Seattle-Area Housing Oversupply Still Increasing

One set of data we like to check in on occasionally is the big picture of local housing supply and demand, measured by comparing the total number of housing units to the total number of households. You may recall the last time we checked in on this data back in March: Local Housing Oversupply Could Disappear by July 2010…

Good news everyone!

The latest population estimates for King County have been released by the Census Bureau, and at the present rate of population growth, we’ll be able to use up all of our excess housing inventory by July of next year…

if all residential construction across the county completely ceased after July 2008, that is.

Our previous excursions into this data have been based on Census Bureau estimates, which are unfortunately not very timely. However, the Washington State Office of Financial Management keeps its own sets of estimates which are much more current. In fact, their latest release a few weeks ago provides data through April of this year.

Here’s an updated chart of housing supply (total housing units) and demand (total households) for the 3-county Puget Sound region, indexed to 2000:

Puget Sound County Housing Supply & Demand

Across King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties, a total of 147,591 new households have been added since 2000. During the same time, 184,378 new housing units have been built, amounting to an oversupply of 36,787 housing units.

Here’s a look at the raw number of housing units and households that were added to the region each year:

Puget Sound County Housing Supply & Demand

Only 2004 and 2005 had people moving here faster than new housing stock was coming online, and 2006 more than made up for the discrepancy in short order.

Here’s the indexed chart for King County only:

King County Housing Supply & Demand

In King County, we’ve added 65,443 households and 90,157 housing units over the past nine years, for a total oversupply of 24,714 housing units.

Here’s the year-by-year chart for King County:

King County Housing Supply & Demand

Here in King, only 2005 saw a larger addition of households than housing units. Even between 2008 and 2009, 3,304 more housing units were added than new households.

So it would seem that rather than working through our local housing oversupply, we’re still adding to it.

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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.