November Home Sales – Is Seattle Bubble Overly Optimistic?

When I did my stats for King County for the month of November, my numbers were actually worse than those reported on Seattle Bubble.  I have come to rely on Seattle Bubble as being the place where I can find the worst possible news about the housing market.  But I have double, triple and quadruple checked my numbers, and I still come up with only 768 sales of single family homes in the month of November.

This from The Tim at Seattle Bubble: “What immediately jumped out to me was Closed Sales, which were down a whopping 43% YOY, coming in at just 869 SFH sales county-wide.”

My figures show a drop YOY of just over 46% from 1,427 sold in November of 2007 to 768 sold in November of 2008 for Residential Property in King County.  While that is only a modest difference, when I look at condo sales YOY, the numbers are even worse and down 58% from 555 sales in November of 2007 to 230 sales in November of 2008.

A more significant factor is the % down from peak volume for any month of November.  For Single Family Homes, that would be November of 2004.  For condos that would be November of 2005.  Based on my previous research, that variance is due to the fact that by November of 2005, many people were priced out of the single family home market, which pushed the peak sales into 2005 for condos.

For single family homes, November of 2008 sales are almost 70% lower than peak volume for the month of November.

For condos, November sales are slightly more than 70% lower than peak volume for any month of November.

The Tim correctly points out that “For comparison, that is lower than any month on record (post-2000).”  However, I think it is more currently relevant to point out the relationship of November 2008 sales volume to a most recent lowest volume, that being January of 2008,  I have shown this figure as a dot on the graph below, green for condos and purple for SFH. 

Conclusion: Both single family and condo sales in Novmeber of 2008 are approximately 70% under peak volume, and 20% under the previous, recent low point of January of 2008.

Seattle Area Home Sales Volume

Seattle Area Home Sales Volume

I think we can all agree on one thing…for the first time in a long time I think we can all be confident that 2009 WILL be better than November of 2008, as to volume of property sold, since it’s hard to imagine that it could get any worse, even for the most pessimistic among us.  Well, maybe not Sniglet 🙂
If November sales volume is not AT BOTTOM…we may have to start looking at an “exit strategy”.
(required disclosure) All stats in this post (and graphs) compiled by ARDELL and not compiled, verified or posted by the NWMLS.