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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

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One of the benefits of homeownership (ok it's only a few days of the year this clear, but when Mt. Rainier shows her majesty, it speaks for itself)
Looking South over Snohomish Valley past Monroe.
Photo: Tim Kane -July 25th, 2007, 8:30pm.

Hello Bloggers. Gosh, I have a bunch of topics to discuss. No time this evening but here's a quick sneak preview of what's on my mind:
1) Today's above the fold front page headliner in today's Herald:
"DIG DEEP: New Homes Top $500,000K" (emphasis Herald).

2) This evening in south Everett I had the unique pleasure of discussing housing with Banner Banks' Chairman, President & CEO (including mingling with Bank Directors & VP's.) It was quite a fun discussion. Oh, and their stock hit a 52 week high today. Full disclosure: Our company, Legacy Escrow Service, Inc., trust account is with Banner Bank but I hold no stock in Banner Bank.

My topic is: "Suits vs. a guy in shorts (me): Puget Sound Real Estate is poised for more growth."

3) "Appraisers sound off & it's not pretty."

4) Artificial Appreciation Revisited & Confirmed: Closing cost contributions offset by seller price escalation.

5) Affiliated Business Relationships in Real Estate: it's costing consumers a bundle.

6) Title Insurance: Why one state banned Title Companies, issues its own state backed insurance for its citizens who are taking the savings to the bank.
Any one of these topics you would like me to address sooner than later? Or, you can tell me, "I don't give a rip."

I'm game for other topic suggestions on insider questions anyone may have. Both selling or purchasing for that matter.
Please read the rules before posting a comment.


Peckhammer said...

DIG DEEP: New homes top $500K
That's for a small lot with no view

Heck, that's what a 700 square foot condo will cost you in South Lake Union -- with the additional bonus of having to pay condo dues!

matt said...

Seconds on the Dig Deep , that's a howler!

jcricket said...

Title Insurance... Ooh. Good topic. Why the hell does it cost so much!

Anonymous said...

#2 & #3

Lake Hills Renter said...

Ooh, #4! I've read about that nationwide, and I'd be certainly be interested in how much that's happening here, if that information is available. Also, anything on local foreclosure and/or adjustable rate reset trends.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in hearing what the appraisers have to say.

Anonymous said...

Yes you're right! People who live in rentals never see Mt Ranier when it pops out!

Ah... the benefits of being a homeowner!

sarah said...

Really wish someone would address the chart posted on a previous thread that shows WA. up in the top 5 of Negatively Ammortizing loans.

You seem like the best person to address that.

Also, any word on tightening lending standards.

Again, you seem like the best person to address that.

Christina said...

piggybacking on Sarah's request:

I want to know why on the chart of negatively amortizing loans, the states on the low end of the line have the highest percentage of foreclosures.

Eleua said...


I'll take a stab at it.

If you run short of funds to make the payment, and the house isn't appreciating, there is no HELOC bailout.

NEG-AM loans make the local market appreciate more and that makes for a situation where the market is feeding on itself.

This is one of the big reasons I think the slower markets will not swoon as much as the hip-n-trendy markets.

sarah said...

Christina- here's my guess, those areas did not appreciate as wildly as some others, so people were not able to unload as quickly and for ever greater amounts of $ and wound up in foreclosure.

CA foreclosure rates have only recently been starting to go up, now that the market has finally turned there.

It's the areas with the greatest amounts of appreciation that were forced into using the neg am loans as houses became increasingly unaffordable.

But the flip side of that is that those same areas, for a time anyway, were able to sell homes quickly and at a profit to avoid foreclosure. Since everyone was on the mania train and there were buyers aplenty.

As the market turns, my guess is they'll be plenty of foreclosures in the most aggregiously overpriced makets, Seattle included.

I already know people in this area who are a couple paychecks away from losing their home. And they bought at top price last year. It will have to be one heck of a Greater Fool that would save them from their situation.

And there are plenty of examples on the MLS of people who bought last year who are trying to sell this year for the same or only slightly higher price- not enough to even cover closing costs.

Saw your suggestion for a new Bubble Blog and think it is an excellent one. Can you do it?!

I know I'm not capable- unfortunately.

Christina said...


(and sue, who suggested this elsewhere) I do not have access to NWMLS data, else I would love to try a lowball! blog.

Besides, the malicious imp in me would corrupt the lowball blog with the spirit of F*ckedCompany by listing examples of likely "mortgage fraud" (buyer makes an offer on a house, never makes a payment) and foreclosures from people who bought Federal Way or Des Moines condos and couldn't maintain even 24 months' worth of timely payments. In some respects this is still a free country: no one is forcing a buyer to buy at the top of the market.

sarah: I already know people in this area who are a couple paychecks away from losing their home.

Crikey! Does that take into account retirement assets or hard assets?

sarah said...


I don't know the specifics because at some point, I felt bad asking more questions.

She just said "We're in debt and may lose the house. If we have to foreclose, oh well..."

Thinking about it now, it's interesting that she said "if we have to foreclose" rather than "if we have to sell".

The husband's a (or was) a huge housing bull (RE only goes up/Microsoft's hiring 10,000, etc.,etc.)

I guess they are either super in debt or have come to grips with the fact that they bought too near the top of the market to squeak out gracefully with a sale that would cover up their mistake.

BTW, I have seen other foreclosure sales this winter and spring on Craigslist in some of the "good" neighborhoods.

Maybe you and Dukes could do a blog? He has access to the NWMLS.

If he would ever come back that is...

It sounds fun to have somebody looking up loan histories, mortgage fraud, etc.

bellinghamster said...

I'd like to see something on the effect of the housing bubble on manufactured homes. I would expect to see that they have taken off based on the cost of buying a stick-built home.

S Crow said...


This is why I love Blogs. People think of relevant stuff that I don't think about.

Yes, we close a good handful of mobile homes/manufanctured housing in Snohomish Co. In the mobile home arena, they are mostly cash transactions due to their low prices relative to traditional homes--and the fact that it's treated as personal property vs. real property. Thus,closing a sale can be one day if everyone has their ducks line up.

As you suggest, this may be a market that begins to heat up moreso than it is.