NWMLS: Inventory Up, Home Sales & Prices Down

They have not yet published the press release to their website, but September market stats are now available from the NWMLS. Once they post a press release I’ll update this post with a brief snippet. Until then, let’s just go straight to the stats.


NWMLS monthly reports include an undisclosed and varying number of
sales from previous months in their pending and closed sales statistics.

Here’s your King County SFH summary, with the arrows to show whether the year-over-year direction of each indicator is favorable or unfavorable news for buyers and sellers (green = favorable, red = unfavorable):

September 2013 Number MOM YOY Buyers Sellers
Active Listings 4,965 +1.3% -0.8%
Closed Sales 2,200 -14.1% +22.4%
SAAS (?) 1.19 -9.1% -8.5%
Pending Sales 2,508 -11.8% +3.4%
Months of Supply 1.98 +14.9% -4.1%
Median Price* $420,000 -2.3% +12.0%

Feel free to download the updated Seattle Bubble Spreadsheet (Excel 2003 format), but keep in mind the caution above.

Just like we said earlier this week in the stats preview, inventory ticked up one more time this year, but didn’t quite beat 2012’s number yet. Pending sales fell for the fourth month in a row, while closed sales fell for the second month. The median price dipped slightly, putting home prices on par with where they were in February 2005 after adjusting for inflation.

King County SFH Median Price

Here’s your closed sales yearly comparison chart:

King County SFH Closed Sales

Closed sales fall between August and September most years, and 2013 was no exception. The decline was somewhat on the large side though, as the 6th largest drop in the last 21 years.

Here’s the graph of inventory with each year overlaid on the same chart.

King County SFH Inventory

Still didn’t quite hit year-over-year positive inventory in September, even though we saw a month-over-month increase while last year the same period saw a decrease. Inventory was down less than one percent from a year ago—a lot better for buyers than the 44.7% year-over-year decrease we saw in January.

Here’s the supply/demand YOY graph. “Demand” in this chart is represented by closed sales, which have had a consistent definition throughout the decade (unlike pending sales from NWMLS).

King County Supply vs Demand % Change YOY

The supply trend almost hit zero, while the demand trend moved back up a bit. We’re still quite a ways from a good market for buyers.

Here’s the median home price YOY change graph:

King County SFH YOY Price Change

The median sale price fell for the second month in a row in September, but year-over-year the median price is still up double digits.

And lastly, here is the chart comparing King County SFH prices each month for every year back to 1994 (not adjusted for inflation).

King County SFH Prices

September 2013: $420,000
April 2006: $419,000

Here are today’s articles from the Times and P-I:
Seattle Times: King County home prices fell 2.3 percent last month
Seattle P-I: Home selection the best since February

Check back Monday for the full reporting roundup.

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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
    whatsmyname says:

    Kudos on the last few days’ posts. And great to see an inflation adjusted comparison on the median price today. The way my brain is wired, it would be easier to understand a past point diverging forward vs. recasting the past in current dollars. But hey, it’s your blog.

    Anyway, nice job.

  2. 2
    Macro Investor says:

    Wow, inventory as low as it’s been in 13 years. If that doesn’t say “broken market”, nothing does.

    Don’t get suckered in, folks. Restricting supply is the worlds oldest form of price manipulation. It’s the reason why diamonds are expensive, even though they’re not a rare mineral.

  3. 3
    Will Johnson says:

    Good stuff. I just discovered your blog. Do you every do anything with the multifamily sector? I’m always looking for contributors for our Puget Sound area journal.

    Will Johnson

  4. 4
    Corndogs says:

    Hey everybody, what happened to that guy that was posting everyday saying the market was gonna plummet after July/August. What was his name? Oh yeah Matthew! Hey Matthew! Talk to us man! What happened? Why are you so quiet? Don’t be shy, there’s nothing wrong with being angry AND stupid. Just come back and start saying something different like Losh does and pretend the stuff you said before didn’t happened. Just get up in front of that crowd. drop your drawers and start singing acapella again, no worries! Because even though you’re not very smart you still have value. You’re a human being for Gods sake!

  5. 5
    ovshinsky says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 2 – Is there some reason to think that sellers are explicitly conspiring?

  6. 6
    Joem says:

    This is probably how you’ve always done the summary chart, but in a chart titled September, September stats should weigh heavily. Thus at the very least the last two red down arrows for buyers should be green up arrows–and vice versa for sellers. More supply, falling prices.

    In September, these factors have tilted towards buyers. True prices were lower a year ago, but then again, they were also lower throughout most of human history.

  7. 7
    whatsmyname says:

    By Joem @ 6:

    … in a chart titled September, September stats should weigh heavily. Thus at the very least the last two red down arrows for buyers should be green up arrows–and vice versa for sellers.

    The second from the last arrow is MOS. A 14.9% increase is nice, but at 1.98 months, September is an additional 200%+ increase away from conditions that actually tilt towards buyers. How do you weigh that? Two red arrows for buyers?

  8. 8
    Corndogs says:

    By David Losh @ 30:

    This kind of seems like a bubble to me.

    Awesome quote from David Losh near the bottom of the Market May 2012.

    Regarding “The Tims” arrows up/down chart, Back at the bottom of the market his charts indicated that it was a sellers market and they have continued to indicate a sellers market as prices escalated at record pace. Additionally, back during the bottom when he posted these charts ‘The Tim’ typically accompanied the charts with some kind of sarcastic commentary about those who were calling the bottom at that time. Since ‘The Tims’ arrow chart has proven to have very little correlation with anything, he probably ought to try something else. A good indicator would have suggested a strong buy in Feb 2012 changing to something a little more neutral this Summer.

  9. 9
    Erik says:

    This is what Matthew said on August 16th, 2013…

    Shhhhh… Don’t wake the baby! Now listen young padwan:

    Bubbles in the air, bubbles everywhere. Bubbles high, bubbles low, time to sell your Juanita condo. Sell now before it’s too late, free advice, ain’t that great?”

    I think August 2013 would have been a great time to sell. I don’t see housing prices dropping substantially for the next few months. I imagine housing prices will decrease about as much as they have every other year during the fall. That seems about the pace so far.

  10. 10

    RE: Will Johnson @ 3

    They Were Wrong

    Many thought in the early 2000s that multi-families would buy single Seattle homes and live in them with more people, since average incomes per family could not generally individually afford them…..they forgot one thing, American families generally will not share a kitchen, let alone limited bathrooms too.

    Nope that excuse to raise prices went the ay of the dinosaur.

  11. 11
    Matthew says:


    Reading comprehension doesn’t suit you does it? No one said anything about plummeting prices. I said July/August was the top. Which it still looks to be. I didn’t say anything about prices falling off a cliff.

  12. 12
    Erik says:

    RE: Matthew @ 11
    August 6, 2013 Matthew said

    Again on August 6th 2013
    “When prices tank I wonder if lenders will let you short sale again and buy a third house.

    The third time’s a charm after-all…”

    Here is the site for those 2 quotes:

    It is completely untrue that you didn’t say prices were going to plummet.

    July 26, 2013 you said this.

    For the love of everything that is holy in the universe, put your condo on the market now. You have been warned. One year from now, when the ghost of Cornhole past is but a figment of this bog’s consciousness, you will be thankful you sold.”

    You knew my situation was to pay capital gains tax or wait a couple extra months. You felt paying the tax would be worth it since the decrease would be so big.

    Here is the site for the last quote of yours:

  13. 13
    Erik says:

    RE: Matthew @ 11
    Do you see now that you in fact did say that? When the data came out, you flipped your script and started claiming you didn’t say those things. Good thing they are written down and i can access them. On the internet you can’t claim you didn’t say things when there is proof that you did say those things. You have been caught red handed.

    The 4 F’s are fight, flight, fake or fold. You tried to fight and lost. You tried to fake like you didn’t say those things and I was able to recall your words. Now you have flight or fold left in your arsenal. You seem like a flight guy. I respect someone that folds more.

  14. 14
    sam says:

    Why did the SAAS (?) move from the buyers side to the sellers side? (or) Am I missing something?

  15. 15
    Matthew says:


    Yes prices are going to tank, eventually. Did I say anywhere that they would tank in October 2013?

    No I didn’t. Reversing home prices is akin to reversing a large oil tanker at full speed. It doesn’t happen on a dime.

    The top is in. Price will head down from here. Some months will be worse than others.

    Why is this so hard for some people to grasp?

  16. 16
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Matthew @ 15
    Surely you can see how, for people who live in a contextual world, phrases like, “For the love of everything that is holy in the universe”, and “put your condo on the market now. You have been warned.” would convey a matter of urgency.

    Still, I will take you at your word – if I can feel comfortable that what I’m hearing you say today will still be what you said when it is tomorrow. When you say the “top is in”, do you mean it won’t be topped in the next 12 months? The next 24 months? And if prices will “tank, eventually”, does that mean more than 10%? 20%? Does “eventually” mean more than a quarter? More than a year? More than two years? Do your dire warnings mean anything? Or is that just the way you like to talk?

  17. 17
    Erik says:

    King Count inventory is at 4591 and quickly dropping. Hopefully this continues…

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