October Housing Stats Around the Sound

Let’s have a look at October county-wide stats 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 October 2010.


NWMLS monthly reports include an undisclosed and varying number of
sales from previous months in their pending and closed sales statistics.

October 2010 King Snohomish Pierce Kitsap Thurston Island Skagit Whatcom
Median Price 0.7% 7.8% 3.8% 2.9% 2.0% 11.5% 6.4% 0.4%
Listings 9.1% 5.7% 8.1% 5.5% 2.0% 5.4% 6.7% 6.4%
Closed Sales 25.5% 25.2% 20.7% 30.1% 19.6% 18.9% 29.9% 16.5%
SAAS 2.01 2.16 1.96 1.92 1.61 2.11 2.47 1.46

Same story as the last few months: sales way down, inventory up, prices still creeping down.


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

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

Closed Sales

Sales down big everywhere, with Kitsap and Skagit edging out King for the largest YOY drop.

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

Change from Peak

Still holding more or less steady as the dramatic drop in demand takes time to work through the pipeline.

Seasonally Adjusted Active Supply

Skagit takes the title this month for best market for buyers.

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.


  1. 1
    LA Relo says:

    So is it safe to say the April 30th deadline for the buyer’s bribe, I mean credit, convinced people to buy at least 6 months early? Or is there another reason the number of closed sales dropped double digits across the board?

  2. 2
    deejayoh says:

    October 2009 was the fake first expiration of the tax credit, IIRC

  3. 3
    hrpuffinstuff says:

    looking at the price chart things look pretty stable. The lower volume is considerable. Maybe that means less people want to sell their homes now a days?

    Someone else said it, Mexican standoff. Someone’s going down in the spring and I doubt its the buyers.

  4. 4
    softwarengineer says:

    Typical Seattle Recession Type Data

    Even in the 80s recession the sellers were reluctant to deal, until they had to. It’s totally different this time IMO, the price fixing sellers cannot hold off forever with 0.2% interest on their bank savings, pensions getting eliminated, drawbacks [and COLA freezes] on their Social Security, property taxes eating them alive at old unrealistically higher assessed values and Freddie/Fannie bailouts can’t last forever either.

    The smart sellers in my book sold last year at 15-20% below today’s holdouts….just wait and see in 2011 and 2012.

  5. 5

    RE: LA Relo @ 1 – Undoubtedly the credit is the main effect, but I think it helps to have the numbers laid out. Here are the King County SFR sales since January, 2009. (Numbers from NWMLS sources, but not guaranteed):

    674 Jan 09
    956 Jan 10
    1642 Apr 10
    1879 Jun 10
    1309 Oct 10

  6. 6
    ItWillBeNice says:

    To finally see next year $100/sq. ft for both new homes and homes built in the 50’s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90,s & 00s, and as SE described above all the while all the current investors and homeowners who bought in the last several years will start fresh rebuilding their nest egg accounts :)

    Typical endings to ponzis.

  7. 7
    BillE says:

    By softwarengineer @ 4:

    Typical Seattle Recession Type Data

    Even in the 80s recession the sellers were reluctant to deal, until they had to.

    Buyers today don’t even have to deal with private sellers. Every day, more bank-owned houses come on the market and they’re priced well below those being sold by bag holders. People will say the REO’s are beat up and need repairs, but I’m seeing a lot that don’t need much accept for maybe a couple of appliances. Comparing their list prices to some of the others, I would gladly buy a new fridge and washer-dryer set.

  8. 8

    RE: BillE @ 7 – You act like that’s something new. I remember looking at HUD houses w/ my parents back in probably the late 60s. Some of them back then even had new electrical systems installed.

  9. 9
    BillE says:

    My point, is that sellers who won’t move on price don’t matter much. There’s a lot of bank-owned stuff out there at better prices. The number of people holding on for high prices is a smaller and smaller part of the market.

  10. 10
    Jonness says:

    Study proves RE agents should never be hired to sell your house, unless you want to lose a considerable amount of money:


    “Our key finding is that Realtors do not offset the cost of their commission; they do not get you a higher price.”

    Just say no to 6% Realtors!

  11. 11
    Jonness says:

    By BillE @ 9:

    The number of people holding on for high prices is a smaller and smaller part of the market.

    A few years ago, my coworker asked me when I was going to buy a house near my place of employment. I told her I would buy when I could get her house for the same price she paid for it in 1999. She said, “Dream on; that’s never going to happen.”

    About a year later, she talked to a Realtor friend of hers about listing her house. She was shocked at the low price her friend recommended selling it at. She put it on the market at that low price, and it never sold, so she took it off the market.

    A couple of days ago, I experienced a nightmare commute in the snow storm. When I arrived at work, my coworker asked me again when I was going to buy a house closer to work. I told her I would buy when I could get her house for the same price she paid for it in 1999. She agreed that made sense, and we both went on with our day.

    I should make a t-shirt with a big smiley face on it that reads, “Don’t laugh. It happened in Japan!”

  12. 12

    RE: BillE @ 9 – Bank owned prices are better, but you typically aren’t getting the same things and have a lot more risk. I’m not saying it can’t be worth it, just pointing out that it is different.

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