Foreclosures Dip Slightly in February

Time for our detailed look at foreclosure activity for February in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties. First up, the Notice of Trustee Sale summary:

February 2009
King: 722 NTS, down 13.8% YOY
Snohomish: 472 NTS, down 6.5% YOY
Pierce: 455 NTS, down 21.3% YOY

Here’s your interactive Tableau dashboard updated with the latest foreclosure data:

The percentage of households in the chart above is determined using OFM population estimates and household sizes from the 2000 Census. King County came in at 1 NTS per 1,062 households, Snohomish County had 1 NTS per 636 households, and Pierce had 1 NTS for every 592 households (higher is better).

According to foreclosure tracking company RealtyTrac, Washington’s statewide foreclosure rate for February of one foreclosure for every 1,046 housing units was 33rd worst among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Note that RealtyTrac’s definition of “in foreclosure” is much broader than what we are using, and includes Notice of Default, Lis Pendens, Notice of Trustee Sale, and Real Estate Owned.

Hit the jump for a larger version of the chart that shows the percentage of households in each county receiving a foreclosure notice each month:

It’s a dip, but it’s still tough to say that things are anywhere near “normal” around here yet.

Note: The graphs above are derived from monthly Notice of Trustee Sale counts gathered at King, Snohomish, and Pierce County records. For a longer-term picture of King County foreclosures back to 1979, refer to the final chart in this post. For the full legal definition of what a Notice of Trustee Sale is and how it fits into the foreclosure process, check out RCW 61.24.040. The short version is that it is the notice sent to delinquent borrowers that their home will be repossessed in 90 days.

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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
    Dave0 says:

    I heard on NPR this morning about how 1 out of every 400-something houses in the US got a foreclosure notice in Feb. It made me curious about what if we expanded that date range over a larger time frame, like say one year, or since the Credit crisis began in July 2007. I’d be curious to see a graph of a running total such as this. I used the data above to total this up for Pierce County. In the past year 2.325%, or 1 out of every 43 households, received a NTS. Since July 2007, 5.246%, or 1 out of every 19 households, received a NTS. Considering a typical block in Tacoma has 20-30 houses on it, that means if you live in Tacoma, a house on your block has probably been foreclosed since this credit crisis began.

  2. 2

    RE: Dave0 @ 1

    I’m Getting a Similar Beat from Kiplinger’s April 2010 Issue

    An Article called “A Challenge for Borrowers” [pg 13-14] by Anne Kates Smith states in part:

    “…American CoreLogic, a research firm, reports that nearly 13% of homeowners with jumbo prime mortgages – loans of more than $417,000 taken out by creditworthy borrowers – were 90 days or more behind on payments as of November. That’s double the percentage in November ’08…”

    I’d also add that Seattle is the Pink Pony Land of Jumbo Mortgages, so a large chunk of the $400K+ SFHs and even the over-priced elite Condos are likely heading for the foreclosure chopping blocks, soon at a theater near you. The Eastside and Seattle sellers with higher prices better get them unloaded fast, before the likely 2010 foreclosure icebergs sink the Titanic.

    More grim news for sellers expecting higher prices in 2010 from the same Kiplingers article in part:

    “…The mortgage market will soon face a new challenge. The Fed has been buying mortgage-backed securities since November 2008 to keep interest rates low and money flowing into the mortgage market. When the Fed exits that business in April, borrowers could see mortgage rates rise by a half a point…”

    Seattle Renters Have Good News from Kiplingers though, the Article, “Should You Rent or Buy”, Patricia Mertz Esswein [pg 75] has Seattle listed as the “Least Stable” market with a rent-buy ratio of 29 [$2147 mortgage payment and a $926 rent]. Be sure to pass this on to your landlords….LOL

  3. 3
    sallybuttons says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 2 – Tired? The no-content daily + twisted LOL strikes me as bizarre and tiresome…Much is out of reach and your bitterness just isn’t that funny. I read “impotent jerk” in this and little else.

  4. 4
    William Miller says:

    RE: sallybuttons @ 3

    agreed, i never seem to LOL when softwareengineer is LOL

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