All Five Price Tiers Saw Double Digit Declines in December

Let’s take another look at the King County single-family sale price percentiles.

Here’s how I break down the price percentiles for these posts. Each bucket is a cutoff where some percentage of homes sold below that price, while the remaining percentage sold above that price.

  • Bottom: 10% below, 90% above.
  • Low: 25% below, 75% above.
  • Median: 50% below, 50% above.
  • High: 75% below, 25% above.
  • Top: 90% below, 10% above.

First up, a long-term view of the five percentiles, going all the way back to January 2007, shortly before King County’s peak pricing.

King County SFH Sales: Price & Volume

In December, 45% of homes sold for under $300,000 (the 10th percentile level at the peak). Meanwhile, the median price at the peak ($481,000) is roughly where the 75th percentile sits in December.

Here’s a closeup look at just 2010 and 2011:

King County SFH Sales: Price & Volume

All five tiers have been relatively flat since the drop down in October. Here’s where all five percentiles fall compared to their respective peaks as of December:

  • Bottom: 49% off peak
  • Low: 39% off peak
  • Median: 34% off peak
  • High: 26% off peak
  • Top: 28% off peak

Lastly, here’s a look at the year-over-year price changes in each of the five percentiles.

King County SFH Sales: YoY Price

And here’s where they stand as of December:

  • Bottom: down 17%
  • Low: down 13%
  • Median: down 14%
  • High: down 10%
  • Top: down 11%

December was the first month since July 2009 that all five tiers are in double-digit negative territory.

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

    Tim, the snow seems to have fogged my brain… what does the 0 line represent?

  2. 2
    The Tim says:

    RE: Julie Lyda RE/MAX Northwest Realtors @ 1 – Sorry, I don’t understand the question. What “0 line”?

  3. 3

    The 0% line… that shows the lower tier down 17%.

    Sorry.. should have put in the %.

  4. 4
    The Tim says:

    RE: Julie Lyda RE/MAX Northwest Realtors @ 3 – I assume you’re referring to the last chart? That one shows the year over year percentage change in each of the price percentiles. I made the horizontal axis at 0% bold so it was easier to see when the lines went into positive territory.

  5. 5
    Scotsman says:

    RE: The Tim @ 4

    “I made the horizontal axis at 0% bold so it was easier to see when the lines went into positive territory. ”

    Now that’s funny! You should replace the zero with a pink pony icon.

    This confirms my sense that both asking prices and the closed prices I started seeing in December and early this month were down substantially. Still not a lot of inventory though.

    Happy snow days to all!

  6. 6

    Wowzers! So if we’re going from 1/1/11 to 12/31/11, the median home price is down 14%.
    And that’s the largest 1/1 to 12/31 drop on the chart. Is that also the largest 1/1 to 12/31 year to year drop since the peak?

  7. 7
    whatsmyname says:

    Pay no attention to the mix, er, man behind the curtain.

    “Median Prices in King County Single Family homes on a 90 day rolling basis are:
$399k for not Distressed – 67% of all sales, 
$265k for Bank Owned – 22% or all sales
$187k for Short Sales – 11% of all sales”

    Numbers by Ardell earlier in the week, please don’t sue the MLS – or some such.

  8. 8
    Natalia Orinko says:

    In the California Central Valley where our free fall is two years ahead of Seattle all of the tiers eventually evened out. And the wealthy took their hits like everyone else. Read here:

  9. 9
    MacroInvestor says:

    Nice to see prices coming down, but we’ve got a helluva way to go. $400k is not — REPEAT NOT — an affordable price for an average middle class house in anything but bizzaro world. Of course the banks, agents and other assorted housing leaches want you to borrow yourself into lifetime servitude to them.

  10. 10
    Justin Rolfe says:

    Hi The Tim,
    Have you looked at how Multi-Family (Tri-Plexes, Quads) has fared since downturn? I’d be interested to see a comparison…. It seems that prices have held up better as rent inflation has been strong the past couple years but that’s just a hunch.


  11. 11

    RE: Justin Rolfe @ 10 – Probably a good hunch, but I don’t follow that market. The one thing that might make a difference though is whether the unit had even a snowball’s chance of being converted to condo in 2007. If so, it probably dropped in value considerably.

    The other factor that would have affected values the other way (propped them up) is declining interest rates.

  12. 12

    […] the turnaround from just three months ago, when all five tiers were in double-digit negative […]

  13. 13

    […] amazing that such a short time we went from all five tiers in double-digit negative territory in December to flirting with break-even in May, all without a giant wasteful giveaway of taxpayer money to […]

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