Is it a good time to buy? Salespeople say YES!

Here’s a video piece that aired this weekend on King 5 Up Front with Robert Mak where he poses some questions about Seattle’s housing market:

More homes for sale, prices going down… Is it a good time to buy?

Where’s the bottom? And just how long might the slowdown last?

Unfortunately, to find the answers to these questions, he turns to people whose income is derived entirely from selling homes. What do you think they’re going to say?

Windemere Realtor Paul Slusher admits that the Seattle area is currently sitting on a record-high inventory of homes for sale, but gives it a delightful spin by calling it a “buyers market.” He says potential home buyers are “nervous,” but encourages them to jump in, because “you have leverage over sellers.”

Suzanne Britsch, with New Home Trends, Inc. (a company that sells housing market statistics and analysis to home builders to “help you stay ahead of the market“) tries to scare potential buyers into jumping in now by declaring that waiting for the bottom of the market is worthless: “The problem is, is when it flips, it goes in one day! You know… I mean… So you never know when the bottom is.” She also plays the “running out of land” card (which has been refuted on this site here and here, among other places): “That bubble never breaks. I mean… Because, it—we have too many impediments to development here, to really overbuild this market.”

And lastly, Robert has Chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate J. Lennox Scott himself in-studio for a free advertisement of John L. Scott’s services. Referring to the Fortune forecast, Scott quips: “That’s not the projections that we’re seeing. We’re in one of the best markets in the nation here in the Northwest. We have positive job growth, we have low interest rates… And we just do not see that taking place.”

We’ve busted the “job growth will keep home prices propped up” myth here so many times, it’s not even funny. Yes, if the jobs situation was cruddy, the housing market would suffer (e.g. Detroit). But just because we have a good job situation doesn’t necessarily mean that homes will continue to sell at over-inflated prices (e.g. San Diego).

Scott admits that things are slow, but writes it off as a normal market cycle: “Well, we’re definitely in the adjustment phase of the real estate cycle. Every time you come off a frenzy market, a surge market… you do see sales pull back. Sales activities does lower about ten to fifteen percent. And right now, we’re going through the mortgage market scenario… that’s getting better every week. And, in fact, rates are just as good as they were in July.”

Except, sales were lower by ten to fifteen percent this time last year, and now they’re down from that another thirty percent, for a total decline of thirty-five to forty-five percent in sales activity. That doesn’t sound like the normal market cycle Mr. Scott described. And how can he sit there with a straight face and describe the present situation in the mortgage market as “getting better every week”? Somebody should tell that to Washington Mutual and Citibank. A little later in the segment he admits that easy money drove the disparity between income and home prices, but pegs it entirely on interest rates, ignoring the lack of lending standards. Rates may still be reasonable, but a huge number of people who would have qualified for a massive loan in 2006 are now completely shut out (as they should be).

Mak: Should I be scared though, of jumping in, and then seeing the price continue to slide, even once I’m in?
Scott: You’re not going to see the prices come off that much. They may come off ever so slightly off the peak.

While Fortune at least can point to the logic behind their analysis, all that Scott offers up is discredited clichés and blanket statements with no supporting evidence. Granted, the available time to make points in a news segment like that is limited, but he could have at least said “we don’t see that happening, and here’s a brief explanation of why.” Is “positive job growth” seriously the best argument he can come up with?

At the end of the segment, Robert invites viewers to share their thoughts about the housing market on the Up Front blog. Here’s the post if you’re so inclined. Maybe when the spring bounce fails to materialize next year, I can get Robert to have me in-studio to explain what’s really going on with the housing market in Seattle.

(Robert Mak, King 5 News Up Front, 11.10.2007)

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.


  1. 1
    Scotsman says:

    Reading the comments at the King 5 blog, it seems the public is pretty much up to speed on what’s really happening. They see the bias in the reporting, they see the reality of the national economic situation, they understand the common arguments for a continuing strong market are bunk. That’s encouraging- I always like to have the public’s intelligence reaffirmed.

    But then, there’s always one:
    ” Anyone who thinks the Seattle market will bottom out and that we will see a drastic reduction in home values (not prices of current listings, but values) is kidding themselves. Historically home prices have doubled approximately every 10 years. It has always happened and it always will. We are a progressive society.”

    Ah, right. That explains it!

  2. 2
    Joel says:

    He says potential home buyers are “nervous,” but encourages them to jump in, because “you have leverage over sellers.”

    So why is it that RE agents think that the drop in demand is voluntary? They’ve been saying for years that if you don’t buy now you’ll be priced out forever. And guess what? It happened. People are priced out. Forever. Or at least until incomes catch up or prices come down.

  3. 3
    squidier says:

    It’s nice to see that 80% or so of the comments posted on King 5’s Up Front blog are from people questioning the “infomercial”-ness of Mak’s piece and his focus on real estate “professionals” as the main interviewees. People are indeed starting to get it.

    The single-sentence comment posted by Doug hits it spot on: “One word best describes the Seattle market…DENIAL.”

    People are greedy. I was running my dog around Green Lake this summer and heard some pompous arse telling his I-wish-I-could-be-somewhere-else buddy about all the money he just made selling his house. I wonder if Mister Moneybags “reinvested” in a bigger flop-investment. I really hope so… and I’d wager his leveraged to the hilt.

    Mmmm… greed.

  4. 4
    TJ_98370 says:

    Washington & Oregon mentioned in Ben Jones HBB today

    Part of a Natural Cooling Following the Boom

  5. 5
    declinest says:

    “The problem is, is when it flips, it goes in one day! You know… I mean… So you never know when the bottom is.”

    can anyone find any logic in this statement? will prices suddenly skyrocket one day when a bottom is reached? I’ll bet you can go back and see the market bottomed but was relatively flat for 2-3 years. one could wait for 6 months of consecutive YOY price gains or use some other metric.

    ““Well, we’re definitely in the adjustment phase of the real estate cycle. Every time you come off a frenzy market, a surge market… you do see sales pull back.”

    Isn’t that what the disgraced David Lereah used to say for the national market?

  6. 6
    patient says:

    Cheap scare tactics, I think most people don’t care to much if they miss the bottom. I think most are just looking for a home that: they can comfortably afford , they want to live in, is a reasonable value that is not likely do depreciate significantly.

    If you miss the bottom with a couple of percent not a big deal, at least you buy in the early stages of an appreciating market instead of at an early stage of a fall.

  7. 7
    [troll] says:

    Prcs n th stsd hvn’t mvd mch n th lst 12 mnths. s t gd tm t by? Lst y’v bn brnng yr mny n slss trnkts, rmnng sngl fr t lng, tc – thn n, t sn’t.

    thrws – fnd smn wh’s s nrlstc n hs sllng prc nd mk n ffr t whr y WNT t t b, r ccrdng t wht y thnk shld tk.

    dn’t wrry, gttng rjctd jst mns thr’s mr pprtnty t drw frm.

    Y dn’t hv t gt XCTLY wht y wnt.

  8. 8
    Mike2 says:

    “The problem is, is when it flips, it goes in one day! You know… I mean… So you never know when the bottom is.”

    I liked that statement as well for its sheer stupidity. Anyone that has bothered to look at past cycles knows that the most likely “transition” is a period of several false bottoms and false recoveries lasting 4-7 years from the peak.

    Predictions of a booming recovery before the first dead cat bounce are a little premature.

  9. 9
    patient says:

    Nostra you are making an heroic effort to make the market move. Not a bad things since as someone said, for price declines to show up in statistics there has to be some sales. And if those are from serious lowball offers so much better.

  10. 10
    Mike2 says:

    Unfortunatley, folks like NostraDamnUs can keep this stuff up for years, and they will. I’ve seen examples locally (East Coast) where people listed their house 9 months ago and meanwhile 4 houses on the same street got foreclosed on and ended up REO. There’s their little darling, sporting a “generous” 2% price drop while the REO’s next door are 30% cheaper – and still not selling.

    Who in their right mind would pay close to list price for a home surrounded by foreclosures? Nobody, but a boy can dream, right?

  11. 11
    WestSideBilly says:

    Can I have my 5 minutes back? What a waste of internet space.

  12. 12
    squidier says:

    It took you five minutes to write your post, WestSideBilly?

  13. 13
    [troll] says:

    Whr r y sng frclsrs cmng t th wz? ‘v sn bt n shrt sl n th lst sx mnths n crtn r n th stsd. Ys – thr’s th ccsnl nwttng hmbyr wh thnks h’ll sll n 2 yrs bfr hs RM djsts, r h/sh wll mk mr mny – thn nds p lsng hs shrt whn t djsts bcs hs mrtgg pymnt hd hm by th shrt nd crls – bt ths s nt th mjrty f ppl. Whn smll, dtc grp f hmbyrs pps t fr vryn – ds tht mn prcs r gnn g n th tbs? Hll n. Bcs vryn ls sn’t gng t ncssrly drp thr prc bcs f th dmwts nxtdr.

    Wht y’r n ssnc syng, .g. th xtrm vrsn, s thr wll b frclsrs VRYWHR, r thr R frclsrs vrywhr, nd ppl cn’t tk thr djstmnts t NY rt, s th mrkt wll flp 1 yr frm nw.

    Y dmn wll knw tht’s nt gng t hppn. ‘m nt prtndng t knw th trth – ‘m tllng y prcs hv bn mxd t fr WHL nw. s t why y rn’t byng – tht cn bst b nswrd by psychlgcl msngs cmpltly t f my dpth, bt ‘lrnd hlplssnss’ ds cm t mnd,

  14. 14
    geon says:

    At least Westside’s not spouting off about all the usual reasons why housing prices won’t go down in the greater Seattle area–you know the Johnny Come Lately type.

  15. 15
    [troll] says:

    ptnt – th nmbr f ttl SFHs n ths st hs bn dcrsng s f ltly, fstr thn ncrsng… S gss t’s tppng pnt.

    s fr sttstcs – thy r cmpld VRY mnth, by th NWMLS, cnty wd. Th prblm s, whn y rd THS st/blg, thn y g vw th sttstcs, y r ctlly blvng yr wn s**t, whch n ths cs wld b ths blg.

    Tht’s wht th ntrnt s gd fr – sprtng y frm rlty nd/r ppl. Y lwys fnd XCTLY wht y r lkng fr n Mr. Ggl.

    Myb ‘m nt mkng sns, bt tht’s k… chr.

  16. 16
    Affluent Bitter Renter says:

    “NostraDamnUs said,

    ON NOVEMBER 13TH, 2007 AT 5:40 PM
    patient – the number of total SFHs on this site has been decreasing as of lately, faster than increasing… So I guess it’s a tipping point.”

    As has been noted repeatedly, this is just the normal seasonal reduction in housing inventory – hardly evidence that the housing glut is over.

  17. 17
    Sniglet says:

    What I would like to know is just when industry professionals feel it is a BAD time to buy? Could such a hypothetical situation even exist?

    If prices have been rising 10% a year for years then it is a good time to buy so that you can get rich and avoid getting priced out forever. If prices have been dropping 10% a year for years it is a good time to buy since the selection is huge and the deals are better than they’ve been in a long time…

    Is there EVER a time where a real-estate professional would suggest you just wait (provided you were financially capable of buying a home, of course)? What if the volume of notices of default were spiking up dramatically in your area. Wouldn’t that at least be a firm indicator (even to a real-estate professional) that people should wait until the foreclosures came on the market? Or what about a situation where there is massive construction of new condo units that will be hitting the market in 2 years. Shouldn’t people wait until all that new supply hits the market before buying?

  18. 18
    Shawn says:

    Once people realize that, again, Seattle is at the top of the list, the masses will move there and the home prices will go through the roof.

    How Happy Is Your City?
    Darkest Big Cities: Seattle (43 percent);
    Let the Sunshine In

    The region of the country you live in can impact your risk of suffering from depression—at least from November through April.

    That’s because those living in the northern part of the country are more at risk of suffering from seasonal affective disorder, a form of clinical depression brought on in the winter months by the shortening of the days and the later sunrise.

    “In the United States, SAD is about five times more prevalent in the northern tier of states than in the far south,” says Dr. Michael Terman, Director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at the Columbia University Medical Center.

    But SAD is just the tip of the iceberg, explains Terman. “Less severe ‘winter doldrums’ occur at least three times more frequently than winter depression. Even more people experience one or more symptoms of winter depression—such as overeating or oversleeping—even though their mood stays under control.”

    Whatever the degree of impairment, symptoms tend to resolve in the spring. “Certainly there is no lack of happiness up north for the six months from May to October,” Terman says.

    How sunny is your city?

    The NOAA has ranked cities according to the percentage of daylight hours when the sun is actually shining. While the length of winter days and the time of winter sunrise are the factors related to SAD, the sunnier cities do tend to be clustered in the South.

    Sunniest Big Cities: Las Vegas (85 percent); Phoenix (85 percent); Sacramento, Calif. (78 percent); Los Angeles (73 percent); Miami (70 percent)

    Darkest Big Cities: Seattle (43 percent); Pittsburgh (45 percent); Portland, Ore. (48 percent); Buffalo, N.Y. (48 percent); Cleveland (49 percent)

  19. 19
    [troll] says:

    snglt – prcs dn’t g thrgh th rf nfntly- s t yr nswr ‘bd tm t by’? lwys nd nvr, dpndng n yr prsnl whms nd dsrs.

    s t wht mjrty f ppl d? Thy by bcs thy wnt pc ndr th bl sky thy cn cll thr wn nd t lv lgcy t th nxt gnrtn, s wll s cll smthng HM.

    Thr’s n sch thng ls s “ll nw spply” httng th mrkt bfr byng. Y sm t thnk thr’s “trnng pnts”, r clrly dfnd ctff pnts t whch vnts hppn, nd nw w cn rndr th mrkt “gd” r “Bd”.

    f y wnt t cll ths mrkt “Bd” bcs thr’s “t mch” nvntry – whtvr tht mns, nd nt ngh ppl “byng” – whtvr tht mns, thn t s “bd”. thrs my prcvd t s GD (bt bt tht dsn’t jb wth yr blck/wht lgc).

    Th nswr s t why ths s jst blmp n th R mrkt rdr ls n ths pst, bt y r sr t ndrstmt t, s y’v dn vrythng ls prbbly n yr lf whn mkng chc t ply th gm w cll lf.

  20. 20
    [troll] says:

    “ths lvng n th nrthrn prt f th cntry r mr t rsk f sffrng frm ssnl ffctv dsrdr,”

    By ths –∓s=hpc∓qd=1195001625∓sr=8-9. hv n – wrks lk chrm. wk p pmpd p fr lf vry dy wth t. Strbcks t. l. cn’t cmpr.

  21. 21
    FredE says:

    Running out of land??? Gee, maybe if every house built here since 1970 hadn’t been a squat SFH, there’d be more people per acre and more land to go around.

    Back east they have easily 2-3 times the density we do, and they still manage to have new construction.

  22. 22
    johnnybigspenda says:

    I love that the mainstream is now acknowledging that “now” is NOT the time to buy. That says to me that the bottom could be near.

    The herd thought it was a good time to buy when we were at the peak… everyone said ‘you can’t lose money in real-estate’…

    Now the herd acknowledges that now is not the time to buy. I will say again… by the time we see evidence that the bottom is “here”… it will have passed you by probably by 6 months.

    If you’re a good shopper, you can probably start looking soon, throw out a couple of offers and take advantage of the interest rates for the next 30 years. Of course, if you learned a lesson… make sure you plan to stay there for 5+ years… 8-10 and you probably can’t miss buying right now.

  23. 23
    David McManus says:

    I have never met a salesperson in any industry and even when I was doing it myself who ever said that it wasn’t a good time to buy. It was ALWAYS a good time to buy. Now just help me meet my month’s quota and help my kids eat. Just slide right into this Yukon that will cost you 800 a month. Or better yet, buy this $800000 McMansion way out in East BumF**k, I need a new Lexus!

  24. 24
    [troll] says:

    frm Th Wll Strt Jrnl.

    Nv. 13, 2007

    Th Dw ndstrls jmpd 319.54 t 13307.09, thr scnd-bggst gn f th yr, s nvstrs grw mr ptmstc tht th glst wrckg frm dsstrs mrtgg bts s n th rrvw mrrr fr mjr Wll Strt frms. ftr n gly fr-dy sllff, nvstrs wr ls hntng fr brgns, mbldnd by bg drp n l prcs nd mxd rnngs nws tht spprtd th prvlng vw mng nvstrs rgrdng cnsmr spndng.

    FR MR NFRMTN, pls s:

    Th rtcl lnk bv s ls mbl frndly. Mbl srs, clck th lnk t s ths stry nw.

  25. 25
    David McManus says:


    100 bucks that it will be down at least 100 tomorrow.

  26. 26
    johnnybigspenda says:

    one last thing about trying to time the bottom… lets say we are on the down slope of a sine wave right now….

    you can choose to buy now and wait until the wave is back above where you bought in the first place, or you could wait until we are in a sustained upwards cycle. (who knows when that could be)

    there may be things working against you though. Lets say its 2 years until the ‘upcycle’ part of the curve actually becomes visible. First, you probably missed the bottom by 6-12 months (just as we failed to see the peak as it was occuring). Second, interest rates could be much higher than they are today. That would make the same priced house more expensive to own…

    So if you wait until the market corrects, at the end of the day, you’re not much ahead of where you would have been (even though you would have sustained paper losses for some period of time). You would have also had all the benefits of owning your own HOME.

    So, all this to say… if you have some cash, be cautious, be informed and be ready to hop on a property that you love and that you can afford in the long run.

    If you’re a flipper or realty investor, now is not the time to buy since time is money when you are talking about holding properties. If you’re a potential homeowner, there are some pretty solid ‘deals’ starting to show up.

  27. 27
    [troll] says:

    jhnnybgspnd> “by th tm w s vdnc tht th bttm s “hr”… t wll hv pssd y by prbbly by 6 mnths.”

    Tht’s prbbly n f th FRST thngs sd n hr. Bt s sl, y hv th typs tht r gng t wt fr th sky t fll t – nd ths LWYS btch mn nd cmpln bt NYTHNG, nt jst rl stt…

    nd thn y hv ths wh ctlly wll LSTN, RD, nd ntrprt pssbl trth bsd n _crrnt_ (nt 6 mnths r yr ld) vdnc f whr th “Bttm” s (s thgh nyn KNW – h th rrgnc f ppl!!!).

    TST TH MRKT!! VT W/YR WLLT! STP TLLNG S N THS BLG bt yr stpd xpcttns (ths gs t LL).

  28. 28
    [troll] says:

    Dvd, y dytrdr? :)

  29. 29
    David McManus says:

    No, Nostra, but posting an article glorifying 1 day when past 3 months it’s been in the sh*tter is ignorance on your part.

  30. 30
    [troll] says:

    Wll thnks fr th cl mn. hd n d t ws n th sh**r…

  31. 31
    David McManus says:

    Great time to buy! Get in now while you can, otherwise you’ll be priced out forever!!!

  32. 32
    David McManus says:

    Oh, and make sure to go long in Citibank (C), Countrywide (CFC) and Wamu (WM).

  33. 33
    Sniglet says:


    I am curious as to why you think the DJIA will be down 100 points on Wednesday? Is it just a hunch, or do you have some technical indicators that you follow?

    I agree that the market is likely going to head down, but I was thinking it might trade sideways for the rest of the week and head down after turkey day.

  34. 34
    Matthew says:


    Go long then, in fact, why don’t you go long on margin?!

    The bottom is far from being reached. You’ll know the bottom is near when median incomes start to fall back in line with median prices. That is far from the case.

  35. 35
    Matthew says:


    There is a bevy of economic data coming out this week. The market is going to move violently one way or the other. I seriously doubt it will trade sideways.

  36. 36
    David McManus says:

    Sorry, Sniglet. I forgot to include my tags on that post.

    Since Nostra had posted a paragraph regarding today’s tremendous day on Wall Street, I figured I would just inject some reality into it. It could be up 100 tomorrow for all we know. I just love listening to CNBC on my drive in to work for my little basket of goodies. Citi says that subprime losses could be billions more than predicted. Wamu says the same, etc. If he’s only going to post articles like that on the good days, then I’ll need to make sure that I post on the not so good days, and lately, that’s how it’s been.


  37. 37
    David McManus says:

    Here’s a goodie.


  38. 38
    Alan says:

    find someone who’s as unrealistic on his selling price and make an offer to where you WANT it to be, or according to what you think should take.

    That’s the best advice I’ve heard from Nostra to date.

  39. 39
    [troll] says:

    Dvd – y lkn fr n 80% drp t bfr y cn by?

  40. 40
    [troll] says:

    h ln, cyncsm dsn’t st y. Ppl hv nthntc frs f ll knds f crp. ‘m hr t mrdr fr (nd hp t).

  41. 41
    Alan says:

    Where are you seeing foreclosures coming out the wazoo?

    This is where I see all foreclosures:

    Just search for “Notice of Trustee Sale”.

    However, I’m not sure what amount qualifies as “out the wazoo”.

  42. 42
    [troll] says:

    ln -wht’s yr pnt gn?

  43. 43
    David McManus says:

    “David – you lookin for an 80% drop too before you can buy?”

    Are we talking stocks or housing? Too late, because I already own a house and I’m deep in the market too.

  44. 44
    [troll] says:

    Dv – R mrkt.

    Wll sld hs jst nw nd gt nw n n gst t (hd t py 2 mrtggs t, nd tht ws wll ccntd fr s wll – tght lvng, bt cld d t)… nd ‘m tllng vryn ls NTHNG hs mvd (prcws) n WHL – s hpflly, y ddn’t JST strt svng p t by yr cnd/hm….

    Lkly ths mrkt wll prsst thrgh 2008, w/sm mr djstmnts, bt cm th prsdntl lctns nd 2009 – PRBBLY thngs r gng t cm rnd qt bt…

  45. 45
    Plissken says:

    How can you not trust Suzanne Britsch? Her name is Suzanne. She obviously researched this :-)

  46. 46
    [troll] says:

    h, nd vt Hllry!

  47. 47
    John says:

    The latest tv commercial by real-whore is hilarious. Ignore national news such as the subprime crisis and the home price collapses in the rest of the country, it’s always a good time to buy.

    It is like telling the people on the Titanic that the upper deck is still dry so party on.

  48. 48
    AndyMiami says:

    NostraDamnUs said,

    on November 13th, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    from The Wall Street Journal.

    Nov. 13, 2007

    The Dow industrials jumped 319.54 to 13307.09, their second-biggest gain of the year, as investors grew more optimistic that the ugliest wreckage from disastrous mortgage bets is in the rearview mirror for major Wall Street firms. After an ugly four-day selloff, investors were also hunting for bargains, emboldened by a big drop in oil prices and mixed earnings news that supported the prevailing view among investors regarding consumer spending.

    The DOW and S & P when adjusted for the precipitous fall in the dollar against all major currencies and gold, is break even at best. Your are incredibly uneductated in terms of what the markets are signaling. Have you seen what has happened to WAMU? A 50% drop in their market cap in 6 months…made 5 times my investment on January puts bough two months ago…why did I buy puts (sell them short), because I read that they were booking as interest income from negative amortization loans that should have been deferred..about a BILLION worth of phantom income…Values in Seattle will drop in real terms by 40% in three years…have fun

  49. 49
    David McManus says:

    “Oh, and vote Hillary!”

    I think that says it all right there why you think the way you do.

    I prefer to send my kids to private school and have an enjoyable life traveling the world rather than having a mortgage payment that is 50% of my income.

  50. 50
    David McManus says:

    It pointless, AndyMiami, to explain that to him. He has no idea how financial markets work.

  51. 51
    [troll] says:

    Dvd dvd.. dnt y knw tht Hllry’s shp n wlf’s clthng? Sh’s s Rpblcn s McCn, w/ Dmcrtc fcd. n r :) (w/ Bl fllng nd Rd cvr) Tht’s why sh’ll wn!!

  52. 52
    [troll] says:

    Dv – thnks fr th cmplmnts. d knw hw ppl wrk thgh… tht gs lng wy, nd cn nt b lrnd n bks. Bt thnks fr hvng sch fth.

  53. 53
    David McManus says:

    “David david.. dont you know that Hillary’s a sheep in wolf’s clothing? She’s as Republican as McCain, w/a Democratic facade. An Oreo :) (w/a Blue filling and a Red cover) That’s why she’ll win!!”

    Care to put money on that? Do you know how many Democrats will vote for a Republican just to vote against her? But go ahead….live in your dream world….

  54. 54
    [troll] says:

    ndyMm – knw y cn rd nd prdct th ftr mn… nd sll shrt – y’r gd!

  55. 55
    Alan says:

    Forclosure notices sent out this year and the same time last yeat. Data is from public records.

    month 2007 2006 % change
    Jun 304 299 +2%
    Jul 299 248 +21%
    Aug 346 296 +17%
    Sep 344 250 +38%
    Oct 354 289 +22%
    Nov 151 104 +45%

    November stats are only up to the 17th and the increase may be caused by more Fridays in the mix (for some reason it seems like foreclosure notices are filed on Friday than other days of the week).

  56. 56
    george says:

    Are there any Seattle economists, or mortgage brokers, or real estate agents who think the market in Seattle is headed south in 2008 and beyond? Are any willing to say it in front of a camera?

    If not, it’s hard to blame Robert Mak for that show. If yes, who are they?

  57. 57
    [troll] says:

    lrdy dd – $50 n Bdg. Sh’s th fvrt – lst tm chckd 1/6.

  58. 58
    [troll] says:

    grg – bst gss – flt 2008 ntl 2009/ nw prsdnt, nd dpndng n wh hd rs clrd glsss whn thy bght hm 2-3 yrs g, nthr 5-10% prc djstmnts d t RM-rs gspng fr r… nd ppl jst hvng t mv d t jb/rlctn/whtvr.

    Th bv ws nt th trth.

  59. 59
    David McManus says:

    I guess Thomas Tusser said it best.

    “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

  60. 60
    AndyMiami says:

    NostraDamnUs said,

    on November 13th, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    AndyMiami – I know you can read and predict the future man… and sell short – you’re good!

    Actually, it’s all about experience. I got burned bad in the early 90’s in Boston real estate, and managed to sell just in time in Miami Beach, before moving here to watch and wait for a major correction…I may be wrong, but experience, both profitable and not, is the best predictor of the future. Who said that history repeats itself??

  61. 61
    [troll] says:

    dnt gmbl – bt d lk Hllry, s pt my mny n hr. Y cld sy Hllry gv Bll th prsdncy….

    Dn Rss wn’t wn nxt tm rnd n W by th wy.

  62. 62
    [troll] says:

    xprnc s, t bst, n ndctr f ppl’s pst bhvrs, whch nfrtntly fr s (r frtntly fr sm wh s ths clrly, r clr-r thn thrs), nd nt rlly n ndctr f ny ftr prfrmnc.

    bt wht y dfntly cn cnt n s ppl pttng thr pst nt th ftr nd ctng n t-plt, .g. rctvly.

    nw, cn y mgn th dvntg f tht, s wll s th fct tht y lstn/bsrv _ppl_ (nt s mch “th mrkt”)? th fct tht y cn lmst lwys ‘prdct’ ppl’s bhvr? thnk t’s prclss. Y sm t b bnkng n t qt wll. Gd fr y.

    cnmcs s n xtnsn f hmn psychlgy, bt mny wll dsrgrd tht cnnctn t, whl lkng nly t nmbrs…

    bt wht d knw, rght…?

  63. 63
    b says:

    NostraDamnUs –

    How much money do you have tied in up stalled flips? Must be a killer making those I/O mortgage payments every month, fingers crossed that it is the last!

  64. 64
    mike2 says:

    NostraDamnUs, “East Coast” is what it is, it’s not the Eastside. I’m in a market where the economic fundamentals (incomes, job growth, unemployment) are far and beyond sleepy little Seattle, yet prices are falling like a rock.

    Yes, this is in neighborhoods where the median income is above $100K/yr. (Look up the second richest county in the US, and here’s a hint: it’s not in WA).

    Jobs, incomes, migration, desirability, this area has the “fundamentals” but it doesn’t count for much once the prices start to fall.

    I left Seattle a few months ago, and watching the RE market tank in a wealthier area has been a real eye opener as to what can happen after a market peaks.

    Keep chanting “Seattle is Different” all you want, but unless the Pink Ponies come out in full force the good ol’ PNW is hitting a down cycle like every other overpriced bubble market.

  65. 65
    BellevueRenter says:

    Mike2: are you talking about Fairfax county in VA?

  66. 66
    squidier says:

    Yeah, mike2, Seattle is sleepy and it is indeed comparatively “little”, but I do love it here. :) Sad you left? NE’ers are, um, different. They’ve got different priorities in Life. And that’s okay.

    Here lies my exit speech for the evening, hehe:

    No offense to WestSideBilly and his good friend geon (I think?) earlier: I was merely poking fun.

    Reading and participating in King 5’s discussion, and especially here at the Seattle Bubble Blog, is always good too.

    Elvis lives. Somewhere.

  67. 67
    Nolaguy says:


    Do you have a brother or cousin named “Meshugy”?

  68. 68
    Brian says:

    Are we talking politics or real estate here? If we are talking politics I would be careful making any claims against any party or any candidate. Bush will go down as a bottom five president and the Republicans spent like drunken sailors while in control of both houses. Fiscal responsibility left the building years ago – exactly 7 when they decided to eliminate the pay-go rules.

  69. 69
    patient says:

    Nostra, it’s likely a tipping point alright but not towards increased sales. It’s a tipping point towards significant price drops.

  70. 70
    patient says:

    jbs, I agree if you buy at the same level on the downslope as on the upslope you have the added benefit of living in the home longer. However it’s near impossible to know where the bottom will be on the downslope. On the upslope you know the bottom of that cycle since it has passed. I.e it’s a much safer strategy.

  71. 71

    I’m a Seattle real estate agent willing to go on record that I believe that home prices here will be lower 12 months from now than they are now. I don’t think it’s a good time to buy. Some people feel emotionally compelled to own a home. If that’s the case, take a deep breath and see if that feeling goes away. If it doesn’t, call me. But don’t go into home buying thinking that it’s a good way to make money. If you can find a home you intend on staying in for a long time, and the monthly payments are the same or just slightly more expensive than your rent, then maybe.

  72. 72
    AndyMiami says:

    NostraDamnUs said,

    on November 13th, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    experience is, at best, an indicator of people’s past behaviors, which unfortunately for us (or fortunately for some who see this clearly, or clear-er than others), and not really an indicator of any future performance.

    but what you definitely can count on is people putting their past into the future and acting on auto-pilot, e.g. reactively.

    now, can you imagine the advantage of that, as well as the fact that you listen/observe _people_ (not so much “the market”)? the fact that you can almost always ‘predict’ people’s behavior? I think it’s priceless. You seem to be banking on it quite well. Good for you.

    Economics is an extension of human psychology, but many will disregard that connection too, while looking only at numbers…

    but what do I know, right…?

    Gosh, i am not sure what you are trying to say. Seems logical, yet a bit disjointed. Anyway, even with experience, and constant analysis of the present, no one can really predict the future. Look at the MONKEYS that run WAMU. Six months ago they said all will be fine and a soft landing and at last week’s analyst conference call they were so negative that the stock tanked 17% in one day and then NY Att. Gen. Cuomo (Hilary’ secret lover, oh yes she likes boys) threw them in a very interesting case with appraisers being pressured to come up with the right value..gosh I could go one but time to sleep..good luck and good night

  73. 73
    Markus says:

    “The problem is, is when it flips, it goes in one day! You know… I mean… So you never know when the bottom is.”

    Most like it will be a dead cat bounce:

  74. 74
    greenthum says:

    The Washington State Supreme Court just handed the governorship to Dino Rossi in 2008 by ruling I-747 unconstitutional.

  75. 75
    Andy says:

    Thank you George, glad to know there are some honest RE agents around.

  76. 76
    NostraDamnUs says:

    andy – check out “Human Action” when u have time. Long read, but sort of like a bible of any economics student. The first several chapter resemble an overview on human psychology (from which none of us, including me escape) before he goes into what you studied in college Econ 101/102/201/202/etc.

    Nothing’s disjoint. What you (or our mighty “fearless” selfpromoting blogmaster Tim) or I or anyone else says, leaves an impact. How much or for how long, is debatable.. but every damn word ever written, made a difference.

    At least we’re not throwing rocks at each other.

  77. 77
    MonkeyPunch says:

    “At least we’re not throwing rocks at each other.”

    No, Mack, but it appears we’re still not above calling each other “curryeaters”.

  78. 78
    WestSideBilly says:

    No offense to WestSideBilly and his good friend geon (I think?) earlier: I was merely poking fun.

    None taken, certainly. Thought it was pretty funny, actually, and more thoughtful than the waste of bandwidth on King5’s site. Though I don’t know geon from NostraDamnUs.

  79. 79
    wreckingbull says:

    I have a feeling that agents like George (yes they are out there) will weather the coming storm quite well.

    I am shocked at how some of the agents on the PI site are eating away at their own credibility by continuing to parrot the now-discredited Lereah/Yun lines.

    Those are the first agents I would cross off my list when it comes time to buy, as they appear to have little intelligence. If my transaction goes sideways, they would be the last people I want representing my interests.

  80. 80
    Joel says:

    Is George short for Ira?

  81. 81
    johnnybigspenda says:
    Real estate revival on (distant) horizon
    Thursday November 8, 6:00 am ET

    Craig Guillot

    It may still have to get worse before it gets better, but the residential real estate market shows signs that demand is building and home values may start recovering in 2008….

  82. 82
    Matthew says:

    Any article that quotes Larry Yun as its main point of reference isn’t worth jack diddly squat.

    Thanks for nothing johnny.

  83. 83
    The Tim says:

    David McManus said,

    100 bucks that it will be down at least 100 tomorrow.

    Ok, that was kinda freaky. It was basically trading sideways all day, then 30 minutes before the closing takes a nosedive from 40 up down as far as over 100 down. Looks like it ended up closing down 93, still that was a pretty good guess though.

    Correction, looks like it was down 83, after some adjustments.

  84. 84
    David McManus says:

    Nov. 13


    100 bucks that it will be down at least 100 tomorrow.”

    Nov. 14
    Dow finishes down 92.75.

    Well, I was only 7 points off. Why aren’t you posting a cheerleading article about the market today? If you read this article that attempts to explain why the market was down today, you will see that people are still worried about this little subprime thingy. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

    “I think a lot of traders realize that the overall situation hasn’t changed a whole lot, with yesterday’s rally notwithstanding. There are more mortgage rate resets on the horizon.”



  85. 85
    David McManus says:

    Yeah, I was only 7 off. Where is he right now with a cheerleading article?

    From the article: “I think a lot of traders realize that the overall situation hasn’t changed a whole lot, with yesterday’s rally notwithstanding. There are more mortgage rate resets on the horizon.”


  86. 86
    David McManus says:

    Down another 120 today. Where ya at Nostra? I need something to pump me up into thinking everything’s ok.

  87. 87
    [troll] says:

    Dvd – trckld f ck nd 72 vrgns cldn’t pmp y p … bt thnks fr wshng :).

  88. 88
    [troll] says:

    MnkyPnch – k, brdtr. Mks y fl bttr?

  89. 89
    David McManus says:

    I get it now. You only post the good news, but look over the bad news. Kind of like the real estate professionals…….realt-whores who always say it’s a good time to buy. I almost suspect that you are, in fact, in the industry. Take a reality pill and start being intellectually honest with yourself.

  90. 90
    Wm Swanson says:

    Some Realtor went to ALOT of free trouble. Got a letter in the mail where this Realtor must have gone into King County to see my property holdings of which I have 7 and sent me a letter with the addresses and how much he says I can sell each for. Realtors starting to get desperate as Ihave recieved more mailings and postcard crap from Realtors in the past few months. I AINT SELLING and they all provide me with positive cash flow thank you very much!

  91. 91
    [troll] says:

    Dvd – ds t lk lk nd t pst th bd nws dd? Tht jb’s mr thn flld. ‘m jst hr t mrdr hp f ny knd – gd/bd/whtvr – nd gt ppl t ct.

    Bt s fr, n n hs sd why thy r hr – r thy byng r sllng, cn nt sll r cn nt by? nly n gy – blrbn – ws frthcmng bt hs ntntns – h wntd hm h thght shld b prcd t 1M, bt th dd skd lk 1.2M… t lst w knw _hs_ stry – nt smn lss.

    Why rn’t mst ppl shrng thr wn prdcmnt, s bynd m…

    ‘m nt syng nythng bt y spcfclly thr…. s dnt tk t ny prtclr wy.

  92. 92
    [troll] says:

    Wm – y’r stckng rch br!! Gd fr y!

  93. 93
    Wm Swanson says:

    More like lucky since I inherited 4 of them from my parents and bought the other 3 back in the 1990’s. Never thought I would be retired (Boeing) and a slum lord but I am not buying any more properties nor selling any so my children will have nice investments. My wife and I just sit around managing the houses (Kent/Renton/Bellevue) and trading stocks on the right days.

  94. 94
    David McManus says:

    “David – does it look like I need to post the bad news dude? That job’s more than filled. I’m just here to murder hope of any kind – good/bad/whatever – and get people to act.”

    Really?!? How many articles do you see in the Times or the PI stating that the market is not good? Several of my neighbors have had their homes on the market for 150+ days. When the idea of dropping the price is brought up, they turn their noses up. I am a home owner and at the same time, I’m not greedy. I don’t feel that my house has appreciated double-digits every year. For that matter, I a person who does NOT feel that a home is an investment. It is a place to live. Nothing more. But hey….what do I know? And if I may ask….what do you want people to do? Buy?

  95. 95
    TJ_98370 says:


    You say you’re here to get people to act. Okay, I am acting. I’m acting passively, by not buying overpriced real estate at the top of the market. When will I buy? One of the flags I’m looking for is the SoCal market to bottom out – the Seattle area will be a few months behind. Most socioeconomic trends originating in SoCal eventually affect Seattle to some degree. We’re just 12 to 18 months behind on our local bubble deflation.

  96. 96
    deejayoh says:

    Why aren’t most people sharing their own predicament, is beyond me…

    a) because I’m not in a predicament
    b) even if I was, it’d be none of your damn business.

    I thought nostradamus would just know anyway

  97. 97
  98. 98
  99. 99

    […] recall that just over a year ago Mr. Scott was vehemently denying that there was any chance Seattle home prices would fall 20% over the next five years, saying: […]

  100. 100

    […] overall tone of this most recent piece is a far cry from the November 2007 Up Front in which Lennox Scott, responding to a forecast of home prices dropping 19.5% in five years, made […]

  101. 101

    […] Is it as special or more special than, say, November 2007, when he declared that “we’re in one of the best markets in the nation here in the Northwest,” and that prices wouldn’t fall? […]

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