Foreclosures Spiking Around Seattle

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

July 2012
King: 977 NTS, up 33.7% YOY
Snohomish: 470 NTS, up 15.5% YOY
Pierce: 509 NTS, up 20.3% YOY

And just like that, all three counties flipped from falling year-over-year last month to increasing year-over-year this 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 855 households, Snohomish County had 1 NTS per 586 households, and Pierce had 1 NTS for every 635 households (higher is better).

According to foreclosure tracking company RealtyTrac, Washington’s statewide foreclosure rate for July of one foreclosure for every 814 housing units was 13th 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
    HappyRenter says:

    I wonder whether, as a result of this, the Case-Shiller data for July will show YOY price declines.

  2. 2
    Chris says:

    RE: HappyRenter @ 1
    I wouldn’t guess that would be the case – this article from Calculated Risk says Fannie Mae is seeing better sales prices on their REO home sales.

  3. 3
    Carl says:

    It’s good to get foreclosures rolling again. Let the market continue to work its way out of the crash. Better to take the pain now than to have artificial efforts to prop up the market, such as the tax credits a couple of year back.

  4. 4

    By HappyRenter @ 1:

    I wonder whether, as a result of this, the Case-Shiller data for July will show YOY price declines.

    Too early. These are Notices of Trustee Sale documents. If the properties come on the market, they won’t be on the market for 3-5 months–longer if there’s a tenant in place.

  5. 5
    ray pepper says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4

    3-5 months…HAAAAA…I’m assuming your talking about properties POST Trustee Sale that have a tenant living in them…Good Luck getting those people out in 3-5 months. Try a year or longer for the competent tenant who does NOT take the cash for keys and desires to stay in the property…Just get those leases ready and your good to go for a minimum of a year + the time it takes to evict…

  6. 6

    RE: ray pepper @ 5 – I think you misunderstood.

    I was saying it would be longer than 3-5 months for properties that are tenant occupied at the time of foreclosure. There are both state and federal statutes which allow them to stay at least 60 days (state) and 90 days (federal) after the foreclosure.

    So, non-tenant occupied could be on the market 3-5 months from now. Tenant occupied could be at least 6 months–and in many cases longer. I wonder if that is part of what was driving that AOL blog nonsense about 90% of foreclosures not being on the market?

    BTW, I heard again that many banks are not even requiring rent to be paid during the time the tenant is allowed to stay. I’d heard that at a Continuing Legal Education class a few years ago when these laws were going into place, but heard it again this week at another CLE. Some banks apparently do not want to create a landlord-tenant relationship by collecting rent.

    Also, for a tenant to stay so long that they start to get evicted would be foolish. That would make finding new leases more difficult. When it’s time to go they should go, because eviction proceedings are public record which never disappear.

  7. 7

    RE: ray pepper @ 5

    Yes Ray

    I’ve heard of the old owners squatting/destroying in ’em for a couple years. Then the massive repair bill before selling, if the copper pipes and wiring haven’t been ripped out of the drywall yet.

    The evicted home in my neighborhood had MASSIVE damage, the water was left on after eviction to flood the house in a foot of water.

  8. 8
    Lo Ball Jones says:

    Throw me a life preserver…we’ll soon be drowning in low cost homes!

  9. 9
    whatsmyname says:

    By Lo Ball Jones @ 8:

    Throw me a life preserver…we’ll soon be drowning in low cost homes!

    Yes indeed. If half of these NTS’s become foreclosures (very optimistic), that would be an increase of not quite 500 units for King County. Add that over 5 months to what we’ve now got, and you will assume inventory of about 5500 in January. Of course, Tim’s charts show inventory usually shrinks about 1500 units over that calendar period, so maybe what you will have is inventory of about 4,000.

    Woo hoo. Get on yer tsunami suit.

  10. 10
    corndogs says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 9 – Whatsmyname is talking sense using a little math…….. lowball Jones gets a spanking…

  11. 11 says:

    Tim, is it possible for you to break these foreclosure numbers down by their price being listed? It would be nice to see if there are more foreclosures in the low end vs. high end, by location, etc. Thx.

  12. 12

    […] clear to me, but the unclear standing of MERS before this ruling may have much to do with why foreclosures in Washington were declining through much of 2011 and early 2012. Banks simply couldn’t foreclose through MERS when they […]

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