Around the Sound: King County alone in price drops and big inventory gains

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I promised an updated look at June data for the outlying counties, so let’s have a look at that. Here’s the latest update to our “Around the Sound” statistics for King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties.

First up, a summary table:

June 2019 King Snohomish Pierce Kitsap Thurston Island Skagit Whatcom
Median Price $695,000 $515,000 $376,500 $391,657 $344,000 $402,500 $380,000 $417,750
Price YOY (2.8%) 0.7% 7.3% 10.6% 5.8% 5.1% 11.8% 7.1%
New Listings 3,487 1,480 1,751 491 618 207 273 397
New Listings YOY (10.7%) (12.2%) (10.4%) (17.8%) (2.2%) (12.7%) 7.1% (6.6%)
Active Inventory 4,625 1,841 1,945 611 569 350 449 654
Inventory YOY 24.4% 14.4% (7.9%) 3.7% (14.4%) 2.6% 6.1% 7.2%
Closed Sales 2,718 1,215 1,521 432 553 186 213 326
Sales YOY (1.5%) (1.7%) (8.6%) (5.5%) (0.5%) (11.0%) 0.9% (4.4%)
Months of Supply 1.7 1.5 1.3 1.4 1.0 1.9 2.1 2.0

King County is the only place where prices are declining, and it also has the largest increase in active listings compared to a year ago. On the flip side, pending sales were up the most in King County, and it had one of the smallest declines in closed sales (sales rose in Skagit though). In most of the other Puget Sound counties, sales are declining, and listings are either falling or not increasing by much, and prices are rising.

Here’s a look at new listings across the region:

New Listings of Single-Family Homes

New listings fell everywhere but Skagit County in June. Bad news for buyers hoping to find more selection as we head into the summer.

Next up: Active inventory.

Active Listings of Single-Family Homes

Inventory fell in Thurston and Pierce counties, but increased everywhere else. King and Snohomish saw the biggest gains, but both of those were far smaller than the gains we saw late last year and earlier this year.

Here’s the chart of median prices compared to a year ago.

Median Sale Price Single-Family Homes

The biggest increase in home prices in June was Skagit, where prices rose 12 percent. Kitsap was close behind with an 11 percent increase. Every other county was in the single digits.

Closed Sales of Single-Family Homes

Closed sales were down in every county but Skagit, where they managed an increase of less than one percent.

Months of Supply Single Family Homes

This graph is the most telling—every county is still a very strong sellers’ market. Most counties are slightly better for buyers than they were a year ago, but we’ve still got a long ways to go before we get even close to what most people would call a “balanced” market (4-6 months of supply).

If there is certain data you would like to see or ways you would like to see the data presented differently, drop a comment below and let me know.

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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.

769 comments:

  1. 751
    JustNoise says:

    First confirmed layoffs “due to trade war” in Puget Sound region (that I know of, anyway). My husband works for a subsidiary of a mid-size engineering corporation out in Mukilteo. ~200 FTE, 70% salaried, 30% hourly. They’re laying off only 8 people today, and mandating that all hourly employees work only 32 hours/week for the remainder of the year. My husband says there will be more layoffs to come by fall if things don’t change. Gossip from his colleagues in similar fields say their companies are in trouble and starting small layoffs in the coming months.

    The gossip up there around Boeing is also that they’re headed for bigly layoffs this fall.

  2. 752
    Ohd1122 says:

    Does anyone have insight into the July numbers? It’s almost September and I have not seen an update from Tim. I assume nothing noteworthy then?

  3. 753
    Erik says:

    RE: JustNoise @ 751
    Your husband probably works for electro impact, Jamco, or some other company that relies highly on Boeing. Because of the 737 max debauchery, Boeing is reducing spending before they start laying people off. That is why your husband’s company is feeling the squeeze.

    Boeing ceo said if timeline slides, Boeing will tighten up even more and need to lay people off. It’s not really gossip, it’s all over the news.

    The example you are seeing is based on this specific situation and is not a product of a poor US economy. Besides, GDP has never even been negative recently. A recession is 2 consecutive quarters of negative GDP and we haven’t even had one quarter of negative GDP.

  4. 754
    QA Observer says:

    RE: JustNoise @ 751

    Regardless, Home prices will continue to go up. Seattle is different. Everyone knows that! Boeing lay-offs have never impacted the area…oh wait.

    Plus with a payroll tax reduction, that decreased percentage will directly allow for increased borrowing by an equivalent percentage, right?

  5. 755
    JustNoise says:

    RE: Erik @ 753 – Nope. His company relies heavily on sourcing reagents and materials from China and works with customers that manufacture American products in China (for example, they make the tooling that Apple uses to produce iPhone circuit boards in China). His company does no business with Boeing and their current troubles are tied to economic uncertainty and the trade war. There are many of these mid-size engineering outfits north of Seattle in similar situations that are not tied to Boeing.

  6. 756

    RE: Erik @ 753
    Yes Erik

    Like I blogged before we need more retired Boeing and FAA Safety engineers reporting the facts, the phony truth that Boeing is too big to fall or the new Trump FAA director [who’d want that job BTW] signing the S/W fix as certifiable is suggested by Boeing to occur in 3 months [4th Qtr 2019]. Wishful MSM fake news in my book.

    I found an URL to support our allegations, it appears non-partisan, do the rest of you Bubble heads agree?

    https://nationalpost.com/news/world/long-before-the-737-max-disasters-boeing-had-a-history-of-failing-to-fix-safety-problems

  7. 757
    formerSeattleite says:

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/germany-sells-nearly-1-billion-of-30-year-negative-yielding-bonds-2019-08-21?mod=hp_markets

    Can someone help me understand this? How are their investors out there willing to tie up their money for 30 years with a NEGATIVE yielding investment!? This boggles my mind. Logically, the only reason I see doing this is if you anticipate the returns will be even WORSE in the coming years — i.e. -0.1% return is better than say a -5% return. But if that’s the case, and people are anticipating things to be VERY bad, doesn’t that mean we’re in trouble now? I don’t want to sound ‘doom & gloom’ but is the world economy about to collapse!? Serious question…

    How are western Europe economies ‘doing well’ when almost all of them have negative interest rates!? I don’t understand this… these world economies feel more like a house of cards than anything. But I’m no economist so maybe I completely am missing the point?

  8. 758
    Eastsider says:

    RE: formerSeattleite @ 757 – Here are my thoughts. The developed world is following Japanese footstep. The Nikkei index is still below its peak 30 years ago. So a -.1% treasury return would have far outperformed the stock and housing markets. Note that the current Nikkei index would have been significantly lower if not for BOJ’s majority ownerships of most Japanese ETFs. At its low, Nikkei lost 82% of its value. That was 10 years ago before BOJ intervened heavily in the stock and bond markets. So when you have below market interest rates, you can expect asset deflation and defaults in coming years/decades. The alternative is Venezuela.

  9. 759
    formerSeattleite says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 758 – Thanks Eastsider. You mentioned asset deflation — are you thinking there’s a good chance we’ll see asset (i.e real estate) deflation in some of these European economies where there’s negative interest rates?

  10. 760

    Good News Bubbleheads

    https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/low-interest-rates-give-housing-market-a-boost-144124709.html

    And Trump is mad at the federal reserve for not lowering the interest rate 100 pts. Stocks back up 200-300 points today as school sales and home improvements lead the way. Last week’s deficit has disappeared this week in the stock market.

    I hear luxury homes sales are slumping due to SALT [$10K federal tax deduction limit], Seattle’s OK too, even if the property tax exceeds $10K, I assume they got the partial $10K max tax write off anyway. Its states with a income tax too that got screwed, I believe the state sales tax federal tax deduction disappeared?

    Smile, the rain today is preventing smoke pollution from camp fires?

  11. 761
    Eastsider says:

    RE: formerSeattleite @ 759 – I would use negative real interest rate and that includes practically 100% of EU bonds – result of ECB actions. IMHO deflation is in the card. (The alternative Venezuela is not going to happen because governments will collapse.)

  12. 762

    Homeless Camps Growing Huge In Seattle

    “…The Seattle Times
    MORNING BRIEF
    Wednesday, August 21, 2019
    Tent city moves
    Seattle faces crucial choice after famous legal homeless camp moves to illegal spot
    Tent City 3 has moved more than 90 times over its nearly 20-year history, usually hosted by a church or university. But this time is different from most: After plans for a new site fell through at the last minute, residents packed up and went to city land next to I-5 in Ravenna. The move forces Seattle into a big decision. (Photo: Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)
    NEED TO KNOW
    There may be a break in the mystery of who gunned down federal prosecutor Thomas Wales in Seattle 18 years ago. An Everett woman has been charged with lying to a grand jury about what she was told by a suspect in Wales’ 2001 killing in his Queen Anne home. Here’s our timeline of the frustrating quest to bring a killer to justice.

    Boeing is hiring hundreds of temps to help prepare for the 737 MAX’s return to service. The company is dangling the offer of paid housing and a meal allowance for workers in Moses Lake. Meanwhile, the FAA is cautioning airlines that sensors tied to two deadly MAX crashes are vulnerable and must be carefully maintained.

    Where would a recession hit the Puget Sound area hardest? With talk of an economic downturn getting louder, columnist Jon Talton zooms in on the companies and industries that could be especially vulnerable. A look at the data shows why economists and top government officials are worried. President Donald Trump has plenty to say about the economy, too, and it’s time for a fact-check on his remarks.

    The King County sheriff has stopped using a key crime-fighting database after learning that immigration officials can peer at the personal data it contains. The halt could have widespread implications for solving crimes ranging from thefts to homicides….”

    Seattle Times is a partisan news source, its generally open border slanted….that said, a few comments about the Wednesday morning ST news brief to level the playing table?

    Boeing hiring temporaries at Moses Lake for the MAX 8 before FAA certifies the S/W revision as the fix? Police sharing of criminal data is halted to protect illegal alien identities [why is that good?]? Political bent recession talk during a DOW surge this week? Believe everything ya read….LOL

  13. 763
  14. 764
    richard says:

    The top five regions that “recession” is being googled…

    https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/2019-08-20_14-29-52.png?itok=cvl3cqCc

  15. 765
    richard says:

    top 5 region of googling “how to prepare for a recession”, we are at the top!

    https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/2019-08-20_14-45-23.png?itok=ClXZx0Aj

  16. 766

    I’m up to my eyeballs in work…but just noticed a bunch of people around the Country watching a live video Q and A on Real Estate and it is happening here in Seattle, so I’m posting the link to it. It started about 5 minutes ago. I’m too busy to watch it but thought someone here might want to watch. They look like new startups in the Real Estate sale and rental space being questioned. Not sure if you can view it if you don’t have facebook.

    https://www.facebook.com/NARdotRealtor/videos/347198289495078/UzpfSTExODIxNzQ4Mjk6Vks6MjYxNzM5NTA2ODMyMjcxNA/?multi_permalinks=2617395068322714&notif_id=1566425575383092&notif_t=group_activity

  17. 767
    Erik says:

    RE: JustNoise @ 755
    I stand corrected.

  18. 768
    Erik says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 762
    If Boeing is hiring temps and talking like they expect to meet the timeline, I’m beginning to believe they really will meet their timeline. If I can hang on until they launch the nma, I should be safe for 4 years even if we have a major recession.

    I need a major recession, cash to buy investments, and a job. With those 3 things, I should be able to get enough cash flow to retire early. Snowball my rental mortgages, and I’ll be in great shape.

  19. 769
    Blurtman says:

    Lately, I am getting a ton of Leavenworth homes for sale in my Redfin feed. I wonder?

    In Risk-Prone Areas, Fire Insurance Is Getting Harder and Harder to Come By

    Some companies are no longer writing new policies in high-risk areas, others are going so far as to drop long-time customers and almost everyone is raising rates. That’s sent California homeowners scrambling to find another insurance company in places like Alpine, a town of 15,000 near the Cleveland National Forest.

    https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/news/in-risk-prone-areas-fire-insurance-is-getting-harder-and-harder-to-come-by/

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