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Friday, September 18, 1981

Monday Open Thread

This is your open thread for today. Please post random links and off-topic discussions here.


Anonymous said...

Is it me or are there more homes that are marketed as 'reduced', 'motivatd seller', 'new price', or 'back on market' on Craiglists? I've been following this trend and one can see there are more now with lower asking prices than before.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the website where I can see the value that a specific address has sold for in king county or seattle? The king country recorders office website doesn't have a very friendly search interface and I was wondering if there was a better place.

Peckhammer said...

Is it me or are there more homes that are marketed as 'reduced'

I have seen quite a few around town, most notably in Fremont. I was also surprised by what a person in my building said with regard to their conversation with a listing agent for the potential sale of their unit. The listing agent told them that they'd better get their condo on the market asap or be prepared to lose money.

Eleua said...

Are you a housing bear? Were you a stock bear? If so, what type of bear were you?

Anonymous said...

The government has finally followed suit with a Senate hearing on the impending credit/housing bust or stagnation that the country is facing. If the Senate sees it, it's way too late to be enter into panic mode in listing a property. It's months too late now.

As for reduced prices, this has been an ongoing occurance in South King and North Pierce (Feral Way, N Tacaoma and Des Moines particularly) since June. There is a pretty heavy stagnation occuring on any property over $400k down there...

synthetik said...

>what type of bear are you

Looks like I'm a "sleeping bear". I'm assuming you are an "apocalypse bear",eh eleua? heh.

I'm hoping to come out of hibernation in 2008-09 and buy up a few Dens from Bogus Bears...

rachael said...

but what is 'market price?'

funny how everything goes up with inflatation except wages...


synthetik said...

Interesting Businessweek article about how our health care industry may be propping up our economy.

"But the very real problems with the health-care system mask a simple fact: Without it the nation's labor market would be in a deep coma. Since 2001, 1.7 million new jobs have been added in the health-care sector, which includes related industries such as pharmaceuticals and health insurance. Meanwhile, the number of private-sector jobs outside of health care is no higher than it was five years ago."

"Sure, housing has been a bonanza for homebuilders, real estate agents, and mortgage brokers. Together they have added more than 900,000 jobs since 2001. But the pressures of globalization and new technology have wreaked havoc on the rest of the labor market: Factories are still closing, retailers are shrinking, and the finance and insurance sector, outside of real estate lending and health insurers, has generated few additional jobs."

"What they're waking up to is the true underpinnings of the much vaunted American job machine. The U.S. unemployment rate is 4.7%, compared with 8.2% and 8.9%, respectively, in Germany and France. But the health-care systems of those two countries added very few jobs from 1997 to 2004, according to new data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, while U.S. hospitals and physician offices never stopped growing. Take away health-care hiring in the U.S., and quicker than you can say cardiac bypass, the U.S. unemployment rate would be 1 to 2 percentage points higher"

"Then there's North Carolina. Since 2001 it has seen a total job increase of 24,000, or 0.6%. Meager enough -- but take out the 60,000 jobs added by health care, and the state's jobs would have decreased by 36,000. Employment in manufacturing, retailing, trucking, utilities, and information all fell. And construction added only 5,000 jobs, a mere fraction of health care's contribution."

synthetik said...

Seattle showing 1.13% decrease in median price over last 30 days.

Showing seattle's median down .8% in last week to $389,950.

Inventory showing a steady increase from 12,687 homes on 07/10 to 13,922 on 09/11.

Not sure how accurate these sites are -- but I believe the region tipped about 3 weeks ago.

A third site, "Bubble Markets Inventory Tracking" shows seattle at 13,865 on 09/18 and 8,425 listed on 01/30/06.

Crashcadia said...

In reply to anon who asked:

“Does anyone know the website where I can see the value that a specific address has sold for in king county or Seattle? The king country recorders office website doesn't have a very friendly search interface and I was wondering if there was a better place.”

In many cases Zillow will show the last sales price. Zillow also shows the Parcel number. This number can be used by the county recorders office to find the owner. You are correct, it is a real pain look up the last owner, pull his/her loans, find the previous owner etc.
If you find an easier way, let us all know how you did it.

meshugy said...

Here's a list of recent sales in Ballard 98117. For the most part, the massive over bidding seems to be over. Most houses are selling at asking or slightly below. A couple of way overpriced ones that went way under asking.
8348 24th Ave NW 499,950 487,500
3258 NW 56th St 699,000 684,000
6528 26th Ave NW 475,000 379,000
8016 20th Ave NW 419,950 425,000
5807 17th Ave NW 394,500 375,000
7310 23rd Ave NW 575,000 573,000
6513 Jones AveNW 429,950 429,950
2835 NW 73rd St 409,950 409,950
6513 Jones Ave NW 429,950 429,450
7310 23rd Ave NW 575,000 573,000
8346 29th Ave NW 439,000 440,000
7524 30th Ave NW 410,000 425,000
7302 23RD AVE NW 450,000 450,000

Overall, sales seem very robust in 98117. But not as crazy as last year. Most stuff is still selling in 1-2 weeks, but there seems to less bidding wars.

matt said...

Ballard... The last stand of the housing/credit bubble, long live Ballard!

meshugy said...

Not sure how accurate these sites are -- but I believe the region tipped about 3 weeks ago.

Hard to say if we are in a true downward trend or just the normal slower Sept. market.

For example, the median for SFH in Sept. 2005 dropped to $381,250 from $385,000 in August.

2004 was even more similar to the current market. For SFH:

June 04: $329,000
July 04: $329,950
August 04: $329,000
Sept. 04: $329,950
Oct. 04: $325,000
Nov. 04 : $335,988

then went back down in Jan 05 to $329,950

It's hard to tell this time of the year...if we see prices falling through the Spring, then we'll know the game is up. The Spring is when the real appreciation happens. The rest of the year is usually up and down.

Eleua said...

I'm assuming you are an "apocalypse bear",eh eleua? heh.


I also am, or have been, the following:

1,2,7,17,27**,28,37,& 40

**Regarding "Elliot Wave Bear," I actually made some beds for my boys that have a curly maple inlay in their headboards that are dimensioned to the 1.618 ratio. The house that I have designed for when this madness ends has "phi" all over the place (windows, room dimensions, exterior elevations, rooflines, cabinet doors, floor designs, fireplace mantle, etc...)

Anonymous said...

In previous years, the price declines haven't been coupled with an increase of "price reduced" listings, and news reports trumpeting the end of the housing bubble.

I don't think it's a stretch to say that this year, something different is happening. How do you manage to type with your head buried in a pile of sand, shugy?

Eleua said...

The U.S. unemployment rate is 4.7%

The official US unemployment rate is a meaningless number. The government tortures the stats to make them say what they want. If you are frustrated at the job market, and have given up looking full-time, you don't count. If you have 3 part-time jobs, and your two neighbors are unemployed, the Labor Dept considers the unemployment rate for you and your neighbors to be 0%, rather than 67%.

Inflation stats are even worse.

Anyone who bases their economic decisions on government numbers will be short on funds in the near future. They are produced for the benefit of Wall St, CNBC, and the Lumpenvestoriat.


seattle price drop said...

The hedge funds are starting to blow. Just heard something about it on CNBC.

Also, WAMU is going to to Europe with it's toxic bundles of loans to beg for buyers? (Sounds like kind of a "last resort" thing).

Anyone who has some better knowledge of these events, please illuminate.


darth_s said...


An interesting post from a sales manager of a branch office of a top-10 national lender about the profile of a typical loan applicant in San Diego. It’s really shocking.

Do you see the same kind of stats here?

richard said...

The hedge funds are starting to blow.

Perhaps there wasn an energy price bubble. Here's the story Amaranth loses 35% Interesting to note that the "news release" was a letter to investors that Reuters obtained a copy of - not any kind of press release by the LLC. How many of these loses are yet to be reported?

SDtoSEA said...

Greetings from San Diego. Good to see things starting to cool down a bit in the northwest. I think that San Diego has kinda been the canary in the coal mine for this whole thing and I'd like to offer a little insight. (I've been lurking here because I plan on moving back to Seattle sometime next year).

San Diego's median just this summer was finally down YOY. The median peaked in November 2005 and by this November we should be down double digits YOY. The reality has finally set in as homes languish on the market for months and foreclosures creep up. Realtors have finally given up the argument that prices will only go up. Many are still in the "soft landing or small decline" crowd but even that crowd is quicly dwindling.

For the last six months I've heard from friends and family in Wash that the market was hot and was different from San Diego. A cousin just purchased 2 weeks ago. I kept quiet and will wait for the same thing that's happened so far in San Diego to happen in Seattle. Everybody thinks they're different, that there's only so much land, everyone wants to live here, and so on. In the end, Seattle will fall just like San Diego is doing. Just happens to be about 6-12 months behind.

So if you ever want to see what's coming, just take a peek down the coast and into the crystal ball of San Diego.

Eleua said...

I'd like to think that is is darned difficult to shock me with an example of financial stupidity, but someone actually accomplished that hurculean feat:

From a self-discribed "sub-sub prime lender in San Diego:

Let me tell you about just one borrower from today:

Husband and wife
Husband on fixed income military retirement $1800/mo
Wife makes $9500/mo as a registered nurse
5 properties with $3,400,000 in mortgages
All mortgages currently have prepays
8 interest-only mortgages
1 option ARM deferring $3500/mo
3 in Chula Vista and 2 in Escondido
No more than $75,000 equity in any of the homes (verified by comp checks with 3 appraisers)
All properties with front end LTV over 90%
$65,000 credit card debt $672 Mercedes payment
One property had 3 mortgages, one of them hard money
621 mid FICO
2x30 in the past 12 months
Not a dime in the bank
They have been making mortgage payments with their credit cards and refinancing to pay off the credit cards. They are at the end of their rope, but refuse to throw in the towel.

This is not even an "extreme" example. I could show you dozens of these every single week.


If there is anyone left on this board that doubts PNW real estate will experience a thorough disembowelment, you seriously, SERIOUSLY, need to seek some strong medication and a lengthy course of professional help.

Matthew said...

Today I was walking to lunch... A co-worker of mine had to stop and use the ATM. The person that had used the machine before him had left their receipt from their transaction next to the machine. The balance read -178.60. The owner proceeded to withdraw 20 dollars even though they had a negative balance. That is the idea of fiscal responsibility right now.

Matthew said...

something else of interest... One of my co-workers just got orders to move to LA. He is putting his home up for sale and said six months ago his house was valued at 375,000. He is putting it on the market at 353,000 and his RE agent actually told him to drop it to 334,000. So apparently the RE agents are realizing they need to move inventory ASAP.

seattle price drop said...

The senate hearings on "Non-traditional Loans", AKA "toxic" or "suicide" loans begins this Wednesday.

they'll probably show it on CSPAN, as they did last weeks hearings on the "Housing Bubble and the Economy".

I happened to luck out and catch most of that one at 11PM last Wednes. night.

Don't know what the schedule is for this week.

If anyone finds out, can you post the time here so others who are interested can watch? Thanks

Anonymous said...

The thing is, real estate "staying level" is a complete disaster for a credit system that depends on constant appreciation. If the speculators don't think they can make 15-20% in a year, their math doesn't work. 40-50% of all sales have been short term, those are all going away. And it's going to take 5 years to bleed down all this inventory.

The Tim said...

Cue the usual "inventory is still at historical lows" retort in 3...2...1...

seattle price drop said...

Here's a word of warning on how to spot a REALLY BAD realtor:

Friends of mine, the brainiest of the brainy for those of you who think brains are going to save the Seattle market, have been hemming and hawing about selling their in-city home since last spring. (Talk about missed opportunities!)

Finally made up their minds that now was the time. Called their realtor, who is, according to them, "a very good realtor".

(How many times have I heard THAT phrase? From now on, when people say that, I'm going to ask what their criteria is on judging a "very good realtor" Am really getting curious about that).

Anyway, here's what their "very good " realtor told them:

"Interest rates are going down in January. That being the case, they should wait til Jan. to put the house on the market."


The brightest economic minds in the WORLD cannot say for sure where US interest rates are going. All THEY can do is make educated guesses and they are currently squabbling amongst themselves over where US interest rates are headed.

But this lowly Seattle Realtor knows for sure what will happen and advises her clients based on this inside knowledge.

Unless this woman is the modern day Nostradomus, she has absolutely no business being in the business of "peredicting" interest rate movement for clients right now.

Any realtor who does so is pulling it out their a$$, period. Run, don't walk, to the next realtor.

seattle price drop said...

"Presumably RE agents are realizing they have to move inventory right now".

That was the ONLY reason I could think of for that realtor to tell my friends to wait til Jan. to put their house on the market.

And she had to think of a reason that sounded plausible, so, in true realtor fashion, she laid it on interest rates.

Eleua said...

Cue the usual "inventory is still at historical lows" retort in 3...2...1...


I was thinking the EXACT same thing.

synthetik said...

GOOD job Darth, this is indeed worth seeing:

"If they only spent a week in my office" - So Cal top 10 lender posts some statistics from last 100 borrowers through his office.


"am the sales manager of a branch office of a top-10 national lender.

My office of 7 loan officers takes +/- 100 loan applications per week, 90% of that coming from cold calls.

Of the last 100, I have taken some simple statistics and have found the following:

68/100 had LTV's over 80% at time of application
16/100 had LTV's over 100% at time of application
78/100 had back end DTI's over 55%
31/100 had back end DTI's over 70%
23/100 had FICO's under 500
81/100 had credit card debt above $10,000
54/100 had credit card debt above $20,000
18/100 had credit card debt above $50,000
66/100 had Pay-option ARMs
27/100 had Pay-option ARMs and mortgage lates
22/100 were either in forbearance or had been in forbearance within the past 12 months

[jeff spicoli] fuuuuuuuuuuuu@@@@@@@ [/jeff spicoli]

meshugy said...

"inventory is still at historical lows"

Thanks for pointing that out Tim!

seattle price drop said...

King 5 News doing a spot on scam mortgages tonight at 11PM. (Monday)

Helpful info for peope who are stretching on their payments and getting calls from sleazy brokers to refinance into dangerous scam loans.

S Crow said...

Darth S -

Sorry for long post,but lots on my mind.

To answer your question regarding stats for loan types: The short answer is that (being that we are not a lender)we see borrowers with many loan types that could be construed as sub-prime. I have many stories and samples to give, but it's a little to close to home even to even give generalities. You can draw your own conclusions.

In other news:

Many people outside of the business may miss something like this but I caught the little teeny blurb in the Times over the weekend.

When you have a challenging market, cosolidations,lay-offs and mergers occur.

It was announced this weekend at the Seattle Times that Pacific Crest Bank of Lynnwood sold out to a firm from New York. Big whoop you may say. Fine, but here's the story to illustrate my point above.

Pacific Crest Bank was formerly known as Phoenix Mortgage & Escrow of the 1990's glory days. When the last downturn occured Phoenix Mortgage sold to Metropolitan Bank at the time. A few years later, evidently Metropolitan sold the interest back to the former CEO of Phoenix (probably at a nice discount--sell high, buy your company back low type benefit for the CEO). Sweet. Anyway, some of the former staff at Phoenix left prior to or after the sale and started what was most recently known as Golf Savings Bank which is a major player in the Seattle Metro lending market to date.

I say all that to illustrate that when markets exibit signs of deterioration, in particular within the ranks of mortgage players, and they sell, you know the CEO's and elite shareholders know when to fold em.

Incidently, Golf Savings mortgage arm was sold to Sterling Savings Bank earlier this year. I don't know if this is closed yet, it may very well be. Again, the ownership & upper management knew when to cash in. I would do the same.

Quite frankly, in my opinion, the local shake-out probably will not jump into 5th gear until late this year or early next, depending upon market conditions. If the market gets dicey, we may see Realtors, Mortgage folks and others re-evaluating their small business' and jump to other firms or start their own ventures. We may see layoff's in local title companies and independant escrow companies, such as ours. Title companies ARE laying off staff in select markets across the country. I have probably received maybe 4 unsolicited resumes over the last quarter.

To conclude, the old adage is true: don't listen to what CEO's say, watch what they do. And watch when national builder CEO's sell large blocks of stock (Toll Brothers, Pulte, Centex, Hovnanian, etc..). That was one of the damn funny incidents of last year. Bob Toll, talking about he strength of the market and he goes and sells ten's of millions in stock. I had a big grin and chuckle over that one.

Anonymous said...

Greetings from San Diego. Good to see things starting to cool down a bit in the northwest. I think that San Diego has kinda been the canary in the coal mine for this whole thing and I'd like to offer a little insight. (I've been lurking here because I plan on moving back to Seattle sometime next year).

Are you nuts? Haven't you heard this is a horrible place with the worst weather and the must smug people in the USA? I thought you'd be reading this blog?

Larry Nusbaum said...

I have been investing, financing and brokering in real estate for almost 20 years. From practical hands-on experience in every aspect of real estate my goal here is to be the “Calm in the Eye of the Storm”. Remember that “they” said Warren Buffet was a genius before the Internet Stock craze and after, but apparently not during it. Read more:

Anonymous said...

s crow -

Smaller, local mortgage players selling out to wall street is recently being driven because of the fact that big wall street banks want "raw material" to build up mortgage backed securities packages. MBS trading was the big money maker in fixed income trading in the last few years, and the big banks (Morgan Stanley, Bear, Merrill,...) want to ensure their supply of mortgages.

Anonymous said...

re: seattle inventory:

seattle inventory is growing at one of the fastest rates in the nation. this was reported in some news article last week and you can go to benengebreth housing tracker to verify.

synthetik said...

That's because we're 6-12 months behind.

Lake Hills Renter said...

That nausbaum guy is a spammer trumping his RE get-rich-quick book. He's posted the exact same comment on other bubble blogs.