Seattle-Area Foreclosures Dropped Off in February

We skipped the usual preview of foreclosure activity this month, but now it’s time for the detailed look at February’s stats on foreclosures in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties. First up, the Notice of Trustee Sale summary:

February 2013
King: 839 NTS, up 85% YOY
Snohomish: 461 NTS, up 87% YOY
Pierce: 574 NTS, up 101% YOY

All three counties still far higher than they were a year ago, but month-over-month foreclosures in all three counties dropped off: King was down 21%, Snohomish fell 19%, and Pierce decreased 21%.

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 1,003 households, Snohomish County had 1 NTS per 601 households, and Pierce had 1 NTS for every 567 households (higher is better).

According to foreclosure tracking company RealtyTrac, Washington’s statewide foreclosure rate for February of one foreclosure for every 656 housing units was 5th 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

    Preventing Foreclosure

    I see from Tim’s poll that over 80% of us would rather see lower prices on Seattle homes than lower interest rates….albeit, a caveat is the lower prices [likely assuming higher interest rates too] requires us to pay cash or a big cash chunk on the purchase.

    This prevents foreclosures.

  2. 2
    Scotsman says:

    Ah yes, a recovering economy combined with a specialness that only Seattle can bring forth (under the bluest skies, of course!) means that happy days are here again. Sing it, boys!

    Or are we slogging sideways toward some as yet unknown cliff? Have the underlying fundamentals been fixed? That’s a “NO!”

  3. 3
    Erik says:

    It looks we are about back to the boring times. If we get back to boring constant real estate increases we will have nothing exciting to discuss.

  4. 4
    Marc says:


    How about the regular chart on the number of trustee’s deeds last month and months prior from the preview post you skipped this month? I forget those other charts at the moment but that’s one of my favorite posts each month as it gives a great preview of foreclsoure activity that might trickle back to the open market.

  5. 5
    Carl says:

    RE: Erik @ 3 – We haven’t had any real excitement on this board for a while. I miss the vitriolic yelling between the bears and the bulls. We are back the boring drip, drip, drip, of 1-2% appreciation.

  6. 6
    mike says:

    RE: Carl @ 5 – You meant 10-20%, correct?

    Reflating the bubble at 1-2% would certainly be boring… but that doesn’t seem to be what is going on.

  7. 7
    ChrisM says:

    Meanwhile, down here in Clark county foreclosures are on the rise again:

    “As reported Tuesday by California-based RealtyTrac, there were 382 Clark County homes in some stage of foreclosure in February, an increase of 185 percent from 134 foreclosures in the same period last year. ”

    There are a *ton* of properties here that are in various stages of underwaterness (if I may coin a term).

  8. 8
    peckhammer says:

    RE: mike @ 6 – I know, it’s crazy! Based on recent sales of the townhouses in the complex where I live, the theoretical value of my home has increased by 29% over the last two years.

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