February Stats Preview: Slipping Sales Edition

With February but a memory fading away in our grey matter, 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 and Snohomish County public 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 King County:

King County Warranty Deeds

Warranty Deeds fell slightly from January’s level, coming in about 5% lower than a year ago. Last year Warranty Deeds rose 15% during the same month. Based on this data we should see NWMLS-reported SFH closed sales for February come in right around 1,000 again (barring an excess of late-reporting nonsense).

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 vanilla sales as the Warranty Deed only data we have in King County.

Snohomish County Deeds

Overall deeds fell month to month in Snohomish, but rose from a year ago.

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

Given that we had three fewer days in February, it’s not too surprising to see both counties post a slight drop month-to-month, but they were both up over 20% from a year ago, which seems to indicate that the “foreclosure crisis” is not quite over yet.

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

Also down month-over-month, but up over 46% from a year ago.

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

Still moving in the opposite direction of what we normally see this time of year. It looks like many area sellers have moved into the “acceptance” phase, not even bothering to list their homes at fantasy prices because they know there is no way they will be able to get as much as they need or want for their home.

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.

16 comments:

  1. 1
    Bradzilla says:

    Do you have any idea what percentage of home sales in the Seattle area are cash buyers?

  2. 2
    The Tim says:

    RE: Bradzilla @ 1 – Actually I do. According to this recent Wall Street Journal article, it’s around 16%, the second-lowest of the 11 cities they profiled in the chart at the end of the article.

  3. 3
    Scotsman says:

    So this is what a recovery looks like- falling sales, reducing inventory, and rising foreclosures, all going against traditional seasonal trends. I’ll make a note of it. I used to think I was a reasonably intelligent and well educated guy, but apparently I’ve been missing some pivotal bits of the puzzle. My continual calls of doom and gloom have gone against the tide for too long. This is the new reality, a bit of “1984” and a touch of “The Matrix” mixed into a tasty soup we’re going to have to learn to love.I had a weird dream last night- it was Ardell, dressed like Britney Spears, singing “Oops, I called it again” while Kary sat in the corner splitting hairs with a blade made from the horn of a Skittle pooping unicorn. Wild times!

  4. 4
    Hugh Dominic says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 3 – Ha! +1

  5. 5
    softwarengineer says:

    RE: The Tim @ 2

    And Cash is King

    I was reading about how the Freddie Fannie tax burden will be butcher axed away this year and this “glossy” article tries to upbeat it as much as possible….the bottom line for Seattle buyers, not ony 20% down minimums with like 750 credit ratings, but new fees attached and get this, like 8% interest of the private sector half of the loan…..hmmmm, in Seattle that would be like an 8% loan on like $200-250K and the other half would be the 4%+ part. If the home defaults the 8% private sector half takes all the risk.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-reform-fannie-and-freddie-now-without-raising-mortgage-costs-2011-2

    Welcome to mass Seattle home price declines as this interest hike baby is passed with the mass federal budget cuts in the horizon….there’s no stopping it, IMO.

  6. 6
    Still Anonymous says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 3

    Don’t sweat it. The lower/flat numbers are probably just due to the bad weather. Once April rolls around, we’ll probably be within spitting distance of 8-9% annual appreciation. You probably should take this opportunity to buy now and get in before prices start heating up again.

  7. 7
    Blake says:

    By Still Anonymous @ 6:

    RE: Scotsman @ 3

    Don’t sweat it. The lower/flat numbers are probably just due to the bad weather. Once April rolls around, we’ll probably be within spitting distance of 8-9% annual appreciation. You probably should take this opportunity to buy now and get in before prices start heating up again.

    Sez “anonymous”! You go first!! Go bid 8-9% over asking and get the ball rolling…
    It’s all good… don’t you read those screaming headlines put out every day by the corporate media!? lmfao

  8. 8
    Dweezil says:

    It is very obvious in your first graph where the mad race for the last $8000 credit monies happened.
    There should be some interesting year over year numbers over the next few months.

  9. 9
    Matthew says:

    Imagine the buyers who rushed for that 8k buyer tax credit now to realize they are probably three times that amount underwater right now. ouch!

  10. 10
    Snigliastic says:

    By Matthew @ 9:

    Imagine the buyers who rushed for that 8k buyer tax credit now to realize they are probably three times that amount underwater right now. ouch!

    or the ones who realize that you can’t move for three years or else you have to repay the 8k. Yeesh.

  11. 11
    Jillayne says:

    Oh boy, those Trustee Deed numbers suuuure look interesting.

  12. 12
    softwarengineer says:

    RE: Blake @ 7
    LOL

    A blog like that means one slamdunk fact:
    The blogger is in debt to his eyebrows in RE, if not underwater too….

    Misery loves company.

    Let’s wait for Spring and Summer to show sales/price gains if oil hits $120/bbl or even stays over $100/bbl…..Hades, the good news: grocery, department stores and gas stations probably had to hire extra workers to keep changing the prices WAY UP recently everyday. That will free up more money to pay larger down payments or cash outs on short sales RE deals, that are approvable/closable [the credit rating 750 isn’t that high anymore]….LOL

  13. 13
    NumberMonkey says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 5 – Sweet, maybe I can buy a house in a few years without selling myself into indentured servitude!

  14. 14
    Lo Ball Jones says:

    All three of those houses are about as much home as I would ever want to buy…and quite frankly they all look pretty nice.Now, of course, they’re South Seattle, so who knows what types of psychotic knife wielding bums and drug addicts roam the streets at night.Or do they? Supposedly crime has been dropping precipitously…does that mean its “safe to back in the water” in South Seattle?In many ways its far better situated for commuting…especially with LINK.

  15. 15
    Lo Ball Jones says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 3 -You’re leaving out one factor…rising incomes on the bottom tiers of salary.This is a Rich Guys Recession and a Poor Guys Recovery.

  16. 16
    Still Anonymous says:

    RE: Blake @ 7

    What do you mean? Are you implying that the mainstream media is not completely honest with the public? If we didn’t have the Fourth Estate to give us the Truth, how would we have been able to anticipate the runup in real estate prices that were clearly tied to market fundamentals? That’s why it’s so crucial that we all get out there and start buying NOW, and preferrably using as many questionable loan tactics as possible. Remember: THEY AREN’T MAKING ANY MORE LAND…and we’re nearly all out of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! By this time next year, you may not be able to afford to live ANYWHERE. Do you want to end up living on the streets?

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