Foreclosures Simultaneously Elevated & Depressed

It’s time once again to expand on our preview of foreclosure activity with a more detailed look at January’s stats in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties. First up, the Notice of Trustee Sale summary:

January 2011
King: 928 NTS, up 10% YOY
Snohomish: 479 NTS, up 6% YOY
Pierce: 545 NTS, down 1% YOY

Still rising slowly in King and Snohomish, but actually down just a tad in Pierce. Surprising and interesting.

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

Still seeing a bit of a lull in foreclosure activity. Perhaps the foreclosure “freeze” put more of a damper on the process than it originally seemed. And yet, even at this “depressed” level, there are still more foreclosures being served every month than any time prior to 2009.

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 883 households, Snohomish County had 1 NTS per 566 households, and Pierce had 1 NTS for every 585 households (higher is better).

According to foreclosure tracking company RealtyTrac, Washington’s statewide foreclosure rate for January of one foreclosure for every 565 housing units was 12th hightest 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:

In 2009 and 2010 it seems that summer was prime time for foreclosures. It will be interesting to see if we see the same pattern in 2011.

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, hit this chart and drag the date slider to its full range. 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.

16 comments:

  1. 1
    Feedback says:

    Thank you, Tim! This is excellent news for those in a position to buy a distressed property, fix it up, and let it out at a profit. It is particularly good to do so now as interest rates are at their lowest levels in decades, meaning that housing will become more expensive as the cost of borrowing rises.

  2. 2
    ray pepper says:

    Postponement after Postponement week after week. Trustees say the Banks are “making sure they got it right.”

    They are coming and when they do there simply will not be near enough 3rd party Buyers ready. This will prove to be another HUGE leg down in housing with a bevy REO’s saturating the market. Very upsetting to be at the Trustee Sales week after week hearing postponed..postponed..postponed..

    Rent them back to the owners or CRAM DOWN those principles. Its happening with all the Regionals..Bring on the big boys…

  3. 3

    I would suspect that Pierce is slightly down mainly because they’ve typically been slightly higher. It’s similar to why Seattle might have a larger decrease in values on a percentage basis now compared to Phoenix or Las Vegas, which had higher losses in the past.

  4. 4

    I Know Why Tacoma’s Foreclosures Aren’t As Bad as Seattle’s

    The average 2010 price of a sold Tacoma home is $299K.

    http://www.househunt.com/sold-price-history.php?st=WA&zp=98402&city=Tacoma&idx=n

  5. 5

    RE: softwarengineer @ 4 – What stat makes you think they aren’t as bad. When you look at absolute numbers they are better, but that’s because they are smaller. On a percentage basis it appears that Pierce is consistently worse, which is something you would expect since in the day they had more sub-prime.

  6. 6

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 5

    True Kary

    But if under $300K homes are worse than Seattle in foreclosures, when Seattle’s avg price is about $470K…there’s more here than Tim’s charts show. I believe Seattle is likely top heavy in old Baby Boomer home owners [that bought in much cheaper decades ago]….they put off selling because they can, for now…..that will come to an end very soon IMO, they’re getting WAY too old to wait it out. There’s nothing worse than a stubborn old mule though.

  7. 7

    RE: softwarengineer @ 6 – You definitely see some of that. Some of them eventually come around and some don’t.

  8. 8
    LA Relo says:

    RE: Feedback @ 1

    As costs to borrow go up people can afford less which will exert downward pressure on prices.

  9. 9

    RE: LA Relo @ 8

    An Excellent Reason for the Seattle “Old Pink Pony Stubborn Mule Sellers”

    To sell now cheap and cut their future anticipated profit gains [that will really be losses].

  10. 10
    Cheap South says:

    By Feedback @ 1:

    Thank you, Tim! This is excellent news for those in a position to buy a distressed property, fix it up, and let it out at a profit. It is particularly good to do so now as interest rates are at their lowest levels in decades, meaning that housing will become more expensive as the cost of borrowing rises.

    What???!!!! (to every statement).

  11. 11

    RE: Cheap South @ 10

    Don’t Try to Talk Common Sense to a Stubborn Mule Type With a Closed Mind, Cheap South

    They’re either in debt to their eye-balls and are feverishly trying to get us to prop up prices by buying in with them too [misery likes company], and/or they simply refuse to digest the CLEAR RE price degradation historical actuals pragmatic facts for what they are.

  12. 12
    pdmseatac says:

    By Feedback @ 1:

    Thank you, Tim! This is excellent news for those in a position to buy a distressed property, fix it up, and let it out at a profit. It is particularly good to do so now as interest rates are at their lowest levels in decades, meaning that housing will become more expensive as the cost of borrowing rises.

    So you’re saying that as interest rates increase, sellers will respond by raising prices ?

  13. 13
    Lurker says:

    RE: pdmseatac @ 12

    No, he is saying that higher interest rates would require higher monthly payments (if cost of home stays the same) It’s a good point but what is often overlooked is where the buyers that can afford the higher payments will be coming from. There are many that think rising interest rates will put further downward pressures on pricing.

  14. 14
    Ben says:

    RE: Lurker @ 13 – Darn straight. It’s pure math. Houses are sold on monthly payments to the masses.

  15. 15
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 4

    SNL Weekend Update circa 1975:

    News Flash: Generalísimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

    Pacific Northwest Update circa anytime post WWII:

    News Flash: Tacoma is still dead.

  16. 16
    Scotsman says:

    Foreclosures up, foreclosures down. Prices up, prices down. What does America want? What does it need? Check the comments for a snap shot of American perspectives:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/49495.html

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