January Stats Preview: Inventory starts off 2019 with a three-month head start over 2018

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Let’s take a look at our early January housing stats. Better late than never, right?

Overall the story is still improving for buyers. Inventory in January was comparable to April or May of last year, a huge increase. Sales were down from a year ago, and 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

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 13 percent from December to January, but year-over-year listings are still up quite a bit, gaining 99 percent from January 2018.

In Snohomish County inventory fell 7 percent month-over-month, and the year-over-year growth was up 108 percent.

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 23 percent between December and January (a year ago they fell 30 percent over the same period), and were down 14 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 22 percent month-over-month (the same drop as the same period last year) and were down 19 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 down 16 percent from a year ago and Snohomish County foreclosure notices were up 33 percent from last year. Since the numbers are so low, these increases appear large in percentage terms, but the increase represents just 18 additional foreclosures in Snohomish 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 down 30 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.