May Stats Preview: Inventory Edges Up, Sales Surge

NWMLS posted their stats this morning, but first here are our regular monthly “preview” charts. Now that May is behind us let’s take a look at the local housing market stats for the month. Short story: Sales shot up, listings improved a little but are still scarce.

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 & Snohomish County Stats Preview

Sales bumped up quite a bit between April and May in both counties. Listings were up month-over-month also, but still down significantly from a year earlier.

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 were up thirty percent between April and May (a year ago they rose ten percent over the same period), and were up six 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 up twenty-three percent month-over-month (vs. a thirteen percent increase in the same period last year) and were up three percent from May 2016.

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

Foreclosure notices in King County were down 19 percent from a year ago and Snohomish County foreclosure notices were down 49 percent from last year. I still find it incredible that in a hot market like this that anyone ends up in foreclosure.

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 44 percent from a year ago. At this point we’re basically at “the bottom” for completed foreclosures.

Lastly, here’s an update of the inventory charts, updated with previous months’ inventory data from the NWMLS.

King County SFH Active Listings

Snohomish County SFH Active Listings

Inventory increased 14 percent between April and May in King County, but was still down 20 percent from a year earlier.

In Snohomish County it was the same basic story: Listings up 25 percent month-over-month but down 17 percent year-over-year.

The only good thing I can really say about inventory is that it has increased month-over-month for the last three months in a row. Hooray?

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 today for the NWMLS data, and later this month for other “official” data from various sources.

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

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
    GoHawks says:

    Second verse, same as the first. On prices march upward.

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    RE: GoHawks @ 1
    But still home prices are super high ..MoM.. no change thoughts?

Leave a Reply

Use your email address to sign up with Gravatar for a custom avatar.
Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please read the rules before posting a comment.