NWMLS: Strongest October ever for closed sales

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October market data from the NWMLS is available. Here’s what happened last month in the Seattle-area housing market: Home prices and pending sales fell slightly, but closed sales rose to the highest level ever seen during an October—over 3,000 sales. The previous record for closed sales during an October was 2,922 sales in 2003. October this year saw 20% more sales than the highest October level in the last ten years (2,514 in 2016).

Obviously the pandemic and recession is having virtually zero impact on homebuying demand.

I haven’t yet seen a press release from the NWMLS, so let’s just get into the data.


NWMLS monthly reports include an undisclosed and varying number of
sales from previous months in their pending and closed sales statistics.

Here’s your King County SFH summary, with the arrows to show whether the year-over-year direction of each indicator is favorable or unfavorable news for buyers and sellers (green = favorable, red = unfavorable):

October 2020 Number MOM YOY Buyers Sellers
Active Listings 2,258 -6.7% -37.6%
Closed Sales 3,027 +6.3% +36.0%
SAAS (?) 1.02 -7.0% -4.7%
Pending Sales 3,007 -9.6% +16.0%
Months of Supply 0.75 -12.2% -54.2%
Median Price* $745,000 -1.1% +12.9%

Here’s the graph of inventory with each year overlaid on the same chart.

King County SFH Inventory

Inventory fell 6.7 percent from September to October, and was down 38 percent from last year. We still haven’t hit the all-time low point for the number of homes on the market, and the trend seems to be flatlining somewhat, so we may not hit that point this winter.

Here’s the chart of new listings:

King County SFH New Listings

Good news again for new listings, which were up 30 percent from a year ago. This October saw more new listings than any October since 2007.

Here’s your closed sales yearly comparison chart:

King County SFH Closed Sales

Closed sales rose from September to October, which is not uncommon, but the 6 percent increase was enough to make it the largest October on record for closed sales. Year-over-year closed sales were up 36 percent.

King County SFH Pending Sales

Pending sales fell 10 percent from September to October, and were up 16 percent year-over-year.

Here’s the supply/demand YOY graph. “Demand” in this chart is represented by closed sales, which have had a consistent definition throughout the decade (unlike pending sales from NWMLS).

King County Supply vs Demand % Change YOY

Still not a pretty picture for homebuyers, with demand sharply rising and supply still falling. At least the rate of decline in home supply is stabilizing.

Here’s the median home price YOY change graph:

King County SFH YOY Price Change

Year-over-year home price changes have been in the double digits for three months in a row now, gaining 13% in October.

And lastly, here is the chart comparing King County SFH prices each month for every year back to 1994 (not adjusted for inflation).

King County SFH Prices

October 2019: $660,000
October 2020: $745,000
July 2007: $481,000 (previous cycle high)

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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.