October Stats Preview: Late Sales Rally Edition

With October now in the past, 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 continued their typical seasonal descent. Sales rallied slightly in King County, and were flat in Snohomish. Foreclosures were slightly up over September in both counties, but still down from a year ago.

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 increased 5 percent between September and October (in 2013 they rose 1.4 percent over the same period), and were up 4 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 were flat month-over-month (basically the same as the same period last year) and were down 2 percent from October 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 down from a year ago yet again, despite a slight month-over-month uptick. King was down 25 percent from last year, and Snohomish fell 32 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 28 percent from a year ago despite a month-over-month increase.

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

Year-over-year inventory continued to drop in King County, and was still up in Snohomish. King is currently down 3 percent from last year, while Snohomish is up 14 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
    Mike says:

    After seeing the sale to list ratio drop a bit in the late summer I figured we were in for a more ‘normal’ fall sales season. Instead it’s looking more like May. Homes going under contract in less than 7 days and closing above asking – in October! At this rate the people who decided to ‘wait until winter for a better deal’ may have to keep waiting or settle for something in really marginal condition. This week I saw something we haven’t seen yet in my neighborhood – a $700K fixer sell for above asking in 3 days. Granted, it’s a nice house on a good lot, but $700K for a 60+ year old fixer?

  2. 2
    Deerhawke says:

    In Greenlake where I live, we had an amazingly strong spring with a lot of multiple offer situations, many with no contingencies. OK, old news– that happened a lot in the more central neighborhoods–no big deal, we all heard about that.

    But then in the late summer and early fall, the price of a new house bumped up again by $100K. Two price bumps in one year? The spring bump we all know. But a fall bump? What the heck?

    In other words, a new 3000 sf house in Greenlake that would have sold in mid 2013 for $1.15M jumped to $1.25M in the spring and $1.35M in the fall. There was even one sale of an unexceptional new non-view house on an OK Tangletown street for $1.389M.

    I bought a teardown for its lot in Ballard in August and was monitoring the comps. Suddenly things went haywire in the fall. The market cleared and what was left got posted and sold at very high numbers. What had been a market that was definitely under a million, is now suddenly well over a million. Check out the listing at 8312 12th Ave NW on Redfin or Zillow. Not a fan of the design but it is an OK house. Still, $1.075M without a view in Ballard?

    I think this is highly location dependent giving us a really segmented market. Anything within a quick commute to SLU is getting bid up.

    The question for me now is whether there will have a spring bump next year or whether we already had it a few months early.

  3. 3

    By Deerhawke @ 2:

    In Greenlake where I live, we had an amazingly strong spring with a lot of multiple offer situations, many with no contingencies. .

    Good to know the market is also strong for in-city nests. ;-)

  4. 4
    Erik says:

    This data indicates that prices will continue to surge based on supply and demand. More regular sales than last year and lower inventory than last year only indicates one thing…prices will go up in king county.

    The vibe on here has been prices are cooling off. The data does not support that. Time to think for yourselves people. Rates and inventory are down and sales are up. We should see another double digit price increase in 2015.

  5. 5
    Deerhawke says:

    Erik, I agree with you. The early numbers for this month show foreclosures down substantially, sales quite strong (especially for this time of year) and active inventory down. New pendings have been keeping up with (or exceeding) new listings all year so you really aren’t getting any net buildup in inventory.

    So, with interest rates low (but poised to go higher), rents rising rapidly and Seattle now the new destination city for millennials and tech-types, it is hard to see how prices aren’t going to go up by at least high single digits in 2015.

    My guess is that there has to be some sticker shock and price resistance in the more central neighborhoods. It is hard to see how you can tack on another 8-10% increase to a new house in Wallingford or Greenlake after seeing that happen at least once a year since 2011 (and twice in 2014).

    But you might see some more dramatic increases in less hot areas like the Rainier Valley, Delridge, Shoreline, Edmonds, etc. that will even things out a bit in this segmented market.

  6. 6
    Erik says:

    Hopefully in alki too. We need to fix our transportation problem out of west seattle so we can be like Ballard.

  7. 7
    boater says:

    RE: Erik @ 6
    Ballard has horrible transit out of it. West Seattle is easier to get to and from by a fair bit. I’ve lived in both and commuted to Kirkland from both. I’d go back to West Seattle in a heartbeat. Ballard no way. The only place in Seattle worse to me would be Magnolia.

  8. 8
    Erik says:

    RE: boater @ 7
    How come it’s so cheap out here compared to ballard then? A 1000+ square foot condo over the water would probably be 750k or more in ballard I would imagine. On alki beach it is 300k.

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