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Let’s take a look at our early March housing stats.
Overall the market is still moving in a direction favorable to buyers, but more slowly than it was late last year. By March of this year inventory is already at levels that it didn’t hit until May or June last year. Meanwhile, sales are still down from a year earlier. Foreclosures are still not really an issue at all right now.
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:
First up, let’s look at our inventory charts, updated with previous month’s inventory data from the NWMLS.
The number of homes on the market in King County climbed 18 percent from February to March, and year-over-year listings are up 99 percent from March 2018.
In Snohomish County inventory rose 7 percent month-over-month, and the year-over-year growth was up 81 percent. Both counties were seeing much larger year-over-year increases in inventory in December and January.
Next, let’s look at total home sales as measured by the number of “Warranty Deeds” filed with King County:
Sales in King County rose 19 percent between February and March (a year ago they rose 31 percent over the same period), and were down 18 percent year-over-year.
Keep in mind that sales that closed in March mostly went pending in February, which is when we had the giant snow storm. So it’s not surprising to see weak closed sales for March.
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.
Deeds in Snohomish rose 13 percent month-over-month (in the same period last year they were up 33 percent) and were down 14 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:
Foreclosure notices in King County were up two percent from a year ago and Snohomish County foreclosure notices were up 14 percent from last year. Since the numbers are so low, recent changes can appear large in percentage terms, but we’re talking about changes of just a few dozen month to month and 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.”
Trustee Deeds were up 35 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.