Sunday Night Stats

So far it looks like sellers have a 50% chance of selling vs. last year.  I’ll keep tabs on that as we go.  You were twice as likely to sell your house last year as this year, if you put it on market.  For those of you who think it’s a new year and if it didn’t sell last year it’s time to raise the price…I’d rethink that.  Hopefully low interest rates will improve the stats moving forward.  But I wouldn’t count on the improvement being more than a 66.6% chance of selling.  We’re not talking about selling at the price you want.  We’re talking about selling at all.  Not a good time to be stubborn or overly optimistic.  You have until 4/1/08 to get real with your pricing, or possibly be back on market in 2009.  Stop pricing off what other people are asking.  Stick close to the comps this year.  No more than 5% over the comps is a good rule of thumb.  And don’t skimp on condition.  Condition will be the MOST important factor in 2008, second to not pricing more than 5% over the comps.

King County – Residential

For sale – 8,508 – UP 132

In Escrow – 1,906 – UP 97 – 6.5% of those are contingent contracts

Closed month to date – 439 – UP 203


King County – Condo Market

For sale – 2,929 – UP 59

In escrow – 798 – UP 18 – 2.6% of those are contingent contracts

Closed month to date –  144 – UP 75

UP means over last Sunday’s data.  Sales of single family homes kept pretty good pace against homes coming on market this week.  But still running at about half the pace of this time last year.  Let’s assume 1/3 of the buyer pool is gone and that this year’s sales will be 2/3rds of last year in total number of properties sold.  That’s my prediction based on what we’re seeing so far.

“Statistics not compiled or published by NWMLS.

Sunday Night Stats – King County

An update to the Property Stats for King County from last week:

Residential – Single Family

For sale – 8376 – UP 279

In escrow – 1809 – UP 27

Closed in Janaury so far – 236 -NEW CATEGORY


For Sale – 2,870 – UP 125

In escrow – 780 – UP 47

Closed in Jan so far – 69 – NEW CATEGORY


Apologies Sandy, no Bellevue Stats today.  I’ve decided to do them in map grid first, and visit some of the new on markets for commentary on how the new is comparing to old listings, and to track if the new listings are selling at a higher rate than current inventory.

Broker’s Opens are on Thursday.  I’ll report afterward.

“Statistics not compiled or published by NWMLS.

Sunday Night Stats

I know how much I enjoy being able to check RCG for mortgage rates every Friday, thanks to Rhonda.  I’m going to try to do the same for King County Stats on Sunday nights.  Each week I will also highlight a different City or Seattle Zip Code over on my blog.  Tonight I did Kirkland Stats.

I don’t have any commentary for King County Stats tonight.  But there’s plenty of commentary on the Kirkland Stats.  There’s less than a three month supply of inventory for property priced at or below the median price sold in 2007.  There’s a very strong buyer’s market in the high end of $1M or more for condos and $1.5M or more for single family homes.

I’ll try to post the stats here every Friday night for King County, but until we get a couple of months of sales, or the full first quarter of 2008, commentary would simply be conjecture.  I don’t expect the number of homes sold in 2008 to be dramatically different in the first half of 2008, as they were in the last half of 2007. 

I expect that brown slice of December 2007 closings to change a bit each week as agents post late.  There were even a few late postings for November and October since last week.  I’ll try to update and keep the data as accurate as possible.  As always, and by mls rule, I must disclose that I, ARDELL compiled these stats using MLS as a source only.  The data is not compiled by NWMLS.



“Statistics not compiled or published by NWMLS.

How are condo/home sales being financed?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been chomping at the bit to know how people who are buying, are financing these purchases.  It’s a monumental task to wade through the detail on this. I probably should have waited a week to get all of the September closings into the mix from the last few days.  But I just couldn’t wait another day!  The suspense was killing me. 

I used all sales from one city on the Eastside, closings from 8/1 through end of September, purchase prices of $400,000 or less.  For confidentiality reasons, since I am revealing mortgage data, I will not name which city I used.  Too easy to trace some of these to the actual purchaser.  I think it will be important to track over the next 6 months, how these percentages change, particularly with regard to FHA and financing for purchases with less than 20% down.

Here are the results of approximately 60 closings. Another 25 or so did not have the data recorded yet as to the mortgage amount and type.  I’ll pick those up in the next analysis.

1) 41.5% were 20% down or more.  Most exactly 20% down. 

2) 25% were 100% financed. Interesting note: 75% of the ones with 100% financing were done as ONE loan.  No second mortgage. So PMI may be back in a big way.  (private mortgage insurance instead of a high rate 2nd mortgage, for the amount financed representing over 80% of the purchase price.)  unless these programs waived PMI.  In any event, one loan and not two, as has been customary for quite some time now.  Big shift.

3) 15% were 10% down.  75% of those were also done as one 90% loan and not two, as in 80% and 10%.  Again…big shift.

4) 10% were 5% down.  Half done as one loan, and the other half done as two loans.

5) 5% were cash purchases.

6) 3.5% were FHA.  The amount financed on these were both 98.4% of sale price, and not 97%.  Important to note, as we tend to say that FHA is 3% down, but it really doesn’t work quite that way in reality.  One was sale price $274,000 with a financed amount $269,766.  The other was sale price $213,000 and financed amount $209,709.  More like 1.6% “down”.  I vaguely remember this from “the old days” but time for everyone to get up to speed on FHA and review some actual closing statements regarding how FHA really works at the end of the day.  While only 2 of 60 were financed using FHA, we should be seeing many more of these.  So we all need to get a lender in to explain FHA financing to the agents, in minute detail, with real closing statements as samples, NOT GFEs!

The under $300,000 market looks good with a 3 month supply in escrow…but something tells me a lot of these won’t close, due to financing, unless a lot of agents get up to speed on how to finance these really, really FAST!  Inventory also looks OK, with less than twice that amount on market, but if we can’t close out those in escrow, there’s not much hope for the existing inventory either, especially if 2/3rds of those in escrow come back on market…which they easily could.  I say at least 1/3 of these will not close.  I’m thinking it will actually be half to 2/3rds that will not close.  Mainly because in escrow represents three times the average per mo. that closed in the last two months!  So my guess is that many of these are in closing date extensions, trying to figure out how to finance.

The key to the next six months will be everyone getting totally up to speed on FHA and FAST!  If the low end can’t move in the first quarter, because agents don’t understand FHA or alternative financing, 2008 is in big trouble.  Old saying: “As goes the low end (in the 1st quarter), so goes the year.”

I’m pushing all of our agents in that direction, to help the industry and consumers.  Focus on the low end and totally “get” how to finance it, for people with little money down.  The better we handle this, the better the market will be.  Every broker should be having seiminars on FHA and minimum down financing, and not waiting to see how the market does without our influence.  The best agents need to go down to the low end price-wise, and focus on helping this market move, and not leaving the cheap seats to those least qualified to juggle the financing piece of this low end market.

Fewer sales failing on financing in the under $400,000 market will be THE key to Seattle’s holding on to its preferred market position nationally.  Don’t let Seattle down.  Roll up your sleeves and get down there where it really matters.  The first time buyer market.  DO NOT leave that market to inexperienced newer agents, without a lot of support.

It’s a darned shame escrow can’t intervene and help with this too.  Not a good time for them to be “neutral parties”.  They are the ones with first hand knowledge of which lenders are closing, and which aren’t.  I’ll give you a few clues:

Bank of America closed about 20% of the zero down, one loan, 100% financing.

Wells Fargo closed about 15% of the zero down, two loan 100% financing.

Countrywide, First Horizon, American Mtg Network, Choice Lending, Gn Mtg LLC, Mortgageit Inc., Planet Financial, Mtg. Network Svcs., Liberty Financial, Rainland – all of these closed one or more those 100% financed in the last 60 days.  FHA – Wells Fargo.

I’m not recommending these lenders, and don’t even know many of them.  Just reporting who seems to be getting the job done.  I’ll try to pick up the last week of September, those not yet updated in the County records data, in a week or so.