Bank-Owned Sales Edged Up in September

The share of single-family home sales in King County that were bank-owned edged up slightly in September, increasing to 7.5% of sales.

Bank-Owned: Share of Total Sales - King County Single-Family

It’s a good bet that due to seasonality this number will continue to rise through the end of the year and into the first couple months of 2013. I doubt we’ll get back up to 20% or more any time soon, but I could be wrong.

Meanwhile, the share of each month’s sales that were short sales continues to hold fairly steady at around 13% of the market.

Short Sales: Share of Total Sales - King County Single-Family

When you add in short sales the total share of monthly sales that are distressed is at 20%. As long as one in five sales is either a short sale or a foreclosure it’s hard to say we’re in a “normal” housing market. I suspect we’ll see things rolling along at these levels for quite some time. There are a lot of underwater homes to work through.

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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

    The number of short sales I find more interesting. It has been fairly steady for months at around 200 or so, but bumped up in July and August. I was hoping that would be a trend, but it fell back in September.

  2. 2
    WestSideBilly says:

    Tim (or anyone else) – can you explain the seasonality of bank owned sales? Why do they peak in January-February? Is it that the numbers are fairly constant but the total sales are hitting their seasonal low?

  3. 3

    By WestSideBilly @ 2:

    Tim (or anyone else) – can you explain the seasonality of bank owned sales? Why do they peak in January-February? Is it that the numbers are fairly constant but the total sales are hitting their seasonal low?

    Yes, which is why the median fluctuates. But they have been dropping in number too as of late.

  4. 4
    The Tim says:

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 2 – Yup, pretty much. Banks don’t tend to care what time of year it is, they just pump out a steady flow of foreclosures year-round. Meanwhile the raw number of non-distressed sales drops off significantly in the fall and winter, so the constant number of bank-owned sales makes up a larger percentage of the total sales.

  5. 5
    David Losh says:

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 2

    More investors will buy in January, February for a turn at the Spring selling season. It is also the beginning of the year which let’s people play with the profits for a longer period of time before they pay taxes.

    Banks, lenders, and investors have fiscal calenders where they will sell for a better tax consequence, of profit, or losses.

  6. 6

    RE: WestSideBilly @ 2 – I just check and 2/11 was rather low and 3/11 rather high, but that doesn’t show in the percentages that well.

  7. 7
    David S says:

    Wow my zip must be hobbled I’m showing:

    284 SFH active
    of those
    18 REO 6.3%
    107 SS 37.7%
    Distressed is 44%

    We’re in line with the REO total market percentage but way up on the SS percentage of market.

  8. 8

    RE: David S @ 7 – Tim’s data is of closed listings. You’re using active. Short sales often don’t close–only about half do last time I looked.

  9. 9
    David S says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8 – You’re correct. At closer to 19% SS then as the countywide chart shows.

  10. 10

    RE: David Losh @ 5

    Who Would Guess

    The American Stock market shooting up 30%+ YOY to date. Makes real estate investment in bank owned used stock look moot and low return [if any] in comparison.

    We’re clearly in a new paradigm for investing. Ben’s QEs will be pumped into interest rate lowering through 2015 to keep this investment trend going?

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