September Stats Preview: The Fall Lull Begins

With September in the books, 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 dipped slightly from August in both counties. Snohomish is still up year-over-year, but King slipped slightly. Sales inched down a bit from a year ago in King and Snohomish. Foreclosure starts and completions both continued to fall 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 fell 7 percent between August and September (in 2013 they fell 14 percent over the same period), and were down 0.1 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 5 percent month-over-month (compared to a drop of 13 percent over the same period last year) and were down 2 percent from September 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 were once again down considerably from a year ago. King was down 44 percent from last year, and Snohomish fell 41 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 15 percent from a year ago but rose a bit 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

Month-over-month inventory flipped from increases to decreases, as it usually does this time of year. King is currently down 1 percent from last year, while Snohomish is up 10 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.

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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
    Erik says:

    Not sure why nobody posted here yet? Maybe they have other things to do than troll software people online? Well I don’t!

    The most interesting thing about this data set is that KC inventory was lower in 2014 than in 2013 in September. Not that many trustee sales coming down the pike either. Low inventory + reduced trustee sales = higher housing prices. I think it is likely we could see a 10% increase in KC housing prices based on that data. We like to talk about what could happen. More specifically we talk about how interest rates could go up. The fact is they haven’t and inventory is shrinking while there are less distressed sales. Even if interest rates notch up a little this year, housing prices are being bolstered by low inventory and the lack of distressed houses.

    I am still probably gonna hold onto my little slice of heaven for a couple years. I hate paying uncle sam because I worked hard. This remodel should be finished before 2015. After my remodel is complete, I will kick back with a fat cigar and troll on this website for a year and a half while i look for my next remodel.

  2. 2
    Mike says:

    RE: Erik @ 1 – Just a year ago you were predicting a 40% decline by sometime in 2015, now you’re saying 10% gain. That’s a 50% difference. I’m under the impression that the singular data point you use in these predictions is “what outcome would be better for Erik” not any actual understanding of the market forces at work.

  3. 3

    RE: Mike @ 2

    Yes Mike

    But give Erik some slack too, what real estate pundit predicted the ups and downs of the real estate market correctly, especially 2007….to my recollection it was only Dr Doom that did back then. We’re all guessing at vague swirling tea leaves….

  4. 4

    By Mike @ 2:

    RE: Erik @ 1 -I’m under the impression that the singular data point you use in these predictions is “what outcome would be better for Erik” . . . ..

    Ding, ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.

    Unfortunately that is very common, not only among amateurs, but also professionals. And in many different industries.

  5. 5
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Mike @ 2 – Oh no, now you have really done it. Prepare for the ‘dummy’ bomb to get dropped on you. If you experience a slight twinge of nostalgia from the 3rd-grade elementary school playground, you will be forgiven.

  6. 6
    js says:

    > Year-over-year inventory flipped from increases to decreases, as it usually does this time of year.

    Can you explain this comment in more detail? I understand inventory usually decreases this time of year, but why would year-over-year inventory decrease seasonally?

  7. 7
    The Tim says:

    RE: js @ 6 – Yes, the explanation is that I was sick and a little out of it yesterday, and I typed “year-over-year” there when I meant to type “month-over-month.” I’ve fixed the post. Thanks.

  8. 8
    Mike says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 3 – SInce you asked, Bill McBride and his co-blogger Doris Dungey

    Ivy Zelman

    I started reading their research in 2005.

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