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Sunday, December 20, 1981

Wednesday Open Thread

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

Sorry about the extended "being switched to the new Blogger" transition. Blogger said it would only take "a few minutes." Hah!


redmondjp said...

Hello? . . . . . Anybody here?

(everybody must be out shopping, or stocking up on ice, D-cell batteries, canned soup, etc.)

Hot tip for local RE agents, in light of the recent storm (puns intended):

It's a major selling point if the house is wired for a generator (has a transfer switch panel installed), or better yet, actually includes one. Make sure to mention it in the ad!

This past Sunday, my pastor mentioned one of the disadvantages of living in a house with high ceilings: It's DARN hard to keep warm when there's no electricity! He was burning wood in the fireplace.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Lake Hills Renter said...

I still don't have power. =/

Wanderer said...

I wonder how much firms get paid to do this type of analysis.

Not as dire as the predictions here, but it reinforces the ony thing I am confident about in the current turmoil... it might be a small mistake to not buy right now, but that is better than taking the risk with the possibility of a much larger mistake if it does go bad.

Wanderer said...

With the surprising reduction in fixed mortgage rates, I wonder if people with "exotic loans" are going to get an out of jail free card. there have been a lot of numbers floated around with the percentage of all loans that were made with such structures over the last few years, but I don't remember seeing anything about what the typical teaser rates were. Data for the Seattle area would be even better.
With 30-year fixed rates hanging at 6%, there is currently little difference to the interest only rates at 5.9%. Now there is very little reason to even think about anything other than a fixed rate. Of course, a lot of people that are scraping together monthly payments dont qualify for the low fixed rate.

In any case, it can only serve to take the edge off a little.

rentalbliss said...

Looks like people are getting nervous. Check out all the lots for sale some developed some not smells like fear to me.

Even more desperation from developers;

plymster said...

Anecdote #1:

I was talking to a fellow I work with today (software tester, RE agent on the side). He was singing the praises of his I/O loan. He's only paying the interest and plans to live there for 5 years, then he'll move.

plymster: "What if you can't sell your house for enough to cover the mortgage?".

co-worker: "I'll refinance."

plymster: "What bank is going to refi you if your house isn't worth what your original mortgage costs? What if they do refi you and you can't cover the new monthly mortgage payment?"

co-worker: -blank expression- "Uh... Crazy weather we've been having lately..."

Anecdote #2:

A friend of mine decided she would buy a house with another friend of hers. My friend has no credit card (she doesn't trust herself. Smart girl!), a job as a low-level flight attendant, and barely enough money to cover her $600/mo. rent. Her friend is not in much better shape financially.

Within a week, the two have put in an offer on a $375k home in White Center (a perfect, super-safe neighborhood for two young, single women).

I'm routinely amazed at the lack of thought people put into spending several hundred thousand dollars. Even the "professionals", people who should know better, are tossing their financial lives down the crapper because society sez "you must own a home, or you're a second class citizen".

These aren't necessarily folks that plan on making a killing on their homes, these are just people who mistakenly believe that paying a bank interest is better than paying rent and saving the rest. These are the poor saps who will end up getting wiped out.

Christina said...

These are the poor saps who will end up getting wiped out.

Many foreclosures or Notice of Trustee Sales this year seemed to be for Federal Way condos purchased by single women and owned for up to a year.

My home means security to me, but also so does having a year's worth of mortgage payments in the bank.

meshugy said...

HoustingTracker is showing that inventory has been dropping like a rock:

We're back to July/August #s now. How far will it go?

It's also showing that asking prices are up 1.2% MOM and up 10% YOY.

Frankly, I wasn't expecting these kind of #s at this point. I thought for sure things would be much slower...but the market seems to be very healthy right now.

MisterBubble said...

I don't know, Meshugy...must be an xmas miracle!

The term "seasonal trend" just bounces right off of you, doesn't it?

The Tim said...


A) I see that you have cherry-picked the OLD HousingTracker site (which encompasses a much smaller area). The new HT shows asking prices holding steady. However, in general, I don't put much stock in the HT price data (old or new), since asking price != selling price.

B) I don't know how many times it hast to be said, but inventory always drops in the last months of the year. Even in markets that are tanking. The fact that inventory is declining month to month tells us nothing.

C) You're pushing the limits of what I consider to be "intentional antagonism." Consider yourself on notice.

wreckingbull said...


I have seen you post YOY figures before (when it supported your argument) so I know you can do it! We are all pulling for you!


I know it is hard to remember, so here is a mnemonic for you: 'like the famous cellist'

meshugy said...

Hi antagonism inteded. Just posting some observations. I don't take too much stock in the HT site either, but it's still interesting to watch. One of the few place to get week to week data.

meshugy said...

Hi Wreck...


I did mention the 10% YOY appreciation...doesn't that count?

The Tim said...

So you say that you don't put much stock in the HT prices, then in the very next post you refer to "10% YOY appreciation" based on HT median price data.

And that's not intentional antagonism.

meshugy said...

And that's not intentional antagonism.

No...I was just quoting a figure. People do that all the time on this site..often from much less reliable sources then HT. Why are they not "on notice"?

If you're looking for intentional antagonism, just look at the posts from Wreck and Bubbles above:

Clearly a double standard when it comes to identifying "antagonism." Too bad Tim, I thought you were better then that. But I guess you just want a blog were everyone agrees 100% with you. Pretty boring if you ask me...

The Tim said...

I am so not buying the "I'm an innocent little dove" routine. It's not "quoting a figure" that I take issue with and you know it. It's the snide tone of your posts.

I have made it abundantly clear time and again that I welcome differing viewpoints. What I do not welcome is trash-talk and trolling. Which, by the way, that last bit of your most recent comment definitely qualifies as.

I've deleted far more comments by people over-reacting to your snide remarks than comments of people I disagree with (including you). So don't even bother trying to pin the "double standard" label on me. It's a demonstrably bogus claim.

Incidentally, I don't have to justify my standard to you. You know full well what you're doing, and that's the last that I have to say on the matter.

Geon said...

Housing inventory is down per HT, but I can tell you the list of 80 plus houses I track, there are at least 15 cancelled or expired listing which I fully expect to be relisted shortly after the new year.

..can't wait 'til after the Super Bowl. A new flood awaits.

Anonymous said...

HoustingTracker is showing that inventory has been dropping like a rock - meshugy

Shug, I know for a fact you're not (that) stupid. So why write that statment as if it means something? You're fully aware of historical seasonal inventory changes.

Why not point out that current inventory is higher than it was in July? Something which has never happened in the current MLS records.

Percent that listings dropped for SFH in King County for the previous 6 years from July to December:

2000 -24.7%
2001 -22.4%
2002 -19.3%
2003 -33.5%
2004 -36.9%
2005 -22.4%

But thanks for the disinformation anyway.

Lionel said...

I think this is the only important housing indicator (from the housing bubble blog):

“The downturn in Arizona’s real estate market is translating into business for Catholic gift stores around the Valley, where shoppers are asking for the St. Joseph Home Selling Kit.”

“‘People come in very sheepishly and ask if we have the statue. They just want to get it and slink out again,’ said Mary Gibson, manager of St. Thomas the Apostle gift shop in Phoenix.”

“Gibson has seen sales of the kit, which retails for $6.95, rise dramatically since the first of the year. ‘During the real estate boom cycle of the past couple of years, we didn’t see any movement at all on the saint (statues). When the slump started and people realized that it was going to be around for a while, they started coming in,’ she said.”

“‘Back when the market was hot and you were practically interviewing people to see if you wanted to sell them your house, it was a different story,’ Gibson said. ‘St. Joseph is their last desperate attempt to get the house sold.’”

“Gibson said her shop is ordering more of the kits to keep up with the new demand.”

Lionel said...

BTW, thank you to Tim and everyone else for contributing to this blog. I stumbled upon it while looking at real estate sites in Seattle. (I'm likely moving up there for school next fall from LA.) If I can add anything to the site, it is that of the outsider. I think one of the reasons there hasn't been a big hit in Seattle yet is that information on the bubble in the mainstream media is scarce. I was looking to buy something in Seattle, and, coming from LA, the place looks like a bargain. Even here, where prices are astronomical (houses in the hood for 600), there is very little in the LA Times about any bubble, only information that median prices are holding steady. I suspect that the bubble bursting and stories about it will happen simultaneously.

seattle_slow said...

St. Joseph Home Selling Kits for everyone!


Lake Hills Renter said...

Ding! It's 9:30pm and I've officially been without power now for a week. =(