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Friday, January 05, 2007

Inventory Up, Sales Down (Sound Familiar?)

December stats are available from the NWMLS. Here's a summary of the "residential" figures:

Active Listings: up 23% YOY
Pending Sales: down 9% YOY
Median Closed Price: $440,000, up 12% YOY.

I'll update this post later today with the usual graph and links to the updated spreadsheet and the NWMLS pdfs.

Update: Sorry about the delay. Here's the Seattle Bubble Spreadsheet, and here is the latest inventory & sales graph:

As you can see, inventory jumped slightly less YOY than it has in recent months, and sales dropped YOY slightly less than they have in recent months. Is this the beginning of a trend toward inventory and sales stabilization? I'm going to go with "no" for now. We'll really see come March.

30 comments:

info said...

December turned out to be an incredibly strong month...the median res price is now at an all time high of $440K. It's quite normal for prices to drop a little this time of year. Instead we've seen record highs.

And inventory plummeted from 7,040 in Nov to only 4,411 in Dec. An incredible 37% MOM drop.

With such a strong Dec, I think it's highly likely that Spring 2007 will be a very healthy market.

Grivetti said...

Info, can you provide a link to your real-estate/mortgage agency?....

Sorry, the bridge isn't large enough to hide your trolliness...

meshugy said...

info is me....the new blog just used my google account.

Sorry, 4,411 was Dec.2005 inventory. Dec. 06 is 5,423. So a 23% drop.

T,V & Mr.B said...

Info, how you can say that the numbers are strong is actually quite hillarious. the rise in median only means that the higher priced homes are the ones that sold.

MisterBubble said...

"Sorry, 4,411 was Dec.2005 inventory. Dec. 06 is 5,423. So a 23% drop."

...resulting in a total inventory that is 23% higher than last year. You can put a turd on a doily, but it's still a turd.

wreckingbull said...

Hi Info Meshugy...

I like the entertainment you bring to this blog. But seriously, you make yourself look pretty dumb with posts like this. If you simply touted the YOY median increase, you would at least have a leg to stand on.

MisterBubble said...

Check out the Rhodinator's blurb on the Seattle Times' website: December home sales down, listings up

Wow...she could have focused on the median increases, but went for the slowdown angle instead....is Lizzie becoming a bear?

The Tim said...

Mr.B.,

I caught that. I'll reserve this month's judgement on Ms. Rhodes until I've seen the full article tomorrow.

If her tone has turned, we will now know what it takes to finally get a local RE reporter's attention: 14 straight months of declining YOY sales, and 9 straight months of increasing YOY inventory.

Geon said...

I tell you, this past week I've been seeing a lot of old faces (old house listings) suddenly being relisted. The tide is rising once again. Prices still out of this world.

Cam said...

I've seen a ton of relistings as well. I wish I'd noted the one's in areas I'm interested in to see the price drops.

Anyone have MLS access? Can you see the previous listing history to see how big a cuts they've made?

I noticed at least one shack on the water that simply relisted at the same million and change price, and it was contingent the next day. Lack of ethics and treating the MLS as your play thing is profitable in some cases, I guess.

Start revoking licenses and this crap would stop.

CRichard said...

I have to agree with Meshugy, the 23% drop is big. In fact, it is the largest drop in MOM inventory levels in all the years of data I have available (back to 1999).

So this drop is due to buyers snapping up houses in the incredibly strong month of December, right?

Well, looking at actual sales we find that MOM sales actually dropped by the largest amount ever for a December (8%). In fact, it is more common to see sales increase during this month – probably related to year-end factors.

Another remarkable thing about December was that the number of new listings was the lowest ever for any month in all the data I have available.

Following Meshugy’s logic, I guess you could say that the market is TOO HOT right now for new sellers and those that took their houses off the market because they couldn’t sell. And it also follows that they will be afraid to jump in next year, which will mean the lowest inventory levels ever and another year of incredible price inflation!

The Tim said...

CRichard,

LOL.

Here are the last 7 years of Nov. to Dec. inventory changes for KC Res:

2000: -15.30%
2001: -21.80%
2002: -15.90%
2003: -19.06%
2004: -21.29%
2005: -19.97%
2006: -22.97%

So yeah, while the statement "it is the largest drop in MOM inventory levels" is technically true, it is only slightly larger than 2001 and 2004, and not really all that unusual.

What Spring will bring is anyone's guess, and I don't think the December data gives us much to go on, since December is always the slowest RE month.

What happens February and March will give us a much better idea of how this year is going to shape up. If listings jump in January, then increase only slightly Feb. & Mar., while sales start to spike big-time, then it will likely be another year of bizarre price gains.

I'd go on, but I'm saving it for a post in the next few days :^)

AmazedRenter said...

Let's not forget to mention the drop in closed sales: 6,592 rather than 7,995 last year, an 18% drop. Significant, to be sure.

MisterBubble said...

Hey Tim,

Could you remind me how you're getting the historical data? I'm perpetually annoyed by the way that the NWMLS uses the same file name for stats, month after month....

Alan said...

So lower priced housing sales are dropping. Maybe this means that people who earn less do not like to move during Christmas. Or maybe it means that the parting of a fool and his money has completed for fools with less money.

I remember a month or so ago someone prediction that the downward price pressures would come from the top. Decemeber's numbers suggest otherwise.

I would really like to see a month histogram of sale prices. Anyone know where one could get the data to generate said graph?

MisterBubble said...

alan,

You can go to the King County eSales database, do a monthly query, then tediously copy each page of data into a spreadsheet. I did it this summer for a few different MLS regions.

Keep in mind, though, that you'll get a histogram of recent sales prices, and this won't necessarily tell you what you want to know. For example...if the histogram reflects more expensive sales, does that mean that people are paying more for formerly inexpensive houses, or does it mean that low-end sales are falling? You can normalize by home size (price/sq.ft.) but even that is an imperfect adjustment....

Kent said...

Redfin is a good place to get stats on what might be happening with at least inventory. I created 6 regions in the seattle area. Basically just drew 6 overlapping squares over areas of Seattle that are interesting to me and saved all the searches. It also provides stats on all the listings in the regions. I am collecting number of listings, Median price, price per square foot and days on the market for these sample regions each week and putting it into a spreadsheet. I think you will be able to see inventory rise at least. It is intersting to continue looking at the same regions day after day. I just noticed that in Ballard 6 new Million dollar houses got dumped on the market in the past 2 days. Do you think the rats are leaving the ship...

Alan said...

Ugh... King County eSales really does not make it easy to get data.

Jackson Wallace said...

My personal observations in the two areas, I've been looking is that Skyway, some good view properties have been struggling to get buyers at inflated prices, and a lot of houses in the 450k - 650k have been languishing on NW QA, a neighborhood which I would take over Ballard any day of the week.
Whether this is just an opening or a trend remains to be seen. All those morons out in exurbia on the east side are really gonna be thinking about getting out of there come spring. Look at the frickin weather. This has got to have an effect. Seattle is really a climactic dump, the only positive is we dont have Mexico invading across the border. Our summers are short and lame.

Lake Hills Renter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lake Hills Renter said...

This "moron out in exurbia" likes the climate here, thanks.

matthew said...

Its not a coincidence that Seattle has a rate of SAD (season affective disorder) of 10 percent of the population... Compared to about 1 percent in Miami FL.

Lake Hills Renter said...

I would be in that 1% in Miami. I've been to Florida enough to know it's not for me, or the entire south for that matter. I moved here from Texas in part to get away from the climate in that part of the country. I much prefer it here -- I'll take 3 months of 70 in summer over 9 months of 100 every single time, and the rain here doesn't bother me at all. I rather like it for the most part. But I do realized I'm in the minority.

I recommend to anyone to live in a place where you enjoy the climate. Life's too short to suffer the weather.

MisterBubble said...

I'm definitely one of the people who hates the climate here -- I've expressed my opinions on the matter before. ;-)

In particular, I'll never understand how people can blithely compare Seattle with places like San Francisco or San Diego -- how completely unimportant does the climate have to be for you to make that comparison work? I mean, sure the homes are less expensive here, but how much is your sanity worth? Yeesh....

T,V & Mr.B said...

hojwpMr. Bubble,
Weather desirableness, certainly is personal taste. I moved here from San Diego for the weather. I know several other San Diegans that moved here. I suspect a few may be going back after this year but obviously there is a demand here in Seattle, despite the weather.
the comparisons are because of so many other facotors, economies are based on like industries.
I frankly hate the weather down there. Even living on the coast, which was 5 times better than living anywhere east of I-5, it got too hot. the coastal layer was nice to have, but it just isn't the same of a good rain in the mountains.

Some people like rain, some don't. I recommend that if you don't, then contibute to San Diego's housing economy and help some poor sap down there out. As long as you keep contributing to the blog form down there.

bobbyj0708 said...

I love the Seattle weather... now that I live in Orange County. 70 degrees today and not a cloud in the sky, time for my bike ride down to Laguna Beach. Have fun with that GoreTex

Dukes said...

Hi tv/mr.b, I am moving back to San Diego, I love the weather there. It is very funny how the old saying "to each his own" really makes sense.

I second bobbyj, I like the weather once I am gone. I spent Christmas in San Diego, lived there 5 years previously, and will move back this June. To me, it just hands down beats the nastiness up here weather wise.

Dukes said...

Here is a little rant on Seattle that many here may find interesting...I sure did.

http://tinyurl.com/y7bq34

Check out the statistic on how many new Pacific Northwesters are from CA...I knew there was something to seeing all those license plates...

T,V & Mr.B said...

I am happy to hear the above comments. I certainly like to see them. As one who moved to San Diego from here, and then back, I hope those from socal that moved here, do the same. :-)
It truly is a matter of taste. I have seen a few San Diegans hate the winters here and go back. I guess that is all part of the cycles.

Lake Hills Renter said...

Other than the wind, today's weather (51 and cloudy) is quite enjoyable. Good day to be in the mountains, enjoying the lush mossy forest. I'll get plenty of 70 and sunny in summer. Right now I'm enjoying winter. Me and my GoreTex get along just fine.

TV/MrB, I'm with you. I've seen lots of Texans come here and go back as well. I love it here and absolutely hated Texas. California has been a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there either. To each his own.