September Stats Preview: Sales drop over 25 percent from 2017 as listings continue to pile up

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Home sales volume was at its lowest September level in six years for both King and Snohomish County last month, dipping over 22 percent from a year ago. As a result, the number of homes on the market hit its highest point since early 2012. Foreclosures are still at all-time lows.

Now that September is wrapped up, let’s have a look at all of our early indicators for the month.

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

Rapidly declining sales is the biggest thing that jumps out to me in this month’s data, so 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 fell twenty-four percent between August and September (a year ago they fell fourteen percent over the same period), and were down twenty-seven percent year-over-year. That’s the largest year-over-year drop since May 2009—just eight months after the financial collapse kicked off in September 2008.

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 dropped nineteen percent month-over-month (versus a drop of thirteen percent in the same period last year) and were down twenty-two percent from a year earlier.

Next, let’s look at our 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 rose nine percent from August to September. Year-over-year listings were up 64.6 percent from September 2017, which is down just a bit from the all-time high year-over-year gain of 65.5 percent that was set just a month earlier in August.

In Snohomish County the month-over-month inventory increase was smaller at six percent, but the year-over-year growth was still sizable at 35 percent.

Hit the jump for the foreclosure charts.

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 twenty-six percent from a year ago and Snohomish County foreclosure notices were down thirty 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.”

King County Trustee Deeds

Trustee Deeds were down forty-nine percent from a year ago. The only time there have been fewer trustee deeds than we’ve seen during 2018 was in late 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.