Foreclosures Dipped Again in September

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

September 2014
King: 317 NTS, down 44% YOY
Snohomish: 182 NTS, down 41% YOY
Pierce: 301 NTS, down 29% YOY

As usual, the number of trustee sale notices was down from last year. After adjusting for non-holiday weekdays, weekday rate of foreclosures per business day was also down in all three counties.

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.

Daily Rate of Foreclosures

County Latest YOY ’00-’07 Max
King 15.1 -47% 13.4 73.4
Snohomish 8.7 -44% 7.0 37.1
Pierce 14.3 -33% 11.2 47.7

All three counties continue to fall dramatically from last year’s levels.

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 2,634 households, Snohomish County had 1 NTS per 1,529 households, and Pierce had 1 NTS for every 1,051 households (higher is better).

According to foreclosure tracking company RealtyTrac, Washington’s statewide foreclosure rate for May of one foreclosure for every 513 housing units was 18th 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.

5 comments:

  1. 1

    With this data, and our current market, it’s somewhat amazing that you can still come across some people who are seriously delinquent but not in foreclosure. You would think that the process would practically automatically start about 90 days after non-payment. I wonder if the decisions are based on non-local considerations, such as number of properties being foreclosed elsewhere, or the market elsewhere?

  2. 2
    Deerhawke says:

    To answer your query Kary….

    First, the banks never were properly staffed to handle foreclosures. Maybe it is seen as a banking career deadend. I bought some foreclosures during the downturn. I found that the banks never had the right people in the right jobs to handle foreclosures effectively. They were taking people out of teller training programs and letting them handle $80 million distressed portfolios. No kidding, 20-odd-years-old with an associates degree from a community college and they are asking me to explain the difference between an as-is valuation and an as-built valuation.

    Second, the banks took a lot of criticism from the press and from government officials for a lot of things during the downturn, including not helping people modify their mortgages. There are a lot more steps in the process now than there were before. All of that means more time for those who can’t make their payments.

  3. 3

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1

    Seamless Foreclosures

    Are the best bargains out there….before they hit the auction house.

    It takes a good detective to find them and they aren’t listed [that’s why they’re much cheaper].

  4. 4

    By Deerhawke @ 2:

    To answer your query Kary….

    First, the banks never were properly staffed to handle foreclosures. Maybe it is seen as a banking career deadend. I bought some foreclosures during the downturn. I found that the banks never had the right people in the right jobs to handle foreclosures effectively. . .

    Second, the banks took a lot of criticism from the press and from government officials for a lot of things during the downturn, including not helping people modify their mortgages. There are a lot more steps in the process now than there were before. All of that means more time for those who can’t make their payments.

    As to the first point, yes that was a huge problem. But you would think that once they got staffed up, they would stay staffed up. (Also, it’s really staffing for the various trustee entities, not so much the banks–the trustees do the heavy lifting).

    As to the second point, that causes delay when implemented. That’s why the YOY data became useless a couple of times as the foreclosure legislation changed. But we’re beyond that now. Mediation, etc. has been in effect far longer than the lengthened foreclosure process takes.

  5. 5
    Deerhawke says:

    Dealing with these banks during the downturn gave you real exposure to incompetence and irrationality. Nobody knew what they were doing, nobody could analyze an asset and nobody wanted to take responsibility. Being seen as selling an asset for less than it was worth would get you fired immediately so the managers just shuffled the paper, asked for management clarification, asked for another appraisal report and the bank just kept it. Eventually senior management would get heat from the Feds about the buildup of non-performing assets and tell the portfolio managers to sell off anything that they had an offer on– at whatever price– and do it by Friday.

    If they were in no hurry to sell things in 2009 and 2010 when assets were worth less every month, they are sure in no hurry to sell now when they might be worth more.

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