May Stats Preview: Sudden Listings Surge?

Yes, it has been over a month since the last update here. What is there to say when the market is the same frenzied nonsense day after day, week after week, month after month? It’s exhausting, and I’m not even in the market to buy a home. If you are, you definitely have my pity.

Even when I’m not posting here, I am still keeping my spreadsheets up to date and sharing them with those who support my ongoing work as members of Seattle Bubble.

Anyway, I’m back because there’s something definitely interesting in our regular monthly “preview” charts for May. Unless something has really broken in my data collection, it looks like we’re seeing a sudden surge of listings begin to pile up.

Here’s the summary for May: Sales look to be a bit lower than last year, even as the spring bump has begun. Listings are still struggling to make gains. Foreclosures are still nearly non-existent.

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

Since this is where the interesting data is, let’s start with an update of the inventory charts, updated with previous month’s inventory data from the NWMLS.

King County SFH Active Listings

Snohomish County SFH Active Listings

The number of homes on the market in King County shot up thirty-six percent in May. This is the largest increase since May 2008. If this isn’t some kind of data collection error, this is a pretty big spike. It follows a reasonably large increase of twelve percent the month before, so we could finally be seeing the beginning of a trend that points toward an easing market.

In Snohomish County the inventory gains were a lot smaller at just eleven percent, which is the largest increase since October 2014.

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 twelve percent between April and May (a year ago they rose thirty percent over the same period), but were down seven percent year-over-year—another sign that the market may be softening.

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 increased fifteen percent month-over-month (vs. a twenty-three percent increase in the same period last year) and were down one percent from a year earlier.

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 fifty-four percent from a year ago and Snohomish County foreclosure notices were down thirty-two percent from last year. As low as these foreclosure numbers are, I’m surprised that they continue to drop year-over-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.”

King County Trustee Deeds

Trustee Deeds were down sixty-four percent from a year ago. The only time there have been fewer trustee deeds than we’ve seen over the last few months was August through October of 2003.

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.

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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.

80 comments:

  1. 1

    Tim…Great Data and Revealing/Interesting

    Questions arise anyway on listings for May and actual used homes with for sale signs almost absent in Kent [new homes in Kent have much harsher lending standards], for instance…the two don’t add up, but I bet someone has the answer?

    Perhaps Tim’s May data is just listings to date, not posted open house homes ones [ones we could visit and get inside to inspect somehow]? Kent is a dead area? The listings need to be broke down by City? Questions, questions….

  2. 2

    Meanwhile, as Listings are Possibly Increasing Now

    One of Seattle area’s major employers (50,000 locals) Amazon announces today robots will be replacing a number of workers. Soon, at a theater near you:

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611295/humans-are-still-crucial-to-amazons-fulfillment-process/

  3. 3

    RE: softwarengineer @ 2
    I Should Add, I’d Assume a Number of Employees Have Been Replaced With Robots

    Check out the warehouse photo of Amazon….it looks like the Olympia Brewing Company [even 20 years ago] in Olympia….no people work there, just machines…

  4. 4
    Brian says:

    Are foreclosures down so much because it’s so easy to sell your home rather than struggle to sell and have to foreclose?

  5. 5
    biliruben says:

    This another data point of hope for buyers (of which I may be one, in the next year or 3), along with the stagnating rents reported by our favorite newspaper last week.

    But as of now, unless something drastic happens, Seattle is currently nearly off the table as a destination to which we would move. Housing costs have just gotten too deep into bizarro world.

  6. 6
    Justme says:

    Something is afoot. I hear the sound of running feet heading for the exists. The herd is on the move.

  7. 7
    Eastsider says:

    If recent GDP forecast is accurate, mortgage rate will likely be much higher later this year. This will put downward pressure on home prices…

  8. 8
    Wile E. Millenial says:

    Despite the high inventory… I toured a couple POS houses at opens this weekend and saw plenty of traffic. But I also heard an agent say she thinks the era of bidding wars might wind down. Who knows.

  9. 9

    RE: Eastsider @ 7
    The Long-term CD Type Rates May Have Approximately Doubled from Like 2+% TO 4+% for YOY 2018

    This means two things:

    Safe havens for savers now getting double interest rates in 2018 compared to 2017?….mortgage rates can double too? In a wink of the eye too without Obama’s QED’s duct tape barely holding the $21T federal debt together?…

    The other item is federal debt and agency expenditures; like school funds going to Sanctuary Cities [last I heard its about $9K/student in federal approved budget for illegal alien kids]….but NO IMMIGRATION BILL to date [includes DACA BTW]. Federal school funding shut off for illegal alien kids in Seattle then? What a MESS.

    Its a Seattle area real estate future from a science fiction novel….unpredictable and volatile.

    Yes, I see federal programs slashed FAR worse than Trump did to date because of the new higher debt rates gouging out expenditures. The Democrat message of Socialism and Welfare expenditures is a complete joke now…IMO. Its a good way to lose the Mid-terms to the Populist bent GOP too, even the Open Border Party Seattle area.

  10. 10
    Brian says:

    By Wile E. Millenial @ 8:

    Despite the high inventory… I toured a couple POS houses at opens this weekend and saw plenty of traffic. But I also heard an agent say she thinks the era of bidding wars might wind down. Who knows.

    But if POS houses are all that the remaining buyers can afford, of course they’ll have lots of traffic. I’m more curious about traffic at non-POS houses.

    I made an offer on a condo in Bothell recently. I found the seller is a rich real estate agent/investor that had several units in the complex that he has been selling the past couple months. Not implying this signals the peak, but thought it was interesting to see first hand an investor that was liquidating and securing their gains.

  11. 11

    By Brian @ 4:

    Are foreclosures down so much because it’s so easy to sell your home rather than struggle to sell and have to foreclose?

    Yep, that and more likely equity to recover.

  12. 12

    RE: biliruben @ 5 – Wait, did I accidentally go to a thread that’s four years old? ;-)

    Welcome back.

  13. 13
    greg says:

    i saw some Redfin email saying Seattle has gone negative on client searches. They were saying more folk are running searches to leave the area than come to it. the chart showed this to be true of just a couple of cities…

    Not really sure what it is worth but it is interesting

  14. 14
    The Tim says:

    RE: greg @ 13 – Yup, here’s the link: Denver Joins Seattle and San Francisco as a Tech Hub with More People Looking to Move Out than Move In

    In the first three months of 2018, Denver posted a “net outflow” of Redfin users for the first time, meaning that more Denver-based Redfin users were searching for homes in other metro areas than Redfin users elsewhere looking to move in. Of all Denverites using Redfin, 20 percent were searching for homes in another metro, up from 15 percent during the same time period a year earlier. Nationally, 23.9 percent of Redfin.com users looked to relocate to another metro area last quarter, up from 19.8 percent a year earlier.

    Seattle, which is grappling with a controversial tax related to the city’s housing crisis, has seen two consecutive quarters of net outflow, based on Redfin user data. In the first quarter, 12 percent of Seattle-based Redfin users were looking in other metro areas, up from 9 percent during the same period last year.

    Home searches are a forward-looking indicator of what is likely to happen to a city’s population. We saw this in 2015 in the Bay Area, when more Bay Area Redfin users were searching elsewhere. By 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau showed San Francisco had lost residents. Now we see signs that Denver and Seattle, cities that once attracted those fleeing high home prices, are becoming unaffordable as well.

  15. 15

    Here’s some news out of the Bay Area, where apparently about half the people want to move due to the cost of living. They list the median price down there as being $850,000, which isn’t that much above ours, but they most likely have higher taxes.

    http://www.sonomanews.com/news/8397431-181/nearly-half-of-bay-area

  16. 16

    RE: The Tim @ 14 – Wait, did I accidentally go to a thread that’s four months old? ;-)

    Welcome back! :-D

  17. 17
    David says:

    Are homes piling up because certain homes are not selling? Or because there are more homes coming to market?

  18. 18

    RE: David @ 17 – We’ll know more in a couple of days when the NWMLS runs its stats. The third possibility is something I mentioned as a possibility in the other thread–more new construction.

  19. 19
    Rupert D says:

    Regarding the increased inventory to 2,923 for May. Eyeballing The Tims previous charts shows that typical lower King county annual appreciation rates (monthly data) of 3-8% occurred between 1994-1997 and 2001-2004. No inventory (active listing) data is available for 1994-1997 but it is for 2001-2004. During this latter time period Inventory ranged from approximately 7,000 – 9,000. So given the current ongoing strong demand for homes I think it is reasonable to assume (absent a recession) that it would take much higher inventory (7.000 – 9,000) before annual house price appreciation drops to the 3-8% range. Of course the current May inventory of 2,923 is still low by historical standings. The historical lows in inventory over the last 4 years or so is responsible for the recent very high appreciation rates.

  20. 20
    Rupert D says:

    Larger San Fran area still increasing in population. According to this San Fran RE firms blog which I have posted before….https://www.paragon-re.com/trend/san-francisco-home-prices-market-trends-news
    the 5 county Bay area is increasing in population (natural – births minus deaths and net migration have both increased in 2017) based on US census and CA state employment data. From the blog….
    “Alarmist Media Reports Forecast Doom for Bay Area
    Many semi-hysterical articles were published in March regarding Bay Area residents fleeing “in droves”, that “more people are leaving than arriving”, that “Silicon Valley is over”, and this may “spell disaster” for the region. Wow, that sounds very bad – but is not true: Though the rate of growth has considerably slowed from the torrid pace of recent years – which is probably a good thing, since the Bay Area is now bursting at the seams – more people are still arriving than leaving, and population and employment numbers are still increasing.” The total population increase for 2017 was 28,000 versus 41,000 for 2016 and 62,000 for 2015. Maybe for San Fran only the population has decreased.

  21. 21

    RE: Rupert D @ 20 – I think it’s more about people who want to leave, not necessarily leaving. What I don’t get is wanting to flee to Sacremento. I don’t remember that being all that great, but at a $300,000 median, it’s cheap!

  22. 22
    biliruben says:

    Thanks Kary. Been hunkering down in the desert for a few years. Pondering how painful the re-hydration process will be! Looks pretty painful. Hating being a landlord, so sold our place overlooking the lake a couple years ago. Oops.

  23. 23
    Rupert D says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 21 – I have lived in Sacramento and it is an armpit compared to the bay area. Periodically over 100 degrees in the summer and constant fog at night during the winter. It is close to Tahoe for skiing and things get worse as you travel south to Modesto and beyond. But as the article says it is much more affordable and if you have a family but not a house it would be a no brainer to flee San Fran for almost anywhere else.

  24. 24
    ess says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 21

    You are right Kary – there is a big difference in wanting to leave and actually leaving.

    Based upon my searches – I am one of those who has been looking for other places to reside on line. Then I look at all the junk in my garage and come back to reality…….

  25. 25
    Erik says:

    RE: Wile E. Millenial @ 8
    If an agent said it, then it must be true.

  26. 26
    pfft says:

    By softwarengineer @ 2:

    Meanwhile, as Listings are Possibly Increasing Now

    One of Seattle area’s major employers (50,000 locals) Amazon announces today robots will be replacing a number of workers. Soon, at a theater near you:

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611295/humans-are-still-crucial-to-amazons-fulfillment-process/

    obviously amazon workers were paid too much and took too many bathroom breaks…

  27. 27
    pfft says:

    By Erik @ 25:

    RE: Wile E. Millenial @ 8
    If an agent said it, then it must be true.

    it’s pretty amazing how the NAR and realtors in general side-stepped any accountability for the last housing bubble. Remember all of David Lereah’s idiotic comments and the “Suzanne researched this” commercial?

  28. 28
    pfft says:

    Update: Framing Lumber Prices Up Sharply Year-over-year, At Record Prices
    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2018/06/update-framing-lumber-prices-up-sharply.html

    How does this happen? Is there really no slack in this area?

  29. 29
    Justme says:

    RE: pfft @ 27

    Even the renowned Lawrence Yun thinks that prices are unsustainable. Remember, this is the man that succeeded infamous bubble cheerleader David Lereah as the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

    https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/654015002

    QUOTE:

    “The continuing run-up in home prices above the pace of income growth is simply not sustainable,” wrote Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, in response to the latest price reading from the much-watched S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Indices. “From the cyclical low point in home prices six years ago, a typical home price has increased by 48% while the average wage rate has grown by only 14%.”

  30. 30
    BubbleBee says:

    Finally some signals. When the market goes downwards, I will put my money into REK, and use the profit to get myself into a big sweet new house!

  31. 31
    Erik says:

    RE: pfft @ 27
    Corndogs was a wealthy investor that once frequented this site. Very smart guy.

    Corndogs compared real estate agents to the people that run carnival rides. It’s a good comparison because they both know how to do the job, but someone running the carnival ride can probably tell you nothing about the physics of how it works. Likewise, agents are the least qualified to tell buyers when it’s a good time to buy or sell. They just know how to process the transaction.

    Looking at the data it is interesting that inventory ticked up. It’s something to watch. At the same time, the economy is doing great and inventory is still super low. Prices will likely continue upwards next year, but we are overdue for a pullback.

  32. 32
    Lars says:

    RE: Rupert D @ 23

    Agreed, Sacto is a S-hole filled with people that moved there that didn’t know any better X with the Acid Washed Jeans/Mullets still pervasive X with Gangs…Culture is = to THE MALL…just an awful place.

  33. 33
    Eastsider says:

    By Erik @ 30:

    Prices will likely continue upwards next year, but we are overdue for a pullback.

    This coming from Erik?! He was the biggest housing bull here. LOL.

  34. 34
    pfft says:

    By Justme @ 29:

    RE: pfft @ 27

    Even the renowned Lawrence Yun thinks that prices are unsustainable. Remember, this is the man that succeeded infamous bubble cheerleader David Lereah as the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

    https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/654015002

    QUOTE:

    “The continuing run-up in home prices above the pace of income growth is simply not sustainable,” wrote Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, in response to the latest price reading from the much-watched S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Indices. “From the cyclical low point in home prices six years ago, a typical home price has increased by 48% while the average wage rate has grown by only 14%.”

    If I remember correctly Mr Yun was a pretty reasonable person.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    Justme says:

    RE: pfft @ 34

    >>If I remember correctly Mr Yun was a pretty reasonable person.

    Relative to David Lereah, perhaps, but why did Yun wait for a 48% house price increase versus a 14% wage increase before saying it is unsutainable? Is that reasonable? Maybe he is not as bad as David Lereah, but Lereah was incredibly bad.

  37. 37
    Deerhawke says:

    Active YOY inventory in King County is up while YOY sales appear to have softened. Clearly, this is a break with the pattern we have seen over the past several years.

    The question really is whether we are just seeing some kind of hiccup or the beginning of a real correction.

    I have noticed that in my area (Seattle’s 705/710) the market has started to function more normally at median and higher price points. Buyers are not quite as pressured by the buying frenzy. They again feel the luxury of being just a bit picky. In January or February, it did not matter that the house needed a good deal of work, was poorly marketed, or even was marketed with glaring errors (like a 2.5% SOC). There were multiple offers and the POS sold in a week. Now, really well prepared, well priced, well marketed houses still get multiple offers (but fewer). But the listings of lazy/greedy homeowners and lazy agents are sitting a bit and getting punished.

    My guess is that what we are seeing is mainly a hiccup. While inventory is up a good deal from last year, it is still at historically low levels that give sellers a substantial advantage over buyers.

    The real factors affecting people’s buying decisions right now are economic (interest rates) and political (will Amazon go back into go-go growth mode here?)

    I think the hiccup may be followed by more modest price increases hereafter. The price growth curve just has to flatten out at some point.

  38. 38
    pedaltothemetal says:

    We are witnessing the move from FOMO to Margin of Safety.

    Seattle tends to be more of a boom and bust city because of this dynamic.

    It doesn’t take too many people who were previously thinking, “I need to buy any POS near a homeless encampment now”, to transition to “What the hell am I thinking? Step in bezos all day? And be in massive debt? This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife!”

    Liquidity considerations are important in the decision to sell any asset. You cannot sell, after all, in the absence of a willing buyer.

    For folks on the fence, there will be a time where there is an absence of a willing buyer.

    Hate to quote cramer, but pigs do get slaughtered.

  39. 39
  40. 40

    I’m not sure this really says that much, but it does cover the topic of affordable housing in Seattle and changes to neighborhoods.

    https://smartergovernmentwa.org/housing-we-can-build-up-build-out-or-accept-astronomical-prices/

  41. 41

    RE: Rupert D @ 20
    San Francisco 13% YOY House Price Gains to Date are Sustainable Because the Wages are So High Alleges CNBC News Today

    Where’s their proof data…tea leaves? Last I heard the Bay Area workers can’t afford homes because their pay was too low…what is affordability anyway? 50% of your net pay for a house? LOL What a joke if it is.

    CNBC prints the same sort of trash about Trump…we’re all watching DVR movies instead of cable news lately, the manure news stinks. Even Fox News has that repulsive Sheppard Smith….yuck.

  42. 42

    RE: pedaltothemetal @ 39
    Google and Facebook too

    Google uses politics to make Nazi and GOP the search result…

    Facebook lies to Congressional Hearings….

    Intel makes its laptop chip with a security back door breach, on purpose too…and we pay mobster McAfee monthly protection money for virus software….just like organized crime…foreign CEOs/H-1Bs added these new improvements? LOL

  43. 43
    wreckingbull says:

    By Deerhawke @ 37:

    I think the hiccup may be followed by more modest price increases hereafter. The price growth curve just has to flatten out at some point.

    First biliruben shows up, then the most common mantra found in the SB comment section circa 2007 reappears. Things might be getting interesting again!

  44. 44

    I think the sold listings will likely come in at the same range as May 2017 and 2016, so the interesting number when the NWMLS releases its stats will be the number of new listings. Anything close to or over 4,000 will indicate that the increase is due to more listings coming on the market.

    Part of it might be people finally figuring out how to finance the move from one home to another, so part of it might effectively be churn.

  45. 45
    Justme says:

    RE: Rupert D @ 20

    >>Larger San Fran area still increasing in population

    Barely. I looked at the population data from

    https://www.paragon-re.com/trend/media-reports-of-bay-area-decline

    The indication from that data is that the yearly population growth the last 7 years has been 1.2%

    CALCULATE: (4727/4344)**(1/7)
    = 1.01214388382757

    So, the 5-county SF bay area is barely growing, and as Tim’s reference said, more people are looking to leave than to enter. By the way, given my experience with the bad and inaccurate population growth estimates from Seattle and Washington OIF, I dug into the estimation methodology used in California state and counties, and it is much more solid than what Washington OIF uses. Basically, California uses the methodlogy that the census bureau uses, namely tax records (including address changes), medicare enrollment and several other types of official data to estimate migration.

    As cannot be repeated too often, Washington OIF uses what I will call the BIFF methodology (Built-Is-Filled-by-Fiat) , which postulates that new housing units are occupied at the same rate as existing ones. Apart from there being no guarantee whatsoever that new housing units are being occupied (especially in multi-family apartments and condos), the occupancy ratio used is also as much as 10 years outdated.

    Reference: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/popest/technical-documentation/methodology.html

  46. 46
    uwp says:

    By Justme @ 45:

    RE:
    Barely. I looked at the population data from

    https://www.paragon-re.com/trend/media-reports-of-bay-area-decline

    The indication from that data is that the yearly population growth the last 7 years has been 1.2%

    CALCULATE: (4727/4344)**(1/7)
    = 1.01214388382757

    So, the 5-county SF bay area is barely growing,

    LOL! It’s like 50% faster than the entire US is growing (0.70%).

  47. 47
    Blake says:

    Macroeconomic perspective: It’s nice to see that US corporations are sharing their tax cuts with their workers… right… right?
    I guess the 1% really needed more money…

    Corporate America is set to shower investors with a record surge of cash.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-05/america-inc-has-a-record-2-5-trillion-gift-for-stock-investors
    Between buybacks, dividends, and merger activities, companies are poised to plow $2.5 trillion into the stock market this year, according to UBS Group AG. The buying spree is equivalent to 10 percent of the S&P 500’s market capitalization, easily outstripping prior records.
    (end quote)

    Previously last week:
    “The moderator asked the panel (of CEOs) whether there would be broad-based wage gains again. “It’s just not going to happen,” Taylor said. As for a general raise? “Absolutely not in my business,” he said.

  48. 48

    RE: Blake @ 47 – From a microeconomic standpoint there’s zero reason that the companies would share their tax cuts. The benefits to workers should be indirect, resulting from increased business activity as more projects become viable due to greater net returns after taxes. Even the stock buybacks would eventually result in increased economic activity to the extent those funds are reinvested in different entities in need of funds.

    Somewhat related, it amazes me that some people think the tax cuts will stop factories from being shut down. If a factory is unprofitable there is nothing to tax, so a tax cut does not benefit the owner of the factory.

  49. 49

    Apparently the NWMLS will be releasing their May stats today.

  50. 50
    FormerSeattleite says:

    By Blake @ 47:

    Macroeconomic perspective: It’s nice to see that US corporations are sharing their tax cuts with their workers… right… right?
    I guess the 1% really needed more money…

    Corporate America is set to shower investors with a record surge of cash.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-05/america-inc-has-a-record-2-5-trillion-gift-for-stock-investors
    Between buybacks, dividends, and merger activities, companies are poised to plow $2.5 trillion into the stock market this year, according to UBS Group AG. The buying spree is equivalent to 10 percent of the S&P 500’s market capitalization, easily outstripping prior records.
    (end quote)

    Previously last week:
    “The moderator asked the panel (of CEOs) whether there would be broad-based wage gains again. “It’s just not going to happen,” Taylor said. As for a general raise? “Absolutely not in my business,” he said.

    I’m a long-time reader, recent commenter (I believe this will be my third all time post). @Blake, I read a ton of economic illiteracy in this comment section, and I laugh at most of it. But this I feel a particular need to correct (especially because it has virtually nothing to do with local housing!). You and the SJW crowd (Bernie Bros) buy into this false dichotomy between “shareholders” [evil!] and “the workers” [virtuous!] . It follows, according to the gospel of Bernie, that when a public policy causes a rise in the stock market but not a coincident rise in the average wage of all workers in the economy, then “The [evil!] 1%” must be the primary beneficiaries — so the policy (in this case the Trump tax cuts) is a bad one. That dichotomy is not so clean cut as Bernie may have convinced you. Surely you understand that many if not most working people are both “shareholders” while also being “the workers” — i.e., they hold a variety of stocks in their various retirement accounts as well as in their non-retirement savings. Yes, the tax cuts primarily benefit those in the upper 20% of the income spectrum, but that class of people also pays the vast, vast majority of federal taxes to begin with. Any notion that all workers in the economy, from the bottom to the top 20%, should see the same benefit from the tax cuts is pure folly. It’s illogical and uninformed.

    To return to the subject of local housing, if and when the U.S. stock market takes a sustained hit (deeper and of greater duration that the recent volatility), not only will it be felt by people well outside of the 1%, but it will also have a coincident and disproportionately high negative effect on the Seattle housing market, which is propped by the success of a handful of very successful publicly-traded companies (see: the targets of the head tax), who will all undoubtedly reduce local headcount in response. That negative impact will be felt up and down the income spectrum. So maybe you should wish for the prosperity of large companies after all (full disclosure: I am employed by one).

  51. 51

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 44:

    I think the sold listings will likely come in at the same range as May 2017 and 2016, so the interesting number when the NWMLS releases its stats will be the number of new listings. Anything close to or over 4,000 will indicate that the increase is due to more listings coming on the market.

    The numbers are out (not guaranteed by the NWMLS). King County SFR new listings were over 4,000 at 4,207, which is up about 600 YOY and 1,100 YTD. New listings for new construction was almost idential to last year, but the number active is up 25%. The total currently active was up almost 800 YOY to 2,912.

    Pending sales for the month are just slightly down from last year.

    The solds came in at just under 2,500 units, down almost 100 from last year. That decrease is surprising given the increased inventory, but last May wasn’t a month that was seemingly affected by low inventory. The average price is up over $100,000 to approx $850,000, and the median is up about 90k to approx. $726k.

    Months supply of inventory is just under 1.2 months.

    Again, numbers from NWMLS sources, but not guaranteed, and in some cases not calculated by the NWMLS.

  52. 52
    Brian says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 51

    So since new listings came in well over 4000, and the increase is not new construction, what are your thoughts on that number?

  53. 53

    RE: Brian @ 52 – No real thoughts, other than seemingly more people are deciding to put their properties on the market. Again though, some of that can be what I’m calling churn–buying and selling. I think a lot of people have been feeling locked into their current house and that may be finally changing.

  54. 54
    Not given says:

    A 36% change on such a low # of listings could just be statistical noise, and it is definitely not the same as the 36% increase in 2008.

    This is only a single month of data, I wouldn’t infer anything yet. In terms of raw volume, there aren’t enough actual homes being listed to indicate a shift back to ‘normal’. Let’s see how the rest of the year goes.

  55. 55

    RE: softwarengineer @ 41
    Speaking of Thinking Out of the Box and Watching DVRs Instead of Fake News on Cable

    For economic planning that’s truth news…..ya gotta watch Jamie Foxe [African American] in Django Unchained DVR on 1858 Slavery wars….an “A” grade movie BTW. It came out in 2012.

    The Confederates and the NWO are the same thing….America Unearthed [History Channel] documented the history of the Confederates [John Wilkes Boothe leader] stashing/burying cash [something like a trillion in gold BTW] for another Civil War II, its now labeled NWO cash in 2018. And yes, today’s treasure hunters are looking for the multiple Confederate/NWO burying sites too. Jamie reminds me of an African America version of Trump fighting the billionaire slavery establishment to free the inner city African Americans from rich elite [open border party] slave wage labor [or welfare, same thing]. Ya gotta see it…..Jamie is like a freedom shooting gun slinger attacking the establishment….LOL…the ending is good…Jamie [Django} wins.

    It will get your mind off the MESS were in for a bit :-)

  56. 56
    Blake says:

    By FormerSeattleite @ 50:

    By Blake @ 47:

    Macroeconomic perspective: It’s nice to see that US corporations are sharing their tax cuts with their workers… right… right?
    I guess the 1% really needed more money…

    Corporate America is set to shower investors with a record surge of cash.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-05/america-inc-has-a-record-2-5-trillion-gift-for-stock-investors
    Between buybacks, dividends, and merger activities, companies are poised to plow $2.5 trillion into the stock market this year, according to UBS Group AG. The buying spree is equivalent to 10 percent of the S&P 500’s market capitalization, easily outstripping prior records.
    (end quote)

    Previously last week:
    “The moderator asked the panel (of CEOs) whether there would be broad-based wage gains again. “It’s just not going to happen,” Taylor said. As for a general raise? “Absolutely not in my business,” he said.

    I’m a long-time reader, recent commenter (I believe this will be my third all time post). @Blake, I read a ton of economic illiteracy in this comment section, and I laugh at most of it. But this I feel a particular need to correct (especially because it has virtually nothing to do with local housing!). You and the SJW crowd (Bernie Bros) buy into this false dichotomy between “shareholders” [evil!] and “the workers” [virtuous!] . It follows, according to the gospel of Bernie, that when a public policy causes a rise in the stock market but not a coincident rise in the average wage of all workers in the economy, then “The [evil!] 1%” must be the primary beneficiaries — so the policy (in this case the Trump tax cuts) is a bad one. That dichotomy is not so clean cut as Bernie may have convinced you. …

    I make no value judgement about “good” vs. “evil,” but titled my comment “Macroeconomic Perspective” because I was commenting on whether the corporations giving $2.5 trillion to stockholders was better for the economy than giving their workers raises. If you’ve been reading this blog, we had quite a discussion when the Trump tax cuts were passed about how they might help the economy and many Trump supporters here claimed the corp tax cuts would trickle down and corps would then give their workers more raises. I said they wouldn’t simply because they don’t need to and they are greedy and want to give stockholders (themselves) more money. This indeed seems to be the case!

    70% of the economy is consumption and while the 1% or 10% consumes disproportionately more than the poor and middle class. the vast majority of consumer spending is by the 90%. You may think that the workers don’t need raises if their companies and their stocks are doing well, but, as you should know, the top 10% own about 90% of the stock and most people don’t own any stock . Healthcare and other costs keep rising while wages are stagnant. It is not rocket science to figure out that if MOST Americans keep falling behind they spend less at restaurants, theaters, etc… the economy dies!

    That is simple economics. I was just pointing that out.

    You mentioned “economic illiteracy” … what am I missing? Or… what are YOU missing? You write of a “false dichotomy between shareholders and workers”… how is that a false dichotomy? If corps keep wages low, profits rise! Stockholders and CEOs know this dichotomy or trade-off well… why are you ignorant of it?

    As for your snide comments about “what Bernie tells me”… I’m almost 60 years old with a lifetime of experience and multiple degrees. You think I didn’t know any of these things well before Bernie Sanders became a national figure? It is obvious to anyone with half a brain and an open mind.

    The US economy is going to sink unless wages increase! Stockholders are doing just fine…

  57. 57

    By Blake @ 55:

    Healthcare and other costs keep rising while wages are stagnant.

    Because of the former, employee compensation costs are rising, just not in the form of wages. Stated differently, rising employer health insurance costs are another reason why wages are not rising.

  58. 58
    FormerSeattleite says:

    By Blake @ 55:

    By FormerSeattleite @ 50:

    By Blake @ 47:

    Macroeconomic perspective: It’s nice to see that US corporations are sharing their tax cuts with their workers… right… right?
    I guess the 1% really needed more money…

    Corporate America is set to shower investors with a record surge of cash.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-05/america-inc-has-a-record-2-5-trillion-gift-for-stock-investors
    Between buybacks, dividends, and merger activities, companies are poised to plow $2.5 trillion into the stock market this year, according to UBS Group AG. The buying spree is equivalent to 10 percent of the S&P 500’s market capitalization, easily outstripping prior records.
    (end quote)

    Previously last week:
    “The moderator asked the panel (of CEOs) whether there would be broad-based wage gains again. “It’s just not going to happen,” Taylor said. As for a general raise? “Absolutely not in my business,” he said.

    I’m a long-time reader, recent commenter (I believe this will be my third all time post). @Blake, I read a ton of economic illiteracy in this comment section, and I laugh at most of it. But this I feel a particular need to correct (especially because it has virtually nothing to do with local housing!). You and the SJW crowd (Bernie Bros) buy into this false dichotomy between “shareholders” [evil!] and “the workers” [virtuous!] . It follows, according to the gospel of Bernie, that when a public policy causes a rise in the stock market but not a coincident rise in the average wage of all workers in the economy, then “The [evil!] 1%” must be the primary beneficiaries — so the policy (in this case the Trump tax cuts) is a bad one. That dichotomy is not so clean cut as Bernie may have convinced you. …

    I make no value judgement about “good” vs. “evil,” but titled my comment “Macroeconomic Perspective” because I was commenting on whether the corporations giving $2.5 trillion to stockholders was better for the economy than giving their workers raises. If you’ve been reading this blog, we had quite a discussion when the Trump tax cuts were passed about how they might help the economy and many Trump supporters here claimed the corp tax cuts would trickle down and corps would then give their workers more raises. I said they wouldn’t simply because they don’t need to and they are greedy and want to give stockholders (themselves) more money. This indeed seems to be the case!

    70% of the economy is consumption and while the 1% or 10% consumes disproportionately more than the poor and middle class. the vast majority of consumer spending is by the 90%. You may think that the workers don’t need raises if their companies and their stocks are doing well, but, as you should know, the top 10% own about 90% of the stock and most people don’t own any stock . Healthcare and other costs keep rising while wages are stagnant. It is not rocket science to figure out that if MOST Americans keep falling behind they spend less at restaurants, theaters, etc… the economy dies!

    That is simple economics. I was just pointing that out.

    You mentioned “economic illiteracy” … what am I missing? Or… what are YOU missing? You write of a “false dichotomy between shareholders and workers”… how is that a false dichotomy? If corps keep wages low, profits rise! Stockholders and CEOs know this dichotomy or trade-off well… why are you ignorant of it?

    As for your snide comments about “what Bernie tells me”… I’m almost 60 years old with a lifetime of experience and multiple degrees. You think I didn’t know any of these things well before Bernie Sanders became a national figure? It is obvious to anyone with half a brain and an open mind.

    The US economy is going to sink unless wages increase! Stockholders are doing just fine…

    Sorry for the snide remarks, that may have been unfair. My perspective about the Trump tax cuts and the role of large companies in the economy is this: Large companies employ lots of people and in many cases pay above-average wages and benefits (including healthcare). Those wages have economic multiplier effects throughout the surrounding economy. Thus, it is better to have a large company located in your country than in another country, and all else being equal a company is free to choose where it wants to do business. This is all irrespective of wage growth over time — it is about where the jobs are (is it better to have a high paying job at the same wage as last year or no job at all?).

    The Trump tax cuts incentivized companies to locate and do business (and more business) in the U.S. The positive economic effects of those tax cuts (albeit maybe not wage increases), is starting to show up. GDP growth for 2Q 2018 was recently revised upward to 4.8% annualized. That is economic growth, increased demand for goods and services, and more opportunity overall. Unemployment is also very low, which is another consequence of companies deciding to locate business and do more business here. The very act of said companies keeping jobs or moving them back into the U.S. is positive for all workers, because they are either directly benefitting by having a good job or they are indirectly benefitting from the economic multiplier effects. You speak of “trickle down” economics with the typical cynicism that it is futile if companies don’t immediately increase wages. But trickle down is also about that multiplier effect.

    Other than bringing our corporate tax rates more into balance with other countries, so that the U.S. is a competitive place for them to do business, what do you propose? It’s all well and good to *wish* that these companies would use their newfound cash to pay workers more, and I guess it’s fair to lament the perceived lack of that. But again, is it better to have a good job and not get a big increase in wage or to have no job at all? Which of those two do you think has a greater impact on consumption? My belief is that penalizing and vilifying these companies and chasing them away is much more negative in the long run than allowing them to allocate their capital as they see fit… and voicing support for it.

  59. 59
    David says:

    RE: FormerSeattleite @ 58 – I own a lot of stock. I am in the 10% – even top 1%. I am in that 1% because I invested in stocks when I was WAY out of the 1% starting in my 20s.

    I also bought real estate and ate peanut butter and home-brewed coffee to pay for it. I was obsessed with being in NO debt. I bought what I could afford including my real estate.

    To this date, even when I visit a coffee shop – I get the black Americano.

    Whnyism is a religion of losers.

  60. 60
    pfft says:

    By Eastsider @ 33:

    By Erik @ 30:

    Prices will likely continue upwards next year, but we are overdue for a pullback.

    This coming from Erik?! He was the biggest housing bull here. LOL.

    just remember I became a housing bull in 2010 or 2011. I think I was a year early. don’t hate on me permabears.

  61. 61
    pfft says:

    By David @ 59:

    RE: FormerSeattleite @ 58 – I own a lot of stock. I am in the 10% – even top 1%. I am in that 1% because I invested in stocks when I was WAY out of the 1% starting in my 20s.

    I also bought real estate and ate peanut butter and home-brewed coffee to pay for it. I was obsessed with being in NO debt. I bought what I could afford including my real estate.

    To this date, even when I visit a coffee shop – I get the black Americano.

    Whnyism is a religion of losers.

    You’re an economic hero.

  62. 62
    uwp says:

    By FormerSeattleite @ 58:

    The Trump tax cuts incentivized companies to locate and do business (and more business) in the U.S. The positive economic effects of those tax cuts (albeit maybe not wage increases), is starting to show up. GDP growth for 2Q 2018 was recently revised upward to 4.8% annualized. That is economic growth, increased demand for goods and services, and more opportunity overall. Unemployment is also very low, which is another consequence of companies deciding to locate business and do more business here.

    Not sure where you are getting the 4.8% Q2 GDP number. Q2 numbers aren’t released yet.

    You may be referring to the the Atlanta FED’s GDPNow Forecast which isn’t always accurate. It also predicted Q1 GDP over 5% which produced lots of breathless articles, only for the number to come in at 2.2%.

  63. 63
    Blake says:

    RE: FormerSeattleite @ 58
    Re: “GDP growth for 2Q 2018 was recently revised upward to 4.8% annualized.”

    Don’t hold your breath… that is the Fed’s GDPNow forecast. The GDPNow forecast 1Q2018 growth at 5.1%…
    http://www.businessinsider.com/atlanta-fed-gdp-now-forecasts-5-percent-growth-in-q1-2018-2
    … actual 1q2018 growth came in at 2.3%!!!

    Most of the rest of your remarks can be characterized as the oft-quoted CEO:
    “Stop complaining about no raises… you’re just lucky to have a job!!”

    Yes, the fact that US corps are using $2.5 trillion to buy back their own stocks and raise their dividends this year is truly “investing” in America’s future! And out of the other side of their mouths the CEOs will say: If you raise our taxes we will not be able to invest in R&D, plants and equipment, and hire more workers!
    LMFAO…

  64. 64
    FormerSeattleite says:

    By uwp @ 62:

    By FormerSeattleite @ 58:

    The Trump tax cuts incentivized companies to locate and do business (and more business) in the U.S. The positive economic effects of those tax cuts (albeit maybe not wage increases), is starting to show up. GDP growth for 2Q 2018 was recently revised upward to 4.8% annualized. That is economic growth, increased demand for goods and services, and more opportunity overall. Unemployment is also very low, which is another consequence of companies deciding to locate business and do more business here.

    Not sure where you are getting the 4.8% Q2 GDP number. Q2 numbers aren’t released yet.

    You may be referring to the the Atlanta FED’s GDPNow Forecast which isn’t always accurate. It also predicted Q1 GDP over 5% which produced lots of breathless articles, only for the number to come in at 2.2%.

    You’re right, good catch. What I was referring to was an unofficial forecast, not official numbers:

    https://www.frbatlanta.org/cqer/research/gdpnow.aspx

  65. 65
    FormerSeattleite says:

    By Blake @ 63:

    RE: FormerSeattleite @ 58
    Re: “GDP growth for 2Q 2018 was recently revised upward to 4.8% annualized.”

    Don’t hold your breath… that is the Fed’s GDPNow forecast. The GDPNow forecast 1Q2018 growth at 5.1%…
    http://www.businessinsider.com/atlanta-fed-gdp-now-forecasts-5-percent-growth-in-q1-2018-2
    … actual 1q2018 growth came in at 2.3%!!!

    Most of the rest of your remarks can be characterized as the oft-quoted CEO:
    “Stop complaining about no raises… you’re just lucky to have a job!!”

    Yes, the fact that US corps are using $2.5 trillion to buy back their own stocks and raise their dividends this year is truly “investing” in America’s future! And out of the other side of their mouths the CEOs will say: If you raise our taxes we will not be able to invest in R&D, plants and equipment, and hire more workers!
    LMFAO…

    And you’re entitled to that cynical view. For a different perspective, see David’s post above (@59) about making sacrifices over his life to invest and save. My wife and I are putting a lot of energy into exactly the philosophy David espouses: maximize savings/investments, minimize and/or eliminate debt, live conservatively within your means. There are a lot of worker bees, not yet well off financially, who nonetheless borrow, spend, and live like those who are truly wealthy (the Davids of the world, who got there the hard way, by making sacrifices and understanding that there are no guarantees in life and no one owes you a dime for simply breathing). Is it the fault of Fortune 500 CEO’s that these people make repeated, poor decisions about their finances and lifestyles? Or is it their own fault? To what extent does all of the consumer debt they accrue enter into this conversation about the sustainability of an economy with limited pay increases in the near term?

  66. 66
    David says:

    Get your nose back in the Geranimals catalog pfft.

    By pfft @ 61:

    By David @ 59:

    RE: FormerSeattleite @ 58 – I own a lot of stock. I am in the 10% – even top 1%. I am in that 1% because I invested in stocks when I was WAY out of the 1% starting in my 20s.

    I also bought real estate and ate peanut butter and home-brewed coffee to pay for it. I was obsessed with being in NO debt. I bought what I could afford including my real estate.

    To this date, even when I visit a coffee shop – I get the black Americano.

    Whnyism is a religion of losers.

    You’re an economic hero.

  67. 67
    pfft says:

    I bet David ALWAYS stands for the national anthem.

  68. 68
    Blake says:

    By FormerSeattleite @ 65:

    By Blake @ 63:

    RE: FormerSeattleite @ 58
    Re: “GDP growth for 2Q 2018 was recently revised upward to 4.8% annualized.”

    Don’t hold your breath… that is the Fed’s GDPNow forecast. The GDPNow forecast 1Q2018 growth at 5.1%…
    http://www.businessinsider.com/atlanta-fed-gdp-now-forecasts-5-percent-growth-in-q1-2018-2
    … actual 1q2018 growth came in at 2.3%!!!

    Most of the rest of your remarks can be characterized as the oft-quoted CEO:
    “Stop complaining about no raises… you’re just lucky to have a job!!”

    Yes, the fact that US corps are using $2.5 trillion to buy back their own stocks and raise their dividends this year is truly “investing” in America’s future! And out of the other side of their mouths the CEOs will say: If you raise our taxes we will not be able to invest in R&D, plants and equipment, and hire more workers!
    LMFAO…

    And you’re entitled to that cynical view. For a different perspective, see David’s post above (@59) about making sacrifices over his life to invest and save. My wife and I are putting a lot of energy into exactly the philosophy David espouses: maximize savings/investments, minimize and/or eliminate debt, live conservatively within your means. There are a lot of worker bees, not yet well off financially, who nonetheless borrow, spend, and live like those who are truly wealthy (the Davids of the world, who got there the hard way, by making sacrifices and understanding that there are no guarantees in life and no one owes you a dime for simply breathing). Is it the fault of Fortune 500 CEO’s that these people make repeated, poor decisions about their finances and lifestyles? Or is it their own fault? To what extent does all of the consumer debt they accrue enter into this conversation about the sustainability of an economy with limited pay increases in the near term?

    The fact that some people waste money and don’t save has nothing to do with what we were discussing. Twas ever thus and is a good argument and a reason for Social Security!

    My point, that you seem to be evading, is that corps spending $2.5 trillion boosting their stocks is not good for the economy (macroeconomics) and the future of our country! While giving raises would be good for the economy… and 100,000,000 consumers! Do you think that the corps using $2.5 trillion to boost their stocks is good for the country?

    As for my recommendations: I would repeal the 1982 law that made it legal for corps to buy their own stock. Plus, when Japan recently cut corp taxes they also prevented the corps from using the tax cuts to raise dividends.

    Anyone who is surprised by the corp CEOs lining their pockets with the tax cuts should have their brain examined. I predicted it last December on this forum and that s exactly what they are doing!

  69. 69
    David says:

    RE: Blake @ 68 – Why not try investing in stocks instead of being jealous & spiteful of those who do?

  70. 70
    ess says:

    By David @ 69:

    RE: Blake @ 68 – Why not try investing in stocks instead of being jealous & spiteful of those who do?

    Ah yes – I remember a few years back when a friend of mine was carrying on about how much the oil companies were making, and only the oil company owners were making it big. I suggested that he purchase an energy fund – some of them required only a few hundred dollars to open and could invest in more shares whenever he wanted to. That conversation came to a screeching halt.

  71. 71
    pfft says:

    By David @ 69:

    RE: Blake @ 68 – Why not try investing in stocks instead of being jealous & spiteful of those who do?

    because we are trying to raise wages and help the little guy so down the road he can buy stocks if he wants too. trumps corporate and rich person tax cuts aren’t for the little guy even though they are continually sold as such(shades of if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor).

    also some people just don’t want anything to do with parasitic corporations and rigged stock markets.

  72. 72
    uwp says:

    By David @ 69:

    RE: Blake @ 68 – Why not try investing in stocks instead of being jealous & spiteful of those who do?

    I use a version of this thinking when I bought Comcast stock. Sure, they are a horrible company, but at least I get a cut.

  73. 73
    David says:

    RE: ess @ 70 – So true! I actually invested directly into company DRiP programs when I was younger. Eventually I sold them though and rolled them over into tax-protected accounts that allowed trading without the tax consequences of a sale.

    I am about to sell a primary residence and invest the tax-protected gains (some of it anyway) into as much tax-protected stock as possible including Keough plan I run through a company I own (plus ROTH).

  74. 74
    pfft says:

    By ess @ 70:

    By David @ 69:

    RE: Blake @ 68 – Why not try investing in stocks instead of being jealous & spiteful of those who do?

    Ah yes – I remember a few years back when a friend of mine was carrying on about how much the oil companies were making, and only the oil company owners were making it big. I suggested that he purchase an energy fund – some of them required only a few hundred dollars to open and could invest in more shares whenever he wanted to. That conversation came to a screeching halt.

    who wants to be in business with oil companies. also do you know how environmentally destructive the oil and gas industry is? There are cancer clusters around fracking sites.

    Researchers have linked US fracking to higher rates of cancer and heart conditions
    http://www.businessinsider.com/researchers-have-linked-us-fracking-to-higher-rates-of-cancer-and-heart-conditions-2015-7

    Why Are Beverly Hills Grads Getting Cancer?
    https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=125066&page=1

  75. 75
    pfft says:

    By uwp @ 72:

    By David @ 69:

    RE: Blake @ 68 – Why not try investing in stocks instead of being jealous & spiteful of those who do?

    I use a version of this thinking when I bought Comcast stock. Sure, they are a horrible company, but at least I get a cut.

    why not just make them a good company?

  76. 76
    David says:

    RE: pfft @ 74 – Oil is an organic compound. Truly organic. Not the fake organic at PCC. I only buy true organic.

    pfft also believed:

    1) acid rain would kill everyone
    2) the ozone hole would kill everyone
    3) global cooling would kill everyone
    4) climate change would kill everyone & the polar bears
    5) global warming would kill everyone & the polar bears
    6) Al Gore would taste great

  77. 77
    pfft says:

    By David @ 76:

    RE: pfft @ 74
    6) Al Gore would taste great

    Is this a homophobic comment? I hope not. Weren’t you also making transphobic comments too? how long is the tim let you get away with this?

  78. 78
    uwp says:

    By pfft @ 75:

    why not just make them a good company?

    I’ll need a few more shares before I have that kind of power.

  79. 79
    pfft says:

    By uwp @ 78:

    By pfft @ 75:

    why not just make them a good company?

    I’ll need a few more shares before I have that kind of power.

    no doubt. some people when they see grifting don’t want to be a part of it though so I sympathize with those that don’t want to join them.

  80. 80

    RE: Eastsider @ 33
    Erik Is a Professional Engineer

    A good degreed professional is never stuck in drive, with new information a good professional sticks it in reverse….pigheadedness will drain your bank account dry.

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