Let’s take a slightly geographically broader look at home sales than we usually restrict ourselves to.
In the Tableau viz below, you’re looking at all the NWMLS data on the number of closed single-family sales in Western Washington for every January since 2000. The “heat” number is simply the number of closed SFH sales divided by the OFM population estimate for the previous year, then multiplied by 100,000 so it will display as a number above 1. Drag the year slider below the map left and right to view the data for different years.
2005 was the hottest year for January sales in most counties, with Island County topping the charts that January with 116 closed sales for a population of just 74,800.
Update 2: I have updated the data to include the RMLS sales stats for Clark County. With this change, Clark actually has one of the “warmest” sales rates for 2009 and 2010.
What I find especially interesting is how depressed sales are down in Clark County. It’s the fourth-most populous county in Western Washington, and yet in January it had the third-fewest closed sales. Just 34 sales vs. a population in excess of 431,000. Ouch. Not a good time to be selling a home in Clark County.
Update: Jim from Redfin drops by with an explanation for the apparent ultra-depressed state of sales in Clark County: Market fragmentation across multiple MLSes.
The large majority of listings in Clark county are actually on Portland’s MLS system (RMLS.com) and not the NWMLS. That probably explains the low reported sales figure for that county.