puget Sound Foreclosures Set New Records in January

Here’s your January update on Foreclosure activity in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties. First up, the Notice of Trustee Sale summary:

January 2008
King: 915 NTS, up 113% YOY
Snohomish: 463 NTS, up 95% YOY
Pierce: 681 NTS, up 69% YOY

First let’s look at the percentage of households that received a Notice of Trustee Sale (based on household data for each county from the American Community Survey, assuming linear household growth between surveys):

Households per Foreclosure

King County came in at 1 NTS per 854 households, Snohomish County had 1 NTS per 565 households, and Pierce had 1 NTS for every 434 households.

For comparison, the latest data from RealtyTrac—whose definition of foreclosure includes Notice of Default, Auction, Notice of Trustee Sale, and Real Estate Owned—shows King County with 1 foreclosure for every 794 housing units, Snohomish at 1 foreclosure for every 602 housing units, and Pierce with 1 foreclosure for every 393 housing units.

Back in October a reader commented that the rapidly rising volume of foreclosures would could meet and even exceed the monthly volume of closed sales as early as December 2008. My response was that “I really doubt it will happen as early as December.” As it turns out, I was correct, but tj was only off by one month. Here’s a look at foreclosure volume (as measured by Notices of Trustee Sale) compared to closed sales volume (SFH + condo) in King County:

Notices of Trustee Sale and Closed Sales - King

January saw just 906 closed sales, and 915 Notices of Trustee Sale sent out. As you might guess, the situation is even more extreme in Snohomish and Pierce:

Closed Sales and NTS - King


Following are charts of King, Pierce, and Snohomish County foreclosures from January 2000 through January 2009, with uniform y-axis scales to provide easier comparison. Click below to continue…

Notices of Trustee Sale - King

Foreclosures continued to shoot up in King County in January, reaching a new high point of 915.

Notices of Trustee Sale - Snohomish

Snohomish County was also up from December, and also set a new record at 463.

Notices of Trustee Sale - Pierce

Pierce County set a new record as well, coming in at 681.

Coverage elsewhere:
Seattle Times: Foreclosure rates continue to climb; state still ranks in the middle of the pack
Seattle P-I: Area foreclosure rate is catching up with nation’s

Note: The graphs above are derived from monthly Notice of Trustee Sale counts gathered at King, Snohomish, and Pierce County records. For a longer-term picture of King County foreclosures back to 1979, refer to this post.

For the full legal definition of what a Notice of Trustee Sale is and how it fits into the foreclosure process, check out RCW 61.24.040. The short version is that it is the notice sent to delinquent borrowers that their home will be repossessed in 90 days.

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.

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