August stats preview: Plenty of demand, still so little supply

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As we’re getting back into the swing of things, let’s check out the housing stats for the recently-completed month of August. Overall it’s the same story we’ve been seeing for quite some time: Sales are up and listings are way down from a year ago. Foreclosures are practically non-existent (which was the case even before the various mortgage forbearance programs went into place).

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 County Stats Preview

Snohomish County Stats Preview

Rapidly decreasing inventory coupled with continued year-over-year gains in sales is still the biggest news in this month’s data. First up, 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 slightly (-2.2%) between July and August (a year ago they fell further—5.5%—over the same period), but were up 7.6 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 4.6 percent month-over-month (versus a 3.4 percent decline in the same period last year) but were up 2.3 percent from a year earlier.

Next, 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 fell 5.0 percent from July to August. Year-over-year listings were down 40 percent from August 2019. There has been a severe shortage of homes for sale in the Seattle area all year, even before the pandemic began depressing listings.

In Snohomish County inventory fell 16 percent month-over-month, and was down 60 percent from a year earlier.

Hit the jump for the foreclosure charts, which I continue to include for posterity, not because there are any really interesting numbers in them.

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 72 percent from a year ago and Snohomish County foreclosure notices were down 83 percent from last year. Last year’s levels were already exceptionally low, but mortgage forbearance has pushed these numbers to as close to zero as they can go.

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 22 percent from a year ago. Even with as strong as the housing market is, 21 homes were still foreclosed on last month in King County.

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.