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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Government-Funded "Affordability"

What's the solution to ridiculously high home prices in Seattle? Why, government programs, of course!

Some programs available here max out annually but others remain untapped, leaving thousands of dollars in assistance available to people earning as much as 80 percent of the $72,000 median household income in the Seattle metropolitan area. That currently translates to $40,600 a year for an individual and $58,000 for a family of four. Most programs offer deferred payments with low interest rates, and frequently provide up to $45,000 to help with a down payment.
...
Washington state ranks near the bottom — 43rd out of 50 — in home-ownership rates nationwide, according to the 2004 Census. Sixty-six percent of households in the state are homeowners. Analysts attribute the low numbers not only to soaring home values in the Seattle area, but also to the state's numerous military communities, which tend to have lower numbers of homeowners.

The Washington Homeownership Center wants to improve those rates by reaching out to the estimated 300,000 renter households statewide making at least half the median income. Those include many people under age 35, as well as teachers, police officers, firefighters and skilled laborers — the people that Jeffrey Caden refers to as "the glue that kind of holds our state together."
Things like these programs really seem like spitting into the wind when average to below-average houses cost $300,000-$400,000. Even if you get $45,000 for a down payment, you're still $15,000-$35,000 short, which most people don't have laying around, even if they make $72,000. And I won't even begin to get into how unaffordable the monthly payment would be even if you came up with a down payment. It's really just ridiculous right now, and I don't see how these programs do anything other than encourage people to get into a situation that they can't reasonably financially sustain.

(Deborah Bach, Seattle P-I, 02.28.2006)

12 comments:

seattle price drop said...

Looking forward to the day when "affordable housing" means: go out and get a job and you can buy yourself an affordable house - one that you can pay off in a reasonable amount of time rather than renting from the bank for decades and decdes.

This new definition of "affordable housing" as something granted from government programs, the big daddy who owns you approach, has got to go. It's making suckers and schmucks out of all of us.

Now for a look at one of those opportunists (just one of many) who has taken a part (or hopes to) in this obscene housing game of the past several years:

1919 NE Naomi Place
bought March 2005 for 561K
on market Dec 2005 for 899K
taken off the market Feb 2 '06

Feb. 28 '06 back on market for 899K

This persons hubris or folly is astounding. I expected this property to show up again at a reduced price. Wrong!!

Will she get what she's after when the market "revives" this spring? Or has she missed the boat entirely?

Stay tuned..

Anonymous said...

More of this will happen soon:

The young woman, who suffered from chronic back pain and was reportedly under significant financial pressure after recently buying a condominium with her husband, vanished Jan. 28 after leaving home to have dinner with friends. She never showed up, and the next day, her husband reported her missing.

http://www.crimelibrary.com/news/original/0206/0801_nicole_pietz_found_dead.html

Anonymous said...

Oooops the link got cut off.

Families buying homes they can't afford. Who do you think the cops will look at for the disappearance of his wife?!

seattle price drop said...

Here's some price reduction stats for March 1 (from Ziprealty.com) for 2 in-town zips:

98115: Ravenna
total homes for sale: 58
# of price -reduced: 18

98103: Green Lake
total homes for sale: 71
# of price reduced : 24

Dukes said...

Great work Seattle Price Drop...

I have been doing a lot of canvassing of neighborhoods in the Seattle area and the game is still being played here. People...I mean sheople...are still buying.

I really think it is going to take a god damned hammer over the head to make these people realize the trend sweeping the country. Looks like we will be late to the party. But, I have no doubt it will get ugly here as well.

Dukes said...

Just an FYI: Here is today's latest 24Hour #'s from NW MLS.

New Listings 709
Back on Market 99
Price Increases 119
Price Reductions 249
Contingents 20
Pendings 487
Solds 773
Expireds 179
Inactives 113

A lot of new listings, but also a lot of solds. Notice 249 price reductions. I think the price increases were probably ones that were taken off the market and then relisted...

Anonymous said...

Things still look brisk around my neighborhood (98117). What I am amazed at has been the number of tear-downs and dormers being built in the rain...unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Lets see, to get a house I can either work less, or marry a woman that doesn't work and also work a little less.

Silly me. I thought the way I was going to buy a place was by earning more or marrying someone that has a strong income.

Comrade Chairman Greenspan said...

Was waiting for the bus at 6:30 last night and noticed that people were still working on one of the new condo buildings going up on Denny, using a floodlight mounted on the crane. Now, are they doing this because:

1. The condo market is still so hot that they just can't build fast enough to feed the frenzied demand.

2. They know what's coming and they're frantic to finish up before buyers start bailing - just as we're seeing elsewhere in the country.

I also saw more than one finished condo building plastered with "Available" signs, and rows and rows of dark windows. Also saw something I haven't seen before: RENTAL signs out in front of some of these buildings.

Meanwhile, RE bulls continue the same screeching about the "tight housing supply" that we've been hearing for two years.

Anonymous said...

Things still look brisk around my neighborhood (98117).

98117 currently has one of the highest % of current listing with price reduced. 18/51 = 35%.

Seattle as a whole has around 20% of current listings reduced.

98117 was pretty run down a few years ago and from looking at the listings, there are alot of rehab/flips that were put in the market with "optimistic" prices.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
More of this will happen soon:

The young woman, who suffered from chronic back pain and was reportedly under significant financial pressure after recently buying a condominium with her husband, vanished Jan. 28 after leaving home to have dinner with friends. She never showed up, and the next day, her husband reported her
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This is a complete nonsense.

Anonymous said...

2. They know what's coming and they're frantic to finish up before buyers start bailing - just as we're seeing elsewhere in the country.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Once a project breaks the ground, it only stops if funding is withdrawn.