Sorry, no April Fool’s jokes today. Just a look at March stats with our monthly stats preview. 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:
For the most part, it’s the same story we’ve been seeing for the past couple years. Low inventory, low sales, and few foreclosures. However, there was a new tiny glimmer of hope for buyers looking for more listings: The month-over-month increase in listing inventory in March was the largest we’ve seen in nearly two years. We’re still down from a year ago, but maybe we’re starting to see the very beginning of a listing recovery.
Next, let’s look at total home sales as measured by the number of “Warranty Deeds” filed with King County:
Sales in King County increased 38 percent between February and March (a year ago they rose 42 percent over the same period), and were up 1 percent year-over-year. Last month was tied for the smallest year-over-year increase in sales since September 2014.
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.
Deeds in Snohomish rose 30 percent month-over-month (vs. a 36 percent increase in the same period last year) and were up 6 percent from March 2015.
Next, here’s Notices of Trustee Sale, which are an indication of the number of homes currently in the foreclosure process:
Foreclosure notices in King County were down 12 percent from a year ago and Snohomish County foreclosure notices were down 17 percent from last year.
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.”
Trustee Deeds were down 7 percent from a year ago. I assume that most of the volume of foreclosures now are just a trickle of homes where the borrowers defaulted before the current boom, but the homes were held up in the foreclosure process for one reason or another.
Lastly, here’s an update of the inventory charts, updated with previous months’ inventory data from the NWMLS.
Inventory was up 12 percent month-over-month King County, the largest gain since May 2014. In Snohomish County inventory was flat for the third month in a row, and still down big from a year earlier as well.
Note that most of the charts above 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.
Stay tuned later this month a for more detailed look at each of these metrics as the “official” data is released from various sources.