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Monday, February 15, 1982

02.15.2007 - Thursday Open Thread

This is your open thread for Thursday, February 15, 2007. Please post random links and off-topic discussions here.


Mikhail said...

I just checked ziprealty for East Bellevue (98008) this morning, and found that it shows only 38 listings. This is the lowest I've seen so far this year, and far lower than anything I saw in 2006. I remember it being at 95 in October.

I was hoping that inventory would have already started to pick up in preparation for the spring season.

Depressing (for a bubble-sitter like me, at aleast)... It seems like it will be quite some time before Bellevue start seeing any impacts from the sub-prime lending fall-out.

rolandovich said...

You can't tell which way things will go. In the end, things are just as likely to continue as they are for the next five years as they to decline significantly.

My theory on the Sea-Bell in particular is that speculators from other places will keep things afloat here for a while yet just because this area maintains the perception of a strong real estate market.

Don't get caught up in the hype-- renting is a better deal right now so take advantage of it. (NO

Kaleetan said...

"It seems like it will be quite some time before Bellevue start seeing any impacts from the sub-prime lending fall-out."

If you are waiting for the Sub-Prime Fallout you need to look at some of the subprime areas. Central District,Tacoma, South King County, Beacon Hill, West Seattle.

For the most part East King county and Bellevue borrowers are A-Paper.

blog said...

I rent in Bellevue (98005) and of course its much cheaper than buying any way you slice it. The weakness will come, but it will take some time, the low hanging fruit in the outlying areas will be the first to start cracking and then it will slowly work its way to price reductions in the better areas. No hurry here, unless my rent goes up 40%, sitting tight is fine with me as I watch the show unfold.

Jim Davis said...

For those of you that want to stay on the sidelines in terms of real estate investing, you may be interested in this info via the Motley Fool

Seems like investing some of your portfolio in international stocks may be worth consideration.

Grivetti said...

How in Gawds name can anyone believe 'the worst is behind us'?

Greenspan says worst of the U.S. housing slowdown is over

1.1 trillion in ARMs set to reset in 2007?


The nuclear devastaion of the sub-prime lenders, along with the jitters from their Wall Street backers?

Greenspan is delusional.

dan said...

I saw this today - granted, it's from a realtor's website, but it seems to show strength in the eastside market:

(I ignore the commentary, but just looked at the charts).


Kaleetan said...

How in Gawds name can anyone believe 'the worst is behind us'?

Over the last few years the US economy has had to deal with Sept 11, Hurricanes, Middle East unrest, rising oil prices and corporate scandals. Despite these events the economy is fine.

Now that inflation has eased, the Fed can leave rates alone and be ready to lower them when necessary.

How can you not think the worst is behind us?

biliruben said...

4th quarter GDP will be revised down from 3.5 to somewhere around 2.2% annual increase. 1st quarter 2007 is looking very soft. Recession is still a real possibility in 2007.

Grivetti said...

Over the last few years the US economy has had to deal with Sept 11, Hurricanes, Middle East unrest, rising oil prices and corporate scandals. Despite these events the economy is fine.

Wow, is doubling of the U.S. consumers mortgage debt in little under five years and a negative savings rate your definition of "fine"?

Hate to see what you considered an all out depression...

Herb Wright said...

I just checked on the agent's website and there are actually only 33 active listings in 98008. I can also verify the types of borrowers in other zip codes. Early in 2006 I marketed to borrowers in default on their mortgages just in King County, and at least half were in S. King County, especially Auburn and Federal Way. I mistakenly assumed that since the largest mortgages were in E. King, and Central Seattle, these areas would at least be represented. Not so. In 2 months of reading the NOD's daily, 1 exactly one loan defaulted in 98119, and that was a condo in Uptown. There were only a scattering on the East side. Don't expect too many on Beacon Hill though......Asian buyers have different financial habits than born-here Americans.

DebtFree said...

The worst is behind us! (Tell that to CA, LV, FL, AR)

It's different here because of the asians!


I can always count on a few good laughs here. Please keep them coming.

FinanceGuru said...

biliruben - Yes the GDP for 4Q06 came in at 3.5% which was revised up from ~3.0%, and now economists predict it will be in the 3.0% range after the up and down estimations.

As for a recession in 2007, probably not going to happen. "A recession is traditionally defined in macroeconomics as a decline in a country's real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for two or more successive quarters of a year (equivalently, two consecutive quarters of negative real economic growth)."

Overall the economy has been significantly stronger than even economist have predicted...along with the DOW and S&P 500 setting record levels every day now. The stock market is often a predictor of where the economy is headed...which looks to be goooooooooood.

MisterBubble said...

Housing sales fall in 40 states; David Learah continues to smoke crack

Tell your friends: the worst is over! David says so! Buy now, or be priced out forever! They're not making any more land! Strong Jobs are saving us! Don't waste your money on renting! Renters are scum! Buy now!


DebtFree said...

Lets see the stock market is reaching new heights and breaking records set when ??????

Oh yeah after the peak of the last bubble.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it!"

Vickie said...

Finance, it's official. You are just an absolute idiot. it was NOT revised up from 3.0% and economists predicctions are more closer to 2.5%

22 perscent of the S&P missed 4th quarter expectations. this is the highest level of ‘misses’ since the third quarter of 2004. yeah things are zooming along Greeeeeaaat!!!

How the hell do you call yourself Finance Guru? Where the hell did you get your education, by mail? Who the hell are you and what do you REALLY do? I truly hope it has nothing at all to do with money.

Vickie said...

You can go to the commerce departments BEA ( Bureau of Economic Analysis) web site and get the numbers.

Richard said...

I'm under the impression that since the collapse is in the subprime market that low end properties are going to see the most volatility - unlike the last downturn in this area where high end prices were hurt by middle managers in the $100K/yr range losing their jobs.

Richard said...

"Asian buyers have different financial habits than born-here Americans. "

I hate to interject an anecdote on this one, but the first of my acquaintences to lose his marriage over mortgage debt problems was from Hong Kong.

The root of the problem though was excessive consumption aimed at keeping up appearances. While the rest of us were driving Hondas he was driving an M3 and his wife had a new Evo.

matthew said...


From Marketwatch

"The U.S. economy was growing much slower in the fourth quarter of 2006 than the government's first estimate of 3.4%, economists say.

Instead of fairly robust 3.4% annualized growth, the government's next estimate will probably be closer to 2.2%, according to median forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch. Instead of bouncing back, the economy would have turned in its third quarter in a row of below-trend growth.

The first quarter also looks fairly tepid, with weak retail sales, falling homebuilding and growing signs that business investment isn't picking up the slack."

Not sure where you are reading that it will be in the 3.0 range. Looking more and more like its going to be in the low 2's.

Is your IO loan subprime?

Eleua said...


Do you have any idea what you are talking about?

Honestly, I can run an entire economy single-handed, and make it the best in world history if:

-I get to print all the money I want (Federal Reserve).
-I get to define what the economic terms of success are (Labor Dept).

We have essentially defined away recessions, inflation, and unemployment.

The gov't tells me there is little or no inflation, yet my credit card statements tell me otherwise. I may not be the sharpest knife in an airline executive's back, but when I go to the grocery store, hardware store, doctor, gas station, auto repair shop, lumber store, sporting goods retailer, etc. I can see that it takes more Federal Reserve Notes to make things change hands than just 18 months ago - many more.

Gov't unemployment numbers are a joke. We have defined away unemployment.

I have 3 part-time jobs, and my two neighbors are unemployed. The Labor Dept counts the three of us as 100% employed. WTF?

Go read Mish today. He has a great discussion on just how unreliable gov't econ data is on GDP. Paying yourself rent, and free checking accounts are two examples he uses to highlight how unreliable gov't data are.

Eleua said...

I went to the Seattle CoC panel discussion on the housing bubble. Orser and Fleckenstein were the two main speakers (there was a third, but she was irrelevant to the main topic.)

Seated at my table was a gentleman from a large, local bank. We were discussing if there is or is not a housing bubble. His point was that the local economy justifies what we are seeing in housing.

My point back to him was "what if housing IS the economy?" He was polite, but had no answer. It was as if it had never been considered in any previous thinking on the subject.

I think this entire thing is going to make people look back on this and wonder how they missed it.

Anonymous said...

>The stock market is often a predictor of where the economy is headed...which looks to be goooooooooood.

Ludicrous speed! This has to be one of the funniest statements I've read this week.

We are currently sitting very close to an inflection point in the market and our economy.

If you are correct, that indeed, the stock market is a great predictor of where the economy is headed, then we are in very sad shape.


The very fact that market lunacy prevails, that stocks go up when reporting poor earnings - when all it takes is a comment from a builder CEO to pump stock; anything to get the slightest glimmer of hope. None of which is backed up by any substance.

That's where we are now.

Wake up.