June Seasonally-Adjusted Active Supply by Neighborhood

Let’s check in (somewhat late) on our now-regular monthly neighborhood update to Seasonally-Adjusted Active Supply (SAAS). For an explanation of what seasonally-adjusted active supply is, please refer to this post. Also, you may view a map of the areas discussed in this post.

Yet again, the sweet interactive data visualizations in today’s post come to you courtesy Tableau Software.

In the charts below I have taken the calculated value for SAAS and subtracted 2, in order to better visualize the difference between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market. Using this method, negative SAAS values indicate a seller’s market, while positive values indicate a buyer’s market.


Seasonally-Adjusted Active Supply

King County’s overall SAAS dipped again in June, coming in just barely in “buyer’s market” territory at 2.06. For all practical purposes, the market was pretty much balanced between buyers and sellers in June. 4 of 30 areas came in below 1.75 as seller’s markets, 15 of 30 came in above 2.25 as buyer’s markets, and the remaining 11 were more or less balanced between 1.75 and 2.25.

Hit the jump for the rest of this month’s interactive charts and commentary.

Here’s a year-over-year comparison for each NWMLS neighborhood.

Year-Over-Year Comparison

Y-o-Y Dashboard

Southeast King actually came in with the strongest showing for buyers last month, which should come as no surprise given what we saw when we broke down the sales patterns on a geographic basis earlier in the month.

Regional History

by Region Dashboard

Seasonally-adjusted active supply decreased again in most neighborhoods from May to June. Most of the exceptions to this pattern came in Southeast King.

The three toughest markets for sellers were Downtown Seattle condos (701) at 4.0, West Bellevue (520) at 3.6, and Enumclaw (300) at 3.5.

The three best markets for sellers as of last month were Ballard / Greenlake / Greenwood at 1.3, Jovita / West Hill Auburn (100) at 1.5, and U District / Wedgewood / Lake City (710) at 1.6.

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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

    HI TIM

    I’m wondering how many of the over supply glut in January 2009 were pulled off the listings, because the sellers asked too much and the inventory wouldn’t move?

    Also, assuming the high priced inventory didn’t move; how much of it transferred to bank owned or foreclosed?

    Perhaps parity in inventory is dismal news; it means there aren’t enough units with low enough prices, that can be listed normally, to attract normal buyers?

  2. 2
    waitingforseattletocool says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1

    Can you please explain this in simple English?

    “Perhaps parity in inventory is dismal news; it means there aren’t enough units with low enough prices, that can be listed normally, to attract normal buyers? “

  3. 3
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    Clearly there are a lot of units not on the market due to the low market prices. I commented a couple of days ago about Hood Canal waterfront. I certainly wouldn’t sell any of that in this market unless I was forced to do so. That’s how bad that market is right now.

  4. 4

    Typically low inventory would indicate a sellers market and be considered ‘good’ news, at least by mainstream media. In this case, he’s suggesting instead that the low inventory is a result of too many sellers still expecting bubble prices, not selling, and then either pulling off the market or being foreclosed. Based on what I’m seeing in Issaquah/Samammish, I’d agree.

  5. 5

    RE: WaitingInIssaquah @ 4

    I’m seeing the same scenario on the SE end of King County, even super cheap homes for sale aren’t moving fast. Buyers are very picky and right now, don’t want to plunge into any type of debt [low inventory or not].

    I had coffee yesterday with an IT who just moved out to Renton from Miami, she’s renting and makes very good money and saves too, why? She held her fingers in the sign of a crucifix, re: buying RE right now. Her kids are professionals and still rent too.

    MSM today made a big deal about slightly less unemployed Americans [exclusion of giveups and severely underemployed]….stocks reacted favorably to the news too. Yet, the MSM talked about profits to companies saving costs by laying off employees this year….how long before this Ponzi Scheme blows up in their MSM face and the lower unemployed rate with lower employment creates even more masses with their fingers in a crucifix to RE? LOL

  6. 6
    KMS1 says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1

    In searching for homes over the last six months I have seen a lot of unrealistic sellers pull homes off the market because their price is too high. That said, in the last week I have experienced multiple offers and bidding wars on upper priced homes East of 405 (area 530 above) that have completely caught me off guard as a buyer. I have noticed a steep decline in the “quality” (i.e. newer or remodeled) of listings on the East side. My best guess is that the inventory out there (my perspective is the East side) has either been pulled off the MLS or is priced to meet demand as the chart shows above. However, I also suspect the recent shortened distance between supply and demand is a seasonal thing and will creep back toward the buyers side come the Fall.

  7. 7
    Indy says:

    I’m inclined to thing that the SAAS measure is a good one, and works most of the time, but I don’t think it functions as well in the period following a bubble pop, especially with regards to concepts like buyer’s and seller’s markets.

    The reason is from behavioral economics and is essentially psychological – demand curves can collapse overnight, but supply curves for housing are sticky (they adjust slowly), and are increasingly so the higher the price of the house. It takes a long time for a falling market to break down the wishful thinking of a stubborn seller to where they eventually modify their expectations and yield to the new market conditions. SAAS, I would figure, would display fairly chaotic behavior in this period.

    Many sellers in this period will remove their properties from the market altogether, and potential sellers will tend to wait it out. I’ve seen half a dozen high-end properties simply disappear unsold from the market because of this effect. They must think they’ll get better later – but I’m guessing they won’t for a long, long time.

    There are three phases to the high-end seller’s psychology in a popped bubble:

    1. This is an unrealistic panic, things will return to rationality and get better soon and I’ll hold out until then to get the “true worth” out of this asset.
    2. Things seem to have stabilized and I’m slowly becoming motivated to sell at the going rate
    3. These declines are real and they are ongoing, I had better get out while the getting is good!

    We’re still in phase 1 in Seattle, in my judgment – so the SAAS measure should tend to break down until phase 2. The key is that “true worth” line of thinking. Folks, there’s no such thing as “true worth”. The price you get for something is what the market will bear, and depends entirely on the number of people who can afford the asset and the number of competing assets being offered at each price.

    In short – where supply meets demand. There is no intrinsic value to anything – but sellers, especially at the high-end, tend to become trapped by that kind of thinking for an extended period in a downturn.

  8. 8
    Scotsman says:

    I don’t see much value in any of the traditional metrics right now. This bubble, especially in the context of the current world economic contraction, is like the rumored 500 year flood. No one has ever seen a similar situation before and even the historical evidence of similar past events is clouded. What they learned in econ 101 isn’t going to allow most folks to grasp the entirety of it. Trying to glean meaningful information from months of supply under these circumstances misses a large part of the picture.

  9. 9
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Indy @ 7

    Lots of examples in my neighborhood of folks holding properties off the market or renting until “things return to normal.” All of these are within a few minutes drive of each other:

    Rent for $2K, buy for $945K

    Rent for $5.5K, buy for $2.0M?

    Rent for $4K, buy for $1.3M?

    Was for rent, now for sale again:

    Most of these were built with Microsoft money. They will never be worth these prices again in real terms during my lifetime.

  10. 10
    Drone says:

    Anecdotal: my place (in lower QA next to the SPU campus) rents for $1275. Owners are trying to sell for $500k. No thanks!

  11. 11
    Urban Artist says:

    I live in Ballard as a renter. We would love to buy here but it is still way too expensive. I have a friend who recently bought a house that was around 425K and they thought they got a deal but they have to do a lot of work on the place. I think the place was not worth it. They justified it by saying the Ballard area is in demand because of the new Seattle public school busing changes and that Ballard has good schools. That was a new one for me. I have two kids but that is not enough of a reason to overpay for a house. I also have a friend who is planning on moving and renting her house until the prices go up in a couple of years. I think she is being very optimistic I don’t think prices will or should go back up to those crazy levels.

  12. 12
    ray pepper says:

    RE: Urban Artist @ 11

    Take your time my friend!

    Across America being a renter is no longer viewed with a negative light! So many currently view their home as a Lead Weight around their necks and this “feeling” will take many many years to correct.

    Prices will be flat with a trendline down bias for a very long while. However, there will be GEMS to be had this month, next month, and over the next decade.

    Just always be looking.

  13. 13
    Markor says:

    I look for my GEM every day. Like watching the Earth turn, except slower. Sometimes I am tempted to look for a GEM only in December.

  14. 14
    The Kid says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 9

    I’m somewhat curious, and have always been, about who the hell is renting for 4k+ a month? Is anyone actually renting these things?

  15. 15
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: The Kid @ 14 – I would guess it’s someone only planning on being here short term. $48,000 for a year would be relatively cheap if you wanted to have a really nice place, could afford it, but didn’t want to hassle with buying/selling.

    Again I’ll point out that a lot of people don’t have any understanding of how much wealth there is out there.

  16. 16
    joeuser says:

    Received our KC property report in the mail this last week. The last one we received was for $525k. This one is for $455k. We live in the Bryant/Viewridge area. Zillow, of course, still reports in the neighborhood of $500k. We’ll take the lower value please for taxes!

  17. 17
    bitterowner says:

    RE: The Kid @ 14

    A family just rented the house next to mine (which is larger than mine) for ~3500/month. They are local – not corporate high-flyers who need a short term company-funded place.
    That is 2X my 15-yr fixed mortgage.

  18. 18
    Rack says:

    I have seen houses rent for $20k plus a month.

  19. 19

    You’re right on with Ballard – every single family home is getting offers right now if it’s priced well. We still have a long way to go, but some neighborhoods are finding some really strong markets right now.

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