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Monday, April 05, 1982

04.05.2007 - Thursday Open Thread

This is your open thread for Thursday, April 5, 2007. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here.

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!

72 comments:

The Tim said...

Sorry I didn't have time for a post yesterday. I had a fairly busy day here in Chicago, plus I had a pretty pounding headache all day. Bleh.

Grivetti said...

Looking into my crystal ball Blog Housing Bulls/Trolls to post the following article....

Microsoft to reveal plans for Bellevue expansion

in 3... 2... 1...

Grivetti said...

... of course from the sound-off board we get the following none-sense comment...

This and the great sales of the 787 are why those who are gleefully awaiting a big drop in the local real estate market may have to wait a long time.

Again, its amazing how well the REIC propoganda's working on the sheeple. If I read an article that said, Boeing/Microsoft employees to get %100 raise, then I'd perk-up. But let me tell you, this is the same ole' same ole'.

Boeing plans on clearing out of Renton all together, eventually move the 737 line to the defunct 767 line. Most of the 787 is built overseas, finally assembly will be here. So with Renton gone, most people involved in commercial will be on the north-end (not Seattle).

Microsoft's product line's in the toilet... Zune anyone? They fired the marketing genius behind that "iPod Killer" and Vista is that turd people roll their eyes at, knowing they'll eventually have to install that memory-beast on their outdated PC's... and as for online content, that's miserable too. Hotmail's spam'd out of existence and their search-engine's crap.

More than 3,900 of the additions (jobs) were in the Seattle region.

Sweet, doing what? they ain't code monkeys, I'm sure...

Kaleetan said...

Heres a good article related to the tech expansion/ population growth in the seattle area.

NY Times Article

Kaleetan said...

Code Monkey...hey that hurts!...

that reminds me...i need a banana

Please tell us your honorable occupation Grivetti..

Grivetti said...

The key to that article's title is the following

Tech-Driven Metro Areas Renew Their Population Gains...

+3.6% pop-growth in KingCo over the past 5 yrs is barely nominal, below par actually.

Grivetti said...

RF/Microwave engineer... but I get to be a code-monkey every now and then...

Ole' Fortran77 actually.

Kaleetan said...

One thing I noticed was the TREND of growth...look at the last 2 years..

"Metropolitan Seattle, for instance, which grew by fewer than 20,000 residents from 2002 to 2003, gained more than 55,000 from 2005 to 2006, reaching 3.3 million."

Tom said...

I've observed that many houses after being on the market for quite some time (30-40 days) disappear suddenly without being STI (subject to inspection). it seems difficult to believe that somebody would rush to buy such a house which has been lingering on the market waiving inspection contingency.
did anybody else notice that?

B said...

Anybody with an understanding of these things care to explain the "subject to inspection" status?

How often does a "subject to inspection" property end up back on the market? I'm assuming that STI or any other status changes on MLS are legit, and not marketing gimmicks...

BanteringBear said...

"I've observed that many houses after being on the market for quite some time (30-40 days) disappear suddenly without being STI (subject to inspection)."

That's because either the sellers have given up, or the agent has pulled it, and will put it back on the mls with a different number to "freshen" the listing. The latter being a practice that I would imagine will come under intense scrutiny after the whole sh!thouse has collapsed.

Terry said...

I have a relative who is a firm believer of the "real estate always appreciates" theory. During a conversation a while ago, I mentioned the fact that affordability issues have got to kick in at some point and she countered with the expected arguement that 40 yr mortgages, ARMs etc, would keep things affordable. She also made the statement "...some folks are buying with monthly adjusting treasuries (MAT) that can cut house payments in half..."

I googled "MAT" but didn't find anything. I am clueless as to what she is talking about. Can anyone explain how buying thru use of "monthly adjusting treasuries" works?

Sam said...

My first post here. Check this out

http://seattle.craigslist.org/est/apa/306607027.html

Hi everyone. My husband and I are real estate investors just married from eHarmony last year. We had a bad real estate deal go through and now we need to rent out the top floor of our split level home until June 30th.

1100sqft (top floor)
Master bedroom is 15x22. The previous owner converted 2 rooms into 1. That's a king bed in the picture.
2nd bedroom is 9x8. We use this for an office (has a closet)
Brand new kitchen (gutted in November, new SS fridge not shown) 2 fridges
Large yard. Not fenced. ALL Landscaping included.
Private Bath with shower.
12x12 storage shed in back with shelves and 1/2 garage. Great for temporary storage.
Large deck. About 25 people capacity.
Washer & Dryer


Now here's the catch. We already have 2 roommates downstairs. We don't want to kick them out because of what happened so we decided to try and rent this top floor for 2 months. 1 is an ER Tech at Swedish and we can go weeks without seeing him. The other is recently divorced and is getting back on his feet. They have 1.5 baths for themselves. Since it's a split level we hardly see them except in the kitchen. They are both in their 40s and stay to themselves.

If this works for you....please call Christy at 425-761-6970 or Josh at 425-891-1789.
We're asking for a $200 deposit.

13001 79th Pl NE
Kirkland, WA 98034

Lake Hills Renter said...

Microsoft to reveal plans for Bellevue expansion

That's a non-starter as far as increasing demand goes. The expansion is not to accommodate new hires, it's to alleviate the cramped conditions for employees that already work at MS.

Zune anyone?

Already have one, thanks. :)

Grivetti said...

sam...

That's about the weirdest craigslist rental ad I've ever seen. Way too much info and until June 30th? Sweet, 2 months!!! They're smokin' something. Apparently 29 dimensions of compatability doesn't filter financial decision making.

These people are hurting for cash, badly, and what does "bad real estate deal go through" mean?

The deal went through apparently, they sold the joint now they're going to rent it for 2 months?

Anyway, I feel like phoning Christie and tell here she should apologize to the 2 roomates in the basement.

Michael said...

Hi sam,
could you do all of us a favor and not post your for rent ad here? This is a real estate discussion board. Since you're a RE investor you should've the sophistication to withstand all circumstances including a bad one. And thanks for telling us that you just got married recently through eHarmony--like I really care....

Grivetti said...

In other craigslist fun news...

Home trashed after cruel Craigslist hoax

Yikes...

info said...

March MLS data is up! And the market is exploding with Pink Pony magic:

Looks like buyers blinked bigtime....the median price for a res. in KC is now a whopping $454,950!! That's up from $429,925 last month, a $25K increase in one month!! And up from $405K in March 2006.

Refracted Thought, Synthetic, Billi, and Matthew...you guys were way off on your bets for a crashing market. I'm willing to be a gentleman about it and let you off the hook.

Grivetti said...

could you do all of us a favor and not post your for rent ad here?

I'm thinking its probably not sam's ad...

Sam said...

Michael,

That is not my Ad; just a weird craigslist ad that caught my attention.

Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
meshugy said...

Software Engineer mentioned the importance of new home sales in gauging the market. Well guess what? New SFH CLOSED sales were up 11% in KC.

New Home sales March 2006: 388
New Home sales March 2007: 434

And the condo market is absolutely exploding with a YOY 6% increase in closed sales and 12% increase in price!

Condos sales March 2006: 833
Condos sales March 2007: 889

Condos price March 2006: $249,950
Condos price March 2007: $281,000

Richard said...

Sam, those people have taken out 5 additional mortgages since they bought the place in 2005 - and the original purchase was with 2 mortgages. I'd imagine they spent all their equity just on fees. Ouch.

Grivetti said...

The expansion is not to accommodate new hires, it's to alleviate the cramped conditions for employees that already work at MS.

Sort of figured, although it might relieve a bit of the 520 congestion (although I dobut it).

And the Zune? I'm assuming you work at Microsft? ... seriously, who's buying those things?

Grivetti said...

those people have taken out 5 additional mortgages since they bought the place in 2005

Wholly Christo!!! And they dare call themselves Real Estate Investors? That is nuts!

29 dimensions of compatibility, 7 mortgage options... wow, their story won't make the eHarmony TV reel.

meshugy said...

Concerning the ongoing discussion about rent...apparently Seattle is becoming nationally known for the fastest rent increase in the country:
Apartment Rents Rise

For rental rates, San Jose, Miami and Seattle had the biggest growth in effective rent at 1.6 percent each from the prior quarter. New York followed at 1.5 percent.

It must be because we're a Superstar City



Professor Chris Mayer, director of the Milstein Center for Real Estate at New York's Columbia Business School, says Seattle outperforms other major cities because it's relatively unusual.

"Seattle is one of a handful of places I've written about and referred to as a 'superstar city,' " Mayer said. "It's not quite in the same league as San Francisco and New York, but if you look at census data, house prices in Seattle have grown faster than the national average for 50 years, from 1950 to 2000."

So major home appreciation "is a pattern that's been going on for a long time," Mayer said.

He defines superstar cities as people magnets because of their attractiveness and amenities.

"But being attractive isn't enough," he said. "It's also necessary to limit supply." That's happened here for two reasons.



Limited land supply

Restrictions push housing prices higher.



First: Seattle is essentially out of land on which detached houses can be built.

Second: The state's Growth Management Act effectively limits supply by restricting where homes can be built.

"When you restrict construction you inherently raise the prices of homes," Mayer said. "So it ends up being the case that the only people who can afford to live there are people with higher incomes. I'm not saying this is good or bad or desirable, but it is an outcome of restricting new construction."

Plenty of King County residents can afford houses. The percentage of households earning more than 150 percent of median income — that would be more than $90,000 today — grew faster than any other income category between 1990 and 2004. It now accounts for almost one-third of all households, a county study found. They number almost 250,000.



Newcomers abound

Job market lures out-of-staters, who drive prices up.



But Mayer says having well-off local residents isn't the whole story.

"In superstar markets, including Seattle, you can tie the price of housing to the incomes of the wealthiest Americans — not just the people who live in those cities right now," he said.

"This means house prices can grow faster than the incomes of existing residents if there are new residents from outside the metro area who can afford to move in and buy those houses."

That's happening here. Puget Sound's already strong economy is growing — a trend expected to continue at least through 2009 with the addition of 140,000 jobs, according to Conway Pedersen Economics.

This growth has made Washington one of the top 10 states attracting more people than they're losing, the state's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council reports.

CRichard said...

Hey bubble losers,

Just because Shuggy is taking it easy on you with this data-based hammer doesn’t mean the rest of us bull-winners have to. He left out the most damning “fact.” Extrapolating March’s MOM 6% appreciation through the rest of the Spring price-growing season yields a June residential of $541K!

The only HousingTracker cities that have higher prices than that are SF, San Jose, Newport Beach & LA (barely). Seattle is a better place to live than either SD or Honolulu!!!!!

The only conclusion that one can draw from my sound analysis is that Seattle is different and that prices go up forever! Eat that, losers!

MisterBubble said...

Please ignore my other personality.

BanteringBear said...

"Looks like buyers blinked bigtime....the median price for a res. in KC is now a whopping $454,950!! That's up from $429,925 last month, a $25K increase in one month!! And up from $405K in March 2006."

As the subprime spigot runs dry, we might expect even more increases in the median. That's because the first time buyers, and those with bad credit who feed on the lower priced homes are no longer buying. Only the move up buyers, and those flush with cash are in the market. They aren't interested in the cheap garbage. They are busy buying the higher end homes, thus skewing the median. While the median is up, there are still deep price cuts happening in the higher end. As for increases in transactions, that's to be expected this time of year. Oh, the crash is coming, make no mistake about it. It's actually quite humorous to hear shills like meshugy yammering away right up until the bitter end. They'll be the laughingstock once the verdict is in.

CRichard said...

Oh and one more thing for you bubble losers. Before you go on about total active Res inventory increasing to 33% YOY during the peak selling season and that YOY close numbers have been negative for 17 months, remember this:

The laws of supply and demand do not apply to housing! The only thing that matters is the direction of price change when it is increasing.

Eula, you heard it here first: “One-million-dollar-superstar-median” by 2010.

meshugy said...

Hi Banter,

That's because the first time buyers, and those with bad credit who feed on the lower priced homes are no longer buying. Only the move up buyers, and those flush with cash are in the market. They aren't interested in the cheap garbage. They are busy buying the higher end homes, thus skewing the median.

We've heard this "skewing the median" argument for years and it never pans out. If you look at the closed sales report by price you'll see the vast majority of sales are below $500k. So the entry level market is actually the most active, not the higher end.

They'll be the laughingstock once the verdict is in.

I don't see why you have to put everything in such harsh terms...we're all just following the market. Although, I'll have to say that now that the market has spoken (i.e. 12% YOY appreciation) your point of view seems awfully weak.

Wanderer said...

Shug, does the 11% MOM increase in "closed" sales correspond to the "pending" sales shown in the tracking spreadsheet? I really don't know if this is the case. Pending sales Feb-Mar have increased 18-39% every year since 2001. Is this apples to apples?

Do you have numbers for inventory?

meshugy said...

Shug, does the 11% MOM increase in "closed" sales correspond to the "pending" sales shown in the tracking spreadsheet?

These are New Houses I was talking about....Tim doesn't have that in his spreadsheet. Inventory all the other data is on the NWMLS site.

MisterBubble said...

Don't take Meshugy's word. Here's the link to the full report that he seems incapable of posting.

Interesting observations:

P21-26: average price of active listings are down for nearly every category, while median prices are up.
Does this mean that low-end sales are faltering? Hard to tell...

P25: active listings (Res+Condo) up by 37% YOY! Avg. time on market up by 5 days, YOY.

P31: pending sales (Res+Condo) down by 1.8%, YOY; avg. time on market up by 9 days, YOY.

P37: closed sales (Res+Condo) down by 1.4%, YOY; avg. days on market up by 14, YOY.

Meanwhile, yes, median prices appear to have risen across the board. If you're inclined to wear rose-colored glasses, this is the only point you'll be able to "hammer".

This is easily the most complicated report we've seen. If you're not cherry-picking data, it's very difficult to interpret. But the one clear trend is this: inventory is skyrocketing.

("Exploding," even.)

MisterBubble said...

All of the previous stats were for King County, BTW.

matthew said...

Info,

I believe I said that March would be the peak month did I not?

What is wrong with you? Selective memory?

Let me off the hook? WTF are you talking about? Lay down the crack pipe

meshugy said...

P21-26: average price of active listings are down for nearly every category, while median prices are up.

Those are asking prices....it's the sold prices we care about. This doesn't tell us anything.



P25: active listings (Res+Condo) up by 37% YOY! Avg. time on market up by 5 days, YOY.

But way, way below the historic norm. March 2006 actually had lower Res inventory then March 2005. So you're comparing YOY to a rock bottom #. An increase is to be expected. But look at previous years.

Res Inventory March 2007: 6,762
Res Inventory March 2006: 5,100
Res Inventory March 2005: 5,244
Res Inventory March 2004: 7,156
Res Inventory March 2003: 8,665


Sorry...not even close to a glut. Still very low inventory.

P31: pending sales (Res+Condo) down by 1.8%, YOY; avg. time on market up by 9 days, YOY.

P37: closed sales (Res+Condo) down by 1.4%, YOY; avg. days on market up by 14, YOY.


Wow...you're killing me with those devastating figures! 1.4% drop in sales...ouch! Doesn't bother me too much as prices went up 12%! Now that a # worth talking about.

meshugy said...

I believe I said that March would be the peak month did I not?

Ok Matty....see you when the April #s come in!

Grivetti said...

Please people... Don't feed the Ballard Troll. One Troll's enough for our fair city.

matthew said...

I'll see you in April alright, I have a feeling should the numbers be slanted my way, you won't be around!

meshugy said...

I'll see you in April alright, I have a feeling should the numbers be slanted my way, you won't be around!

BTW...pending sales for March are $468,750. So looks like we'll see at least another $15K increase in April.

matthew said...

Timing the peak is not an exact science, if I'm off a month or two no biggie, I'm man enough to admit it.

meshugy said...

Timing the peak is not an exact science, if I'm off a month or two no biggie, I'm man enough to admit it.

I think you're actually off by a decade or two.

matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
matthew said...

Mikey,

We'll see, I have your address so I can send you a "I told you so" card when the crash hits, and you have disappeared from this blog!

meshugy said...

Area home prices are climbing again

After stalling for two months at about $429,000, King County's median single-family home price surged to $454,950 last month.

Condominium prices are also showing strength, particularly in Snohomish County. March median prices were up 25.7 percent over a year earlier, with the median now standing at $238,796.

King County's median condo price was $281,000 last month, up 12.4 percent in the last year.

meshugy said...

We'll see, I have your address so I can send you a "I told you so" card when the crash hits, and you have disappeared from this blog!

STALKER! I'm getting a restraining order!!

Alan said...

I'm a housing bear and I thought prices would rise in March (predicted half way through March based on my limited view through Redfin). If you thought they would drop then you are not paying close enough attention to the market.

Knowing what a market is currently doing is a very different problem from knowing what the market will do in 3 months.

March turned out to be a month of white swans.

By the way, foreclosure notices in King County were up 35% YOY in March and 44% over the previous 12 month average.

Grivetti said...

The number of house and condominium sales transacted last month was down 8 percent in King County and almost 18 percent in Snohomish County, compared to a year earlier, the MLS reported.

Meanwhile, the number of properties available showed double-digit increases compared to a year earlier.

For example, in March 2006 King County buyers had 5,100 homes to choose from. Last month they had 6,762. That's a 32.6 percent increase.


pffft... whatever...

MisterBubble said...

"Those are asking prices....it's the sold prices we care about. This doesn't tell us anything."

Are you this petulant and immature in real life?

I know what the numbers mean, thanks. I posted them because it is interesting that the average asking price is below the median asking price, for the first time that I can remember.

This information may not tell you anything, but for everyone who knows the definition of the median and the mean, it suggests that the distribution of asking prices are skewed to the high end. Take from this what you will -- but it is certainly an interesting point of information.

"Wow...you're killing me with those devastating figures! 1.4% drop in sales...ouch! Doesn't bother me too much as prices went up 12%! Now that a # worth talking about."

Only if you're bad at math. A nearly 40% increase in inventory, coupled with any drop in sales, should concern you (unless you're a fool).

BanteringBear said...

"...your point of view seems awfully weak."

Given your penchant for rear view mirror analysis, and your myopic nature in general, it's unremarkable you would draw such a conclusion. After all, the herd is never aware of the cliff which lies ahead.

Grivetti said...

Its an REIC Disneyland out there folks... weehoo!!!

King County sees more homes on market but fewer sales

The number of homes on the market in March was up 36.8 percent from March 2006, while the number of closed sales was down 1.4 percent.

man, only a 40% more inventory? that's nuttin', I'm thinking this sweet juggarnaut of special real-estate buffet's gotta truck up to %500 before we see a glimmer of a price drop...

FinanceGuru said...

I can vouch for the 12.4% increase in condo prices in Seattle, as I put money down end of June 2006 and locked in my price at $239,500 and is currently worth $265,000 to $270,000 (10.4% to 12.5%) based on a recent sales around my area in like kind buildings.

However, I do believe that many of the issues in the credit market will seep into the mortgage market and impact prices to some degree. The good news is that if prices do moderate I will at least have a cushion of appreciation.

I plan on refinancing in the near future to get rid of my higher interest rate 2nd mortgage, yet currently a contract worker (technically self-employed, which means it cant be done under my situation right now)…Im currently looking for a permanent position. The catch is that Im being paid very well for what I do by a California company (as in paid at Los Angeles CA rates, woo hoo).

Lake Hills Renter said...

And the Zune? I'm assuming you work at Microsft?

Yep, I got it as a ship gift after our last product release. I don't get the whole Zune bashing thing, but since I've never used an iPod maybe it really is inferior. It plays music, which is all I need. The wireless file sharing is pretty cool too, but the DRM really cripples it.

And it was free. :)

confused said...

The problem I am having lately about real estate "appreciating" is that a lot of people are putting in 100s of thousands of dollars into remodels and flips. This automoatically is counted when figuring "appreciation".

The MLS does not take your cost basis into account. Most places inside the city of seattle are flips, I would say half or more. Here is an example mls #27008855. He bought it for 430k and from what I understnad has put well over 100k probably closer to 200k and is now asking 795. That is near 100% appreciation. How much of this is influencing this market? I read the latest stat on the average home ownership was 3 years. That is nuts. I don't give a lot of credence to median price right now. It is a gauge but I feel the margin of error outweighs the appreciation.

confused said...

For Seattle. If you want to take a look at the 3 or 4 county market then these numbers statistically go away.

Grivetti said...

And it was free. :)

Well, Hell. I'd be a Zune fan too!

I guess its as good a marketing tool as they've came up with, giving shwag to the worker bees to use on the street... but "iPod killer?" lord... reeked of nerdy-ness.

I have neither, just a Sony mp3 disc player... seems to work.

EconE said...

I can vouch for the 12.4% increase in condo prices in Seattle, as I put money down end of June 2006 and locked in my price at $239,500 and is currently worth $265,000 to $270,000 (10.4% to 12.5%) based on a recent sales around my area in like kind buildings.

at the prices you are talking about you apparently purchased in a rather "low end" building.

However, I do believe that many of the issues in the credit market will seep into the mortgage market and impact prices to some degree.

WOW...I never thought I'd hear this from Fguru.

I plan on refinancing in the near future to get rid of my higher interest rate 2nd mortgage, yet currently a contract worker (technically self-employed, which means it cant be done under my situation right now)…Im currently looking for a permanent position. The catch is that Im being paid very well for what I do by a California company (as in paid at Los Angeles CA rates, woo hoo).

so...you are highly paid...yet bought a "lower tier" condo...and even had to take out a 2nd mortgage?

You are currently looking for a permanent position? What if you don't find that position?

There are no guarantees in life.

Alan said...

There are no guarantees in life.

I can think of two guarantees:
1) Life is hard.
2) Real estate always goes up.

Kaleetan said...

"a $25K increase in one month!! "

How long would it take to save that much money renting?

synthetik said...

FG=FB

Christina said...

Perhaps this has already been posted, but Home Price Growth in 2006 Was Slowest Since 1999.

Pacific Division (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA): increased 0.5 percent (2.2 percent, annualized) in the fourth quarter of 2006. Over the last 12 months, home values increased 7.4 percent, and during the last five years, home values have increased 94.6 percent.

I wonder which area will be the first to go negative next quarter: New England, or Pacific.

Grivetti said...

How long would it take to save that much money renting?

Er... where's the money getting saved?

Last time I checked money-faires didn't stack one-hundred dollar bills in the closets of recently mortgaged homes... or do they?

Terry said...

Do the money fairies ride on the pink ponies? I'd like to see that.

Richard said...

lot of people are putting in 100s of thousands of dollars into remodels and flips.

What I'm finding puzzling are the number of homes that were purchased in 2006, only to go back on the market 7-9 months later with some miniscule markup, say 1-5% over the previous selling price.

2 in particular are: 6830 35TH AVE NE (bought for $400K, listed at $406K) and 9105 SAND POINT WAY NE (bought for $500K and currently pending for $520K) I drive by both of these houses regularly and they have been vacant the entire time. This leads me to believe they were not purchased as a primary residence or for rental income.

Alan said...

I'm not sure, but it looks like 6830 35TH AVE NE might have been a preforeclosure sale in 2006. There was a trustee deed issued in 2006 between First American Title and FV-I, Inc (c/o GMAC Mort. Co). I am not quite sure what a trustee deed means. It might simply mean that their mortgage was sold and it is showing up incorrectly as a property sale. A quick search for FV-I gives a lot of foreclosure related results.

FV-I was incorporated in Deleware in 2003.

The sales before that were in 2005 for $462k and 2004 for $349k. The higher sales price in 2005 supports the foreclosure story.

Can you tell if the property is currently unoccupied?

Alan said...

9105 SAND POINT WAY was paid for in full (no mortgage recorded) and purchased from the estate of the deceased owner. Not much more story on this one.

Richard said...

Alan, yeah, it was bought in foreclosure after someone got stuck half way through a remodel. If you look at the interior shots, it's not even habitable.

Looks like the current owner, FV-I inc. bid for it at auction, and now they're dumping it for $6K over the purchase price.

Richard said...

Regarding 9105, the current owner bought it from the estate of the deceased, presumably to flip - since it was never lived in.

Alan said...

I wonder what sort of loss a national investment group would be willing to take on a single property and how one might negotiate such a deal.

Alan said...

Is there any data on unoccupied homes like these? Unused homes artificially reduce supply and increase prices.

Richard said...

Alan, I'm wondering the same thing. Looking at the Trustee Deeds for KC, there have been quite a few properties were purchased at trustee sale but aren't on the market yet. I'd like to find a better way to get this info in aggregate.

(The names greenpoint, fremont and new century seem to pop up alot on the trustee sale deeds, go figure)