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Wednesday, October 21, 1981

Weekend Open Thread

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


The Tim said...

*tap* *tap*

Is this thing on?

Slow weekend.

Lake Hills Renter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lake Hills Renter said...

t's peak larch season, man. I've been out in the mountains.

synthetik said...

hiking with the wife most of the day, then it's been non-stop lego star wars II ;)

MisterBubble said...

Not many more nice days left in the year...can't waste 'em on the intarweb....

SeattleMoose said...

Oct inventory holding steady....

Date / Listings / Delta / %
07-May / 7302 / /
15-May / 7486 / 184 / 3%
21-May / 7665 / 179 / 5%
11-Jun / 8099 / 434 / 11%
18-Jun / 8154 / 55 / 12%
24-Jun / 8352 / 198 / 14%
01-Jul / 8417 / 65 / 15%
08-Jul / 8758 / 341 / 20%
15-Jul / 9057 / 299 / 24%
22-Jul / 9139 / 82 / 25%
29-Jul / 9044 / -95 / 24%
05-Aug / 9059 / 15 / 24%
12-Aug / 9191 / 132 / 26%
19-Aug / 9348 / 157 / 28%
26-Aug / 9442 / 94 / 29%
02-Sep / 9363 / -79 / 28%
09-Sep / 9597 / 234 / 31%
16-Sep / 9959 / 362 / 36%
21-Sep / 10121 / 162 / 39%
28-Sep / 10639 / 518 / 46%
05-Oct / 10434 / -205 / 43%
14-Oct / 10428 / -6 / 43%
21-Oct / 10446 / 18 / 43%

Crashcadia said...

Over the weekend I have been informed that yet another flipper has entered my neighborhood.

I will now coin the term “Peak Idiot.”

This one looks to be local grown.
He purchases the house in mid August and has it up for sale already. He is 100% financed on an ARM and wants to make a cool 100K.

I pulled the loans and it appears to be his first and likely his last attempt at flipping a home.

I have some side bets with my neighbors on how this will end.
It should be fun to watch.

john_law_the_II said...

"Peak Idiot"

I like that

Crashcadia said...

One of my neighbors suggested "Metronatural Peak Idiot."

Another simply said,
"Say WA"

Perhaps an old fashioned economic flogging will put an end to all this nonsense.

My guess is that you can't fix stupid.

Eleua said...

"Peak Idiot"


I tried this with the terms "Fool-Prime" and "Fool Zero."

That was to capture who the "greatest fool" was in this whole ponzi scheme.

I like yours better.

Somewhere out there is "the greatest fool." I wonder who he is.

synthetik said...

(PI) Peak Idiot [peek id-ee-uht] - noun

1. an utterly and foolish and senseless person who, after reading the latest shill bullshiezen from the Seattle PI, purchases a home at the crest of the market. (Turns into FB after 6 months)

2. An resourceful fellow who understands the basic economic concept of permanent market dilatantic vastitudinocity (PMDV)

Lake Hills Renter said...

I still like "pagan renter". Real estate platitudes have certainly become mantras of religion for some -- real estate only goes up!

Kaleetan said...

It looks like we have a busy week lined up. On Wednesday we have the existing home sales report and on Thursay we have the new home sales. The week after is Consumer Confidence and Construction Spending.

I think the drop in oil prices was very well timed.

Lower energy costs=lower inflation=rates can stay flat and trend downward.

A few months ago with oil skyrocketing, it looked like inflation was going to go rampant. I was expecting at least a 7.00% 30 year fixed by now.

synthetik said...

Conversation with a client from Boston on Friday afternoon:

"Hey Chad... What's this I'm hearing about Seattle? Looks like the market is finally headed south eh?"

ME "Yep, looks like we've been trending downward since April or so..."

"You wouldn't believe what's going on here... for sale signs everywhere, and it's quiet. My neighbor has had his house up for sale for 6 months. These are beautiful Cape Cod's; 4 bedrooms, 1800 sq. feet, etc... he listed for $699 and now he's down to $469,000."

ME "and still no buyers, huh?"

"Yep... no one even interested - and it's flawless. We're only 15 minutes from downtown. My house is almost identical to his - and about a year ago it was supposedly worth nearly $800K"


Then I spoke to a client in Scottsdale, AZ... he owns 6 rental homes, all purchased in 2003.

He says that even though he still thinks he "bought right", he understands he'll probably be holding these properties for 5+ years, at least (had orig. intended to sell them for tidy profits). All using conventional loans.

He has full occupancy and is still in the red on the montly rentroll by $-1,100. "Why", I asked.

Evidently there is so many sfh's on the market there's too much inventory, which has driven down what he can charge for rent.

I can post more RE stories from my customers around the US if you guys would like; I typically don't bring up the subject, but most of my clients are so wealthy they are comfortable discussing it. One client in Irvine kids around with me quite a bit... I noticed his caller ID the other day and simply said "So... how's real estate treatin' ya?" "Err.. you @&*!!%%$ #$!hole"

While I agree that in the past RE cycles have been local; this one is CLEARLY national.

Grivetti said...

Wow, what an amazing coincidence! Rent's in the Bay Area are 'skyrocketing' as well!

Well, see, Seattle's different, our rental market is tied to robust job growth with a peripheral contribution coming from condo conversions... I wonder what San Fran's got to say about their 'spike' in rental activity?

"Now that people are realizing that there is going to be no appreciation in the near future, they're renting. There is not a lot of apartment building going on, so they're competing for a restricted supply."

What? no doube-digit appreciation? Silly fools, thank Gawd real-estate is local, because Seatttle has been saved from the rest of the national pitfalls...

While rents remain below their dot-com peaks in Silicon Valley, their rapid rise is a sign of the region's recovery, said Chris Bates, director of sales and marketing for RealFacts. "The local economy is strong and growing," he said. "The jobs that are being created down there are high-earning. People are returning to Silicon Valley for jobs, so occupancies are up and rents are up."

Wait, the audacity to think they're job growth is as robust as ours! How dare they, and they have falling YOY appreciation values! some places in the red YOY! This is an outrage, I demand an explanation!

The data in the RealFacts survey are based on apartment buildings with 50 or more apartments. That excludes many apartments in places like San Francisco, where almost 40 percent of the rental buildings have fewer than five units.

Hmmm... this smells of condo-conversion, there you go... condo conversion, that's got to be it! See, up here in Seattle we have none of that dreaded condo-conversion artificially inflating the market, right?...

Grivetti said...

No way... I don't buy it!! Didn't
they just said their was robust job growth driving up rental prices down there? Now they come out and say that Bay Area home prices decline, sales slow

Which is it? Obviously someone doing the math down there is smoking crack because limited-land/robust job growth floats all boats, land of mil and honey and all that, 5-6% YOY appreciation at the worst right?

Deflation Guy said...

I've been looking around the Edmonds area where I live because I have been in my current residence for 10 years and want to move up to a bigger home (teenage kids around now). Anyway, one house I was looking at dropped their wishing price from $789k to $700k. Nice place - .5 acre lot 3800 sq ft older but good condition. County assessed value is $640k. So even though we don't hear about price drops in the media, this is over 10% off the original listed price. Hmmm, wonder how the media says prices are going up when, around here, people are definetely not getting what they are listed at. I guess you can manipulate numbers anyway you like.

Personally, I would probably offer something closer to the assessed value (if at all). My wife says wait until the spring because we have too much going on to worry about moving. I'm in no hurry - if this one is not on the market then I have a feeling there will be plenty more...

easthawaii said...

synthetik, I enjoy the anecdotes. Hope you post more.

PepeDaniels said...

Interesting link/article from James "Peak oil" Kunstler.

The site is and talks about recent conversations/trends with builders around the country. Sounds like people are starting to get scared.......

Alan said...

I visited some incredibly highly priced open houses today and am feeling really down about my move to this area. Here I am with a graduate degree and a great job with great pay and I feel like I'm earning a waiter's salary in the city I came from.

I keep hearing that I have to look further out to find lower prices, but prices seem to be nearly flat across this entire region. Compromising with a long commute doesn't save me anything.

I was trying to find the NWMLS listings, and came across a buyers and sellers guide at some realtor site. "How much house can you afford?" it asks. It continues to say you can probably borrow 2.5 times your income. I know someone who was offered an executive level job by one of the big technology companies here with a salary of around $300k. According to those rules, he could afford to borrow up to $750k to buy a house. That puts him in a house like this:

We visited that house. It was nice, but nothing special. There were several dozen houses just a nice all around it and some even nicer houses just across the street. The location is okay, but it wouldn't be my first choice for a place to live. Does that mean that all of these houses are inhabited by executives? Maybe Puget Sound companies are on a major executive hiring spree. I'm so confused.

If this market does not drop then my understanding of how the world works is seriously flawed.

PepeDaniels said...

Alan said...
If this market does not drop then my understanding of how the world works is seriously flawed.

I doubt this will make you feel entirely better but I'm sure most of the responses you'll see here will suggest you hang tight on buying. The market will correct itself but you may be waiting a couple of years to get the best deal.

I've lived in the NE the SE and now here in the NW. It's just my opinion of course, and many will disagree even from this board, but I think the quality of life here is fairly average with the cost of living being ridiculously high. Food, services and the cost of renting or buying seem through the roof compared to other places I've seen. In other words, I don't think it's your imagination.

I've heard guys in RE here say that Seattle's "just like San Francisco". As many will joke about here on the board, there's a lot of people here in Seattle who will tout it as "special". In other other words, you're paying for a "special" place to live whether it's apparent or not to you.

Keep reading the blog here as well as other opinions for a dose of sanity. It may be hard to find out there in RERE land.

MisterBubble said...

"It's just my opinion of course, and many will disagree even from this board, but I think the quality of life here is fairly average with the cost of living being ridiculously high. Food, services and the cost of renting or buying seem through the roof compared to other places I've seen."


I find Seattle to be consistently average or below-average in terms of quality of life for the money. As I like to say, Seattle has it all: the traffic, congestion and cost of the big city, with the cultural opportunities and provincial attitudes of a small town.

In my experience, the newcomers who rave about this place have one of two stories:

1) "I just moved here from Dubuque, IA/Laramie, WY/Armpit, NE, and I can't believe how freaking great this place is!!!!!"

2) "I just moved here from Boston/New York/San Francisco, and I can't believe how freaking cheap this place is!!!!!"

If it weren't so sad, it would be funny....

synthetik said...

What does quality of life mean to you? I enjoy the trees, water, fresh air, proximity to Canada - stuff to do outside.

So far there's a lot more going on in the way of culture too (vs. San Diego). We get to see about 5x as many concerts, plays, fringe theater... for crissakes, even Jello Biafra is in town tonight.

I guess I won't be a true Seattleite until I learn how to bitch and moan more, huh? ;)

MisterBubble said...

"What does quality of life mean to you? I enjoy the trees, water, fresh air, proximity to Canada - stuff to do outside."

Last time I checked, every US city comes with "outside" as a standard feature. Many also include, (at no extra cost):

* The ability to eat after 10 PM.
* The ability to drink after 1:30 AM.
* Friendly, outgoing people.
* A dating scene.
* Libraries with books.
* Cheap parking.
* Efficient public transit.
* Sunlight
* Multiple seasons
* ...and many more!

"So far there's a lot more going on in the way of culture too (vs. San Diego). We get to see about 5x as many concerts, plays, fringe theater... for crissakes, even Jello Biafra is in town tonight."

Uhm, yeah. See story #1 in my previous post.

Seriously. Jello Biafra lives in San Francisco, and this isn't exactly a conservative town. You do the math.

"I guess I won't be a true Seattleite until I learn how to bitch and moan more, huh? ;)"

I don't have a good start on the smugness and the self-satisfaction. ;-)

PepeDaniels said...

synthetik said...
What does quality of life mean to you?

A fair enough question and one I wish I were better able to articulate. I suppose it’s the discussion that never ends on this blog due to the subjectiveness of it. Yet, the issue,seems as real to me as the cost of paying my bills.

First, I should mention I’m not a Seattle-hater as the charge has frequently been made of some on this blog. I'm almost puzzled, at times, that life doesn't seem better.

The nature surrounding the city and in the NW is stunning I think. Seattle has quite a bit of green space to it and what I’d call a “soft” profile to its views. While both Seattle and Vancouver are set in great places of nature Seattle lacks that look of towering steel and green glass (I’m afraid this may be changing with the condo development). I like a lot about it as a city but the downtown Vancouver city-scape has all the warmth of an operating table in my mind.

I don’t know if they’ll be able to hang on to their personality with all of the development going on, but there’s something to really be liked in the small neighborhoods of Fremont, Ballard, and so on.

I think you’re right, there are a lot of cultural events going on. Seattle has a real public intellectual life (town hall etc.)that other cities lack.

Some thoughts & examples on costs,benefits, hassles……

Still, many of the benefits you list exist in a number of cities or are a couple of hours away from the bigger east coast cities. I’m thinking of places in the NE that are near cities like Boston, NY, Philly, Baltimore etc.. Some of the drives to the bigger cultural venues aren’t much worse than getting up 90 and over to one neighborhood or another it seems. So, it would be a reasonable trade off here for some of the access if living costs were more modest.

Friends of mine bought a house on Whidbey that would be considered insanely expensive for it’s size etc. in much of the east. It’s very modest in terms of construction quality, is isolated from many things and requires a minimum of $12-14 to get a ferry before you’ve touched the gas pedal. By comparison, a family member of mine owns a house with about the same amount of acreage and sq ft. near Baltimore. The area’s slightly more suburban looking but there’s access to cultural events, there’s no serious winter weather and by comparison it looks like Costa Rica in the sun department. The house here runs about 100K more than there.

When I recently returned to the east coast, I initially thought it had been taken over by the Salvation Army. Sandwiches were suddenly $4-5 bucks at a restaurant! You can drive to the Port of Baltimore and get lunch for two for less than it takes to ride the ferry to get to Lynnwood . I know, I’m harping on the ferry thing but you get the picture. As for weather I realize many here feel that clouds and rain have god-like magical protective qualities. I’m not picking on people, I’ve actually heard people talk about it like that here. Still most people do not consider this a benefit of being here.

Socially, I’m willing to say that I just don’t get it. Again, I’m more confused by it than anything. I’ve heard it said that people respect others privacy here more and so that accounts for the cool distant feeling that I think exists here. Maybe so, maybe it’s me.

Before Mr. Bubble takes a whoopin’ in here, I’ve got to say I’ve heard more than one single person who’s from out of state complaining about their suddenly strange single life here.

At times, there’s a strangely anal quality about following rules as well. The fact they actually ticket people for jay walking here would have people in other cities pissing their pants laughing. People look at you like you're Shaft or something if you don't wait to be told when to go.

I’ve started to laugh my ass off at drivers here. Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. People (pedestrians also) appear to go into cardiac arrest over the smallest real or even perceived traffic “boundary infraction”. Maybe there needs to be some real carjacking done here to show what a real problem is (just joking, of course)! Combine this with the part of Seattle that arrogantly wants to correct you over their political ideas or the housewives in Bellevue who raise their hands to have store clerks bring purchases to them at mall stores and you get to feeling like it’s a pretty smug place.

I should say, following the mini diatribe here, that many of the old timer Seattle people I’ve talked to feel somewhat similiarly and I’ve liked them a lot. Possibly I would have felt differently about Seattle 20 years ago, I don’t know. I understand Seattle went through hard times not that long ago and so a lot of this high brow quality is surprising. At times, I feel like Seattle needs to get its ass kicked to remind it about the rest of the world. Maybe a serious decline in the real estate market’s a start?

synthetik said...

>I don't have a good start on the smugness and the self-satisfaction. ;-)

ahahha ;) fair enough!

Lake Hills Renter said...

I'm not like you haters, I love it here. ;) Although to be honest, I don't give much of a thought to the city itself. I'm here for the scenery and outdoor activities, not the nightlife and dating scene. I'd rather go camping than clubbing any day.

Not all "outside" is created equal, and the Seattle area is fantastic. I live within two hours of three of the most remote National Parks in the lower 48, in addition to all the wilderness areas and National Forests. There's also a large amount of National Forests and Wilderness areas. I could spend a lifetime just exploring the Cascades.

I love the climate here too, although I realize that does put me in the minority. I hope to never see 90 degrees again, and for the most part I rarely do here. I also don't have bitter cold unless I purposely go into the mountains. And I don't mind the rain at all, in fact I enjoy it. I admit that by February I'm getting ready for some sunlight, but I also admit that by August I'm ready for some rain. Sunny all year is just as bad as rainy all year IMO. The Seattle area has a nice balance as far as I'm concerned.

I've also noticed a sense of independence here, which I think contributes to the Seattle Freeze that some experience. It doesn't bother me because I have the same independence streak. I'm not wired to be overly social, and would rather spend most of my time in the mountains by myself or with a good friend or two. I've noticed that most of the outdoor community is the same way, so I feel right at home here.

It may very well be that people wanting NY or SF style nightlife and culture don't find it here. This isn't the place for that IMO. Seattle, at least for me, is about what the surrounding area has to offer.

I encourage everyone to be where they want to be. Moving here from Dallas was the best move I ever made, and I've never been happier with the place I live. Ok, the suburbs are soulless voids, but I only live here because I'm saving money. Once home prices drop back to reality, I'll move out closer to the mountains.