Around the Sound: Sales down in King, Kitsap, Island, and Skagit

It has been a few months since we looked at the housing stats for the broader Puget Sound area. Now that the first quarter of 2018 is over, let’s update our “Around the Sound” statistics for King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties.

Prices are climbing and listings are down across the board. King County actually had the smallest listings decrease among the Puget Sound counties, and one of the largest drops in sales. Sales also dropped significantly in Kitsap, Island, and Skagit counties…

NWMLS: Prices surge as sales slip and inventory inches up

March market stats have been published by the NWMLS…

Despite the big bump up in prices to a new all-time high, there is some good-ish news for home buyers in the March data. Compared to a year ago, new listings are up, total listings were basically flat, and sales were down. The overall market is still definitely heavily skewed toward sellers, but at least last month’s trends are finally moving a little bit in buyers’ favor.

March Stats Preview: Sales slip slightly from last March

Now that March is done, let’s look at our regular monthly “preview” charts. Here’s the summary for March: Sales look to be a bit lower than last year, even as the spring bump has begun. Listings are still struggling to make gains. Foreclosures are still nearly non-existent.

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

If sales start falling off, we could see some hope for buyers later in 2018, but right now it’s too early to make a call like that…

Case-Shiller Tiers: To. The. Moon.

Let’s check out the three price tiers for the Seattle area, as measured by Case-Shiller. Remember, Case-Shiller’s “Seattle” data is based on single-family home repeat sales in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.

Note that the tiers are determined by sale volume. In other words, 1/3 of all sales fall into each tier. For more details on the tier methodologies, hit the full methodology pdf. Here are the current tier breakpoints:

  • Low Tier: < $373,070 (up 0.2%)
  • Mid Tier: $373,070 – $604,377
  • Hi Tier: > $604,377 (up 0.3%)

Case-Shiller: Seattle kicks off 2018 with surging home prices

Let’s have a look at the latest data from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. According to January data that was released this week, Seattle-area home prices were:

Up 0.7 percent December to January
Up 12.9 percent year-over-year.
Up 21.8 percent from the July 2007 peak

Over the same period last year prices were up 0.6 percent month-over-month and year-over-year prices were up 11.3 percent.

Seattle still leads the nation in year-over-year price growth. The only other metro areas with double-digit price growth from a year earlier are Las Vegas at 11.1 percent and San Francisco at 10.3 percent.

Share of sales in cheap parts of King County hit all-time high as prices keep climbing

It’s been nearly a year since we took a look at the in-county breakdown data from the NWMLS to see how the sales mix shifted around the county. I like to keep an eye on this not only to see how individual neighborhoods are doing but also to see how the sales mix shift affects the overall county-wide median price.

The most interesting thing in this data is that in February the share of sales in the South King regions hit an all-time high at 41.6 percent, just edging out the previous high of 41.4 percent set in November 2007 (just four months after prices peaked). Despite this continued shift in sales toward the lower-priced regions, the county-wide median price continues to push upward.

King County median home price now $77k higher than “Affordable” home price

As promised in Monday’s affordability post, here’s an updated look at the “affordable home” price chart.

In this graph I flip the variables in the affordability index calculation around to other sides of the equation to calculate what price home the a family earning the median household income could “afford” to buy at today’s mortgage rates, if they spent 30% of their monthly gross income on their home payment. Don’t forget that this math includes the (giant) assumption that the home buyers putting 20% down, which would be $129,990 at today’s median price.