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Sunday, September 13, 1981

Wednesday Open Thread

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


Peckhammer said...

Got millions to spend on condo? Plenty to pick from downtown
Local builders are erecting the kind of high-end condominiums that, until recently, were not part of the Seattle market, and they're selling well.

This article in the PI may be designed to comfort all those people who are about to sign pre-sales agreements on one of the many condo projects being built downtown. Can't take any chances that people might get spooked by national and local news which seems to be indicating that sales decreases may, in some sort of perfect storm, lead to price decreases. The article may also serve to aleviate worries that $550K for 700 square feet is a bit out of line. Heck, compared to the $2.8M condos mentioned in the article, a half-million dollar box is beer money.

Anonymous said...

The Cleveland in Redmond looks to be in this same bucket. I'm amazed at how many condos they are throwing up around here. The traffic already sucks, can't imagine 3,000 more drivers every rush hour.

meshugy said...

Here' some more news:

Area's home prices idling as buyers take more time

Things are defintly cooling off....but this article points out a few things I've noticed. There's still a big shortage withing the city...and condos are selling like crazy.

Area brokers said there were still shortages in high-demand neighborhoods close to downtown Seattle, Bellevue and other employment centers.

The median sale price for condos in King County last month was $269,500, up 1.7 percent from July and 18 percent from August 2005.

Also, a significant drop in interest rates will probably heat things up again this month:

Until recently, mortgage rates were running about 1 percentage point above their levels a year earlier; they've dropped about a half-point in the past month or so. That additional point, Skahen said, equates to about a 10 percent increase in the buyer's cost — on top of actual price appreciation.

The lower interest rates probably caused the big MOM increase in sales last month. Wonder if that will continue?

ob said...

meshugy has a point, I've seen sales in my area picking up a little, (52 closings last month vs. 37 in July and 41 in June) and inventory has been dropping. (down 5% in the last month (still up 33% from last year))
I think it may be interest rate related. ARM rates aren’t the great deal they once were, but fixed rates are holding firm under 6%. Bondholders are just not afraid yet. Maybe we need some foreclosures to really put a little fear into investors.
Until this whole inverted yield curve thing straightens out, things may be wacky for a while.

the pope said...

meanwhile foreclosure rates up dramatically across the US in August.

Come buy a house in canada instead!

Anonymous said...

Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Seattle Area inventory is up 6.1% from July-to-August. This is based on data from ZipRealty Inc, and differs from a report yesterday stating that inventory was up 13.4% in the Seattle area.

More interesting is that they report the "% of homes whose prices have been reduced as of 9/5/06". Seattle ranks 4th with a 40.3%. This is behind Boston (44%), Sacremento (43.6%) and Orange County (42.7%). It isn't clear to me what this is really a % of. I'm guessing this is a % of total inventory, but they aren't explicit.

Graph is here. You probably need to be a WSJ subscriber to see this:

poverty-stricken expat said...

That saddens me. My great-grandparents, grandparents, and mother owned houses in the Lower Mainland. I am the only one to have graduated from high school, never mind university, and Seattle real estate was all I can afford.
Truly I have failed. I'll have to wait until the 2010 Olympic aftermath to claim my N. Vancouver or Kerrisdale estate.

darth_s said...

Anon 11:30

You are right - It's amazing to see the graphs on WS Journal

Seattle numbers:

2nd highest in perenctage of increase in MoM inventory - just behind Dallas

4th highest in percentage of price reduction, over 40 % of listing!!!

If these numbers don't show a rapid cooling market, I don't know what else do???

I strongly believe that the peak is already behind us.

Anonymous said...

I strongly believe that the peak is already behind us.

actually that would be Rainier if you're facing North. Its because of those beautiful mountains, water, and forests that this area will continue booming. May not be the urban gem that SF is but we won't have the endemic poverty of the Tenderloin and other neighborhoods.

The increase in inventory still brings the number of units below that to be considered a "buyer's" market. Rates are still low as well, to jump in while you can. Unless you like living in Federal Way...

Anonymous said...

What is the deal with speculators in Seattle?

Meshugy and RE articles bring up that Seattle does not have as many speculators as other "bubble" markets. I've never heard any refuting of this.

Is this a factor in Seattle's favor when it comes to housing prices rising or stabilizing?

nolaguy said...

Its because of those beautiful mountains, water, and forests that this area will continue booming.

Can you expand on or quantify what you mean by this statement?

I know that housing prices have been "booming" over the last five years.

But when you compare 5 years to how long there has been mountain, water and forests in the area, it's a pretty narrow slice to correlate/ predict the "boom" will continue indefinately, IMO.

Of course, I might be interpreting your statement incorrectly.

What is booming? (outside of house prices?)

richard said...

actually that would be Rainier if you're facing North. Its because of those beautiful mountains, water, and forests that this area will continue booming...

jump in while you can. Unless you like living in Federal Way.

Federal Way closer to Mount Rainier than Seattle is.

I understand that the early 80's RE bust in this area was a direct result of Mt. St. Helens erupting. All that natural beauty gone in a day. Took several years for the market to recover.

Anonymous said...


we have NO data on speculators in Seattle.

Just because Meshugy and the local reltors say it isn't a problem here does not mean that it is not. LOL!

we have plenty of anecdotal evidence that it is a problem.

Christina said...

Des Moines seems to have quite a few NOTICE OF TRUSTEE SALE documents scanned into the County Records today. I guess if you can't afford to buy and hold a property in Des Moines you can't afford King County, period.

S Crow said...

Yes, interest rates are driving the recent push for refinancing and 11th hour purchases.

Other anectdotal salt to sprinkle into the mix:

- many borrowers who are refinancing are not refinancing into traditional fixed rates.

- the most dreaded words you hear from escrow are now starting to happen: you'll need to bring $ to close escrow.

- as a function of escrow, we pay off existing 1st mortgages, 2nds, Heloc's and consumer debt.

When we order mortgage pay-off's, typically these statements are faxed to escrow via an automated phone system or generated in a secure online environment. Recently, and in fact I had two in a row today where the automated phone system at a lender re-routed me me directly to an operator in the collections or default dept. What does this tell me without saying? ;>

- short sales (some of the "shorts" are HUGE hits to lenders, one of which we dealt with over the past quarter was an eyepopping loss)are creeping into the mix.

- mortgage fraud auditing IS being ramped up, to the extent manpower can keep up. We've received letters regarding this issue, keeping an eye out for some folks. It's the equivalent of a Police APB.

Escrow. It's like witnessing the "Directors Cut" of a feature film (the market) before anyone else views it weeks or months down the road.

SeattleMoose said...

The mood is changing fast.

This was not supposed to happen this early in the game.

Crashcadia said...

The last time the IMF met, the falling dollar was turned around. The dollar has mysteriously held steady in the face of record trade imbalance and negative personal savings rate. Orchestrated high oil prices too the rescue.

But what now for the dollar as oil prices fall?

After the elections, things are going to get interesting.

I see debt people.

sarah said...

Everyone should click on that link of Seattle Moose's.

Especially if you are considering buying a home in the near future.

It explains succinctly why now is not the time to buy.