Sunday Night Stats

Before I get to the regular stats, I like to post a little something of interest that demonstrates why we are looking at the stats so closely.

3 1

2 1 2 3

Home sales have been running fairly consistently at 32% fewer homes sold over the same month last year, which was down from the number of homes sold the year prior.

This week’s Stats:

King County Residential Sales

Active/For Sale – 9,127 – UP 110 – avg. price $729,463 – median price $519,993

In Escrow – 2,557 – UP 104 – avg. price $569,757 – median price $449,900

Closed YTD – 1,551 – UP 266 – avg. price $553,634 – median price $439,000

King Conty Condo Sales

Active/For Sale – 3,256 – UP 78 – avg. price $455,493 – median price $325,000

In Escrow – 882 – UP 20 – avg. price $$407,528 – median price $315,000

Closed YTD – 533 – 101 – avg. price $356,267 – median price $279,999

Inventory is still coming on at a faster pace than properties are selling, but the single family home market seems to be doing better with that than the condo market.

I noticed during Broker’s Opens this week that many townhomes on the Eastside are encroaching on the price range of some halfway decent single family homes. I think that is bad news for people asking a half a million dollars for older townhomes with deferred maintenance exteriors in less than stellar locations, from what I have seen.

I also see weakness in the condo markets on the Eastside, and that appears to be both due to fewer investors as well as owner-occupied buyers. So financing is not the only issue accounting for the 32% drop in sales.

Per mls rules I must state that these stats are compiled and posted by me, ARDELL, and not the NWMLS.

“Statistics not compiled or published by NWMLS.

This entry was posted in General and tagged by ARDELL. Bookmark the permalink.


ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

62 thoughts on “Sunday Night Stats

  1. Thanks a ton, as always. Is there anyway to determine what the values were for each of these categories for a year ago so we can have somewhat of a preliminary year-over-year analysis? It could definitely add a lot to these posts (if it’s at all possible/feasible). Thanks!

  2. I just went back and tagged them all Sunday Night Stats (I’m terrible at tagging) so that you can hit that tag and get all 8 weeks since I started this on January 6, 2008.

  3. Topdog,

    I can’t go backwards, and I hate showing median prices as high end homes can skew the data and do not tell you if prices are up or down. But for you, I’ll start adding that. I’ll go back and edit tonight’s post to add that data for all categories. I’m assuming you mean the regular Sunday Night Stats and not the graphed data.

  4. Topdog,

    hmmm, now I see you are asking for YOY pricings. Oh well, I’ll keep adding the prices in my regular Sunday Night Stats.

    Can someone tell me why there is such a huge difference between the average price and the median price?

  5. I can only go backwards on sold property. Sorry. The system doesn’t work for inventory from a prior time. You can check under Tracking the Market on my blog. I don’t post there much, but any stats I may have calculated over the last two years will still be there. It’s Maybe there’s something helpful there that you can use.

  6. Ardell,

    Thank you for your great work as always. 🙂

    Do you also track time on market/time to close stats? min/median/mean/max number of days from listing to closing? I’m wondering if properties are actually staying on market longer. Yeah, I know that’s probably affected by price range. :-/

    Also, what are the rules in this area for re-listing? Is a dormant period required after pulling from one realtor to listing with another?

    Thanks for being a super trooper!

  7. “Can someone tell me why there is such a huge difference between the average price and the median price? ”

    Example of why average and median can be so different:
    As I’m sure you know, median is the point where half the properties will sell above and half will sell below.

    So if 4 properties sell at the following prices:
    the median and the average will both be 650,000.

    However, this is obviously an unrealistic scenario. Throw a couple of very high-priced (or low-priced) houses into the mix, and the average will change much more dramatically in response to these outliers than will the median. In real estate, the average would practically always be higher since expensive houses will be farther on the up side then cheaper houses will be on the low side. (If most houses are selling in the 650 K range in a certain area, there will still be houses iin this area that sell for 1.3 million but none will sell for 1 dollar). In statistical analysis, if the data show significant outliers, median is considered more reliable than average since the effect of outliers will be less. Using average price for Seattle real estate is somewhat misleading. Median is closer to the truth, although stats never really seem to tell the whole truth.

    :For example, to the 4 above properties selling for:


    if you add two properties selling for
    4,000,000 and 345,000

    average becomes about 1.2 million, but median stays the same at 650,000. In this case the median is a better reflection of the overall market than average, since the average is almost twice as high as the price any property sold except one. The market in example 2 is probably more or less the same as in example 1 even though one more expensive and one cheaper house has been added to the mix, which shouldn’t justify the impression that housing prices in example 2 are 2X higher than in example 1. This is why median is the more accepted method for evaluating the overall market.

  8. Good point on the number of sales. I believe if you did your graph going back 6 years, December 2007 would be a low point for the entire six year period. Also, Snohomish Condos are hurting in some areas too. I think they’re suffering the effects of having been really hot in 2006–going up too fasst isn’t good.

    Finally, inventory figures can be misleading for a reason I don’t think I’ve mentioned before. Just like with unemployment numbers, where people give up looking for work and no longer count as unemployed, people give up selling and are no longer part of the inventory. Many of those that give up are really the loss of two sales because they would repurchase elsewhere. It’s like many things in the economy–one seller affects another.

  9. On the topic of averages, first a pet peeve. Median is an average. Mean is an average. Referring to just the average is common, but it bugs me. When a chart or graph refers to median and average, you can assume it means median and mean. But what if it just says average? Very unclear.

    I wouldn’t say the mean average is misleading. It is what it is, and it does show something. It’s just more volatile, and less useful for that reason. The spread between the mean and median simply shows the strength of the market in the upper end. If you’re looking at properties below median I’m not sure it tells you a thing.

    Second, what we really probably should be doing is looking at moving averages, perhaps 3 month and 6 month moving averages. That would smooth out some of the volitity in both the mean and median. But I’ve not seen that done–instead we look a YOY numbers because it’s easier.

  10. Mark,

    Days on Market is definitely longer. Double or more in most cases. I no longer expect an offer in 30 days as I did before. 60 to 90 is more like it.

    I’ll do a separate days on market post as I’ve squeezed too much data into that one post and I’m running out of room left to right in the weekly data.

  11. Thanks czb,

    Then in the future I will post the median price and median Days on Market. That will incorporate Mark’s request by eliminating the irrelevant data set, giving me room for his requested info.

  12. Kary,

    Regarding people who choose not to sell, that they are accounted for in the reduced number of sales is sufficient to my purpose.

    Aside from responding to the people requesting the info, I think it is important for agents to see that the number of sales per agent and per office in King County is declining. I saw a thread recently in Active Rain where agents think they are supposed to be pumped up and encouraging to buyers and sellers ALL the time. I’m hoping that by posting the data, they will be realistic when speaking with their clients, or if not, that those buyers and sellers at least have a direct source of real data.

    I know there are other sources of real data, but generally it is stacked in the favor of false positive because 2007 as a whole looks a lot better than after the sub-prime crisis and other mortgage issues.

  13. Kary,

    We are not looking at YOY numbers because “it is easier”. We are looking at YOY numbers because that’s were the true story lies at the moment. We are looking month to month and YOY both. The story can’t be only “sales up x % from last month” if that x percent is still 32% less than same time the year before.

    What I am looking for, and we are not there yet, is how many people who have to sell will sell. When I started in real estate after a run up of prices, only 3 out of every 10 people who wanted to sell could sell at all, regardless of what they did. There were 10 sellers for every 3 buyers.

    My expectation is that there will be 7 buyers for every 10 properties this year. That means 3 out of every 10 sellers will not be successful no matter what they do.

  14. Kary said: “On the topic of averages, first a pet peeve. Median is an average. Mean is an average. Referring to just the average is common, but it bugs me.”

    Thanks for pointing this out Kary, but in doing so, you hit one of my pet peeves: when people refer to the mean without clarifying whether they’re talking about the geometric, arithmetic, or harmonic mean.


  15. YOY would still be relevant, but a 3 month moving average would be a good figure to have too. This isn’t possible, but if it were only possible to have the current month’s median and the three month moving median average, I’d pick the latter. Houses aren’t like stocks where you can just click an Internet link and sell instantly for the price shown.

    I may work through it sometime to see what the 3 month moving median average numbers looked like in the March through December period of 2007.

  16. Kary,

    More significant for me is when an apples to apples product sells for less or is sitting on market for an extended and unexpected period of time.

    I am tracking that, but only on the Eastside where apples to apples is more abundant in the areas I frequent. Very hard to find apples to apples at Green Lake, for example. Too much variety of product to draw absolute conclusions as to prices being up or down. I’m watching one that can’t sell no matter what and have a listing coming up down the street from it.

    Posting for general info, and staying on top of the market as the insider professional, are not one in the same. Both are important.

  17. Yo Ardell- How do you like this voluntary pack mule business? What else can we get you to lift for free? I was wondering if you could quantify the expense ratio between my wife’s spending and my spending, how that was impacted after our first, second and third child, and what we’d need to set aside for their impending college tuition in 2018, 2020 and 2025.

    On the anecdotal front, I too am seeing a bounty of compelling single family houses around 500K. Bryant, Ravenna, G-lake, Phinney and so on. No longer one house showings and I’ll call you tomorrow.

    Kris K. Feeling math dumb here. I thought the median was the middle data point in a series. I’ve always preferred this over average sales price but can’t easily articulate why.

    Wikiapedia says this: In probability theory and statistics, a median is described as the number separating the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half.

  18. “I was wondering if you could quantify the expense ratio between my wife’s spending and my spending”

    Sure…but know in advance that the result and recommendation will come out in your wife’s favor 🙂

    I think median’s can be attained differently depending on the “rules” of the person or system calculating the median.

    Back in Catholic Grade School I was taught that taking out the high and the low and recalculating the average equalled “the median”.

    Clearly for Days on Market, I will be breaking the data into prices as I would expect high end to have higher days on market.

    As to being a “pack mule”, blogging is doing my work in your face. If what is requested is part of what I do and look at anyway, no reason not to take requests. blogging is not what I do when I’m not working. Many of my posts are written for specific clients, though you won’t be able to tell that due to confidentiality. I share my advices with the world, but often they are written to a specific client.

    It’s the old classroom theory. If one of my clients asked it, then others who didn’t ask may like to know the answer.

  19. Doug wrote: “Kris K. Feeling math dumb here. I thought the median was the middle data point in a series. I’ve always preferred this over average sales price but can’t easily articulate why.”

    Yes, the median is the middle priced sale. The mean is if you add up all the proceeds and divide by the number of sales.

    I’m not sure what I wrote to cause you to question that. Perhaps it was my talk of moving averages. What I would do there is take the mean of three medians. The purpose of doing that is to smooth things out. It will go up slower, and down slower, than the monthly numbers.

  20. Don, were you around here in the late 70s, early 80s? One factor alone, like interest rates, doesn’t control the entire market. If interest rates go up, prices are more likely to go down, but they can still go up!

    Also, just because interest rates have been heading up, that doesn’t mean they will continue to do so. Being able to accurately predict interest rates could make someone a lot of money.

  21. Escrow median price > Closed median price for both condos and SFH. Could this mean that more higher priced units are falling out of escrow than lower priced units?

  22. I’d guess it to say that more higher priced ones are new construction that stay in escrow longer. Can’t close until the whole building is complete, or at least the first move in phase.

  23. Ardell wrote: “I’d guess it to say that more higher priced ones are new construction that stay in escrow longer. Can’t close until the whole building is complete, or at least the first move in phase.”

    That’s why when I’m trying to estimate sales for the month and absorption rates I exclude pendings for built in 2007-08.

  24. Rhonda wrote: “I’m actually working with more buyers now that the rates are going up than I have in a while.”

    It’s sort of like people going to Safeway when the snow starts to fall. All of a sudden a lot of people realize: “I need food!”

Leave a Reply