August Stats Preview: Continued Credit Hangover

With August in the rear view mirror, it’s time for another monthly stats preview. Most of the charts below are based on broad county-wide data that is available through a simple search of King County Records and Snohomish County Records. If you have additional stats you’d like to see in the preview, drop a line in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

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

King County Warranty Deeds

Warranty Deeds were more or less flat in King County between July and August. Last year Warranty Deeds fell nearly 10% during the same month, so maybe that’s progress? Obviously they’re still at a crazy low point for this time of year. YOY Warranty Deeds were down 13%. Based on this data, I suspect we’ll see NWMLS-reported SFH closed sales for August come in around 1,300.

Here’s a long-range view of King County Warranty Deeds, to give you a little more context:

King County Warranty Deeds

Here’s a look at Snohomish County Deeds, but keep in mind that Snohomish County files Warranty Deeds (regular sales) and Trustee Deeds (bank foreclosure repossessions) together under the category of “Deeds (except QCDS),” so this chart is not as good a measure of plain vanillla sales as the Warranty Deed only data we have in King County.

Snohomish County Deeds

Snohomish County was up on the month. It will be interesting to see if SFH sales mark a similar jump.

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

Snohomish County Notices of Trustee Sale

Month-to-month decreases in King and Snohomish, but both came in well over where they were a year ago, thanks to last year’s rapid decline once the new state law kicked in.

Here’s another measure of foreclosures for King County, 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

Yikes. Another new high in foreclosure repossessions in King County, jumping so far that I had to readjust the vertical axis on my chart.

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

Snohomish County SFH Active Listings

Nothing too surprising here. Look for new 2009-2010 highs in both King and Snohomish. We’ll probably see a continued growth in inventory until about October.

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

    In another thread I was guessing around 1400, with less than 150 of those being late reported sales (the issue you raised last month). I don’t know if you were accounting for that in your 1300 number, but if not, we’re pretty close.

  2. 2
    Buford says:

    Explains why my aunt’s house in Auburn has been on the market for over 60 days and not a single sole has even set foot inside.
    A turn around in housing?….not anytime soon.

  3. 3

    RE: Buford @ 2 – No, that would more likely indicate something wrong with how the property is being marketed, unless maybe it’s a $3M+ property or otherwise unusual.

    BTW, the NWMLS is now posting stats on keybox openings for the entire system, and they show that the numbers for May through August are only down about 5% from February, with March and April having been just over 20% higher. So it’s not that buyers have entirely gone away. Note that some openings are the agent opening their own listings, sometimes an agent showing the property may open the box 2x for one showing, etc., and that the numbers are from NWMLS sources but not compiled or guaranteed by the NWMLS.

  4. 4
    HR Puffinstuf says:

    Thanks for all the good stats, from this data plus a new rumored tax incentive (sometime in the near term): I can’t imagine prices going anywhere but down.

  5. 5
    JChristopher says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3

    Or your aunt is entirely unrealistic about what her home is worth (like most NorthWesterners)

  6. 6
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Buford @ 2

    If no one comes…the prices is WAY too “off”. More than 5% over market value. No one coming at all = the price does not match the available info. You can try cranking up the available info (more and better photos). But usually no one at all coming to see it, is indicative of an overpriced house, and by far.

    99% of the time if NO ONE has come to see the house in 60 days…that means the asking price is WAY too high.

    If lots of people come but no one makes an offer, there is something AT the house that suggests the value is not a match to the asking price. It could be a smell. It could be electrical towers nearby. If the price is right and the marketing is right, people will come. If they do not make an offer…it usually has to do with something they can see at the house that they can’t see in the mls, and the price is not a match to the home’s condition or site issues.

  7. 7
    Ahau says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3
    Sounds great, I guess we can stop relying on the open house traffic now! (j/k)

    FWIW, there’s a short sale next to me that’s been on the market for nearly a year. They’ve had maybe 3 showings in the last 4 months. Then a couple weeks ago, they had at least 5 showings in one weekend, without a price drop (then, a week later they did drop the price). No one has been in it (that I’ve seen) since.

  8. 8
    Willy Nilly says:

    RE: Buford @ 2

    60 days – that’s nothing. The area I plan to buy in (Northern half of 98038) has a variety of houses I would consider, but most are at least 20-25% over current market value and have been listed for many moons. I am sure plenty of buyers have a similar perspective to mine. Tenaciously adamant about getting “their” price allows sellers the opportunity to spend a couple of years chasing the market down. Sellers if you want to dance you have to first put on the beads of reason – they are right there behind the pink pony.

  9. 9
    David S says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 5 – Sweet words of wisdom. It may seem like the obvious when read, but so few really understand.

  10. 10
    David S says:

    RE: Willy Nilly @ 7 – We are working on becoming neighbors. First, the current 98038 residents need to come to their senses.

  11. 11
    Lurker says:

    I’ve received a lot of new Seattle foreclosures with my Redfin updates lately and I used to get see very few. Seems like about every day now I get a new dozen.

  12. 12
    Marc says:


    It’s just occurred to me that searches on the King County public records sites involving large numbers of search results often have duplicate hits. I noticed this quite some time ago when we were litigating new construction condo cases as I kept an eye on how many units were selling. It took me awhile to notice but a not insiginifcant number of deeds would show up twice in the search results when I searched by a particular grantor. I noticed this most often with warranty deeds but it wasn’t exclusive and appears to happen for other sorts of recorded documents as well.

    If this probelm persists then it might mean we should take your results as more of a trend indicator than literal numbers of deeds. There’s also the aspect that many non-residential property conveyances are done by warranty deed.

  13. 13
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: David S @ 9RE: Willy Nilly @ 7 – 98038 is my zip code. I hope that doesn’t cause you to reconsider your plans. ;-) If I see something good should I post it here? I’m just a little south of SE 216th St near the now closed Taylor Creek Golf Course.

  14. 14
    Willy Nilly says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 12

    Nice! that cements my plans even further knowing there is local intelligence. I watch the area like a hawk and our criteria is particular, but thanks for offering. I do wonder if some missing WWII gold is stashed in some of those houses based on the asking prices. Perhaps I’ll get lucky!

  15. 15
    The Tim says:

    By Marc @ 11:

    …we should take your results as more of a trend indicator than literal numbers of deeds. There’s also the aspect that many non-residential property conveyances are done by warranty deed.

    Both of those factors are definitely issues when looking at the warranty deeds. I have touched on the loose nature of the relationship between WD and actual closed sales in the past, but I should probably add some sort of explanatory text to each of these posts as to what a warranty deed is and how it is only loosely related to the sales we generally care about.

  16. 16
    David S says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 12 – email me at my open account and I will give you a better way to get in touch with me. Thank you OEM I am not one to pass on networking.

  17. 17
    AWhiteHorse says:

    Gads, there are so many sellers thinking the free pony is really going to happen. We have new homes showing up empty all the time. (Everett) The one across the street is awfully nice…

  18. 18

    […] The Tim on September 16, 2010 | Leave a responseIt’s time once again to expand on our preview of foreclosure activity with a more detailed look at August’s stats in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties. First […]

  19. 19

    […] in Denver dropped dramatically after the expiration of the tax credits on April 30 like they did throughout the country. Only now are we beginning to see some increase in broker showings of our listings.  A large […]

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