Puget Sound Counties Interactive February Update

Let’s take a look at February NWMLS statistics from around the sound. As usual, courtesy Tableau Software (available free to use online), the Around the Sound update is rocking sweet interactive data visualizations.

Feel free to download the old charts in Excel 2007 and Excel 2003 format. To get specific info about a certain point on any graph in the post below, float your mouse pointer over the data.

Before we get to the cool stuff, here’s the usual table of YOY stats for each of our eight covered counties as of February 2010.

February 2010 King Snohomish Pierce Kitsap Thurston Island Skagit Whatcom
Median Price 0.5% 10.3% 10.6% 12.0% 10.1% 2.2% 8.9% 2.0%
Listings 14.8% 9.5% 9.6% 13.4% 4.9 1.6% 4.8% 1.8%
Closed Sales 50.8% 53.2% 13.8% 4.4% 22.8% 63.9% 14.0% 31.9%
SAAS 2.47 2.46 2.56 2.96 2.33 2.63 2.79 2.58

Each of the last few months, total listings for one or two more counties bumps back into positive YOY territory.


Hit the jump for the rest of this month’s visualizations.

The visualization below looks at closed sales in each county in February 2009 and February 2010:

Closed Sales

Considering that February was an all-time low for closed sales in many counties around the Sound, it is not surprise that we continue to see huge YOY gains there.

Here’s our comparison of median prices in each county at their respective peaks and in February 2010:

Change from Peak

Not much change there other than the usual month-to-month noise in the smaller counties.

Seasonally Adjusted Active Supply

Everyone is back up into the “buyer’s market” territory thanks to a recent boost in new listings, but most counties are still down from last year.

As the exteded tax credit nears expiration, I suspect we will see a continued boost in closed sales around the Sound, but come July, it will be very interesting to see if the YOY gains manage to hold up. I suspect they may not. I also suspect that listings may turn YOY positive for all eight counties by then.

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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
    Scotsman says:

    Once again, for the three dominant counties in western WA- King, Pierce, and Snohomish, the supply of homes is down, demand is way up, but prices continue to fall. This sure doesn’t look like any standard economic model most have studied. Prices should be at least stabilizing if not shooting up. But they aren’t. The reason is clear, even though some don’t want to acknowledge it. Supply still exceeds demand at the current prices. This isn’t the bottom.

  2. 2
    BillE says:

    I’ve seen a lot of houses go pending in the last few weeks. People chasing the tax credit has to account for a big chunk of that. Several of those are short sales, so some will probably be back to active status just in time for the tax credit to expire.

  3. 3

    I really doubt anyone looking for the tax credit is making an offer on a short sale at this point.

    On a related note, I wonder how many buyers there are on the 1200 or so pending short sales in King County? It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s a number under 500.

  4. 4
    Mariya says:

    Market is picking up fast this spring season. There are multiple offer situation on many properties all over the King county area. I won’t be surprised if bidding war erupt by summer… i think we are out of the woods and the market is going to act rationally in 2010…

  5. 5
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Mariya @ 4

    The market is going to go down to a new bottom by year end 2010…not “act rationally in 2010”. Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by “rationally”.

  6. 6

    RE: ARDELL @ 5

    I’m inclined to agree with you, Ardell. I’m seeing multiple offer situations on some very low priced bank owned property, but I don’t see it as widespread, and I think both the housing market and the stock market may have gotten a bit ahead of themselves and we’ll see further declines, despite declarations that we’re out of the woods.

  7. 7
    corncob says:

    By Mariya @ 4:

    i think we are out of the woods and the market is going to act rationally in 2010…

    Bidding wars on dime-a-dozen homes is not rational. 2004-2008 was an anomaly of mass delusion, not the norm.

  8. 8
    ARDELL says:

    Kary said: “I really doubt anyone looking for the tax credit is making an offer on a short sale at this point.”

    People should be buying the best home for them to live in for likely 10 years, not any old thing to get a tax credit. If the best value and house is a short sale, agents should not be steering them away because of “a tax credit”.

  9. 9
    Jonness says:

    I love this disinflationary environment. Each passing month means more money gets saved for a down payment, and house prices continue to fall. What’s better amidst a horribly uncertain time: money in the the bank, or a great big giant mortgage on a depreciating asset?

    And if things aren’t “pinch me” good enough as it is, the Fed will stop buying MBS on March 31! Economically speaking, things are really looking up. :)

  10. 10

    By ARDELL @ 8:

    Kary said: “I really doubt anyone looking for the tax credit is making an offer on a short sale at this point.”

    People should be buying the best home for them to live in for likely 10 years, not any old thing to get a tax credit. If the best value and house is a short sale, agents should not be steering them away because of “a tax credit”.

    Not being able to close in time for the tax credit is only one reason to steer them away from short sales. But I wonder how you can tell a short sale is the “best value?” Do you think you know how quickly the unknown bank employee will approve the sale, and at what price?

  11. 11

    RE: corncob @ 7

    I Agree

    What Tim’s charts don’t show is compared to 2006/2007 peaks, if it did the charts would look horrifyingly dismal. With just partial interest deduction and property tax federal tax welfare to the upper classes back in 2006/2007 too….not this stimulus pandora box of federal welfare debt and tax credits to the elite, banks, buyers and the stock market.

    MSM and the feds are currently in denial that the debt circus party keeping interest rates low is about to end, but ask China or Japan if they still want to back more American real estate debt on the wild eyed hopes of an American house price come back. LOL

  12. 12

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 6

    I Agree Ira

    But it sure was nice seeing my matching funds in stocks hash out profits like a printing press in 2009…..making the huge loss in 2008 look moot.

    I wonder if the stock market is getting hit by timid investors [I don’t blame them after 2008] and since real estate gambling is a joke, the rich are dabbling in equities, to while away the time and make ’em some cash [until they sell like madmen]…LOL

  13. 13
    ARDELL says:


    Are you telling me you can’t look at five homes and determine which offers the best value? What does “quick” have to do with “value”?

    Generally speaking the more local the lender is, the “quicker” the response time. The reality of short sales is agents are listing some that will never close. The difference between yes or no of a short is often the Financial Statement of the seller. It’s often not so much about what the lienholder will take, but what they should take. If the owner has $300,000 in the bank, or equity in a 2nd property, and is $30,000 short…why should the bank accept that short sale request?

    Agents need to get a lot better at predicting how quickly the unknown bank employee will approve the sale, and at what price” Yes, I have predicted this accurately for my clients. It’s not “rocket science”. I am watching one that I advised would never close at all…we’ll see what happens.

  14. 14
    ARDELL says:


    Also, the buyer does NOT lose the house if the short sale is not approved. If it is the best house for them and the short sale is not approved, they can buy it at foreclosure or as a bank owned property after the foreclosure.

    The only thing standing between a buyer and that house is another buyer who is willing to pay more, unless the owner can afford to stay. Pretty simple stuff. Too many people think the seller or lienholder saying “no” to their offer means something…it means nothing. Another buyer willing to pay more than you is the only thing between you and that house, if it is in fact going to be sold.

  15. 15

    RE: ARDELL @ 13 – Oh, I forgot. You think you can predict the future. That makes all the difference in the world. That and thinking that banks act consistently and in a rational manner.

  16. 16

    RE: ARDELL @ 14 – Waiting for it to become bank owned probably makes more sense than buying it at a short sale. Buying it at a foreclosure–not so much.

  17. 17

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 15
    Ardell can predict the future. Just not necessarily accurately. Like Yogi Berra said ” Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future.”

  18. 18
    patient says:

    To Mariya @4.

    Fundamentals and trends are pointing in the opposite direction. I think there is no way you will be able to sway anyone here with your prediction, certainly not me. Unfortunately there are still many people out there who believe that agents can be trusted to predict the price direction. A friend of mine for example is stuck with two mortgages, he moved into a new home before selling the old one. He put the old ( a newer home on the eastside ) on the market but there was no takers. He then tried to rent it out but not even that was possible. Now he’s telling me that prices are going up ( he’s agent told him ) so he is planning to keep the home off the market for a year or so without tenants. I told him that he should ask if his agents was willing to pay any losses compared to today’s maket value and his interrest payments if it doesn’t pan out in return for half the profit it if does. Would you take that offer Mariya?

  19. 19
    anonimaniac says:

    The Minsky Moment for Seattle RE is upon us.

  20. 20
    BillE says:

    Speaking of short sales vs. REO properties, there’s a home I really like that is currently on the market as a short sale. The price hasn’t changed in months, the owners have already moved, and it’s scheduled to be auctioned in May. If nothing changes, I plan to attend the auction as a spectator. I’d like to see the process in person.

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