Poll: Guess the maximum 1-month total closed SFH sales in King Co. for 2009

For reference, 2008’s maximum was 1,592 in June. Here’s the monthly chart since 2000:

King County SFH Closed Sales

Please vote in this poll using the sidebar.

Guess the maximum 1-month total closed SFH sales in King Co. for 2009:

  • 1,250 or less (43%, 53 Votes)
  • 1,251 - 1500 (31%, 38 Votes)
  • 1501 - 1,750 (11%, 13 Votes)
  • 1,750 - 2000 (10%, 12 Votes)
  • 2000 - 2,250 (6%, 7 Votes)
  • 2,251 or more (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 123

This poll will be active and displayed on the sidebar through 05.23.2009.

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

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

    Wow – that is a fantastic (and grim) chart.

  2. 2
    Dave Lincoln says:

    OK, the Tim, I’m up for this – I just wish there were some money riding on this, maybe some leftover bailout funds …
    Anyway, I’m gonna act like a “technical” analyst, as they call it in the stock market (though the term is completely bass-ackwards, as “technical” should mean the analysis which takes the “why”‘s and “how”‘s into account, yet actually means, in that business, analysis based solely on the lines on various graphs.)

    Since I don’t think there will be any big season this year, as, for example, the 2007 graph, I will use the 2008 graph example to come up with 1125 as the max sales, and this would be in the Month of July (what with the global cooling coming on, August may just have everybody back inside their rental houses with their hot chocolate and fire places blazing).


    1125 July

    You heard it here, first.

  3. 3
    Dave Lincoln says:

    RE: Galen @ Estately @ 1
    Galen: Ditto

    However, it’d be better if the y-axis would start at 0, as this shows true scale.

  4. 4
    deejayoh says:

    RE: Dave Lincoln @ 3 – I agree the scale on that chart is kind of misleading; here’s Greg Perry’s chart of the same data – show with zero as the axis (greg, hope you don’t mind the link)


    Trend for this year looks a lot better there…

    And given +2100 pendings in April – hard to believe we won’t see at least 1200 closings in May – maybe closer to 1400 if last quarter’s bleak closing ratio holds.

  5. 5
  6. 6

    No wait! I read the question wrong. The highest one month total for 2009 will be 1899, in June or July..

  7. 7
    Dave Lincoln says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 6
    Too late, you put your money down, Ira.

    OK, keep your 1899.

    My new guess is 1898-1900, somewhere in there, or I could, by channeling that Steve Tytler guy, guess it’s gonna be right around 1200 to 3500 or so. Yeah, that’s the ticket, right in there, that is my precise 3rd guess. Just wait, you’ll see I’m right.


  8. 8
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Dave Lincoln @ 7

    I must agree with Tytler as well if he guessed 1200-3500. Steve would make a killing at the fair guessing weight and birth dates as well.

  9. 9

    Greg Perry said 2000 in June.But I’m not guessing for him, he might say 4000 in July.

  10. 10
    The Tim says:

    RE: Dave Lincoln @ 3 – Here ya go:

    King Co. SFH Closed Sales

    FWIW, I doubt we’ll be as flat as last year, and wouldn’t be surprised to see 1,800 sales in a month, assuming prices continue dropping into reasonable territory.

  11. 11
    Dave Lincoln says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 8
    I didn’t mean to imply, Ray, that Steve Tytler said that. Maybe you know this, but I don’t want to libel someone. It’s not libel, however, to joke about the fact that he hedges his guesses with 30 ft red tips, and that’s what I meant.

    I could do Seattle weather with a lot more accuracy sitting on the john each morning. Let’s see, lows 35-50, highs 45-62, partly cloudy, chance of drizzle. That pretty much covers every month except for July and August.

  12. 12
    Dave Lincoln says:

    RE: The Tim @ 10
    Thanks, the Tim. I’m a big, big, believer in starting the y-axis at 0, I mean for any graphs, unless:

    1) You’re trying to point out very small differences.
    2) The y-axis is temperature or some other value for which 0 doesn’t mean anything much physical.

  13. 13
    The Tim says:

    RE: Dave Lincoln @ 12 – No problem. I’ve just taken to scaling most of my charts in such a way that the min and max values of the data determine the min and max y-axis values, since it makes it easier to see the changes. I respect your line of reasoning though, as well.

  14. 14
    Jonness says:

    I’m never wrong on predictions about the future and will be back to tout my awesomeness next near when the results prove my abilities. And now for my amazing prediction (quick, call the newspapers)…Anywhere from 0 to 5000.

    OK, just kidding. :)

    I picked the 1251 to 1500 category, but I was tempted to go up a notch. It’s not like home buyers are using their brains when they buy. They’re acting on 100% impulsiveness and falling victim to the difficulty in excercising the willpower necessary to save enough money to actually afford to buy something. Thus, home sales will track free government handouts. Half of those who buy a house this year will be unemployed strawberry pickers using FHA and the free taxpayer-funded downpayment. The other half will be “me too” follower victims whom can’t think for themselves and simply do what everyone else seems to be doing. A few legitimate sales will be made by people who make decisions based on thinking it over more than a week.

    Green shoots appear to be nothing more than free handouts to the gullible. I expect this recession to take the form of a W with no “real” growth until 2011 or later. The antectote for screwing up the economy appears to be to increase doing the things that messed it up in the first place. The first half of the W was driven by deflationary forces, and the second half will likely be driven by inflationary forces. Whatever happens, I predict it will make for one heck of a ride out to the other side.

    I’m stunned to see asking prices are still double what they were in 2000; yet, wages haven’t kept paces with today’s house prices. People are saying houses are cheap. But they are comparing today’s prices to the peak of an asset bubble where you didn’t need a job or a downpayment to buy a house. Even though the govt. is doing everything in its power to recreate these artificial conditions in the current market, I’m left wondering, where are all the people going to get the loans for non-starter homes when the Alt-A mess starts wiping out the market? I suspect the second half of the W will bail all these nannies out. But, keeping in mind the burden of higher interest rates on ARM loans, the cost of doing so will be excruciating.

    Then again, I could be completely wrong.

  15. 15
    Greg Perry says:

    I’ll be the lone brave one and declare 2000. We’ll have 2500 pending sales in May. 4500+ pending sales in 2 months will have to create closings despite the fallout rate. The spring lag between pending and sold is normal, although the the much discussed gap is wider this year. Good post. this will be fun to watch as the year unfolds.

  16. 16
    deejayoh says:

    I’m going with Greg on this one – or at least close to! I picked 1,750-2,000 as the top. Probably in June or July

    Macroeconomic factors really have very little to do with it at this point. It’s straight math. As Greg points out, we are seeing over 2,000 pendings a month. And my bet is that the close:pending ratio is more likely to get better at this point than it is to get worse. Money is easing up – especially at the low end of the market where all the action is. So worst case is 65% of pendings close (2,500 * 65% =1,625) and more likely we see 70 – 75% of pendings close.

  17. 17
    Scotsman says:

    The end is near. Wylie E. Coyote is off the cliff, and just becoming aware of his predicament.

    1500 max. 1300 wouldn’t surprise me. As Einstien said, only two things are infinite- the universe and human stupidity… and he admitted he wasn’t sure about the universe.

  18. 18
    Alan says:


    Maybe you could keep track of the predictions from people who want to be “on the record” and revisit specific predictions in a post later in the year.

  19. 19
    DrShort says:

    Using warranty deeds filed with King County thru 5/17 as a gauge, May closed sales are on about the pace as April. Maybe a tad higher.

  20. 20
    Everett Renter (Used to be Buyer) says:

    Below 1250.

    Here is why: I cannot identify and factor changes from the prior years that would in my opinion support a change in the trends of the closing sales data. Sure the stimulus package has its effect. So does more job losses. Yes, housing is becoming less expensive. However we are not anywhere near fire-sale prices yet, or in this potential buyers opinion, prices that I will buy into. Loose credit and another emerging bubble like the one that just collapsed? Don’t think so.

  21. 21
    Andy says:

    Hey Guys,
    Quick question for the crew:
    We have recently made a offer on a short sale
    Bank is BOA
    Our offer was about 25% below list ($90 SQ FOOT – WHICH IS FAIR!) for a 4200 sq foot house
    Any advice on short sales?
    Has the bank set a target for sale and are they congnizant of the current market environment; loan outstanding is $500K
    What is earnest money; we are forking over $10K to close it?
    Is there any possible way to lower the assessed value?
    Let me know

  22. 22
    Racket says:

    Andy has the buyer accepted your offer?

  23. 23

    “Is there any possible way to lower the assessed value”

    The only way to lower the assessed value is to appeal the assessment once you own it, and find comparables to demonstrate that your house was assessed too high, or show photographs to demonstrate that your house is inferior to the neighbors.

    Lenders are very aware of the current market value, and generally have a percentage under that in which they will consider accepting an offer for.

  24. 24
    patient says:

    Looking at the charts it seems like the biggest gain from March through the year was 2004 with an about 50% higher than March reading in July. Say that we equal that we would have a max of 1500. Really though, 2004 the prices were lower and the sentiment was buy now or get priced out forever, now it’s more like why buy now when tomorrow will bring lower prices. On the other hand March’s 1000 closing is so incredibly low that a significant bump in volume percentage wise should be assumed as a result of this peak selling season. I’ll guess 1450 in July. Note that I’m not even going to bother to use pendings as an indictator, they are just to unreliable.

  25. 25
    patient says:

    RE: patient @ 24

    Sorry that should be June for the peak month of 2004, my guess for 2009 peak is still July though.

  26. 26
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Andy @ 21

    Andy- do you have any idea what the hell you are doing? Sorry bud, but see my post above for relevant quotes. Maybe you should research the current market and real estate purchases/ownership in general before throwing 10 large at something you clearly don’t understand.

  27. 27
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Andy @ 21

    Andy YOUR agent or the LISTING Agent should be answering all your questions.

    What is earnest money?????????? Are you kidding us??

    With your knowlege of this transaction it appears you will become another statistic or at BEST waste alot of your time.

  28. 28
    Scott Weitz says:


    Put the wallet down and walk away…NOW!

  29. 29
    David Losh says:

    RE: Andy @ 21

    $90 is fair.

    Who’s your agent?

    Your Earnst Money is applied to closing costs which may be more than that. You will need to see the HUD1 which is required for your submitted offer to be accepted. If you don’t have escrow established with the estimated HUD1 statement you don’t have a viable offer in.

  30. 30
    los says:

    The Tim,

    I would love to see this chart with total $ value closed. That would be REALLY interesting, I suspect. And shouldn’t be too difficult, I suspect.


  31. 31
    test says:

    RE: Scott Weitz @ 28
    Why walk away? $90/sqft seems to be a good deal?

  32. 32
    Racket says:

    We also have no idea where this is.

    This could be a costco sized chocolate box out in elma.

  33. 33
    The Tim says:

    RE: los @ 30 – That’s an interesting idea. I have the necessary info (average sale price) in pdf format. I might go ahead and enter it in just to see how different the chart looks.

    Thanks for the idea.

  34. 34
    Andy says:

    No; it has not closed yet; but we knocked down the EM to $3K after speak to the Reallltor
    I was aiming for replacement cost; $90 per sq foot is ok
    Probably 100K down, 15 year; our total Debt/Income will be less than 1X
    I promised our reallltoooor that we would not get into a bidding war; if someone else wants it – let em have it
    Racket; this place is in Pierce County, waterfront; 1 years old and very nice (wine cellar, man cave)
    Actually, we bid 30% below ask…lol

  35. 35

    It seems that sales are trying to turn up. I have been blog hoping all over North America since January. I have found that markets are picking up most everywhere. The markets that did not go up extremely and did not come down extremely are lagging a bit. It seems Seattle falls into this group. I feel though that last few weeks are showing changes even in these markets. I think you will really start seeing some strength now. It should eat up the inventory. It actually starts with price reduction which creates some bidding.
    Interest rates and available mortgages are really helping. Tighten credit is our worst enemy.

  36. 36
    Dave Lincoln says:

    RE: Richard Stabile Bergen County Real Estate @ 35
    Just a coupla corrections, Mr. Stabile

    “hoping” should be “hopping”.

    “Tighten credit” should be “tight credit”.

    “I think you will really start seeing some strength now.” should be “I think the market has about 50% more and 3 – 5 years to fall, no matter what some silly “Reelitoors” spout out on blogs all over North America.”

    BTW, since you’re hopping all over North America, how are igloo sales coming along up there in the Yukon? I heard the whole market is still frozen over. Har-dee-har-har ;-)

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