August Stats Preview: Where did the listings go?

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Where does the time go? Apologies for the radio silence! August was crazy busy, but we’re getting caught up now. Most of the spreadsheets are updated for members, and I’ll be posting some refreshed data and commentary about the current market here this week.

NWMLS stats for August are due any day now, probably later today, but let’s have a look at our “early” view on the August housing market stats for the Seattle area.

The biggest news: Active listings appear to be down considerably from a year ago. This is a big flip from earlier this year, when listings were way up, and definitely not great news for buyers.

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

The number of homes on the market in King County fell nine percent from July to August, and year-over-year listings were down 14 percent from August 2018. This is the first year-over-year decline since March 2018.

In Snohomish County inventory fell 12 percent month-over-month, and the year-over-year decline was 20 percent. So much for the “rush to the exits” some people were hoping for. I know a lot of people are expecting / hoping for some sort of new crash, but this decline in listings is a pretty big sign that no such crash is imminent.

Snohomish County SFH Active Listings

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 0.6 percent between July and August (a year ago they fell 3.2 percent over the same period), and fell 5.5 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 2.7 percent month-over-month (in the same period last year they were down 17 percent) and were down 3.4 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 both King and Snohomish Counties are still scraping along the bottom with fewer than 100 notices per month. Notices in King were down 11 percent from a year earlier, while Snohomish was up 6 percent, which is a difference of 3 additional notices.

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.