June Stats Preview: Slowly Back to Normal Edition

Now that the month of June is behind us, 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: Inventory increased for the third consecutive month, while sales dipped slightly. Meanwhile, foreclosure notices dipped into negative year-over-year territory for the first time in a year.

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 dropped 4.5% from May to June, and were up 15.5% year-over-year, the smallest gain in 15 months. Just as inventory begins to recover, it looks like sales may be moderating.

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 fell 7.1% month-over-month and rose 26.1% from June 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

Foreclosures in King County fell again, dropping below last year’s level just as I predicted earlier this year. Foreclosures saw a similar decline in Snohomish County.

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 were basically flat from a year ago. Since Deeds are on a delay from Notices, I expect Deeds will fall to year-over-year negative by November or December.

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

Three months of increases in a row. Last year King County inventory rose just 1.0% between May and June. This year it gained 10.9% over the same period. Snohomish County wasn’t as dramatic: last year listings were flat, this year they were up 1.2%. The year-over-year drop in King County inventory was at its smallest level in 2 years.

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
    Ron says:

    Quote from Sam Stovall today (Yahoo Finance): “every time since World War II that the S&P 500 (^GSPC) was up in January and February, the market has gone on to post a positive full-year return 26 of 26 times”. “And the average total return (under those circumstance) was about 24-percent,” Stovall says in the attached video. “So with us up about 14-percent on a total return basis for the first half, if history repeats itself, we could be up another ten percent just to get to that average.” If he’s right, that would land the S&P 500 at around 1,775 on New Year’s eve.”

    What is the correlation, if any, between US stock market indexes and housing prices? Does anyone know of a chart?

  2. 2
    Erik says:

    RE: Ron @ 1
    As the economy recovers, the fed will raise interest rates. Tim says there has historically been no correlation between interest rates and housing prices. This would imply there is no correlation, but maybe there is. I guess my answer is I don’t know, but I think there are so many variables that we cannot make a correlation. Each recovery is different.

  3. 3
    Saulac says:

    By Erik @ 2:

    Tim says there has historically been no correlation between interest rates and housing prices. .

    I am not sure if Tim actually meant that.

    “It is interesting to note that the dramatic price declines that we are currently seeing is the first time that home prices have fallen for an extended period of time without a corresponding period of rising interest rates.”

    “I’m not saying I don’t think interest rates will go up, I’m saying that rising interest rates will only put even more downward pressure on home prices, in addition to the depreciation that’s already underway. If you have a cohesive argument that demonstrates why things will play out differently, please share.
    The best argument anyone has brought out so far basically boils down to “prices won’t go down, people will just buy smaller houses.” If that’s the case, won’t sellers of more expensive houses have fewer buyers as a result, forcing them to drop their prices?”

  4. 4
    The Tim says:

    By Erik @ 2:

    Tim says there has historically been no correlation between interest rates and housing prices.

    That’s not what I said. What I said last week was this:

    …there is only a very loose relationship between interest rates and overall home price trends.

    A very loose relationship is not the same as no correlation at all.

  5. 5
    Erik says:

    RE: The Tim @ 4
    Thank you for the clarification.

  6. 6
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: The Tim @ 4 – RE: Saulac @ 3RE: Erik @ 2

    If we learned anything at all from the first 4 of the last 6 years, it is that when mortgage rates go down, so do home prices. But I think Ron was interested in comparing stock indices, not interest rates.

  7. 7
    Erik says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 6
    I know nothing absolutely nothing about stocks. But if I had a bunch of money right now, I would put every cent into Tesla. I think that’s a good one.

  8. 8
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Erik @ 7 – Erik, I think you missed what I was saying, but it is wonderful indeed the way that your statements here enhance each other.

    You sometimes ask for investment advice, so I will give you this: Don’t go all in on a stock; Diversify. I know that sounds cliche, and it is; but that is because it is so true. It is not impossible to win that way, but the odds are amazingly against you. The stock market, of all places, is a place where you don’t know what you don’t know. The data you see is dwarfed by the data you don’t, including the intentions of key players. It is a casino, and Tesla or any stock that feels good is 00; not in your control. It’s fantastic if you hit on that 1 in 35, but 34 times you lose. How may times would you want to try that with all your money?

    I’ll add this about real estate: Real estate is an investment with very high transaction costs, and generally slow market movements. It’s most often an intermediate hold at quickest. You need big margins to trade. Never say never, but, if you want to play ups and downs, the transaction costs will eat you alive. You make your money when you buy. You are looking for “gems” as Ray used to say. They are hard to find, but they can usually be found. Look for a value add. This could be a cosmetic flip (most people have no imagination); it could be building cash flow; it could be pushing just past the boundary of an expanding recovery; and it could be some unique, overlooked individual property aspect. You have to be patient and steady. If you flip flop around, you are going to get creamed. If you change your mind every week, it is not time to buy. To be honest, you seem to change your mind a lot.

  9. 9
    ScrawnyKayaker says:

    Did anyone see this editorial at the Suburban Times?


    Surprised they published that one. Can’t be popular with the people trying to sell ads in the real estate section.

    The comments are almost universally negative (at least the first 20 or so that I read). Maybe some flying monkeys from a bubble blog could spice things up?

  10. 10
    Erik says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 8
    I have gone 100% into boeing in my 401k a few times and i have done very well thus far. My financial adviser threatens to drop me from the program, but I freeze their rights to control my account. I have made a lot of money doing this as Boeing stock is very cyclical. Anybody watching Boeing stock with half a brain would have invested when it got down to 30 in early 2009. I did and tripled my retirement by going all in. I am aware of the risks and i am willing to accept them.

    Sounds like you don’t read my posts. I don’t blame you, I have made a lot. I finished my cosmetic fixer recently. I did a great job this time. I did make most of my money on buying because the person foreclosing refused to let anyone see the place. I put the only bid in and got it. My place sold for $304950 in July 2007 and I got it for $92700 in November 2011. This isn’t my first project.Fairly confident I can walk away with $100k atleast. I was just thinking about what to do with the cash after I sell. My ideas are to invest in stocks or buy another remodel project and pay all cash for it. It would be nice not to have a mortgage.

    I basically feel like my time is running out to take a big risk because I’m getting older and this opportunity won’t be around if I get married. The Tesla idea would be a big risk, but the upside could be huge. People on here are super conservative. I’m not conservative at all. If I made $100k on this remodel and lost it in Tesla, I would be fine. I would be bummed, but it wouldn’t be money that I couldn’t afford to lose. Easy come, easy go. Just an idea.

  11. 11
    whatsmyname says:

    By Erik @ 10:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 8
    The Tesla idea would be a big risk, but the upside could be huge..

    Same thing for 23 red.

    And I do read your posts. Your projected real estate gains maybe match the losses you were able to walk away from? (It does sound like you did a good job on this new one). Easy come, easy go is a great way to have great stories. You needn’t pay attention to my observations or anyone’s, but you should probably decide whether you don’t know anything about the market, or whether you are smarter about the market than all those old conservatives. I am not offended, it’s that consistency thing.

  12. 12
    Erik says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 11
    Correct! My gains do match what I could have potentially lost, but I didn’t lose it, so I don’t consider it a loss. The bank ended up forgiving $116k in debt….Phew. My first remodel was a major failure, but I look at it as a lot of “lessons learned.” I learned a lot about construction and working on houses. I should probably just listen to what the people on here, including you, say about when to buy and then buy another remodel since I know how to do that. I do listen to everyone’s opinion and consider it. Losh was saying to explore other investments cause housing isn’t a good one, so I was considering it. I should probably just stick with housing and Boeing stock since I am most familiar with it.

    I was throwing the Tesla thing out there, because it seems like a neat idea and I wanted to see what people think. I think Tesla has a good thing going.

    3rd Generation of wealth hand to him- There is not rebuttle. I know about Boeing stock and no other stocks is what I meant. I do see the error in my statement. You got me!

  13. 13
    3rd Generation says:

    7. Erik
    July 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink
    RE: whatsmyname @ 6 –
    I know nothing absolutely nothing about stocks.

    10. Erik
    July 1, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink
    RE: whatsmyname @ 8 –
    I have gone 100% into boeing in my 401k a few times and i have done very well thus far. My financial adviser threatens to drop me from the program, but I freeze their rights to control my account.

    Pure Comedy Gold ! Thank you.

    You’re now our featured ‘laugh-of-the-day’ for our morning company meetings.

    Keep up the Good Work, and please Keep ’em coming. We love these posts !
    (now make sure to post a detailed rebuttal. that’s bound to be a real howler…)

  14. 14

    RE: Erik @ 2

    Let’s Look at the Numbers

    3% Mortage 30 yr payment on $300K…..about $1500/mo
    6% Mortgage 30 yr payment on $300K….about $3000/mo

    If you believe this type of change has no effect on housing prices…..I’ve got a bridge I can sell ya….

  15. 15
    mike says:

    By softwarengineer @ 14:

    RE: Erik @ 2

    Let’s Look at the Numbers

    3% Mortage 30 yr payment on $300K…..about $1500/mo
    6% Mortgage 30 yr payment on $300K….about $3000/mo

    If you believe this type of change has no effect on housing prices…..I’ve got a bridge I can sell ya….


    3% Mortage 30 yr payment on $300K…..about $1265/mo
    6% Mortgage 30 yr payment on $300K….about $1799/mo

    Factor in taxes and insurance: (~$350/mo)

    3% Mortage 30 yr PITI on $300K…..about $1615/mo
    6% Mortgage 30 yr PITI on $300K….about $2149/mo

    Roughly 33% higher, not anywhere close to 100% higher. Again, you’re making a case based on wildly unrealistic assumptions. Could a 33% jump in payments affect affordability? Sure, but you’re greatly exaggerating the effect of rising rates.

  16. 16
    Me2 says:

    RE: mike @ 15
    Oh snap – softwarengineer just got served! Lol.

  17. 17
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 13 – This is why I still think he is not a real commenter, but rather someone trolling for entertainment purposes. The comments are just too daft to be plausible.

  18. 18

    RE: mike @ 15

    You’re Right

    I forgot the PMT calculation makes low interest rates a complete joke in comparison to higher interest rates.

    After 360 payments the $300K home was bought for $455K at 3% interest

    Versus the $300K hnme was bought for only $648K at 6% interest….

    I stand corrected….

  19. 19
    corndogs says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 17 – SWE is often the first to reply to posts, I’ve been thinking for some time now that he’s a character created by ‘The Tim’ to keep the conversations going. He certainly isn’t an engineer, my dog is better at math. Hey “The Tim”! If SWE is a character you created, you should recreate him as a hooters waitress. Most of the personality aspects are already their, just have him stop saying ‘hades’ all the time and change the pic.

  20. 20
    Jonness says:

    By Erik @ 2:

    RE: Ron @ 1 – Tim says there has historically been no correlation between interest rates and housing prices.

    I made an interactive chart that shows the correlation between mortgage rates and house prices (multiply by 10,000 to get a better view). Global Insight stopped publishing the house price data, so it only shows 1985 through 2009.

    As you can see over the long term trend, rates came down, and house prices moved up. But at the detail level (short time line), there doesn’t appear to be a correlation. Make of it what you will. IMO, a loose correlation exists over the long term trend but is lost in the shorter term noise; thus, the long term correlation is probably not as meaningful as some might suggest. However, common logic indicates most people can’t afford to pay as much for a house if the rates are higher. Thus, in order to get a better understanding of what’s going on, you would have to include a lot of other factors into your analysis. I would probably start by looking at CPI.


  21. 21
    Jonness says:


    Here’s my app for tracking prices against Median Household Income.


    Keep in mind, a lot of the bubble price runup was due to extraordinarily loose lending standards.

    As I noted above, the charts would probably be more interesting if shown in inflation-adjusted dollars.

  22. 22
    David Losh says:

    RE: Jonness @ 21RE: Jonness @ 20

    Interest rates are based on what the broader economy is doing. There is only a physiological impact on the price of housing when mortgage interest rates go up or down for the buyer, and seller.

    Inflation, and now the specter of deflation is what drives interest rates, and should be the basis of what we think housing prices should be. It depends on the local economy, as we see between Seattle with it’s lower unemployment rate, and the surrounding areas.

    You’ll notice Cleveland Ohio coming up in these threads, the national news, and other blogs as having cheap housing prices. People are saying the rust belt is done.

    I’ve been hearing quite rumblings for some time now that the rust belt would be a perfect place to put in tech industry. There are facilities, cheap labor, infrastructure, and a willing government support for taxation.

    If Cleveland got Amazon, Microsoft, Nintendo, or even a national data center the price of property would go up.

    What the national interest rates do would be a just another part of that puzzle, but not a driving force for Cleveland.

  23. 23
    corndogs says:

    RE: David Losh @ 22 – “Interest rates are based on what the broader economy is doing. There is only a physiological impact on the price of housing when mortgage interest rates go up”

    So since physiology is the science of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of humans, their organs, and the cells of which they are composed, are you saying that people sh!t their pants when they see interest rates go up? Or are you just being an idiot as usual?

  24. 24
    David Losh says:

    RE: corndogs @ 23

    It means you can ignore interest rates as a component of a home purchase, because you make your offer based on the over all economy, rather than what interest rates are doing.

    Interest rates can go up, or down, or sideways, but you plug that into your numbers in a purchase.

    Do interest rates have the same impact in Cleveland, as they do in Seattle?

    Now is this the part when I’m supposed to insult you, or can we just call this good?

  25. 25
    ARDELL says:

    RE: David Losh @ 24

    “Do interest rates have the same impact in Cleveland, as they do in Seattle?”

    I think the more relevant question is do interest rates have the same impact on the high tier as they do on the low tier. Not likely. You don’t have to go all the way to Cleveland to find a disparity in impact of interest rates.

  26. 26
    David Losh says:

    RE: ARDELL @ 25

    I’m just saying that the interest rates are a reflection on what the economy is doing. I think most people, are making a financial decision when they buy a house, or property.

    To me it makes sense that some one would look at the economy for guidance on a purchase. The interest rate can be factored into an offer, and that might impact the pricing on that purchase, but over all it’s the direction of the economy that will push property prices up, or down.

    So, would that make interest rates a lagging indicator? Should you be positioned before interest rates do something?

  27. 27

    […] predicted Monday in our stats preview, inventory increased again between May and […]

  28. 28
    Jay says:

    RE: David Losh @ 26 – I absolutely agree with you! Too bad, most buyers don’t know that!

    About Cleveland, who wants to go there? It is like south King County is so much cheaper than Bellevue, but home buyers still choose to get involved in a bidding war to buy a crap in Bellevue!

    Here is an interesting idea: may be we need a poll to ask people where they would like to live around the Seattle area (Kent, Auburn, Renton, Seattle, Bellevue, Issaquah, Issaquah highlands, Sammamish, Redmond, Kirkland, Bothell, Kenmore, Woodinville, Lynwood, Edmonds, Everett). That might be fun.


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