December Stats Preview: Highest December listings since 2013

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Now that 2018 is completely over, let’s take our first look at the December housing market stats for King and Snohomish counties.

It’s pretty much the same story we’ve seen the past few months, which is good news for buyers: The number of home sales is falling and the number of homes on the market is climbing quite a bit. Foreclosures are still very rare.

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

First up, 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 dropped 29 percent from November to December. Year-over-year listings are still soaring, up 143 percent from December 2017, another new all-time high year-over-year gain, passing the record of 114 percent that was set just a month earlier.

In Snohomish County inventory fell month-over-month 25 percent, and the year-over-year growth also hit a new all-time record, growing 111 percent.

Note that the Estately inventory data feed seems to be having some trouble, so these preliminary numbers may be off by more than usual. I’m looking into that.

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 fell 5 percent between November and December (a year ago they fell 4 percent over the same period), and were down 22 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 fell 5 percent month-over-month (versus a 1 percent decline in the same period last year) and were down 18 percent from a year earlier.

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 up 12 percent from a year ago and Snohomish County foreclosure notices were up 23 percent from last year. Since the numbers are so low, these increases appear large in percentage terms, but the increase represents just 10 additional foreclosures in each county compared to the prior 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 up 13 percent from a year ago.

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.