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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Error-Ridden Reporting

Okay this post is going to come across a little harsh, but seriously, I thought professional news outlets were supposed to be, you know, professional. However, they're apparently letting five year old children write real estate news briefs in Federal Way:

Median price of homes hits $519,000

The median price for homes in King County last month was $519,000, a 16 percent increase over the same period a year ago.
Bzzt—wrong. The median price for houses was $419,500, an 18 percent increase over a year ago. The median price of homes (houses + condos) was *achem* "just" $377,000 (up 17%).
According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NMLS(, a residential real-estate organization that tracks the housing market regionally, the median asking price in King County in April 2005 was $447,000.
The correct abbreviation for the Northwest Multiple Listing Service is NWMLS. You know, as in Also, the key you were looking for is ")".
In its report on last month's market activity, King County was one of only three counties in western Washington that had fewer houses on the market than it did 12 months ago, according to NMLS.
Bzzt—wrong again. Only two counties had fewer houses on the market in April than they did last year (Cowlitz: -1%, Grant: -2%). However, King County did have slightly fewer homes on the market than last year (-1%), since condo inventory decreased almost 14%.
J. Lennox Scott, chairman of John L. Scott Real Estate, called the job centers in Bellevue and Seattle "the epicenter of sales activity." He added, "We continue to see a quick-action market and a strong surge of buyers, but there simply isn't enough housing supply to meet the demand."
Bellevue (area 530): Pending sales down 13%—closed sales down 40%. Seattle (area 140): Pending sales down 16%, closed sales down 8%. Yeah, those definitely sound like "sales epicenters" to me.
Despite modest increases in mortgage rates, attractive financing, including multiple options for first-time buyers, is sustaining activity, NMLS reported.
Is that, even, a, sentence?

I don't think I've ever seen an article with so many errors, and the whole thing—title included—is only 211 words! I'm no big fan of the real estate reporting in the Seattle papers, but at least their writers passed high school English. You would think with five days to prepare (NWMLS stats were released on Friday), they could have at least gotten the headline correct.

(Federal Way Mirror, 05.10.2006)


S Crow said...


Seattle encompases several areas that the NWMLS divies up, so I can see where confusion can arise for those not in the business. The spreadsheet shows that over many areas the pending sales are down in April-YOY and units sold is up April-YOY.

Readers will also see the relationship of active listings is down April-YOY which certainly plays a role in why pending sales are down too. But, I understand your point.

PS. Speaking of Lennox Scott, did you see the new mapping they rolled out yesterday? Pretty neat for consumers. Hopefully they will also include sales history's in the not too distant future. Lennox is a competitive dood, so we'll have to see how it will evolve. Seems like the race to get consumers eyeballs just got tighter, Mr. Barton.

Oh, and that $519 median price, was for listing or asking price. IMO these significant rises in median prices is just not following economic logic. But, what do I know, I was thinking bubble well over a year ago.


Anonymous said...

I'm really curious about the part in that article that states that Seattle inventory is slightly less than last year due to fewer condos on the market.

Here's why: it looks as though many of the available condos (downtown at least) are NOT listed in the NWMLS.

So, if those condos were included, what would happen to the inventory numbers?

BubbleRider said...

Attention: All the sadsack posters here who missed out on the upside of the housing bubble.

If you whiners had bought a house anywhere with a hot market in the good ‘ol USofA the last couple years you’d either have sold it in a year or so for some nice dough, or you’d own a place to live in. If the market tanks 20% or so, who’d care. You’d be back where you were when started.

But, wait; there is still a chance for you missed-opportunists. The Chicago Mercantile board is putting out a new option program specifically designed for you sideline sitters! Check out this new investment strategy coming your way May 22, 2006! Housing Options!!

Put your down payments where your mouths are! Don’t wait for the housing bargains to show up, you can while away the hours flog/blogging the real estate salespeople from the safety of your keyboards and make up for your lost windfall with housing options! You can ride the market down in any of several American cities and scoop on all the upside you missed out on as the market goes topsy turvy.! Sorry about all the exclamation points, but I’m very excited about this!!

I apologize if this is old news....

Anonymous said...

Now that was just rude.

But you're absolutely right, the bubble has made oh so many people oh so rich! Why, it's as if the money was just sitting there waiting for someone to snatch it! We sadsacks must seem like morons for not scoring a sweet ARM while the getting was good . . . boy do we regret it :(

Dukes said...

Great sleuthing Tim!

It is a disgusting state of affairs when this type of nonsense passes for reporting.

Like I keep saying, the further this thing gets pushed the harder the rubber band will snap back when it is blatantly obvious what is going on.

At least all other areas of the country have a clue now and many are taking measures to try and get themselves out of real estate, up here the party looks like it will run until all the lights are on and the carriage (house/condo) turns into a pumpkin.

Anonymous said...

Those property "owners" who display frantic-ness over the bubble burst, like Bubblerider and others on this list, deserve our compassion.

If they were trully in a secure finacial position, they would not even be paying attention to the bubble reports.

I mean really, if you bought your house to live in, and not for percieved "appreciation", why would you care when the market tanks?

If you bought your home at terms you can comfortably afford come what may, why would you care when the market tanks?

There are a lot of scared people out there. They know full well that they made a shaky financial decision.

People who bought a home responsibly could care less what happens to the housing market.

Anonymous said...

Wow. that Bellevue number is HUGE- closed sales down 40%?

that's one of the highest numbers I've seen for ANYWHERE in the US.

Anonymous said...

Looks like our "Seattle RE Investor" is spending too much time listening to realtors and reading newspapers to pay attention to what's actually going on in the market.

In his new post he notes that the property he's interested in has been on the market for 95 days and says"that's unheard of in Seattle"... lol!

He needs a Zip Realty account.

Dukes said...

Wow, I am truly dumfounded reading the "Seattle Investor" blog.

I mean, I am just speechless! He doesn't realize that he is the Greater Fool (GF) when bidding on the West Seattle house. Incredible.

This type of front row seat into the follies of a true fool do not come along often. Grab some popcorn because this jackass is going to ruin himself financially. While this is truly horrific as I think he has a family, I can't bring myself to feel sorry for someone who refuses to open his eyes to impending danger.

Dukes said...

I had to go back to this guy's blog and reread his posts just to make sure that I am not seeing things. Here is his profile:

Seattle Eric
Seattle, Washington
I'm diving (not wading, mind you) into the world of real estate investing (REI) that is mysterious and exciting. My goal? Nothing short of replacing my current income derived from the stability of corporate America."

Did you get that, he is DIVING not wading Mind Us into real estate. Here is another gem:

"thank goodness that in this hot market, real estate is very forgiving. We've not lost money yet. I can't wait to see where I'll be in 2-3 years with that much experience behind me. I am so excited about real estate, I've found that it's truly a passion of mine."

What can I say about this other than to just scratch my head and try to pick up my jaw from where it has dropped onto my chest. This is the EXACT type of person, I mean the EXACT type of person who has SUCKER written all over himself. Incredible...this man will get ruined if he contiues without waking up.

seattle price drop said...

The thing that really kills me about him is that he just STARTED investing in RE when the market was peaking- last July or August I believe.

But most of the "RE Investor" blog people started last year. They're the "shoeshine boys" of the 20's.

On another topic (toxic loans) but an equally gripping read check out this brokers blog where they're discusing toxic loans and way-too-expensive RE in general.

I got it from the NNJ Bubble blog.

Dukes said...

spd, the incredible thing about him is that he is so "excited" about real estate he fails to open his eyes.

As Buffet just said the other day, I am quoting from memory here: "what the smart man does in the beginning - the fool does in the end."

That perfectly describes this guy.

seattle price drop said...

Thank God he pulled out of the Belltown condo deal!

That's going to be one major wreck for people wanting to flip. There are a LOT of new condos coming down the pike for downtown.

Dukes said...

Yep, downtown is going to be a condo graveyard.

Do a little recon on it yourself. As I live in Queen Anne I like to drive downtown around say 9-10pm every few weeks to see what kind of light status there is in the existing condos that are there.

To me (and yes this is an unscientific investigation) it looks like 2/3's of these things sit empty. No lights, nothing...

Now, what happens when all the cranes you see on the horizon downtown get done adding to this mess? We know the answer already.

Dukes said...

Very interesting reading spd on this loan broker blog:

When these guys are talking quite candidly about all of the people who are going to go BUST, it really makes you sit up and take notice.

seattle price drop said...

It's the truth- the brutal truth- versus the spin.

So Dukes, do you think that all those empty condos are listed in the NWMLS? Because it seems like condos are frequently sold thru the developer at first, aren't they?

The Sunday Times has so many adverts now for them.

Dukes said...

Good point spd, I doubt that the large and growing amount of downtown condos are on the NWMLS.

I could be wrong, but I think you are right about being offered through the developer.

meshugy said...

Hi Everyone...

Here's an update on inventory:


King County: 7,255

Seattle: 2,096

May 2005

King County: 6,782

Seattle: 1,827

May 2004

King County: 9,792

Seattle: 2,454

May 2003

King County: 12,422

Seattle: 3,169

So we now have slightly more inventory then last year. But far less the in previous years (2004 and 2003)