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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Prices In Seattle Still Hot, Hot, Hot!

Check out this delightful piece from today's Wall Street Journal: Where home prices are hot now

The housing news isn't all grim. Even as prices sag nationwide, there are several cities in the country where home values are climbing smartly.

Portland, Ore., Boise, Idaho, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Houston, Austin, and Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., are among the cities bucking the national trend. Homes' appreciation there between the fourth quarters of 2005 and 2006 far exceeded the national average of 5.9%, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.

In some markets, like Boise and Seattle, the appreciation jumped well into the double digits.
Let me stop right there for a moment. The phrase "well into the double digits" didn't strike me as reflective of reality, so I took a look at the actual OFHEO report (pdf). Sure enough, according to the government, homes in Seattle appreciated 14.5% from Q4 '05 to Q4 '06. NWMLS stats and the Case-Shiller index both reported lower figures:
Dec. '05 - Dec. '06
OFHEO HPI: +14.5%
S&P/Case-Shiller HPI: +12.1%
NWMLS Median (Res, King Co.): +12.0%
I think the difference lies in the following (emphasis mine):
OFHEO calculates appreciation based on repeat sales or refinancings of the same single-family properties.
Including refinancings may have worked in the past, but for whatever reason, it is now apparently skewing the numbers a bit higher than they are in reality. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the other claims made in the article...
There's no single secret of these cities' apparent success, but many of them missed the housing boom of the past five years. From 2001 to 2005, annual appreciation in these cities was between 2% and 5%, far slower than the 7% to 12% national average, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.
Between 2% and 5% from '01 to '05? Really? No, not really:
Quarter: OFHEO, Case-Shiller, NWMLS
Q4 '05: +17.2%, +18.5%, +17.3%
Q4 '04: +10.1%, +11.4%, +9.9%
Q4 '03: +5.3%, +7.1%, +11.3%
Q4 '02: +4.5%, +4.1%, +3.3%
Q4 '01: +5.6%, +4.5%, +5.6%
Looks like we got a late start, with only slight price increases in '01 and '02 but from '03 on, it was off to the races.
Now, their economies are strong...
Good thing our local economy is completely immune to any potential slowdown in the national economy, right?
...and housing prices are still perceived as affordable, luring buyers into the market.
Now it's just getting ludicrous. No one but an ex-Californian perceives homes in Seattle to be "affordable."
The growth of Portland, Salt Lake City, Boise and Seattle can be attributed in part to an influx of former Californians and people opting out of slumping Las Vegas or Phoenix.
Ah, well there you go.
While some worry that a new group of cities could face a boom-and-bust cycle, local real-estate agents and economists predict stable growth for the near future.
In other news, local burger franchise owners and beef producers predict stable growth for the near future in their own industry, as well.

Lest you still come away from the article with a puffed-up opinion of Seattle's superiority, take a look at the seventeen cities with higher appreciation than Seattle (according to the OFHEO):
  • Bend, OR
  • Wenatchee, WA
  • Provo-Orem, UT
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Boise City-Nampa, ID
  • El Paso, TX
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • Corvallis, OR
  • Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA
  • Longview, WA
  • Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Wilmington, NC
  • Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL
  • Ogden-Clearfield, UT
  • Salem, OR
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Mobile, AL
I guess the Salt Lake City area is even more specialer than the Puget Sound.

(Dean Treftz, Wall Street Journal, 05.09.2007)

36 comments:

S Crow said...

Snohomish County Residential & Condos: Median Prices

March 07 $359K
April 07 $349K

This was not reported in the NWMLS press release. What was, was the 12% YOY increase.

PDX Renter said...

In no way did Portland miss out on boomtime. Housing has appreciated 67% over the past five years.

But YOY appreciation 2006 - 2007 has only been 1.1%.

I don't know where they get these numbers from.

Deejayoh said...

Ya gotta kind of like the closing dig at Realtors(TM)

To attract a buyer, their real-estate agent suggested purchasing a flat-screen TV and including it in the price of the house. When the home finally sold, the buyer didn't want the TV.

NoFate said...

Wow, I expect this kind of slop from realtor's groups and regular papers ...but the WSJ? They should hang their head in shame.

They are guilty of at least 3 errors:
1) Using older numbers ('05 to '06) ...2007 is half over fer Christ's sake!
2) Using a flawed index.
3) Making it sound like the "rate of increase" is increasing, but it's really only increasing (at a decreasing rate). In other words, yes houses are still appreciating ...but more slowly than they were.

If anyone looks at a Case-Shiller graph for Seattle, three things are obvious:
1) Seattle and Portland are lagging the country by about a year.
2) Appreciation is getting smaller and smaller. It should hit 0% and go negative in Q4 2007.
3) How negative it goes and for how long are anyone's guess after that.

So why are they hiring retards now at the WSJ? This reporter obviously knows nothing about math or economics. Unbelievable!

MisterBubble said...

s_crow:

Great point. I haven't had time to look at the latest numbers, but I've wondered about the changes in real pricing, month-to-month, as well.

Of course, it's pointless to consider MOM trends in most situations, but if the MOM price changes are moving in the opposite direction of the usual seasonal trends (e.g. MOM prices are declining in the spring), they would be meaningful.

Example: if prices were declining gradually (say, 1% per month), you wouldn't expect to see significant drops in YOY prices for at least a year. For 12 months (approximately), it would look like the market was just increasing more slowly (sound familiar?); the YOY numbers would only start to fall off a cliff in month 13.

MisterBubble said...

Here's a simple example of what I'm talking about. Let's assume a hypothetical Ballard shack (let's call it "Meshugy Manor"), which has previously held a steady price of 100k for a year (year 0). Let's look at the YOY price changes for Meshugy Manor during a bubble year (year 1):

Jan: 100k 0%
Feb: 102k 2%
Mar: 104k 4%
Apr: 106k 6%
May: 108k 8%
Jun: 110k 10%
Jul: 112k 12%
Aug: 114k 14%
Sep: 116k 16%
Oct: 118k 18%
Nov: 120k 20%
Dec: 122k 22%

WoW! The market is really hot, isn't it? Prices are skyrocketing! It's amazing! Now let's watch what happens with the Meshugy Manor YOY numbers as the market begins to slowly deflate. We'll add the "color commentary" of the Ballard Post-Intelligentsia's crack real-estate reporter as a final column:

Jan: 122k 22% ("Amazing growth!")
Feb: 121k 19% ("Tight market!")
Mar: 120k 15% ("Prices rising!")
Apr: 119k 12% ("Renters tremble!")
May: 118k 9% ("Ballard special!")
Jun: 117k 6% ("RU priced out?")
Jul: 116k 4% ("Crash? not here!")
Aug: 115k 1% ("Soft landing!")
Sep: 114k -2% ("Winter slowdown.")
Oct: 113k -4% ("Snow hurts sales!")
Nov: 112k -7% ("Waiting 4 spring!")
Dec: 111k -9% ("Seasonal trends!")

Question: what month is it now?

seattle said...

you can't blame WSJ for being a real estate adverizer that benifits from the bubbble.

Alan said...

I move away from Austin and a year later housing jumps 20%. The condos in my old complex are selling for 20% more than what I sold for. I saw around 3% total over five years that I owned. I really hate real estate at the moment.

Deejayoh said...

Question: what month is it now?

Per Elizabeth Rhodes: It's the month of Spring!

Pegasus said...

The Wall Street Journal is a known whore for big money interests. They constantly push highly subjective stories to help their advertising base. They have become so corrupt that it is a rare day when they tell the truth. Hmmmm.....could that be why their circulation is collapsing?

Now... to the meat of their latest distortion. What bankers need to unload their subprime and other non-prime loans originated in the Northwest? That is where I would start my research in the validity of the WSJ story.

CondoCrazy! said...

Condos at 2nd and Wall St are Hot, Hot, Hot!

Go Condos!

Sam said...

Todays WSJ article on month over month inventory. Seattle figures 4th from the top

http://tinyurl.com/3awuhx

Supply of Homes Continues to Grow

Some of the biggest increases last month were in the metro areas of San Francisco, up about 19%; Washington, 17%; Orange County, Calif., 15%; and Seattle, 14%.

MisterBubble said...

Sweet. We have our very own bubble bench!

Puget Sounder said...

Go Wenatchee! There are a lot of pink ponies there!!

(Wenatchee High School graduate in 2000, lived there from 1993-2000. Not going back any time soon and can't hardly believe that the 'Snatch is almost as expensive as PDX). Seriously, all there is to do there for nightlife is to hang out at the local Taco Bell. Sports? There's a sub-par ski area 12 miles away. Oh, Leavenworth is 20 miles away if you like faux-Bavarian decorations.

Brian said...

CNN Money's
"Scenes from a bubble..."

http://tinyurl.com/2zr67w

Finance said...

Pegasus - I call BS on your statement about the WSJ!

Actually the WSJ is one of the most unbias newspapers in the country for news coverage. Their circulation has increased 3.3% over the past 6 months and reported as the second highest (only USA Today has higher due to hotel paper sales) circulaton in the country right above the NYT. The avg circulation for newspapers in the US declined 2.1% over the past 6 months.

Please do your research before making blanket statments!

B said...

Agree that the WSJ's news and financial coverage is near the top.

The editorial page, however, is appallingly amateurish. It doesn't drag down the credibility of the paper as a whole, because most regular readers know that the editorial section is a wholly different wing of the organization, and exists to be ignored.

Terry said...

Mr. Bubble,

Your example of YoY price changes is enlightening. It really shows how one month's YoY data taken out of context can be totally misrepresentative of the current market trend. You cannot just look at the YoY price change to detect the current market trend.

Pegasus said...

Finance said..."Actually the WSJ is one of the most unbias newspapers in the country for news coverage. Their circulation has increased 3.3% over the past 6 months and reported as the second highest (only USA Today has higher due to hotel paper sales) circulaton in the country right above the NYT. The avg circulation for newspapers in the US declined 2.1% over the past 6 months."

As far as their circulation goes I was referring to their longer term trend of their print version in the US and not including their foreign paper expansion. I was referring to the hordes of US investors over the years growing tired of their biased reporting and cancelling their subscriptions.

The meat of my statement was and still is that they are a shill for big money and rarely print unbiased stories that don't have an agenda. I have personally tracked over hundreds of their stories over the years and had to conclude that the best case was the writers were bumbling incompetents and the worst case they are complicit hacks that are trying to manipulate stocks and the truth for various parties. Most of those stories benefit someone and that someone is rarely Mom and Pop American investors.

Mike said...

I've always found the WSJ to be a better source of what happened, rather than what is going to happen.

Back in (I think 1999) the WSJ ran an indepth report about the Beanie Baby market. I'd made quite a bit of pocket change in my spare time buying them at cost and wholesaleing them to other distributers. That article marked the end of the gravy train. I'd told my mom who was collecting them "keep what you want and get rid if the rest, they're done".

Being emotionally attached, she managed to part with a hundred or so, but kept a huge box of the rare ones she was "sure" wouldn't get caught in the selloff. No biggie though, she hadn't paid more than $2-$5 each. I hope the people that paid $80 for a teddy bear got some good cuddling out of it for that kind of $$.

EconE said...

RE the WSJ in general.

Most people I have known in the finance industry consider the WSJ yesterdays news. They all recommended reading Investors Business Daily.

Finance...throwing around numbers (circulation) that compares the WSJ to USA today has no credibility.

If 'Weekly World News' subscribership was up by a larger percentage than the WSJ, would that make their stories of Bat Children and Zombies any more credible?

The said...

Ogden, Utah has a ranch of pink ponies for every single pink pony in Seattle!

My under-development neighborhood in Bothell recently cut prices. YOY % would still look great. Two houses on the street up for sale for over a month finally gave in and were rented out. Do the owners really think thinks will get *better* in a year (presumable lease period)? If they're looking for a long term investment (LONG term), fine.. But they seemed more like the quick-flip types. People need to start getting burned up here - SOON. Its the only way things will normalize.

Having just moved here from Arizona, it does seem like there is a high % of people here with their heads in the clouds. A higher % than other areas I have lived, which is saying something (Bay Area, Orange County, Las Vegas, Phoenix). To locals - is it just my perception as a Puget n00b, or do you see it too?

Finance said...

Pegasus - You can read the article for yourself...however the avg newspaper circulation delined 2.1% YOY so any increase is amazing.

Yes, Investors Business Daily is a great paper and read it as well, yet speaking to the quality of the WSJ. People are voting with their feet (or mouse) and buying the WSJ in larger numbers...no debating that!!!

NEW YORK, April 30, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The Wall Street Journal continues to outperform industry trends, growing individually paid subscriptions 4.5%, and total subscriptions 0.6% since the launch of its redesign on Jan. 2, 2007. Subscription revenue increased by 1.8%.

"The Journal's 4.5% growth in individually paid subscriptions demonstrates that readers have fully embraced the redesign including the more convenient size, improved navigation and increased focus on what the news means," said L. Gordon Crovitz, executive vice president of Dow Jones & Company and publisher of The Wall Street Journal. "Our integration of the print and online Journals has also been successful, with paid subscriptions for WSJ.com increasing 20% in the first quarter."

The Wall Street Journal grew its individually paid subscriptions 3.3% in the six-month period ending March 2007 according to the latest ABC FAS-FAX statement released today, the third consecutive period of growth. This is reported on the heels of a 9.2% increase reflected in the September 2006 ABC statement, which was the paper's highest growth rate in individually paid subscriptions in more than 25 years. The Journal maintains an extremely high number of individually paid subscribers -- nearly a half million more than the next newspaper reported by ABC. Total Journal circulation grew to 1,721,694 from 1,713,413 during the March ABC period.

EconE said...

Yes, Investors Business Daily is a great paper and read it as well, yet speaking to the quality of the WSJ. People are voting with their feet (or mouse) and buying the WSJ in larger numbers...no debating that!!!

sure...people may be voting with their feet....but there are also more "sheeple" in this country than IBD readers...and I have a feeling that there is less of a sheeple factor with regards to IBD...no debating that!!!

Pegasus said...

Finance....The meat of my statement was and still is that they are a shill for big money and rarely print unbiased stories that don't have an agenda. I have personally tracked over hundreds of their stories over the years and had to conclude that the best case was the writers were bumbling incompetents and the worst case they are complicit hacks that are trying to manipulate stocks and the truth for various parties. Most of those stories benefit someone and that someone is rarely Mom and Pop American investors.


Please post any info that you have to dicredit my above statement. I am not alone in my opinion and I did have lots of experience with looking deeper at their biased stories. They are at least as crooked as any New York financial publication, probably more so, and the sooner you understand that the better off you will be. Have you researched any of their stories to determine their validity? I thought not.

Finance said...

Pegasus - Unless your job is fact checking sources I dont believe you...they rarely have to retract statments.

Overall I have found that the WSJ at least posts several different view points in their articles. Thus they at least attempt at a balanced approach...much better than most newspapers. The Seattle PI & Times in this region barely ever do that. Just look at their articles on the real estate market. In the WSJ article on RE they showed both sides of the arguement with examples for and against the bubble, along with areas that were hit harder and places that are still appreciating, sounds pretty balanced to me.

In my marketing class last quarter at SU my teacher has extensively researched TV News Channels and Newspapers proving that the more unbiased a news source is the larger the viewership base (and the more profitable it is in general). Thus could be a significant reason the WSJ has expanded so quickly when most liberal newspapers have lost much of their readership base...just an intersting correlation she showed us (and she is a liberal teacher so it was even more interesting to see her findings).

This research project showed it goes both ways for convervative and liberal biases...which is interesting that people naturally strive for unbias news, then make up their own minds.

Pegasus said...

Finance....Your either stupid or full of crap or both?

Do yourself and others here a favor and check out a few stories. You will be amazed. The financial press is so co-opted that it is unbelievable.

I will give you an example that I worked on today without naming names. Today I watched four different financial media types from four different companies engage in trying to create a false story in a conspiracy using misleading and distorted info. The targeted company has a huge short position that would benefit tremendously from negative information(that is false or distorted) being spread. Two of the names are NY financial reporters for different name brand pubs and one other appears constantly on CNBC giving false information about numerous companies. The other is a washed-up fired former writer for a national magazine who now writes books with little merit and recently was hired by another "respected" financial national magazine. One of the four has been nominated for a Pulitzer in the past. None of these are employed by the WSJ currently but all of them have had various misleading articles in the past published by the WSJ. There were two other reporters, one who does work for the WSJ that have joined this crowd of crooks in past distortions but did not today. Maybe they will show tomorrow.

Wake up and do some research. It won't take a lot of your time to verify what I say but your life will change forever. It truly changed mine years ago when I figured out how bad the financial press really is.

Finance said...

"Pegasus - Unless your job is fact checking sources I dont believe you...they rarely have to retract statments."

This came out wrong...Yes, you are correct that every news outlet has an interest in a story they put out. YEs, the reporters have an angle they spin on articles, its just that some publications tend to have less spin than others...or at least put some comments from both perspectives.

Deejayoh said...

Mister B - your post about Shuggy Manor cracked me up - So if figured I'd check the CS data to see just what it looks like. Your scenario is hanging pretty true...

01 2005 12.7%
02 2005 12.8%
03 2005 13.7%
04 2005 14.0%
05 2005 14.5%
06 2005 15.0%
07 2005 15.6%
08 2005 16.7%
09 2005 17.6%
10 2005 18.4%
11 2005 18.5%
12 2005 18.5%
01 2006 18.1% (0.8%)
02 2006 18.2% (1.0%)
03 2006 17.9% (1.4%)
04 2006 17.8% (1.7%)
05 2006 17.4% (1.5%)
06 2006 17.1% (1.7%)
07 2006 16.8% (1.2%)
08 2006 16.1% (1.0%)
09 2006 15.2% (0.7%)
10 2006 14.1% (0.4%)
11 2006 13.0% (0.0%)
12 2006 12.0% (0.0%)
01 2007 11.1% (0.0%)
02 2007 10.6% (0.5%)

Extend that trend a couple months and we look like every other market in the index...

03 2007 10.0% (1.2%)
04 2007 9.4% (1.0%)
05 2007 8.7% (0.9%)
06 2007 8.1% (1.1%)
07 2007 7.5% (0.6%)
08 2007 6.8% (0.4%)
09 2007 6.2% (0.0%)
10 2007 5.6% (-0.2%)
11 2007 4.9% (-0.6%)
12 2007 4.3% (-0.6%)

Shuggy will be crowing until just about the end of the year, I predict.

TFS said...

http://bp3.blogger.com/_jxBfalVLq7Q/RkORJWGN2-I/AAAAAAAAAV8/XhCzJwdySJo/s1600-h/2200keys.jpg

another "bubble bench" in seattle

Terry said...

Hey DJO,

Excuse my ignorance -

Please explain your data in your previous post;

Is it date, % YoY median price change, (% MoM median price change)?

Deejayoh said...

Please explain your data in your previous post;

Is it date, % YoY median price change, (% MoM median price change)?


Yes - it is date/YoY/MoM - but I used Case Shiller Index, not Median price. I should have been more clear.

Terry said...

DJO

Good stuff. You did say "CS data" in your original post. I didn't catch the meaning on first read.

waitingforseattletocool said...

I thought this was an interesting update regarding market conditions from a local realtor

http://www.realtor.com/RealtyTimes/marketconditions.asp?open&poe=realtor?open&link=http://mktc2.realtytimes.com/mktc/conditionsviewjs/Washington~Seattle~reu2_jimhunt?open&pID=r.com2

softwarengineer said...

LET'S GET REAL FOR THE SEATTLE AREA

APRIL 07: Brokers added 12,073 news listings of single family homes and 2,208 new listings of condominiums to the NWMLS inventory during March, bringing the total number of active listings to 34,463. Even though the selection is almost 1.5 times larger than a year ago when inventory totaled 23,533 listings, both asking and selling prices continue to rise.

HOW MANY HOMES WERE SOLD THAT ROSE COMPARED TO 2005 DATA???? [My guess is a fraction of the amount from a couple years ago, but our local MSM will conveniently omit this key number and history comparison to 2005 data]

So what does all this "gee Seattle's real estate still rosey" data really mean?

Lord only knows.

Have any of you bloggers bought a car from a dealer and paid Kelley Blue Book price for it? Same thing, even though recent new car sales have plummetted with our stagnated Middle Class wages since 1997; if you took just those sales figures at Kelley Blue Book prices, automobile prices ARE GOING UP!!!

Now, go to Autotrader.com [where I buy my cars from dealers] or equivalent website. There's a plethora of cars for sale well below Kelly Blue Book. I've seen 2005s with 15 miles on 'em, as they're brand new and they sell for 40-50% of the base sticker.

Here's a $125,000 Bothell Home (Foreclosed); only 1400 sf, but a 26,000 sf lot size [there's a picture of it too], the roof looks new.

http://www.realtytrac.com/freePropDetails.asp?pageNum=2&propId=10609569&accnt=&selstatus=T

When you get to the web site above, type in your own zip code and check the foreclosed listings out yourself [P.S., you'll need $125K cash at the auction].

Here's one the bank is trying to unload:

http://www.realtytrac.com/freePropDetails.asp?pageNum=3&propId=9798842&accnt=&selstatus=R

This baby is 2000 sf with a 10,000 sf lot, its a 4 bdrm for a $132K [no picture, but good God the price is peanuts with a JUMBO lot]. I imagine the bank will cut you a loan too.

Don't buy your houses for Kelley Blue Book unless you're a BUFFOON!!!

P.S. I just bought a $11K Kelly Blue Book car for $7880 on autotrader.com just months ago. Its 2 years old with 26K on the odometer. Its rated the number 1 most reliable car built in its class too. Its base price was $19K new. Its CARFAX report was spotless.

A good portion Seattle buyers are complete BUFFOONS, we even invented the $5 cup of coffee. Pathetic!!!!

mike said...

On the same day, WSJ ran an article about increasing inventory. It ranked Seattle 3rd or 4th (sorry I can't recall the exact number) in the nation for increased inventory of about 14% (again, forgot the exact number).

In the section that had the hot prices piece there appeared a 4-page paid adversiting spread boasting the PNW's supposed infallible market. The advertising focused heavily on Seattle and its outlying burbs, and a bit on PDX.

After noticing the advertisement, it became clear that the real estate industry placed the other article. This is what happens frequently in all media. The majority of stories are the not the result of curious, investigative reporters, but of industry and political PR machines who place the stories or serve as reporters' "sources."

Still, in my opinion, the advertising seemed a bit desperate. Then again, homes in my neighborhood went on the market this past weekend at astonshingly high prices.

As for the argument here about whether WSJ is biased or unbiased, what's everyone arguing about? Conservative or liberal, every media outlet is biased. Sure, some more so than others. Still, there's bias everywhere.