Foreclosures Dip in April, Continue Yearly Drop

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

April 2012
King: 441 NTS, down 51.6% YOY
Snohomish: 275 NTS, down 49.7% YOY
Pierce: 267 NTS, down 55.6% YOY

Slightly different tune than we had been seeing over the last few months. Foreclosures have been falling year-over-year for quite some time, but this is the first time in a few months that they decreased month-over-month.

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

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 1,889 households, Snohomish County had 1 NTS per 999 households, and Pierce had 1 NTS for every 1,208 households (higher is better).

According to foreclosure tracking company RealtyTrac, Washington’s statewide foreclosure rate for March of one foreclosure for every 1,581 housing units was 35th highest 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:

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.


  1. 1

    They’re all coming back! /sarc

  2. 2
    Dave0 says:

    “….more detailed look at March’s stats in King, Snohomish….”

    I think you mean April there…. :)

  3. 3
    The Tim says:

    RE: Dave0 @ 2 – Doh. Thanks. Fixed.

  4. 4

    Break Out the Champaign

    Foreclosures have got to go down in the Seattle/Everett/Bellevue:

    Employment is improving in the Seattle area, the recession’s over?

    Ooops….we purposely skipped over the basically flatlined “labor force” chart above the improving employment one for the last three years….the “inconvenient truth” MSM won’t admit, but the government’s local Seattle/Everett/Bellevue BLS data does document clearly.

    Where’s the beef?

  5. 5

    RE: softwarengineer @ 4

    Whoever Down-Thumbed Me Above

    Are you down-thumbing Obama’s BLS data or SWE?

    I’m beginning to think on Seattle Bubble, if you don’t get down thumbs you’re blog lacks “common sense and scientific reference” that should be in any qualified journalist’s tool box….shooting from the hip in other words….

  6. 6
    ray pepper says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1

    oh they are! 10 years Kary! Unwinding takes a VERY long time. Through trustee sale, deed in lieu, or short sale ….one way or another…they will ALL come back and be written down to current value!

    Bank on it!

  7. 7
    Scotsman says:

    The American Foreclosure Process Has Ground To A Halt

    “Something funny happened in the aftermath of the US fraudclosure settlement, in which millions of backlogged housing units were supposed to enter the foreclosure process and begin the clearing of the nearly 9 million housing units in shadow inventory: nothing. Because as RealtyTrac disclosed overnight, in April the US saw a mere 188,780 foreclosures events of various type (NOD, auction, REO) take place. ”

  8. 8
    David Losh says:

    It’s interesting that this post was left alone by commenters.

    Again people ignore this huge spike that is there, in the Real Estate market place.

    Huge spikes don’t happen in Real Estate.

    The other thing is we have this new Index by Chase Schiller, and now people start talking about a top, and bottom to the market, like it’s stocks, that we can ETrade.

    No matter how much batching, moaning, and complaining people do it still cost 10% to get in, or out of Real Estate and it depends greatly on what you buy, no matter the location.

    It makes no difference if the price of the property index goes up or down, or if foreclosures are coming or going. We had a major shift in the Real Estate market place, that people ignore.

    I’d like to see some data to show why it can’t happen again, or if the economy itself has shifted to be more mobile than it ever has been.

    Schiller, in the interview Deejaoh linked where his claim was that Schiller was saying the Real Estate market was going back to normal or some such nonsense, talked about the housing market in Spain. Does any one have any idea what the default rate is in Spain? I think it’s high. How about Real Estate defaults in China if the government wasn’t involved in making paper payments?

    How about the housing boom in Mexico, or South America?

    You can say it doesn’t have anything to do with you, but the banking system certainly is involved. Would I gift a bank a 20% down payment to make my loan look better on paper when I know that bank is playing fast, and lose globally?

    How secure is the value of the asset I’m paying for? When all mortgages get tossed into a big bin of lower quality loans, how secure is my asset value, or will my asset value tank along with all the other mortgages I’m bundled with?

    I really don’t know, but I don’t think things are getting anywhere near normal.

  9. 9
    David Losh says:

    I read every morning, and this article says better what I have been thinking:

    “People say, `Oh, you’ve got to invest in the tangible things — land, gold and silver, other precious metals.’ They’re solid,” says Rich Cooper, vice president for research and emerging issues at the National Chamber Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s think tank.

    But, he says, “In this new era of exceptionalism, you’re now on an entirely different plane. You’re not holding dirt. You’re not holding a piece of real estate in your hands. You can’t touch it and taste it. It’s an entirely different medium, and that’s hard for people to understand and accept.”

    They are talking about the intangibles of technology, and where future investment will be.

    Are Tim, or redfin, Zillow, or Trulia, advocating Real Estate or technology?

  10. 10
    rasser says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 7 – “As more and more Americans, both at the individual and institutional level become motivated sellers, the more the dark blue line will drop lower toward the orange line at the very bottom.” yup, the people who do not realize this are the ones down voting softwareengineers comment above…

    with all the shadow banking going on (repressive rates, FED, FED and NY FED’s support of RMBS, etc.) it will be nice to see reality employed after another 4-5 yrs when a 3/2 at 2200 – 2600 sq ft come in around 3 to 3.5 times median income in the Seattle area, aka $62.5K x 3.5 = $218,750 for an avg $85-$100 / sq ft.

    Or we can just bite the bullet now, and save housing and the economy by offering FHA 50 yr loans at 1.75% for any credit score between 520 – 740 with $2500 down payment, including offering this to any individual or investor that has had one or more foreclosures or bankruptcies in the last 3-5 years. Woohoo PITI for $410K at $1,900/mnth for EVERYONE!!! Economic BOOMSHAKALAKA!

    Good luck all!

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