March Stats Preview: Fewer Foreclosure Notices Edition

Now that March is done, and April 1 fun is done, let’s have a look at our stats preview. Most of the charts below are based on broad county-wide data that is available through a simple search of King County and Snohomish County public records. If you have additional stats you’d like to see in the preview, drop a line in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

First up, here’s the summary snapshot of all the data as far back as my historical information goes, with the latest, high, and low values highlighted for each series:

King & Snhomish County Stats Preview

Summary: Foreclosures continued to fall, sales bounced up from February, and inventory might have fallen to another new low. Hit the jump for the full suite of our usual monthly charts.

Next, let’s look at total home sales as measured by the number of “Warranty Deeds” filed with King County:

King County Warranty Deeds

Sales in King County rose 34.1% from February to March, and were up 23.7% year-over-year.

Here’s a look at Snohomish County Deeds, but keep in mind that Snohomish County files Warranty Deeds (regular sales) and Trustee Deeds (bank foreclosure repossessions) together under the category of “Deeds (except QCDS),” so this chart is not as good a measure of plain vanilla sales as the Warranty Deed only data we have in King County.

Snohomish County Deeds

Deeds in Snohomish rose 25.4% month-over-month and 16.3% from March 2012.

Next, here’s Notices of Trustee Sale, which are an indication of the number of homes currently in the foreclosure process:

King County Notices of Trustee Sale

Snohomish County Notices of Trustee Sale

Both counties are still quite a bit higher than where they were at the same time last year, but the difference keeps shrinking, and King County fell a bit month-over-month.

Here’s another measure of foreclosures for King County, looking at Trustee Deeds, which is the type of document filed with the county when the bank actually repossesses a house through the trustee auction process. Note that there are other ways for the bank to repossess a house that result in different documents being filed, such as when a borrower “turns in the keys” and files a “Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.”

King County Trustee Deeds

Trustee Deeds shot up month-over-month (predictable given the spike in notices back in July) and were up 96.7% from a year earlier.

Lastly, here’s an update of the inventory charts, updated with the inventory data from the NWMLS.

King County SFH Active Listings

Snohomish County SFH Active Listings

Last year King County inventory fell 3.9% between February and March. This year it fell 0.1%. Similar story in Snohomish County, where listings fell 1.3% from February to March, not nearly as much as last year’s 9.6% drop.

Stay tuned later this month a for more detailed look at each of these metrics as the “official” data is released from various sources.

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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
    Marc says:

    Good Gawd what’s up with the inventory?

    What’s the opposite of a bubble? Whatever it is surely we’re in one for inventory (says the guy who would sell his house except that there’s nothing to go buy).

  2. 2

    Think Longterm On Investments Like Seattle Real Estate Or Get Shafted Holding the “Short term Thinking High Priced Low Inventory” Bag Unit

    This March 2013 Atlantic article is a must read for all Bubbleheads:

    Why you ask? Because its the best article I’ve read on the aging Baby Boomer real esatate sell off recently and a good prediction for the the next HUGE price collapse [they say 2020]….hey that’s only 7 years from now [that would be like 2000 was to 2007] and IMO it could happen much sooner, especially if Medicare and Social Security take bigger and faster budget hits than planned to date, which I assume is entirely likely.

    Some excerpts from the Atlantic article that made my collar hair stand straight:

    “….“That’s going to hit us,” Nelson says. “Not right now. But my guess is that about the turn of the decade, that number will become a real number. It’s only a few percentage points now, but it’s like a glacier, and if it keeps moving and building and growing, it’s going to be a big number in about 2020.”…”

    “…“It’s romantic for the first 15 years when you’re turning 65 and retired,” he says. “But aging in place among 90-year-olds? 95-year-olds?” Many of these people, he predicts, won’t realize that they can’t mow the lawn or pay for repairs until they’re really elderly, and the market for the their homes has collapsed even further. “My suspicion,” Nelson says, “is that many hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of those households in the 2020s to 2030 and beyond will simply give up the house and walk away.”…”

    Soooooo….much of the reduced listings are “romantic 65 YO retiring” hanging on to their Seattle homes [refusing to sell cheap], hoping to sell when the price “hypothetically” rebounds….

    LOL…..its like lemmings lined up at a disaster cliff, if they wait beyond 2020, its only 7 years from now…..its TOO LATE.

    My advice to Baby Boomers is get it on the market while listings are recently mitigated [even fixer uppers at a lower prices], albeit I bet too, most of these Boomer homes aren’t “turn-key’ or perfect staged granite counter top stand-outs, Hades, these older folks generation are worried about an affordable retirement and making do with what they have [like an avg $50k in savings]….health problems and recent layoffs ESPECIALLY hit this group BAD too, another reason these homes won’t be the “cat’s meow” perfection the higher priced, deep pocket, buyers demand.

  3. 3
    Erik says:

    RE: Marc @ 1
    I don’t understand what you wrote.

  4. 4
    Erik says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 2
    I live in the seattle area. I do not buy houses in this area.

    Do you think this has a relationship to Seattle Area realestate? If so, how?

    You are consistently commenting on things outside of seattle real estate. I don’t see the relevance maybe because I am ignorant? Please tell me how this effects Seattle real estate.

  5. 5
    3rd Generation says:

    “4. Erik
    April 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    RE: softwarengineer @ 2 –”

    After a while, you just learn to ignore it (@2). It’s like when the garbage truck rattles into the yard to pick up the cans and take out the trash Just so much noise.

    As far as ignorance goes, well, that would be flattery to most of the un-iformed posters here.

    Increase your ‘ignorance’ filter for these clowns. From time-to-time there are some good points made on this site about the local and outlying areas that have value.

    Not often enough.

  6. 6
    Scotsman says:

    “Hundreds of thousands of homes in the U.S. are now labeled as “zombie” foreclosures. That’s when the owner of a foreclosed home leaves only to find out years later that he or she still legally owns the home and is on the hook for property taxes and other fees. Such cases occur in more than a third of foreclosures, industry figures show.”

  7. 7
    mike says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 2 – Main caveat with this is it’s not going to be evenly distributed across markets, or even within a single market.

    Neighborhoods developed in the 1970’s-80s with a lot of original owners when this wave hits will have more inventory. Older neighborhoods that have already turned over won’t. Newer neighborhoods people want to stay in won’t see much effect.

    Geographically inconvenient neighborhoods will see a drop in demand, regardless of age.

  8. 8

    RE: Erik @ 4

    LOL Erik

    You comment with no proof, just your opinion. I don’t.

    Read up before you “errantly” shoot from the hip to criticize SWE:

    “…Frances Taylor was 93 when she took out a high-cost, high-interest mortgage against her home of more than four decades. Within months, her lender foreclosed, making her one of an estimated 2.2 million subprime borrowers expected to lose their homes by the end of next year.

    If Taylor seems a far cry from the average subprime borrower — typically portrayed as a young, first-time homebuyer with bad credit — think again.

    More than one in three borrowers in King County who got loans from the same lender that foreclosed on Taylor were 50 or older,…”

    Now the perma-bull-headed real estate folks can down thumb me “just because”, its humorous :-)

  9. 9
    mike says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 8 – According to the KC records, this woman took out 11 mortgages in the 5 years prior to the foreclosure…

  10. 10
    Erik says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 8
    Like I said, maybe you are just advanced and i’m basic. It is pretty funny you refer to yourself as “SWE” though.

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