Foreclosures Inched Up Just Barely in May

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

May 2013
King: 425 NTS, down 36% YOY
Snohomish: 197 NTS, down 54% YOY
Pierce: 323 NTS, down 41% YOY

The number of trustee sale notices is still falling fast from year-ago levels in all three counties. After adjusting for non-holiday weekdays, weekday rate of foreclosures per business day was up month-over-month just slightly in all three counties.

We’re getting fairly close to a normal level of foreclosures for a healthy market. Here’s how the latest month’s weekday rate of foreclosures in each county compares to the 2000-2007 average and the highest level that was reached during the housing bust.

County ’00-’07 Max Latest
King 13.4 73.4 20.2
Snohomish 7.0 37.1 9.4
Pierce 11.2 47.7 15.4

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 1,960 households, Snohomish County had 1 NTS per 1,408 households, and Pierce had 1 NTS for every 977 households (higher is better).

According to foreclosure tracking company RealtyTrac, Washington’s statewide foreclosure rate for May of one foreclosure for every 1,491 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

    Check Out Zillow’s Foreclosure Site For Seattle City Limits Alone

    Some are like $250K for 4 bdrms in pre-auction state….check for clear titles and condition before bidding, albeit the risks are there…..IMO, its risky to buy any staged high priced normally listed old home in Seattle anyway, perhaps the unstaged ones have less old owner/flipper mask coverring up the defects?

    You’ll need a bag of cash to buy….or a lot of equity to get a cash loan before the auction…

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