No Surprises as Foreclosures Fell in December

It’s time for our detailed look at December’s foreclosure stats in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties. First up, the Notice of Trustee Sale summary:

December 2013
King: 500 NTS, down 52% YOY
Snohomish: 266 NTS, down 56% YOY
Pierce: 376 NTS, down 51% YOY

The number of trustee sale notices decreased month-over-month again in Snohomish and Pierce counties, but rose in King. The weekday rate of foreclosures per business day fell in all three counties. Foreclosures fell year-over-year across the board as well.

Foreclosures: Daily Rate

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 1,661 households, Snohomish County had 1 NTS per 1,040 households, and Pierce had 1 NTS for every 837 households (higher is better).

According to foreclosure tracking company RealtyTrac, Washington’s statewide foreclosure rate for December of one foreclosure for every 1,366 housing units was 20th 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

    Tim, it would be nice to get some (accurate) delinquency data too as part of this series. The foreclosure data seems to possibly only reflect how much effort the banks happen to be making at any given point in time. I doubt the delinquency data would show such a wild roller coaster ride from 2011 to 2012 to 2013 to 2014.

  2. 2
    Saulac says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 1:

    Tim, it would be nice to get some (accurate) delinquency data too as part of this series. The foreclosure data seems to possibly only reflect how much effort the banks happen to be making at any given point in time.

    Oh no. Don’t go there Kary. We talked about “shadow inventory” not long ago and things got heated pretty quick. I think the Tim’s view is that banks has been consistently processing declinquenced morgates in a timely maner.

  3. 3

    RE: Saulac @ 2 – ;-)

    I did forget to mention that at least one of those bumps (downturns) was likely due to legislative changes. That’s not true of the current decline.

  4. 4
    sam says:


    What downturns/decline are you talking about?

  5. 5
    sam says:

    I am looking at the King county SFH log file and not able to understand the data below

    on 1/1/2014 at 2 pm, the inventory dropped from 3182 to 3027, which is 155 homes reported as sold in 1 hr?? Does not sound right to me. Is there an error somewhere that needs to be corrected. (or) were some old listings that were expired purged? The current inventory stands at 3203, which is 21 homes more than Dec inventory and the MoM growth will be less than 1% at this pace.

    01.01.2014 00:00 3182
    01.01.2014 01:00 3182
    01.01.2014 02:00 3027
    01.01.2014 03:00 3027


    Am i missing something obvious?

  6. 6

    RE: sam @ 5RE: sam @ 4 – The drops in foreclosure activity occurred during the second half of 2009 and most of 2011. The last chart is interactive, so you can compress the time frame by moving the slider and see the movement since 2009 better.

    As to your second question, don’t assume those are all sales. Expired and cancelled could also make for reductions. Not sure why that would all occur at 2:00 p.m. If it was 2:00 a.m. I could see it being they system kicking out the 12/31/ expired listings.

  7. 7
    sam says:


    I just went back and looked at the 1/1/2013 data and there was a 240 homes drop as well. So it looks like a system purge. Sorry, i should have paid more attention, its actually 2 am and not 2 pm.

    Why did the foreclosures fall to above 0.04% in Jan 12 and then rose back up to 0.125% in Dec 12? what triggered this?

    Are % age of houses receving NTS a leading indicator for the number of NTS to come up in the next few months? Zillow is sending quite a few auction homes to my inbox these days.

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