July Housing Market Stats Preview

Here’s a new feature that I’ll make monthly if there’s demand for it. Although the NWMLS data is not released until later this week and we usually wait for the detailed foreclosure report until later in the month, certain basic data can be obtained via a simple search of King County Records.

Using data pulled from public documents filed with King County, here’s a preview of July’s foreclosure and home sale stats:

First up, total home sales as measured by the number of “Warranty Deeds” filed with the county:

King County Warranty Deeds

County sales as measured by warranty deeds were down about 6% from last year in July.

Next, here’s Notices of Trustee sale, which are an indication of the number of homes currently in the foreclosure process:

King County Notices of Trustee Sale

July saw a big decline over June’s surge, but another big year-over-year rise and the second-highest level ever.

Here’s another measure of foreclosures, looking at Trustee Deeds, which is the type of document filed with the county when the bank actually repossesses a house through the trustee auction process. Note that there are other ways for the bank to repossess a house that result in different documents being filed, such as when a borrower “turns in the keys” and files a “Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.”

King County Trustee Deeds

Since trustee deeds will naturally lag notices of trustee sale (which are filed 90 days prior to a scheduled sale), it is no surprise that July set a new record for this type of repossession.

Lastly, here’s an approximate guess at where the month-end inventory was, based on our sidebar inventory tracker (powered by Estately):

King County SFH Active Listings

Nothing too surprising here. Looks like there may be a slight increase from last month, but still a considerable decrease from July last year (which was supposedly the first month in which stats were generated under the new definitions).

Overall, I’m still not seeing any strong signs of an imminent recovery in the numbers. Stay tuned later this month a for more detailed look at each of these metrics as the “official” data is released from various sources.

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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
    S-Crow says:

    Snohomish Co. Notice of Trustee Sales that I searched last evening from June 1st to date was about 1,400. That’s a lot of homes in trouble.

  2. 2
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: S-Crow @ 1 – Apparently the same pattern up there, if not even more so. Only 43 of the 1,400 were filed the last week. King County was roughly 60 if I recall correctly.

    If this holds for this week too, I’d say pretty clearly they were trying to beat the new law. But we’ll know better in a month or two.

  3. 3
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    Thinking about this further, if this does hold, then it was extremely stupid of the legislature not to pass this with an emergency clause so that it would be effective immediately. If it does hold, this will be two sessions in a row where the legislature caused people in financial difficulties more trouble than if they’d just done nothing.

    I hope the legislature never tries to do anything to try to help real estate agents.

  4. 4
    Dan C. says:

    Sorry if this has been posted a million times, but where does one find the Notice of Trutee sale filings?

  5. 5
    Marc says:

    Keep in mind that all of the recorded documents in these graphs (Warranty Deeds, Notice of Trustee Sales, and Trusteee Deeds) are used with all types of real property: residential homes (single and multi-family) as well as commercial, industrial, and (I think) agricultrural property.

    I don’t doubt that the large majority of these documents that are currently being recorded pertain to residential real estate since the commercial market has seen a dramatic slow down in transaction volume. However, this leaves these statistics subject to the same flaw that the median price is subject to: the mix of different property types is constantly changing thereby limiting the predictive value of month to month, year over year, and year to year comparisons.

    That said, it’s definitely interesting to watch the foreclosure rate in “real time.”

  6. 6
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    Dan C., Google “County name” Recorder” and you should find the search site for each county. This is for King County:


    Marc, deeds of trust cannot be used for agricultural property in Washington. They mainly use real estate contracts for such property. If the deed of trust doesn’t recite that the property is not used for agricultural property, then it cannot be non-judicially foreclosed.

  7. 7
    Marc says:


    I know agricultural property financing is handled differently but, since I never deal with it, I’m not up to speed on the details, thus the “I think” qualification. I don’t doubt your take on the non-judicial foreclosure issue. However, I’m sure agricultural property is stil routinely conveyed by warranty deed in arms length transactions. In fact, real estate contract fulfillment deeds usually take the form of a statutory warranty deed with additional language explaining their fulfillment purpose.

  8. 8
    Softwarengineer says:

    No wonder my local realitor advertises bank owned homes on its TV screen sign

    Hades, from Tim’s numbers, asssuming listed homes generally get delisted (?) in groves, the default dummy units rule the sales %?

  9. 9
    Dan C. says:

    Thanks Kary!
    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6

  10. 10
    Raj says:

    I will buy the when the tax credit rise to 25K


  11. 11
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Marc @ 7 – I was only addressing the deed of trust issue on agricultural land, and hadn’t even noticed the reference to warranty deeds. But I had noticed you said “I think” which is actually why I responded. I thought you’d like to know.

  12. 12
    DrShort says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 2:

    RE: S-Crow @ 1 – Apparently the same pattern up there, if not even more so. Only 43 of the 1,400 were filed the last week. King County was roughly 60 if I recall correctly.

    If this holds for this week too, I’d say pretty clearly they were trying to beat the new law. But we’ll know better in a month or two.

    Only 8 filed yesterday, so I think we’ll see a lull in NTS filings for a month or so until the pipeline fills back up. The rise in Trustee Deeds is probably more interesting. Already seen 54 of those in the first two days of the month (although that’s a really small sample).

  13. 13
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: DrShort @ 12 – And only 9 the first two days! I’m not certain that they index NOT sale documents as fast as deeds though. With the deeds, King County is very fast–within minutes. With NOT sale docs they may take longer, because they aren’t as time critical for anyone to know about.

  14. 14
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    I pulled the first four this month for King County, and they were all continuance of trustee sale docs. I’m not going to look at all 70 or so that have been filed since July 26, but it’s possible they almost all were.

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