May Stats Preview: One Month Inventory Surge

Now that May is over, let’s have a look at our monthly 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

Listings are up 10 percent from a year ago in King County and over 40 percent in Snohomish. Sales once again fell from last year’s levels in both counties, with a far larger drop seen in Snohomish than in King. Foreclosure starts and completions both continued to drop from last year’s levels.

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 rose 10 percent between April and May (in 2013 they rose 15 percent over the same period), but were down 5.2 percent year-over-year.

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 3.7 percent month-over-month and were down 20 percent from May 2013.

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 both counties are still down considerably from a year ago. Month-over-month foreclosures fell in King County and were flat in Snohomish. King was down 36 percent from last year, and Snohomish fell 54 percent.

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 down 39 percent from a year ago, and fell month-over-month.

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

May saw the largest month-over-month gain in inventory (in percentage terms) for as far back as our data goes (2000). The 16.9 percent gain in one month was enough to push year-over-year inventory gains into double digits. King is currently up 10 percent from last year, while Snohomish is up 42 percent.

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
    Blake says:

    Not a good sign…
    “Lowest rates in a year do nothing for mortgages”
    … The low rates, however, were not enough to boost mortgage volumes: applications to refinance a loan fell a seasonally adjusted 3 percent on the week, and are down nearly 57 percent on the year, according to the mortgage bankers survey. Applications to purchase a home-a closely watched indicator of the housing recovery-fell 4 percent on the week and are 17 percent below year-ago volumes. This does not bode well for home sales as the market moves from the traditionally robust spring season to the slower summer months.

    “The lack of movement on mortgage applications even with a significant drop in rates confirms what we have seen for much of the past five years. Namely, that lower rates alone are not enough to generate home purchase activity,” said Guy Cecala of Inside Mortgage Finance. “Home prices, mortgage underwriting, employment, and a basic belief that it is a good time to buy home are major factors that seem to influence home buying more than rates.”

    … but perhaps Americans are getting smarter?
    “Reinforcing survey findings from 2013, attitudes about homeownership have shifted, with 43 percent indicating it is no longer the case that owning a home is, ‘an excellent long-term investment and one of the best ways for people to build wealth and assets,’ and more than half believing that buying a home has become less appealing than it once was,” according to the survey.

    While most Americans still aspire to home ownership, they do not believe it is the wealth-building vehicle it once was. That is perhaps why, when even the potential monthly mortgage payments move lowers, it is just not enough to get more buyers off the fence. “

  2. 2

    You’re slacking Tim! The real numbers are out. ;-)

    Active King County 4158
    Sold SFR 2,326
    Median SFR $442,250

    Quite the jump in active listings.

    Numbers from NWMLS sources, but not guaranteed.

  3. 3
    The Tim says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2 – You spoke too soon!

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