October Stats Preview: Inventory Up Year-Over-Year Edition

With the month of September now in the history books, 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 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: As it does every year, King County inventory dropped in October, but not by anywhere near as much as it did last year, thus moving year-over-year inventory into the black. Foreclosure notices were down big from a year ago, and sales were up both month-over-month and year-over-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 increased 1.4% from September to October, and were up 13.1% year-over-year, the smallest year-over-year sales increase we’ve seen in over a year and a half.

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 0.2% month-over-month and were up 18.2% from October 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 between September and October, and were down 43% from a year ago. Foreclosures in Snohomish inched up just slightly from September, but were still down 41% from a year earlier.

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 bumped back up above September’s level but still came in at the second-lowest point of the year. Last year at this time Trustee Deeds fell dramatically, so year-over-year they are currently up.

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

It took about a month longer than I expected, but it looks like we will definitely close out 2013 with year-over-year inventory gains in King County. To give you an idea of how quickly the inventory situation is improving, we’ve gone from -45% year-over-year in January to -10% in July, to +7% in October. Looks like next year should have a lot better selection for buyers.

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

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.


  1. 1
    Matthew says:

    And so it begins………

  2. 2
    Erik says:

    RE: Matthew @ 1
    More specific please. What is beginning? Recovery?

    This data points to a healthy real estate market. In July you warned me that if I didn’ t sell soon, i’d regret it since the “top’s in.”

  3. 3

    I Imagine Some of the Underwater Home Owners in Seattle

    Woke up and smelled the coffee, started living below their ultimate means and have some cash in the bank now too. Now they can sell their home without a credit rating destroying short sell.

  4. 4
    mike says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 3 – A number of neighborhoods are now selling at prices near or above the market peak. This change alone significantly reduced the number of underwater homeowners. I’m seeing cases where even people that bought in May-August 2007 are selling for a few % above what they paid back then. Add 6-10% of principal they’ve paid down on an amortizing loan in the last 6 years. Even if they bought with 0-down these owners can sell free and clear.

  5. 5
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Matthew @ 1 – I see what you mean. Even though MTM and YTY warranty deeds were up, inventory didn’t decrease by as much as last year, causing inventory to “grow” to 4,595. By YE it will likely further grow to under 4,000. Then you’ll be in the catbird seat?

  6. 6
    ron says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 3 – why do you always make the first sentence of your post a title of sorts. It makes no sense. It adds nothing. It detracts from credibility. Why god why.

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