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Wednesday, January 06, 1982

01.06.2007 - Weekend Open Thread

This is your open thread for the weekend of January 6-7, 2007. Please post random links and off-topic discussions here.


T,V & Mr.B said...

“Michael Simonsen, CEO of Altos Research, in Palo Alto, Calif., has noticed cooling in the Seattle home market. ‘Any comparison with last year is down in terms of demand and numbers of sales,’ he said.”

” Median prices have not dropped with the changes in inventory and sales because only the good houses are selling, Simonsen said. ‘The lousier properties, they’re either going off the market or they’re just sitting around for a long time.’”

“Simonsen said 36 percent of properties currently on the market have had their prices reduced, relatively high, but lower than reductions of more than 40 percent seen in many San Francisco Bay Area markets. ‘While we see some positive things to keep the bottom falling out, we don’t see any big catalyst that will let prices jump upwards,’ he said.”

Peckhammer said...

Seattle Times' maven of all things real estate reports: Home sales sluggish in region last month

"A closer look at the numbers reveals that appreciation is slowing.

In the past six months, the median price of a single-family King County home rose $5,000 (to $440,000). In the first half of 2006, it rose almost $45,000."

Anonymous said...

Rental update:

The wife and I just rented a 2bd 1100 sq foot condo with panoramic views of cascades in Queen Anne for $1500/mo, down from $1650.

That's a $1000 less than we're paying now at Harbor Steps downtown.

The downside is that we'll have to go from one car to two, so I'll be in the market for a late model diesel mercedes I that'll run biodiesel.

Checking on CL, there is a never ending supply of those cars in So. Cal, but they seem to be fairly hard to come by up here... damn hippies!

AnalysisGuy said...

Just shotup the Phoenix Report, new Seattle historical data and changed the entire website.

Additionally, the NEW contains new historical data for another 20+ cities. Check it out...

T,V & Mr.B said...

Yeah they are easy to come by down there. had one myself for a while. My daughter, who had just totaled her car, was then put into the, what we called the granny car" and asked who would WANT to drive that car. I told her, "someone who just totaled their own car and didn't have anything else to drive."

buying one down there and driving it up would be a fun trip.

phasmid123 said...

I posted the question about whether the sliding weak dollars would increase foreign investments and how it could possibly affect the RE mkt in USA. Well, I think it's already here, according to this article from the PI today. I suspect foreign dollars may ease the pain of domestic RE mkt downturn. What do you think?

T,V & Mr.B said...

I don't think it will help that much really. It won't creat such a demand as market demand does. A false hope as far as I figure.

MisterBubble said...

Hahahahahaha...sure thing, phasmid.

That article should be linked in wikipedia under "wishful thinking" -- "Our housing market can't tank...the Koreans will save us!"

nomadic1 said...

Has anyone seen any impact of the new lending regualations on the housing market? Just curious as I have not seen any fall out as many here and else where had predicted.

phasmid123 said...

I think misterbubble missed the point of my post. The Koreans are just one of many foreign people with a lot of cash. The Chinese and Indians are flushed with cash too. The Arabs own a small chunk of USA and now with windfall from oil dollars, I would not be surprised that they're poised to make a spending spree in USA. Let's also not forget the Japanese in the 80s and early 90s (remember "Japan Inc"?) gobbling up properties here in USA. So now these people have more money and their money is worth more than ever (weak USA dollars).

The RE slowdown may attract foreigners that want to buy low then sell high. This could be a set up for MORE speculative buying and make things worse or make the RE downturn more of a soft landing. Who knows? But do not underestimate the possibilities.

MisterBubble said...

I didn't miss the point of your post, phasmid.

In case you haven't noticed, the US is funneling jobs and money into the asian economies at a massive rate, and it isn't because they're "flush with cash." To the extent that anyone in China or India has money at the moment, it's because of US consumers, buying crap at WalMart, which was made in asia, where labor is still cheap. How are US consumers doing this? They're using credit cards and home equity loans, of course! This is why most economists believe the dollar is cheap: we're spending like drunken sailors with access to a payday loan franchise.

In fact, most of the asian economies are terrified of a weak dollar at the moment, so much so that they're buying US debt as if it was going out of style -- even when it means a short-term loss. The big fear is that the dollar will continue to tank, and the asian banks will eventually have to cut their losses by selling trillions of dollars of US debt into the open market. It will be an economic catastrophe for our economy -- housing and all.

In other words, if I were a rational investor in Korea, I would consider US investments a risky bet unless they paid immediate, lucrative dividends. In other words: at the moment wealthy asian investors are far more likely to buy your mortgatge than your house.

silly! said...

We’d like to pose a question: Why would some agents be vehemently opposed to having one of their listings featured on a consumer-focused Real Estate site, while other agents are thrilled to have the exposure?

We just launched which is written by consumers for consumers. What makes us different is that we’re not affiliated with any brokerage or agents. We’re just avid Real Estate market-watchers, writers and active buyers/sellers of condo properties in the Seattle area. We write about Seattle Condo trends and topics with a humorous bent, and we feature pictures and links to properties that interest us.

The response from Real Estate agents has been primarily neutral to positive, with just a few very volatile exceptions. Two local Seattle agents (affiliated with name-brand brokerages) wrote us some very contentious and nasty emails demanding that we cease and desist and remove any mention of any of their listings by sundown—or else. Of course, we complied, and we removed the gorgeous photo of a Belltown unit which we described as “beautiful” and to which we were encouraging our readers to check out. That’s right, we were encouraging our readers to consider buying the unit, and we even gave them a link to help them get a hold of the agent—what’s the deal with that?? Can anyone explain what the agent might have been thinking?

So, we’re just wondering, what has some agents on a “hair-trigger” when it comes to talking about their listings on the web?

Nancy and David at

MisterBubble said...

In fact, let's see how the Asia Times views our housing market:

"We believe a pronounced housing slowdown in the US will be followed by localized declines in mean residence prices. Given the exaggerated macro-benefit that robust housing appreciation, refinancing and associated activity have had, we are looking for a virtuous cycle to turn vicious, with national and international implications."
- Max Fraad Wolff, Asia Times Online

Bummer, isn't it?

john_law_the_II said...

yeah, doesn't sound like a place you'd like to park your money. falling dollar and falling home prices make for quite the combo.

john_law_the_II said...

oh, and no doubt one of the big markets for foreign buyers would be florida, we know whats happening there.

Alan said...

Mexico does not let you own Mexican real estate unless you are a Mexican citizen. It would be pretty easy for the US to pass a similar law. Investing in foreign markets is always risky because you are at the mercy of that country's laws.

T,V & Mr.B said...

the problem with your theory, using the 80's and 90's as an example, of all th talk about Japan owning so much in the US, there were only the 4th highest investors in US properties. theones you never heard about, and who still funnel the most money into the US by far, is the English. and they aren't the ones that caused the housing boom.

T,V & Mr.B said...

It has been only one week since the banks have put stricter mortage regualtions into place. I doubt that will show up in that span. Be sure that it will have an effect.

T,V & Mr.B said...

Nancy and David,
Why did you comply with their request? the listing is on public domain, and yo ucan say anything you want about it. I guesws they are worried that unless, the have control of thier own marketing of the property, they don't want any thing else out there. To heck with them.

T,V & Mr.B said...

Regarding Ken Harneys article today in the Sunday Seattle Times, I emailed him telling him that I thought he was irresponsible for prodding sellers into beleiving that the market is still very strong. His collumn is supossed to offer advice to buyers and sellers how best to deal with the current market. I think he is mis-leading all parties involved. He has not yet responded.