Around the Sound: Prices Slip in Thurston & Kitsap

It’s time for us to check up on stats outside of the King/Snohomish core with our “Around the Sound” statistics for Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties.

If there is certain data you would like to see or ways you would like to see the data presented differently, drop a comment below and let me know.

First up, a summary table:

January 2014 King Snohomish Pierce Kitsap Thurston Island Skagit Whatcom
Median Price $410,000 $295,000 $219,000 $216,950 $208,250 $240,000 $219,000 $264,000
Price YOY 17.1% 14.1% 11.7% -7.6% -3.1% 2.1% 21.7% 8.1%
Active Listings 3,132 1,800 2,853 1,106 1,031 543 619 896
Listings YOY 5.3% 33.2% 9.4% -1.2% 4.4% -2.2% 5.8% -1.1%
Closed Sales 1,309 492 672 215 238 83 75 129
Sales YOY -4.0% -15.2% 3.4% 20.8% 28.6% 31.7% -3.8% 5.7%
Months of Supply 2.4 3.7 4.2 5.1 4.3 6.5 8.3 6.9

Next we’ll have a look at median prices in January compared to a year earlier. The biggest price gains in January were in King, Snohomish, and Skagit counties again, while Kitsap and Thurston counties saw prices lower than a year ago.

Median Sale Price Single-Family Homes

Listings are increasing year-over-year in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston, and Skagit. Listings are still down from a year ago in Kitsap, Island, and Whatcom. Snohomish county continues to post the largest gains with home listings up 33.2% there from January 2013.

Active Listings of Single-Family Homes

Closed sales fell in January in King, Snohomish, and Skagit, but were up from a year ago in all the other counties.

Closed Sales of Single-Family Homes

Here’s a chart showing months of supply this January and last January. I’ve switched to calculating months of supply based on closed sales instead of pending sales to remain consistent with what NWMLS is reporting, but this change is easy to apply across the whole data set, so the numbers are still comparable across time. In January Skagit County joined the close-in counties with improvements in months of supply, but the measure is still declining in Thurston, Island, and Whatcom.

Months of Supply Single Family Homes

To close things out, here’s a chart comparing January’s median price to the peak price in each county. Everybody is still down between 13 percent (Whatcom) and 31 percent (Island).

Peak Median Sale Price Single-Family Homes

It looks like things are slowing down and softening ever so slightly across most of the region. Listings on the rise, sales flat to down, and home price gains shrinking. Without a big surge in listings, this spring is likely to be frustrating for buyers, but not as bad as last year thanks to decreased demand.

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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:

    This would be an awesome posting in Thurston & Kitsap Bubble. It is a little unsettling in Seattle Bubble, where King County prices are YOY +17%.

    I started to feel good about the inventory 5% above 2013 listings, but then I noticed we are about 40% below the next lowest historical year.

    I’ll try to keep thinking.

  2. 2
    Lo Ball Jones says:

    This is the Apartment Generation

    A 2012 report by the Iowa Finance Authority found that young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 formed more new households in Iowa than any other age group in the decade. But they aren’t buying new houses – the majority of them are renting.

    “This is a generation that’s moving into apartments,” Culkin said. “This is a phenomenon that is going to continue to increase.”

    And this is what they expect to pay:

    A search of, a national apartment data base, show that rents for a two bedroom apartment in Cedar Rapids are from $655 to $925; Iowa City rents range from $680 to $1,100; Des Moines rents range from $620 to 1,500; and West Des Moines rents from $670 to $1,100.

    Read more:

    Is Seattle building to customer demand?

  3. 3
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Lo Ball Jones @ 2 – Good find. When you combine the rent differential with the 1800 mile commute, it becomes immediately clear that Seattle rentals will not be competitive in the east Iowa market.

  4. 4

    RE: Lo Ball Jones @ 2 – It would be interesting to get some historical data on this, because back when I was in my 20’s it was my impression that not that many people in their 20’s were buying houses. That might have been different from 2000-2007, but my guess is that period was the unusual period.

  5. 5
    boater says:

    Yeah I’m with Kary on this one. Lets say you graduate college at 22-23. Then depending on the economy you either immediately have a good job or you spend 6-12 months looking. You need a few years of earnings and credit to get the loan so now we’re about 25-26. Now I’d want more than two years at a job to feel secure before getting 30 years of debt. Maybe if I didn’t change jobs I’d be comfortable buying at 28-29 but most of my cohort did switch jobs. You buy a house when your kids start arriving on the scene. That’s usually when your wife’s desire for stable home life supersedes the husbands desire for financial and job flexibility. I know that sounds a bit sexist but with most of my male friends its the wife who says we need in this school and I don’t want my kids moving all over. And I’ll add so far listening to her has worked out damn well.

    Oh and Iowa? Wtf. Should we see what rents are in Mongolia?

  6. 6
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Lo Ball Jones @ 2 – It might be interesting to compare the rental cost versus income of the targeted Iowan renter versus the rental cost versus income of the targeted Seattle renter. And not incomes of Seattle folks in general, just that of the target market. For example, the target market in SF might be tech workers, and not the average less well paid schmo who no one cares about.

  7. 7
    mike says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4 – Yes, the fact that so many new graduate (and non-grad) friends were buying houses all of a sudden during that time was one of the first clues that the market had changed. Previous to that, it was older friends and friends with rich parents doing most of the buying – then it switched to people of lesser means, the single moms, etc… I figured at some point that pool had to run out.

  8. 8
    Erik says:

    RE: mike @ 7
    I was making $15.50/hr when I bought my first home at the ripe age of 23 with no down payment. It turned out being a pretty good move. Paid $160k and extracted $65k via refinancing before I could no longer afford the payments and gave it back. I was able to have a lot of fun that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. I feel sorry for young people that do not get the luxury my generation got. The young people need to find their own grab bag. $65k is a nice bump when you make $15.50/hr.

  9. 9

    RE: Erik @ 8 – Most people going through that ended up with nothing to show but memories, because all the money was spent on lifestyle.

  10. 10
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 9
    Yeah, same here. I never socked any away myself.

  11. 11
    mike says:

    RE: Erik @ 8 – I recall a conversation I overheard between a meth addict and his father. At the point where the father told his son (again) that the meth abuse was ruining his mind, the son replied “no, you should use meth, maybe the problem is that you’re not on meth” – which is, I guess, a reasonable proposition if you’re high.

    Now, the thing is of course if the son didn’t have ‘straight’ enablers it would be a lot harder to continue abusing because he’d have nobody to fall back on – which is much the same position people earning $15/hr extracting 2 years pay in equity are in. That only works if you have a large # of people NOT doing it. Once it hits a critical mass as it did during the financial crisis, it’s no longer sustainable. As for the son, if all of his enablers became narcissistic self-obsessed addicts scrambling for their next high, they’d no longer be able to support the son or themselves.

    It’s great that you got to live for a while without any sense of personal or social responsibility, but there are some obvious problems with this model when carried out on a wide scale.

  12. 12

    RE: mike @ 11 – Back then the enablers were also the credit card companies. If memory serves, the government mandated higher minimum payments back around then.

  13. 13
    Erik says:

    RE: mike @ 11
    I want young people that need the money get it as opposed to rich people getting richer. I would like to see the next generation of poor people just starting out figure out how to take from the rich and give to the poor. Most people on here want the same rules of old money making more money and poor people barely squeaking by. That last “economic catastrophe” took money from the rich and gave it to the poor. I went from stressed all the time to relaxed because I was able to give my debt back. It feels pretty good. I am glad the economic shake down happened and poor people like myself were able to increase their quality of life.

  14. 14
    mike says:

    RE: Erik @ 13 – No, the last economic catastrophe was a high stakes poker game amongst the very rich. Few of them lost money. The 99% got screwed on average. It’s great that you were able to take something off the table, but the kind of economic fluctuations that happened during that time only produced a small # of lottery winners among ‘the poor’. Generally, we’re not better off as a result.

    I consider myself lucky, as I kept a good paying job through it all and avoided buying real estate at the wrong time, but the 2008 financial crisis is not a model for sustainable economics. If repeats of that are what we’re destined for we’ll all have to adjust, but I’d sooner see a revolution.

  15. 15
    Corndogs says:

    RE: mike @ 14RE: Erik @ 13 – Accumulating wealth is a life style choice. You either do it or you don’t. It’s impossible to give wealth to poor people. Erik is a good example, he brags that he made a chunk of dough then admits he spent it all. Confusion and change which requires knowledge, planning and devotion to overcome never benefits the poor, it only can benefit those who were indoctrinated into the lifestyle of wealth building, these people aren’t all rich, some are becoming rich. Eriks mommy and daddy and all his relatives past and present have been stumbling around in the dark for generations, probably mostly drunk. .. and this is the result. . penniless confusion. . it’s all most of you will ever know.

  16. 16

    By Erik @ 13:

    RE: mike @ 11
    I want young people that need the money get it as opposed to rich people getting richer. I would like to see the next generation of poor people just starting out figure out how to take from the rich and give to the poor. Most people on here want the same rules of old money making more money and poor people barely squeaking by. That last “economic catastrophe” took money from the rich and gave it to the poor

    This is very similar to the simplistic thinking of those supporting an increase in the minimum wage. They think that if you just give more money to poor people that they no longer will be poor. It doesn’t work that way. Other factors (e.g. inflation, unemployment, etc.) will step in and counter what’s done, and for a time the people attempted to be helped will actually be hurt.

    If you really want to help poor people the focus should be on making things cheaper (more plentiful). For the most part our government seems to be focused on making things more expensive. The one exception might be food.

  17. 17
    Erik says:

    RE: Corndogs @ 15
    Good to see you back even if you do come back swinging at me. I spent the money from what was owed on the foreclosure meaning I walked away with nothing. I am clinging on as tight as I can to the money made from the remodel. I haven’t bought anything nice other than I rented an apartment for $900/mo in Fremont and I bought nice hiking boots I needed last weekend. I don’t spend much more than my unemployment check.

  18. 18

    RE: Erik @ 13
    When people look at the great recession, they’re not going to see that as a time period when the rich got hurt and poor people gained. You might have done just fine, but you don’t represent most poor people. Most poor people are worse off, and the rich, in fact, do keep getting richer.

  19. 19
    Erik says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 18
    Thanks to you and a few others on here I was able to come out ahead in the economic shake down. That is why I keep coming back and hitting my 5 comment daily allowance. Next time we have an economic crisis, I want to know how to play it again. The only regret I do have is not riding the hampster wheel. I would have ended up with a much larger pay off from the bank and gotten years of free rent. Oh well, it could have been worse. I could have saved up for years and paid 20% down on my mortgage like some suckers did.

  20. 20
    GoBlue72 says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 16 – Actually Kary, the way to make people not poor is to – quite literally – give them money. Definitionally. Something which is practiced quite successfully in numerous European countries – several of which are maintain quite competitive economies that also manage a deeply equitable social welfare state.

  21. 21
    GoBlue72 says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 16 – Also too – the economists at the IMF (you know, guys & gals with PhDs in Economics) disagree with you –

  22. 22

    RE: GoBlue72 @ 21RE: GoBlue72 @ 20 – Nameless European countries? Your sounding like pfft. Unless the country has significant oil revenue or is borrowing itself into bankruptcy (like the European countries of Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain), it’s not going to be sustainable.

    As to the second link, that’s not what it says at all. Income inequality is a problem, no doubt. And income inequality creates its own problems. I’m just saying simplistic solutions don’t work, and specifically that increasing the minimum wage to $15.00 is a simplistic solution. Oh and to be clear, I’m not necessarily opposed to increasing it or calling for it to be repealed. My main focus on this issue has been the result of the Sea-Tac and Seattle nonsense.

    Please take further discussion to the open thread, where it belongs.

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