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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Insecure Realtor Spams Seattle Bubble

As you may be aware, Blogger has a feature that allows an email to be sent to the owner of a blog whenever a comment is made on any post. It's a handy feature that allows me to easily stay on top of the lively discussions that take place on this blog. It also allows me to know instantly when someone is using the comments section as a venue for their worthless spam. While my usual policy is not to delete any comments made to the posts in my blogs, the one exception I make is for spam (I would probably delete excessive profanity as well, but thankfully that has not been an issue here). Requiring you to enter a captcha (the distorted text) every time you comment is a bit of a pain, but it makes it pretty much impossible for spammers to use automated methods to spread their worthless garbage. Plus, the rel=nofollow tag in the code makes comment spamming pointless since search engines won't follow the links anyway. Therefore, usually spam is not much of a problem here.

However, yesterday morning I was quite surprised to find my inbox flooded with over a dozen nearly identical comments—all from the same person—and more flowing by the minute. What was going on? Well, see for yourself in this screenshot of Seattle Bubble comments in my inbox:

Tim Dunn, Realtor, decided that a story that classifies Seattle as a "fair value" was so important that he should manually post it 23 times (only 22 are shown, because one more straggler came in after I took this screenshot). I guess that makes him Tim Dunn, Comment Spammer. Well, in case you're reading this now, Mr. Dunn, I want to make this absolutely clear: comment spam is not acceptable.

When people come here and argue opposing positions, that's fine. I don't even mind if the discussions get a little heated sometimes—that's natural. But pasting a link (one that we have already talked about, no less) two dozen times is not a discussion, it's spam.

Because you have abused the open commenting policy, you are no longer welcome here, Tim Dunn, Spammer. If you post again from this point forward, it will be deleted.


Eleua said...

I wonder if his M.A. in Psych can explain two dozen "I told you so" posts. Absent some sort of reasonable explanation, it would seem that he might be a tad unstable.

It's too bad. His posts were also good for a chuckle, especially when he was telling the bears that we had a vested interest in seeing housing go down.

Oh, well...there will be others.

Dukes said...

As someone who has been roundly attacked on "real estate is great" blogs such as SDCIA I can say that most don't like an opposing view.

People like to read and feel that "they are all in this together." Which is nonsense ofcourse.

This is a cardinal sin in any type of asset allocation model (investing). You must always listen to opposing viewpoints, it just helps if they are well thought out.

Having said all that, it chaps my hide when people like Mr. Dunn don't acknowledge what is a very obvious situation staring them directly in the face.

Warning signs are everywhere on real estate, when people don't sit up and take notice of unsustainable trends looking at them in the mirror, the stage is set for trouble.

Mr. Dunn, although I don't wish him trouble, is in for a few rough years of sledding unless he can get his clients to start cutting prices.

Dukes said...

Today's 24Hour Market Watch for King Co:

New Listings 285
Back on Market 20
Price Increases 17
Price Reductions 93
Contingents 6
Pendings 205
Solds 133
Expireds 16
Inactives 39

Crude Price Reduction ratio today (93 / 285) = 33% - people are still buying, this could be a factor of the utterly clueless, non stop bullish nonsense coming from our local media.

meshugy said...

That was some incredibly infantile behavior on the part of Mr.Dunn. If he's trying to sell houses he obviously in the wrong place. Presumably a failed Realtor, I guess he's just venting his own frustrations.

Dukes, does the "price increase" category only include price increases actually made on the MLS? That's pretty rare, which would explain the low #. Sometimes people don't sell in the first week, and the actually raise the price (go figure.) Or sometimes the agent just made a mistake and listed it at the wrong price.

I assume the "price increase" category isn't including final sales prices which are getting overbid all the time in the current hot market. In fact, I don't see how it could since the final sales price in not public knowledge for at least a week, but usually a month after the sale.


Dukes said...

Meshugy, my assumption on Price Increases is that it has to be when a realtor goes into the MLS data and adjusts the price upwards.

Same with the decreases, as you know I am not a realtor, but it makes sense to me.

meshugy said...

Here's an article from Money magazine on the forthcoming housing slowdown:

Home forecast: Where the growth is...and isn't

Seattle is listed in the top 20 areas that will still see appreciation (over 10%). For more specific data on Seattle click here:


meshugy said...

Here's some interesting stats.Go here and click on Fastest growth (forecast)

MONEY Magazine: Latest forecasts. Financing strategies. Renovation tips.

Fastest growth (forecast)
Forecasters at Fiserv Lending Solutions and Moody's predict a radical shift in the top 10 list of fastest growers for the 12 months beginning in June; only one California city, El Centro, will be represented. Instead, Washington State will dominate, with five of the top 10 cities.

Wenatchee, Washington, which lies about 150 miles southeast of Seattle, is predicted to gain the most of any city in the state, 16 percent.

That won't be enough to beat Panama City, Florida, where prices are expected to rise 21 percent. That's impressive, but it's still quite a comedown from the previous five years when price gains among the top 10 fastest growing cities averaged about 20 percent a year.

lesserseattle said...

Price increases do not include overbids.

You can run statistics on overbidding. The last I checked for Seattle close-in areas, most of the stuff that sold in less than 30 days was selling at about 101.5% of list price.

betamax said...

It's interesting to me how this Seattle-specific site still attracts trolls, while they've disappeared from Ben's blog.

When the local crash comes, the local trolls will similarly give up the egotistical falsehood "it can't happen here" and realize that it is a national RE bubble because it's a national credit bubble - despite geographic differences in timing.

While I enjoyed chuckling at Dunn's pompous pronouncements and misapprehension of economics, I won't miss him too much. To be honest, I feel vaguely kind of embarrased for him, like I would for a child who craps his pants in a room full of adults.

Dunn's a loser, and I say that with pity, not malice. He's jumped around from career to career without success, and his 1 lonely listing on his RE website during the biggest RE boom in 20 years suggests that he'll be a loser at RE also, even if the market doesn't tank like it will.

Anonymous said...

Darn! And I was going to buy a whole bunch of houses from Mr. Dunn.

Well, not really.

meshugy said... do you run stats on overbidding?

lesserseattle said...

do a standard search. rather than running Search, click Statistics instead. i ran a query for Ballard/Green Lake (705) for the quarter starting 2/17 and ending 5/17. stats follow:

361 properties or 68% of all sales occurred within 30 days of listing. these sold at 101.93% of list price. as the timeline gets longer, that percentage drops but not dramatically. on average, no houses in Area 705 sold for less than 98% of list price according to MLS stats no matter how long they were on the market.

i have a spread sheet with an analysis of April '06's numbers along with some statistics that are interesting and in some cases instructive. it deals with days on market, median and average prices, inventory, etc. broken down by market area. out of politeness and concerns about formatting i will not post it in comments. would you be interested in taking a look at these, Tim? they are a little more informative than trying to discern trends out of 24 hour updates (no offense to Dukes or whoever runs those but it is awful difficult to discern a trend from piecemeal data unless its aggregated into longer term data-which is made more difficult due to the one week window of time that the 24 hour updates report on)

when the May numbers come out i will be happy to plug those into the same spreadsheet to do an April-May analysis alongside year over year analyses in order to give a more immediate frame to reference. it would appear that a lot of the posters hear want to hear the very first creaks of the ceiling timbers about to give way :)

Anonymous said...

maybe we can work on some spreadsheets together. I am also plugging in the number, but I am working on Jan 2003-, which gives me a better picture, since 2003 was pretty much the beginning of the boom.

So far I have plugged in the listing for last three years in the Eastside, both total and new listing. I also plugged in sold, and closed sales. I did this for Eastside in general and 530 on the Eastside, because I think 520 is way inflated in price due to all the new constructions. Last I did so far, was comparing the proportion of new houses listed to total listed house.

I am assuming by having a high proportion of new listing to total listing, and that means houses are being bought off the market swiftly and in timely fashion. So far all my data have fell in-line with last three years, except slight change in April, which is too soon to tell.

Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...


how far do you go back? because if you don't calculate the seasoning changes in terms of natural market slowdown, then you might misled some of the numbers. By analyzing last few months isn't sufficient IMO, unless you can do that for at least the past three years. I'll be more than happy to collaborate with someone.

Dukes said...

lesserseattle said: "no offense to Dukes or whoever runs those but it is awful difficult to discern a trend"

None taken lesser, I have maintained from the beginning that I just post what is on the NWMLS site.

If you guys don't want me to post them anymore just let me know.

lesserseattle said...

I would recommend doing your analysis on a per square foot basis if you want to factor in huge rambling McMansions affect on pricing. for example, doing a six month analysis on 520 showed me that the median house was 2,680 SF and it sold for $1,067,500 (107% of list price) which makes the per sf price $398/sf.

contrasting this against a quick analysis of the same period from 2002-03 showed that the median house then was 2,380 SF and sold for $560,000 (97% of list) for a per sf price of $235/sf.

this type of analysis does not analyze market activity as much as it looks at value. this is a reasonable approach in order to tune out some noise and get down to basics.

this shows that, while the median price has increased 91% over this three year window, the unit price has only gone up 69% which mitigates some of the upward movement on its face because the median house has gone up in size 300 sf.

lesserseattle said...

i think your posts are fine, dukes :) i was just offering a slightly more detailed look at the numbers because some of it can be misleading.

Anonymous said...

Keep posting your numbers Dukes. Please.

meshugy said...

lesser....which site are you searching on? I've never seen a "standard search" option.

Anonymous said...

I am assuming that he's searching on MLS.

Well, I wasn't trying to figure out how much appreciation has gone up, I want to plot the trend of any slowdown in terms of sales and listing. I am very much looking forward to the numbers in May, which will probably tell me a very strong sign that the market is slowing down.

Anonymous said...

The reason why I stay away from 520 is because the amount of investors in that area. I think the numbers will be quite skewed, whereas in most other Eastside areas, people are actually buying to own.

Anonymous said...

There's been a lot of postings on this site about "price surges" YOY.

If this is the end of the bubble, YOY becomes irrelevant.

Check it out:

First quarter '06 RE:

median US home price: 217,900K
gain from one year ago: + 10 %
loss from 3 months ago: - 3 %

Makes sense, right?

Anonymous said...

I think you should rely more on regional data than national data, because general shifts in an overall national market is not a strong representation of regional market.

Anonymous said...


Did you not read my post?

I said, "by way of an example".

If this kind of fuzzy thinking is running your decisions on whether or not to invest in RE, you are in deep trouble.

meshugy said...

Hi anon,

National trends are important to look at...but in the end local real estate markets vary widely.

Although there was a slight drop in national prices, Washington State had MOM record price gains:

King: Sales fell 10 percent; median price rose 15.5 percent.

Snohomish: Sales rose 8.9 percent; prices climbed 19.3 percent.

Pierce: Sales rose 9.3 percent; prices jumped 19.8 percent.

Kitsap: Sales fell 7.2 percent; prices surged 23.2 percent.

Statewide: Sales slipped 0.3 percent; prices climbed 17.1 percent.

See: Home prices fall in some U.S. cities, but not here

meshugy said...

sorry...those were actually YOY #s.

The MOM #s for Seattle are:

Seattle Median Price Res/Condo

April 06 - $410,000
March 06 - $407,000
Feb 06 - $380,000
Jan 06 - $376,995

Huge gains MOM....

Anonymous said...


exactly my point. are we still debating whether or not there will be an end to housing boom? I thought that isn't up to debate, but rather when.

so ya, your national data doesn't say anything.

here is an example why looking at when is important: if you are looking to sell your home at market peak and holding your money in CD for a year while renting to buy later. By timing when the market might slow down, you can maximize your profit. 6 months as oppose to a year does make a huge difference.

lesserseattle said...

what makes the national Q4 '05 to Q1 '06 numbers interesting is that sales prices and activity generally drop in the fourth quarter. therefore the numbers that were reported nationally are all the more alarming because the numbers over that period are usually overstated in terms of appreciation--going from a period of low activity to a period that is generally stronger activity. the indication of a 3% retreat might be something more in line with a 7% to 8% retreat considering how those numbers usually align.

Marinite said...

If you ever figure out how to ban someone, please let me know.

Anonymous said...

here some stats:

Eastside only. Excluding the early months slowdown (January - Feb or March). I am comparing the number of closed sales to total listing.

For 2003, it has been going up from 20% to 30% steadily, and rising to just above 30% in December.

2004, it has been above 2003 level the whole year and steadily moving up somewhere between 30% to 40% then jump up to 50% in December.

2005, following the similar trend from 2004, have not gone below 2004 for the entire year and hovering around 45% to as high as 55% in June.

2006, first time since 2004 that the number has been below the previous year starting from March and continue in April at around 48%. But still significantly higher than 2003 and 2004. 46% in 2006 for March as oppose to 28% in 2004 and 19% in 2003.

Sorry I am just kind of scrambling with this, but the number does show a slowdown in the Eastside area. First time in three year that houses are not flying off the market faster than previous year.

lesserseattle said...


if you want to corroborate your data with the trends that you think you see, take the data that you have and analyze days on market, asking vs selling price (as a %) and median pricing. when the data equlibrates, those are indications of which way the market is going even in the face of diminishing data or limited reliability of the data.

Anonymous said...

well, I didn't think I have to go into that much detail yet. But the number I been using does show a slight slowdown in terms of houses being sold relative to houses on the market.

can you explain why I should go into that much details and what exactly will that tell me?

lesserseattle said...


if average days on market is rising, that is a slowing market

if median price is stalling, that is a slowing or equilibrating market

the relationship between list versus sales price is an indication of how "hot" the market is

i don't suggest this as if it would entail a lot of extra work. on the contrary, i am trying to save you time looking for information that might not be instructive. the MLS has all of this data readily available in PDFs that you can copy and paste into a spreadsheet, parse the data and then run your own analyses. the only data that isn't immediately available in these reports is the relationship between asking and selling price. that information can be quickly obtained by doing a few very quick searches on the MLS and getting a statistical printout.

i suggest these alternatives because they are time-saving ways and accepted methods of articulating and analyzing the data.

here's a quick run of year over year stats on Area 520.

4/06, down 12%
ytd 06, down 22%

average price
4/06--down 16% (but 4/05 was up 50% over 4/04)
ytd 06--down 9% (29% up 04 to 05)

median price
4/06--up 35%
ytd 06--up 11%

days on market
4/06--slightly down 1.45% to 68 days from 69 in 05

ytd 06--up 20%

that year to date number indicating that there is a 20% increase in days on market could indicate a slowing market. however, a median price up 35% certainly suggest that 520 is still a robust market.

year to date list vs. sales price for properties that sold in under 30 days is 102%, 31-60 days is 93%, 61-90 days is 95%.

that middle number in the 30 to 60 day range is interesting but still not unhealthy. rapid sales are obviously still bidding wars.

the median house in this area is 2700 SF, lists for $990k and sells for $1.07 million. this is still a heady market based on the numbers. however, the median list price is up to $1.98 million based on 4/06 reports. you no longer have a residential market that shares an economy with ordinary people. nor are they especially reliant on risky financing.

note: all of these numbers are for detached residences and townhouses. i believe that condos skew the numbers and should be analyzed separately.

Anonymous said...


Do you have the link for those MOM's?

Sorry, but so much of what you have posted the past few days has been misinterpreted by yourself, I just want to see your source info.

And I know you are super duper at making links! thanks.

Anonymous said...


I'm very curious, how do you know that there are a large # of investors in 520? I've been wondering how to figure that out- how many in Seattle in general.


Anonymous said...

I live and work in 520, so when most of the houses in the neighborhood around here is torn down and rebuilt, yes there are a lot of investors. It's a very known fact that 520 is driven up in price by a lot of investors.

If you own a home in 98004, you have been solicitated to sell at least a dozen times.

Anonymous said...


I don't know if listing price and actual sales price necessary reflect the market trend. If the house being sold is still in high proportion of active listing of houses in that area, I do believe that demands is still matching supplies. Even if the price went down a bit, but then you have to compare whether or not the house price did go down by making a lot more analysis comparisons.

MLS are off pdf files, they're a pain to transfer plus each one of them are pretty big.

lesserseattle said...


houses being torn down and rebuilt are definitely investors on one hand, but they are also high end builders and associated trades delivering a very high end good to market. these aren't HGTV house flippers that are the big worry in the market. ultra high end housing isn't the meat and potatoes of this crowd, from what i have seen. any market with $1.98M as the median asking price is a market beyond first time buyers and more in line with global wealth locating here along with those privileged enough to be in the sweet spot of the Bush tax cuts.

re: listing vs. sales price

to me, that number IS the trend. you don't break 100% in 0-30 days in a buyer's market. that is what propels prices in the desirable close-in markets. you don't have to agree with me though.

number of sales versus number of listings is a good metric to gauge absorption. generally the median sales price is an index of that. however, in a market where you are seeing $1.98M as the median asking price, it can become unreliable.