New listing absorption softens more as pending sales slip

I’ve got a few charts to update you with, but let’s start with a few charts that sum up the state of King County single-family listings, inventory, and pending sales.

After five or six years of the same story month after month—fewer listings, more sales, soaring prices—the market has definitely turned in 2018. Pending sales are now on the decline and inventory is rising rapidly. Let’s see what this looks like in charts…

New listing absorption falls to a seven-year low

The big increase in listings is the first interesting development we’ve seen in the local real estate market in months, so here are a few alternative takes on recent home listing activity.

First up, here’s a chart of new listing absorption. This is a simple look at the ratio of pending sales to new listings. If more homes are going pending in a month than there are being listed, this ratio goes above 100 percent, which is obviously not great for buyers.

As of May, the absorption metric has dropped to 79 percent—its lowest level since June 2011. Interestingly, the rate was at its all-time highest level just last December at 162 percent. The absorption rate typically hits its lowest point of the year in June or July, so seeing it drop this low this fast is highly unusual.

King Co. SFH New Listing Absorption Rate

New Listing Absorption Dropping Rapidly From December High

By request, here are a few alternative takes on recent home listing activity. Since one of the biggest issues driving the current crazy market is a lack of enough home listings, we can get an idea of whether or not there is any relief on the horizon for buyers by looking at listing activity.

First up, here’s a chart I just created: New listing absorption. This is a simple look at the ratio of pending sales to new listings. If more homes are going pending in a month than there are being listed, this ratio goes above 100 percent, which is obviously not great for buyers.

…what’s interesting to me about this chart is that just last December we saw new listing absorption an all-time high of 159%, while as of June it has fallen to almost the lowest level since the market bottomed out in 2011. However, this is obviously a very seasonal metric, and the low point for the year usually comes in June or July, so it would not be surprising if this is the lowest level we see this year.