Sunday Night Stats & YOY Results

I’m actually on the edge of my seat awaiting the results of the end of month King County stats for February. I love posting in real-time as I see the data for the first time as I am posting it here.

Remember, not all agents post their closings in a timely manner, so there will be some updating in the next few days. In fact I will be showing January YOY as well to pick up any late entries there also.

I’ll do January first for 2006, 2007 and 2008 in graph form. I’m off to get the numbers and post them in the graph data field.

Median Home Prices King County 1

The median home price for January of 2008 for single family residences is up 9% comparing 2008 with 2006 and up 1% from January of 2007.

  of homes sold king county

Total Number of Sales is down 35.6% compared to January of 2006 and down 31.8% compared to January of 2007.

Days on market increased from 33 days in 2006 to 53 days in 2007 to 61 days in 2008. So those reduced number of homes sold are taking longer to sell for slightly better prices.

Now let’s look at the condo sales for January YOY.

Median Prices King County Condo Sales

Prices up around 21% compared to 2006 and holding steady compared to 2007. Remember, these are the numbers for the month of January compared Year over Year (YOY)

  of condos sold King County 1

34% fewer condos sold in January of 2008 compared to January of 2006. 37% fewer condos sold in January of 2008 compared to January of 2007. This repeats what I have been saying, that last year some people who didn’t buy single family homes, bought condos instead. But this year sales are down even further for condos than for single family homes, greatly due to financing issues introduced in the latter part of 2007.

Days on market for condos increased from 27 days in 2006 to 38 days in 2007 to 61 days in 2008. That’s a pretty dramatic increase in days on market and coincidentally identical in 2008 to the days on market for single family homes.

OK…let’s all hold our breath for the February reports. It’s only March 2nd, so there WILL be some late additions which I will post next Sunday night. But we also had an extra day, it being a leap year.

Median Home Prices King County 1 2 3

February Prices were up 11.5% from 2006 to 2007 and are holding to a hair under for 2008 compared to 2007.

Days on market have increased from 24 to 43 to 57 56. Again taking much longer to sell at these prices.

King County Home Sales 1

I’m going to guess that with late arrivals posting in the next week that the volume continues to be down at least the 32% or so that we saw last month, and not the 38% or so showing in that graph. But still, not seeing an improvement for sure. We’ll catch up on late postings next week, but the trend appears to be continuing as to volume.

**UPDATE** Late postings as of March 6 coming in better than expected for residential sales at 29% drop compared to February of 2007. Graph has been modified to reflect most recent stats.

I did the number of sales first on the condos, so I’m going to post it that way. All I can say is I sure hope there are a LOT of late postings out there, because volume appears to be down as much as 47% as of right now. Let’s guess that to be not more than 40% just so we can all sleep tonight, and hope for the best. I’ll repost this next week in a corrected version after picking up late postings.

**UPDATE** as of March 6 with late postings, # of condo sales down 39% compared with Feb 2007. Graph has been edited to reflect late postings. Median days on market 43, no change in median sale price.

King County Condo Sales 1

I had to go back and double check that one.

Median Prices King County Condo Sales 1 2

The slight downward affect on prices would suggest that the volume, while likely off for late postings is going to end up significantly down, and that is beginning to have a negative impact on prices.

On to the weekly Sunday Night Stats.

King County Residential Sales

Active/For Sale – 9,176 – UP 49 – median price $524,500 – UP $4,507

In Escrow – 2,584 – UP 27 – median price $449,950 – UP $50 (these are asking prices)

Closed YTD – 1,942 – UP 391 – median price $434,538 – DOWN $4,462

King Conty Condo Sales

Active/For Sale – 3,261 – UP 5 – median price $328,900 – UP $3,900

In Escrow – 868 – DOWN 14 – median price $308,500 – DOWN $6,500 (asking prices)

Closed YTD – 658 – UP 125 – median price $278,950 – DOWN $1,049

I feel like the 11 o’clock news tonight. Prices starting to trend downward and volume off significantly.

These stats are compiled and posted by ARDELL and NOT the NWMLS. This is a required disclaimer under current rules of membership.

During the week people should be posting more closings as of February month end and I will adjust the stats via strikeouts and corrections throughout the week.

โ€œStatistics not compiled or published by NWMLS.

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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 & YOY Results

  1. Look at those 2008 sales, wow! Good bye red hot market, hello reality!

    The condo market is about to fall off a cliff….

    But wait, I thought buying a condo was a great way to get into this market?!?!

  2. Ardell, maybe I missed it, but did you reference pendings? I’m showing them up over January and pretty close to the February 2007 levels. If that turns out to be the case (it’s not something I’ve followed in the past and I’m not sure how the NWMLS computes them for their reports), that would indicate sales are picking up after being down for 3 months.

    Over in P-I land recently I said that if prices come in +-.5% of last year and January, 2008, unit volume come in about 66% of last year and consistent with January, 2008, but that pendings are equal to last year and 33% over January, the latter would be the big news, and the prices the least important news. It would also mean Matthew might have to wait a while for prices to fall. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    But anyway, let’s see where the numbers come in on the actual reports, so we’re comparing apples to apples.

  3. BTW, one other point. I actually made a prediction over in P-I land–that this will be our last favorable median comparable for a while (because of how fast the numbers went up last year). So if I’m right (median will be down but sales up significantly over December-February), the March numbers will create quite the opportunity for spin! The bears will point to median and the bulls to volume.

  4. Kary,

    I always report the “in escrow” numbers, which includes three Status’ that are “in escrow”. It’s a total of Contingent Sales, STI and Pendings. I can’t do those YOY, but they are in the weekly posting at the bottom of this post and are compared week to week.

    The number of properties in escrow is not one month, as the pendings tend to close in months that are spread out. So you can’t take the total in escrow and represent it as one month for comparison purposes to another monthly total.

    “the March numbers will create quite the opportunity for spin!” I don’t see March numbers rising over March of last year. Clearly I would expect every month from here through July to be better than these early two months and lower YOY until we get to September of 2008, but I don’t see that as an opportunity for spin.

    My best hope is that once we get to September, the YOY numbers will start moving in the other direction. The initial drop off first appeared in the September 2007 closings, so YOY the numbers are likely to be down significantly up to September of 2008.

    Looking for opportunities for “spin” is like looking for a way to mislead people into thinking the market is better than it is though, don’t you think?

  5. Ardell, I know that the pendings don’t close in one month (I think we discussed that when we were talking about area 330 and how I exclude 2007-08 built homes to exclude new construction). But you can compare the pendings on the NWMLS monthly reports to the prior month and to the prior year. And if they’re heading back up to prior levels, that would mean that sales are likely to do the same (unless the mix is more new construction than the prior years, but we can look at that too). That’s what I’m talking about, not just reporting the number for this month.

    The spin I was talking about is the bears (or the press) will say the median price is down 4% YOY, and totally ignore the volume rising, which is something the bulls (agents) will point to. Both will be factually right, but in that scenario I think the rising volume will be the big news.

    Statistics are very prone to spin. My second favorite example of that was a few months ago when SFR median was up, Condo median was up, but when you combined them the number was down because the relative volume of condos was higher than the prior year. Reporting that number is spin.

  6. Topdog,

    As of right now there are 2,581 residential properties “in escrow”.

    147 or those are contingent on the sale of another property
    682 are STI
    1,752 are Pending

    On the condo side there are 864 in escrow.

    28 are contingent on the sale of another property
    236 are STI
    600 are Pending

  7. 398 of the 600 condo pending sales above are for condos built prior to 2007. 233 of the STI plus Contingent sales are for condos built prior to 2007

    1,177 of the 1,752 Residential Pending sales are for properties built prior to 2007. 588 of the Residential STI sales are for properties built prior to 2007 and 93 of the Contingent sales are for properties built prior to 2007.

  8. Kary,

    I think that July 2007 was the peak of the market, and we won’t see significant YOY price decreases until then. I think the market will be treading water until then, or slightly drowning.

    Come July its going to be a totally different story.

  9. The numbers started up in March. The following are the King County SFR means:

    2/07 512,521
    3/07 566,835
    4/07 563,619
    5/07 590,867
    6/07 575,419
    7/07 595,483
    8/07 593,957
    9/07 583,645
    10/07 551,019
    11/07 540,453
    12/07 534,967
    1/08 525,948


    2/07 429,925
    3/07 454,950
    4/07 465,000
    5/07 469,000
    6/07 470,000
    7/07 481,000
    8/07 477,345
    9/07 450,000
    10/07 443,950
    11/07 435,000
    12/07 435,000
    1/08 435,000

    Now part of that might be seasonal (different mix in properties), but to the extent not, they are difficult numbers to match starting this month (March).

  10. Difficult indeed. And if the trend continues, I wonder how someone who paid 481k for their median house in July 2007 is going to feel when the median price in July 2008 is around 435k?

    Will be interesting to see don’t you think? Even if we get a little spring time bounce this year (which I don’t think we will see much of considering potential higher rates and tighter lending) the psychological effect will be interesting to see.

  11. This is the type of thing where you’re probably better off looking at areas, rather than county wide. There are areas now where people would feel bad knowing what the median has done since they bought, but they probably don’t know it because it doesn’t get reported.

    As to what the numbers will be, I’m not trying to predict that. I’m just predicting I doubt they’ll be as high as last year because it’s a difficult comparison.

  12. Matthew,

    “I wonder how someone who paid 481k for their median house in July 2007 is going to feel when the median price in July 2008 is around 435k?”

    Actually it doesn’t really work that way. Take someone who buys a new home for $850,000 in say Bothell as an example. That person will likely have more difficulty selling at or more than they paid, if they sell within one or two down or flat years, than the person who bought a tlc home at median price of $481,000.

    Let’s say the $481,000 buyer is someone who buys a single family home near Microsoft for $481,000 that needs cosmetic work. The lower end buyer who buys at median price and who will likely make improvements for their own personal enjoyment, will likely be in a better position to sell for more.

    When you talk about buying and then selling, medians rarely play a part in realities. The higher the price, the harder it is to get what you paid. The newer the property, the harder it is to get what you paid. In areas where the County median price equals a starter home that needs work, the chances of creating a higher price in any market actually increases for those who buy at that County median price. If there is no pull toward new construction.

    If no new construction exists within a reasonable distance, the cosmetic fixers selling at or close to county median prices are often the best scenarios in down to flat markets.

    The best ones I have seen though are not in the $450,000 to $550,000 $500,000 price range due to neighborhood issues. The better ones are in the $550,000 to $600,000 price range. If the improvements keep the prices to $699,950 or less on resale, and not more than $40,000 spent on improvements, the results can continue to be favorable regardless of where this market goes.

    Knowing where and how to pick the home you buy will become critical in a flat to down market.

  13. Topdog,

    No problem at all. In fact the more people ask for addtional data, the more I add to the general display of data each week. So your requests help me to do it right the first time moreso as we continue Sunday Night Stats into 2008.

  14. Ardell,

    I am merely using the 481k price as an example. I realize that every aspect of the market is different (to include prices and location) I am just raising the point that from a psychological standpoint, if the average buyer that bought a home in the summer of 2007 sees a story in the PI that the median house price decreased by 9-10 percent YOY, it is going to have a profound effect on the average homeowner.

  15. Matthew, over in P-I land, while writing about the price guarantee that some condos are running, that it depends on the personality of the buyer.

    Last October or November at an open house we ran into a person who had bought a house nearby in Edmonds, and was worried that she bought at the wrong time. After discovering what she paid, we tried to calm her down, but it didn’t seem to help (based on subsequent phone calls). I just was looking again in that same neighborhood, and I continue to believe she got a good buy, but I’d guess she’s still worried.

    We bought about the same time down in Renton. I’m not the least bit worried what the value had done since we bought. I’m not planning on selling, so it’s irrelevant, but also we bought the house at the end of the window when it would have been available. It took us a long time to find the house, and so the price we paid is really practically irrelevant. We were happy with the price when we bought, and remain happy today.

  16. Well Matthew,

    If I can make it through the last two years with many of my clients reading Seattle Bubble while buying and selling homes, I think they and I can handle fluctuations in median prices ๐Ÿ™‚

    One of my clients did start freaking out a bit when the talk started changing toward prices retreating. I assured here that if she were worried I’d be more than happy to come over and sell her house for $50,000 or more than she paid ๐Ÿ™‚

    Funny thing is there are two other clients of mine who really should sell at big profits now for their own personal reasons of not needing to live there now or for long. Both refuse because it is “their home” and “first home” (one is a condo and one an attached single family dwelling).

    It seems people who are worryers will find something to worry about, but not necessarily use that to their advantage to take appropriate actions. Others never worry regardless. As long as their payment is comfortable and they like their home, they are happy.

  17. It probably matters most to people that:

    a. need to sell
    b. own second homes as “investments”

    I’m just thinking of a current coworker that owns a house in Pierce County. He is moving out of the state and needs to sell. He asked his agent what to put the house on the market for and she told him she would list it at 289k. Along with fees he is looking at around a 20k loss (assuming he gets the full 289). He has being religiously tracking prices in his area and keeps get more and more upset when he sees them dropping by 2 percent each quarter and more houses lingering on the market in his area and not selling.

    This guy also wasn’t planning on moving any time soon, but life has a funny way of changing directions on you when you are least expecting it.

  18. I quit to keep harping on this, but I’d say volume is more important than price to someone who needs to sell. If not many houses are selling in your area, it really doesn’t matter as much what the median is, because if you don’t sell the revenue is zero.

  19. Matthew,

    I was just speaking with someone who came here from another State where they are having the same problem as your friend. They are asking their Company to use the relocation benefits to help them refi the home they have out of State instead of helping them buy one here. They are going to buy down the payment on their existing home and rent it out until things get better, and rent here as well for now.

    Is your friend in a position to rent the Pierce County House out? Will that cover his payment, or nearly cover it?

  20. i know that he has an ARM and he thinks that he could rent the house at about a 400-500 dollar loss a month. He is wondering if he should refi to a 30 yr/fixed but if he did his payments would go up a few hundred more a month.

    He doesn’t really want to rent the house out because he is leaving the PNW for good (he isn’t from here, doesn’t like the area, and doesn’t want to move back) and doesn’t want to leave any ties to the area.

    I personally think he should just sell the house and take the loss.

  21. Maybe he could get away with a lesser commission and advertise it as a lease purchase. People often pay a little more for a house for the opportunity to buy it via lease purchase. With the mortgage industry in such a quandry and many not able to get financing, that might be an effective route if he’s careful about who he lets lease purchase it.

    There are a few ways to do this successfully, but he shouldn’t accept anyone without meeting them and really doing his due diligence. Could be the best answer for all concerned and a way for him to help someone get into a home.

  22. Well the February numbers are out, and the pendings weren’t what I was expecting. The median dropped a bit the last few days too as they added in the last sales. About 430,000 rather than around $435,000. If you watch that on a daily basis, it really jumps around–even at the end of the month!

  23. The median price hasn’t changed at all on single family homes, though the volume is up from 1,016 closings in Feburary 1140.

    Condos are up in volume to 386; median price unchanged.

    I’m going to give it until Sunday to change the graphs to pick up whatever is entered as of Sunday night. The condo number would have to get to 431 or so to be running at the same rate down in volume as the were since September. They might make it to 400.

  24. When I was using the $435,000 and $430,000 numbers I was referring to the difference between the live system and what the NWMLS reported. I wonder what accounts for that difference? They’re reporting a few more sales than the live system. Maybe it’s the date they get entered rather than the actual date of sale?

  25. Kary,

    That’s why I do my own stats. I don’t have to guess why when something changes ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t trust anyone else who may want to put a spin on things, not anyone in particular, just saying if I always use the same criteria, I keep the data consistent.

  26. February 2008 stats updated for late postings of month end closings. Graphs have been modified to reflect changes. I’ll check them again on Sunday.

    # of Residential sales 1,157 in February 2008 vs. 1,640 in 2007, down just over 29%.

    # of Condo sales 389 vs 635 in February of 2007. Down 39%.

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