Morsels of Market Musings from PNWHS

Rather than editorializing on everything I heard at the Pacific Northwest Housing Summit today, I thought you all might just enjoy some unfiltered quotes from the industry professionals.

Bret Bertolin

Senior Analyst, Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council

On the broad economy…

We believe that the economy has turned the corner, and it pick up steam by mid-year.

On the savings rate…

You might think it’s a virtue to save more… we look at it the other way when we’re in this kind of a situation. High savings slows growth.

On unemployment…

The unemployment rate is still very high… We expect the peak unemployment rate to be in the first or second quarter this year, so we’re almost there.

On home prices…

We’re not convinced that this actually is the bottom, either for the US, or for Seattle, or the state.

Bret presented a number of charts and graphs, which he said he would post on their website sometime in the next week or so.

Ken Reid

Account Manager, Genworth Mortgage Insurance

On home sales volumes…

Home sales are rising a bit… The question is, can you sustain this? And I don’t know that we have the answer.

On fog-a-mirror lending…

We have learned our lesson.

Marc Savitt

President, National Association of Independent Housing Professionals

On the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC)…

What this is doing is destroying the entire housing industry. The housing industry represents about 16% of the overall economy. It’s causing job failures, business loss, and most importantly, it’s causing the erosion of equity in everybody’s home in this country, just like a foreclosure does.

Stan Sidor

Chairman, Appraisal Coalition of Washington

On bank-owned inventory growing on the market…

I still see that this year at least, I don’t see the end of that cycle and that trend. It will be interesting to continue to watch it through the year and into next year and see what happens.

Spencer Rascoff

Chief Operating Officer, Zillow

On Seattle-area home values…

Zillow’s data says that we think we will probably bottom in terms of Seattle-area home values this summer. Then we expect a relatively long period of pretty much flat real appreciation… Three to five years of home values kinda kicking along, plus-minus one percent, two percent.

Spencer actually had two slide presentations packed with data that he has already uploaded to his blog. It’s definitely worth taking a few minutes to check those out.

Ohan Antebian

Vice President of Industry Relations, REALTORS Property Resource™

REALTORS Property Resource™ is an online property portal developed by the National Association of REALTORS® for REALTORS® only. Ohan gave us a sneak peek demo, and it actually looked really sharp. Too bad it won’t be available to consumers.

Speaking on the NAR’s motivation for developing the software, Ohan had this to say…

At the end of the day, the world operates on incentives, not morality.

J. Lennox Scott

Chairman & CEO, John L. Scott Real Estate

I saved the best for last.

On the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit…

The tax credit worked… We had a surge and then an unsurge of sales. We brought buyers forward by a couple months.

On sales volumes…

Sales are at a strong activity level at this time.* Every single month going forward, and we will see that continue.

Where the market currently sits on his personal sales volume scale…

90s is frenzy, 80 is strong, 70 is healthy, 60s are adjusting, 50s is major adjustment, 40s is major correction. … Now we’re back up to the 70-80 range. Strong market is what’s taking place.*

On current market conditions…

Right now today, all the indicators are back in alignment. The affordability index is back to a high.* We have the debt service to household income ratio back in alignment… These are two key indicators that I take a look at for historical norms.

On the “echo boom generation” entering the housing market…

We flat-out don’t have enough housing in the more affordable price ranges… I believe they’ll save the US economy in about five years, there’s so many of them.

On the relationship between home prices and incomes…

Prices historically have always gone up in direct proportion to household income. We got out of whack during the sub-prime era, with low interest rates, and the appreciation rate skyrocketed. So that was an anomaly. It has now come back down. It’s back into historical alignment,* and that’s what the appreciation will be as we get going down the road. It will be in direct proportion to increasing household income, on average. That’s what it does.

And although the prospects still look dim for Seattle Bubble getting a personal interview with Mr. Scott, he was at least a good sport for the camera:

J. Lennox Scott and The Tim

Caption contest in the comments.

*(The data says otherwise.)
  

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.

62 comments:

  1. 1

    Tim,

    It was nice to meet you at the PNWHS and put a face to your website. What a great day of industry presenters with important information regarding the Pacific NW real estate markets. I thought Spencer Rascoff from Zillow did a great presentation. I knew that the consumer desired quick response times to inquiries, 36% want a response instantly and 16% in less than 30 minutes! So 50% of consumers want their info now! I guess I shouldn’t be surpised, as I’m no different! I thought that was a great survey.

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  2. 2

    ” It’s a deal then, Ellis. Fifty dollars for that mane of hair, and a 2% commission on your internal organs.”

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  3. 3

    On the HVCC issue I believe the legislation did pass this year that will attempt to regulate that industry. The most important change is that the legislation requires that the appraiser assigned out have geographic familiarity with the area they are assigned to work in. I think just about everyone will like that, except for perhaps the oil companies.

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  4. 4
    DefineTheBox says:

    It seems as though the only ones with truly objective and pragmatic opinions are the ones actually educated in the field of economics and not employed in the real estate industry.

    But to be fair, if I were selling cans of crap I’d tell everyone it tasted just like caviar.

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  5. 5
    Kevin Lisota says:

    I believe this handshake between J. Lennox Scott and Tim Ellis occurred immediately after Tim signed a buyer’s agent agreement with John L. Scott. According to Tim, he was so moved by Mr. Scott’s relentless cheerleading and optimism, he immediately decided to buy a house and chose John L. Scott as his brokerage. According to Ellis, “I can’t believe more home buyers don’t listen to John L. Scott. If he says the market is great and going nowhere but up, it must be true! He seems to have such a firm grasp of market statistics and trends. He is my hero!”

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  6. 6
    David Losh says:

    I want to point out that this is a national tour of housing summits. This is a national Real Estate marketing scheme.

    Consumers need to be very aware that they are paying a huge price for this marketing.

    You should be aware that the Real Estate industry is creating more products than housing units. Banks used to be the enemy. In the past you wanted the banks out of your home by paying off the mortgage. Today the banks have a vested interest, and the Real Estate industry has a vested interest, in keeping the refinance, new mortgage business churning.

    This summit was about how to keep the consumer paying more. This was an industry pep talk.

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  7. 7

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 2:

    ” It’s a deal then, Ellis. Fifty dollars for that mane of hair, and a 2% commission on your internal organs.”

    That’s the Tim Ellis-Lennox Scott caption.

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  8. 8
    Jason says:

    Those aren’t “unfiltered quotes.” They’re filtered through you. (Note the ellipses, for example, where you thought the speakers lagged.) If you wanted us to read unfiltered quotes, you’d post everything and let us decide.

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  9. 9
    Ross says:

    On the “echo boom generation” entering the housing market…

    We flat-out don’t have enough housing in the more affordable price ranges… I believe they’ll save the US economy in about five years, there’s so many of them.

    Echo boom may be entering; however boom will be exiting — and the boom is a larger demographic than the echo. Actually, it would be interesting to look at demographic and immigration effects on housing demand.

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  10. 10
    The Tim says:

    RE: Jason @ 8 – No problem. I will upload the complete audio later today. Here’s the first session:

    PNWHS Session1
    brought to you by Livescribe

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  11. 11

    RE: Ross @ 9

    Actually, According to the WSJ, Immigration is Making Housing Worse With More Multi-Generation Cohabitation Than Before

    Article in part:

    “…Much of that has reversed. Immigration is a driving force of the economy and the country’s demographics, with whites of non-European ancestry expected to make up less than 50% of the U.S. population by 2042. Asian and Hispanic immigrants, in particular, are more likely to see multi-generational dwellings. Also, people are waiting longer to get married and many of them “consider their childhood home to be an attractive living situation, especially when a bad economy makes it difficult for them to find jobs or launch careers,” according to the Pew Report….”

    http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/03/18/recession-immigration-spur-more-families-to-live-together/

    I’d add to this recent news article that it’s a scientific fact as population density increases, per capita wages plummet….or as the WSJ words it, the recession drags on.

    Also, IMO, the settlement of new immigrants isn’t all LA, SF and SEA on the west coast anymore as population density increases collapses per capita wages….they’re settling else where. Article in part:

    “…“Every city in the US is getting a sizable immigration population,” said Gary Painter, director of research at the Lusk Center and co-author of the study, in a phone interview. “We are no longer a country where immigration is largely confined to just a few places.”…”

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2010/0315/New-immigrants-avoiding-big-cities-study-finds

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  12. 12

    RE: softwarengineer @ 11 – I don’t know I would say that makes things worse, it just makes them not as “good” as they could be (assuming good is more demand for housing units). More families is still more demand.

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  13. 13
    ray pepper says:

    Now, I’m pissed Tim….

    Where is your 500 Realty T Shirt? I should have given you the keys to the Bush mobile and then you could have parked it directly outside this event.

    Dang………..

    My analysis is what you already knew going there. A buttload of Monday Morning quarterbacks. They are all in the same van cruising around, not knowing WHERE AND WHEN, the van is gonna stop.

    However, the one person I always do like to listen to is Spencer with Zillow.

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  14. 14
    The_Dude_Abides says:

    ‘Peace is at hand’
    October 26, 1972, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger went before reporters at the White House and declared that “peace is at hand” in Vietnam. It wasn’t just memorable. As it turned out, it was wrong.

    D*mn, I’m dating myself.

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  15. 15
    The Tim says:

    RE: Jason @ 8 – Oh, and what I mean by “unfiltered quotes” is that I’m not picking and choosing quotes that fit a pre-conceived “story” that I’m writing, and plugging in 5-word sentence fragments in the middle of paragraphs of story padding.

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  16. 16
    Scotsman says:

    From the JLS Blog:

    “The moral of the story is that as long as your clients buy a home by the April 30 deadline, their purchasing power is at an all time premium. This is a historic opportunity; don’t keep it a secret!”

    I knew it! It’s a great time to buy a house!

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  17. 17
    tomtom says:

    By Julie Lyda RE/MAX Northwest @ 1:

    Tim,
    What a great day of industry presenters with important information regarding the Pacific NW real estate markets.

    Grape or cherry?

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  18. 18
    patient says:

    “On the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC)…

    What this is doing is destroying the entire housing industry. The housing industry represents about 16% of the overall economy. It’s causing job failures, business loss, and most importantly, it’s causing the erosion of equity in everybody’s home in this country, just like a foreclosure does.”

    Wrong, what destroyed the entire housing industry and the economy was artifical home appreciation enabled by greedy, incompetent and short sighted lenders and cheered on by real estate agents. An attempt to more objective home appraisals is not the problem it is part of the solution.

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  19. 19
    Jillayne says:

    Patient,

    I’m with you. If we didn’t have HVCC we’d still have people pressuring appraisers to bring in higher values on resales and LOWER values on short sale transactions.

    I asked Marc Savitt a good question during the breakout sessions: If we didn’t have HVCC, then what would keep loan originators from pressuring appraisers in today’s market?

    He said it’s not just loan originators that pressure appraisers, it’s real estate agents along with the homeowners themselves.

    His idea was to have every person sign a statement that he/she did not pressure the appraiser to influence the home value. I thought that was a nice idea because it includes everyone, not just the loan originators.

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  20. 20
    Jillayne says:

    The Tim, here’s something else we both kept hearing from the presenters:

    “I was told to keep this positive….”

    “I was told to keep this positive…”

    I found it interesting that the presenters would open their discussion with that premise because it made me, as an audience member wonder what they were NOT saying but wanted to say.

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  21. 21
    HappyRenter says:

    I have a question. Bret Bertolin says:

    “You might think it’s a virtue to save more… we look at it the other way when we’re in this kind of a situation. High savings slows growth.”

    So, how exactly am I supposed to spend the money in my savings account, in order to revive the economy? Just go out and jump on a home? Or invest them in stocks?

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  22. 22

    By Scotsman @ 16:

    From the JLS Blog:

    “The moral of the story is that as long as your clients buy a home by the April 30 deadline, their purchasing power is at an all time premium. This is a historic opportunity; donâ��t keep it a secret!”

    I knew it! It’s a great time to buy a house!

    It ain’t just a great time to buy a house, it’s a historic opportunity. You’ll make so much danged money off the value of that house, if you take advantage of this historic opportunity, that you’ll be bathing in cash. But all bets are off if you don’t buy before the end of April. If you wait until May 1st you may very well have squandered a historic opportunity. You might have a cursed life if you don’t buy before the end of April. A plague of locusts, perhaps.

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  23. 23
    Jillayne says:

    Happy Renter,

    Bertolin wasn’t suggesting that at all. He was helping us understand that when the savings rate goes up, that’s good because households need to repair their balance sheets, but the consequence of higher savings rates means a damper on consumer spending. He was not pumping the crowd to go buy houses at all.

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  24. 24
    S-Crow says:

    RE: Jillayne @ 19 – Jillayne, maybe you could comment on the use of AMC’s (Appraisal Management Companies) and whether or not these affiliated businesses with lenders are in the best interest of the consumers.

    I frequent lending/mortgage blogs from time to time and there seems to be and undercurrent that these blossomed up to circumvent the HVCC regs. At minimum it appears they are formed to keep somewhat of control over the choice of appraisers who could be called to do an appraisal ordered by a mortgage broker or other lending company (such as correspondents or other structures). I can certainly understand the use of an appraiser with a long history of appraising in a specific area vs. one that is asked to appraise in an area rarely ventured into.

    I still hear stories of appraisals that are frustrating LO’s and agents and that they sometimes turn to secondary appraisals to help make a transaction come to fruition. I also hear of secondary appraisals ordered by lenders quite frequently for one thing or another in underwriting.

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  25. 25
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 22

    Nonsense! JLS has an even better, even more historic opportunity planned for the April 30th through May 31st period.

    But rest assured, he and his friends are saving the best for June and July. You have to ask yourself- and answer truthfully- just how much awesomeness can you handle?

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  26. 26
    Brad says:

    The tax credit worked because it “brought buyers forward a couple of months”? Silly me, I thought it was supposed to stimulate sales that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. Borrowing demand from the future was just an unavoidable side effect and unintended cost of the program.

    When discussing the echo boomers, was any mention made of the enormous sums of student loan debt this generation is accumulating? Young couples now have to dig themselves out of $50,000 in student loan debt before they can start saving for a down payment. (Plus the average of $9,000 in credit card debt per individual aged 18-34.) Surely that’s going to impact what they can afford in housing.

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  27. 27
    The Tim says:

    By Brad @ 26:

    When discussing the echo boomers, was any mention made of the enormous sums of student loan debt this generation is accumulating?

    Hah, of course there wasn’t. It was part of Lennox’s pep talk.

    Today though Spencer Rascoff brought up Lennox’s “echo boom” theory, and he was skeptical of it because he thinks the cliché of “renting is throwing away money” is being questioned a lot more by people in their teens and twenties. I think Spencer’s got a good point.

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  28. 28
    Brad says:

    Echo Boomers:

    * Are taking 5 years or more on average to complete a Bachelor’s degree.

    * Are leaving college with an average of $22,000 in non-dischargable student loan debt.

    * Are graduating into the most sustained hiring downturn in a generation, with wage-depressing effects that will likely last throughout their careers. Two income families will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less in their lifetime than those who entered the job market in a time of low unemployment.

    * Are carrying an average of $9,000 / person in credit card debt.

    * Are waiting longer to marry, to have children, and are having fewer children.

    * Are witnessing many in their parents generation going broke because of housing debt.

    * Have just witnessed a huge drop in home prices.

    * Are about to witness years of (at best) stagnant prices.

    * Have seen high gas prices for much of their driving lifetime, and have two career households. They recognize the high cost of commuting from the ‘burbs on their pocketbook and the environment.

    The “renting is throwing money away” meme is dead, “buy now or be priced out forever” is dead, “debt is equity” is dead, “drive ’till you qualify” is dying. It’s not the demographics of this generation that matter, its the economics. J.L.Scott is right about one thing: there’s a huge lack of homes affordable to this generation. They will force the price-to-rent ratio back to historical norms by choosing to rent (or having their paycheck choose for them).

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  29. 29
    Cheap South says:

    “I was told to keep this positive….”

    “I was told to keep this positive…”

    “I found it interesting that the presenters would open their discussion with that premise because it made me, as an audience member wonder what they were NOT saying but wanted to say.”

    This is just amazing!!! Jillayne; were people talking about this “disclosure” during breaks? So they just came out and announced “everything I’ll say is bull s.”.

    Brad @28: Nicely described.

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  30. 30
    Drone says:

    By Scotsman @ 25:

    Nonsense! JLS has an even better, even more historic opportunity planned for the April 30th through May 31st period.

    But rest assured, he and his friends are saving the best for June and July. You have to ask yourself- and answer truthfully- just how much awesomeness can you handle?

    HAHAHA this comment made my day.
    Rest assured, I can handle a Surprisingly Large Amount of awesomeness.

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  31. 31
    CCG says:

    By HappyRenter @ 21:

    I have a question. Bret Bertolin says:

    “You might think itâ��s a virtue to save moreâ�¦ we look at it the other way when weâ��re in this kind of a situation. High savings slows growth.”

    So, how exactly am I supposed to spend the money in my savings account, in order to revive the economy? Just go out and jump on a home? Or invest them in stocks?

    Ah, the paradox of thrift, another age-old fallacy given pseudo-intellectual legitimacy by the great huckster Keynes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_thrift

    Production comes from investment, and investment comes from saving. But no need to worry. Today, the money is effectively stolen from savers via inflation by the Fed’s printing press, and yields are forced to eternal lows by government distortion of the interest market so that savers are forced to consume their capital or else put it in the equity markets in a desperate attempt to get some return, where of course Government Sachs can steal it. We’ve pretty well solved the saving problem in America.

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  32. 32
    CCG says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 22:

    By Scotsman @ 16:
    From the JLS Blog:

    “The moral of the story is that as long as your clients buy a home by the April 30 deadline, their purchasing power is at an all time premium. This is a historic opportunity; don�t keep it a secret!”

    I knew it! It’s a great time to buy a house!

    It ain’t just a great time to buy a house, it’s a historic opportunity. You’ll make so much danged money off the value of that house, if you take advantage of this historic opportunity, that you’ll be bathing in cash. But all bets are off if you don’t buy before the end of April. If you wait until May 1st you may very well have squandered a historic opportunity. You might have a cursed life if you don’t buy before the end of April. A plague of locusts, perhaps.

    Anybody who doesn’t buy now will be priced out forever. Anyone who does buy will enjoy a lifetime of riches, as their property continues its annual double-digit appreciation.

    Renters, and those born in future generations, will soon be unable to afford a $10 million starter home. They will live in tent cities and Hondas.

    This bubble is unlike any other in history, because it will never pop or even slow down. The gains are permanent.

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  33. 33
    CCG says:

    By Jillayne @ 19:

    Patient,

    I’m with you. If we didn’t have HVCC we’d still have people pressuring appraisers to bring in higher values on resales and LOWER values on short sale transactions.

    I asked Marc Savitt a good question during the breakout sessions: If we didn’t have HVCC, then what would keep loan originators from pressuring appraisers in today’s market?

    He said it’s not just loan originators that pressure appraisers, it’s real estate agents along with the homeowners themselves.

    His idea was to have every person sign a statement that he/she did not pressure the appraiser to influence the home value. I thought that was a nice idea because it includes everyone, not just the loan originators.

    I remember years and years of hearing appraisers complain on Ben Jones’ Housing Bubble Blog and other places about how they were forced out of business if they refused to lie. Hundreds of complaints were sent to government agencies and regulators, who of course did “chocolate” about it. After all, they can’t see bubbles until they pop and it’s not their job to actually, well, do their job, right?

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  34. 34

    By Jillayne @ 19:

    He said it’s not just loan originators that pressure appraisers, it’s real estate agents along with the homeowners themselves.

    I think I’ve only contacted two appraisers ever. The first was just to make sure the appraiser was aware that the last four sales in the same complex sold within a week of going on the market. The second was to just find out when it was expected to be returned, since he had been to the property quite a while earlier.

    The worst appraisals are on refinances, where there is no real estate agent.

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  35. 35
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Brad @ 28

    Ouch. Dang facts!

    Brad- the name of this site is “Seattle Bubble,” not “Burst Seattle’s Bubble.” Please adjust your behavior and fall in line. ;-)

    In all seriousness, the younger folks I know are concerned about a number of things, but buying that first home doesn’t seem to be very high on the list.

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  36. 36
    Hugh Dominic says:

    RE: CCG @ 32 – this thread is smoking hot. Government Sachs!

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  37. 37
    BryanHowell says:

    “Though neither man betrayed so much as a hint of discomfort, the sound of cracking metacarpals could be heard all the way in the back of the room.”

    Sorry I missed that J. Lennox Scott talk now. I was mostly focused in the social media sessions. Though I think Tim and I must have been in that Marc Savitt breakout at the same time…

    –BryanH. (formerly SF_Boomerang)

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  38. 38
    shawn says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 11
    I have to say that I have decided that I can no longer take the racist trash you post here. I need to move on to other places on the internet where intellectual discussions are not intersperced with this trash. You just sicken me to my core and I cannot stomach your extreame hate. The nazi SWE can have this blog, I have to move on to places that moderate your type of trash out of the discussion. I don’t see any reason for your constant racist diatribes to have a place here. Your posts are off topic and only racist anti immigrant. I don’t need to see that garbage daily. I just hope I am the only one and that you are not turning others away also. I hope I am just to sensitive to racists and that others can just ignore you, but with a Jewish mom and a brown skinned Asian wife I just find SWE to be evil and I have had it.

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  39. 39
    One Eyed Man says:

    Picture caption #1:

    Lennox says: “I am your father The Tim. The Force is strong within you. Use your powers of real estate psychology to make the weak minded buy homes and pay a six percent commission. The armies of my Real Estate Empire are ready to strike. With your help the Force can move the market upward and make it true that here has never been a better time to buy.”

    The Tim says: “Is that another Real Estate Bubble in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”

    Picture caption #2:

    Lennox says: “Thank you for comming to our family gathering The Tim. I would like you to consider me as your Scottfather. I have heard much about you and that group of yours . . . What is it? . . . The Bubble? You honor us with your presence and we wish you every success. I feel that an ambitious young man like you deserves the best opportunity to succeed in these difficult times so I would like to make you an offer you can’t refuse to join our family in making this the best time to buy. I would hate to see you make the wrong decision. You could find yourself sleeping with the fishes.”

    The Tim says: “Thank you Scottfather. But I’m not sure I understand. When you say sleeping with the fishes, are we talking waterfront? And is that a rental, or do I have to buy? I’m not interested in a purchase at current market prices.

    Caption #3:

    Lennox says: “Stop calling me the wicked broker of the west. Your meddling has helped kill the market and if you don’t stop saying those things I’ll have my army of flying monkeys drop a house on you and your little dog too. Wait . . . oh no . . . . I’m meltingggggggg . . . . . .”

    The Tim Says: “Hey you’re right, you are melting, and that bubble is melting too. Maybe you should try Extenze. I don’t think it works either but it’s cheaper than the government stimulus.”

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  40. 40
    Jonness says:

    RE: shawn @ 38 – Shawn. IMO, you are overreacting to what SE posted. My mother is not Jewish, and my wife does not have brown skin. However, my great grandmother was 100% non-white (i.e. native American Indian). Persons of European heritage are every bit as much foreigners in my great grandmother’s country as your mother and your wife. SE is a foreigner, and so are you. Since I’m 1/8 Indian, 7/8 of me is a foreign immigrant. And even the 1/8th of me that is supposedly native to the country migrated here across the Bearing Straight.

    SE made an assertion that might or might not be true. If it is not true, then it can be logically refuted.

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  41. 41
    Jonness says:

    “Caption contest in the comments”

    #1

    Lennox: People accused me of being a big dumb dufuss with buck teeth and a bald head, but I showed them.

    Tim: Anybody with the IQ of a bug who has managed to get as rich as this guy has some kind of special gift. All my charts and graphs provide me with no insights that allow me to understand this.

    #2

    Lennox: I hate this person’s guts for telling the truth about real estate. I’ve only made $5 million this year and I could have made $10 million if it weren’t for him.

    Tim: Whatever, I’ll shake this liars hand, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him.

    #3

    Lennox: Your tie is better than mine but I have a better jacket.

    Tim: The only reason I don’t throw in the towell and join his team is because I would be forced to wear a stupid looking jacket.

    #4:

    Lennox: Hrrr…hrrr…hrrr. I just passed gas.

    Tim: Ewe

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  42. 42
    Pegasus says:

    Caption:

    Alert observers will note my other hand is behind my back where I gladly accept the moola offered to “Keep Clam” about renters being right. My new mantra is ” Don’t be priced out forever”. I feel so cheap.

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  43. 43
    sallybuttons says:

    RE: shawn @ 38 – Granted, many contributors are flat-out stupid + consistent at that. I suspect this r.e. blog is demographically challenged and one must skip certain obsolete authors and attempt focus on intelligent + experienced participants…The racism/sexism spew is an ample indicator of a lack of general experience. There are no charts for this – but it reads clearly, no?
    Please tell us where you find improvement.

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  44. 44
    Scotsman says:

    RE: shawn @ 38

    Really, Shawn, I think you’re being a bit too sensitive here. And calling SE a nazi is not only over the top, but destroys any credibility you or your argument may have had.

    As Jonness pointed out, we’re all just visitors here anyway, both to the continent and the planet. Everybody knows the dolphins really run the place, even though the Vogons appear to be gaining power at the moment. ;-)

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  45. 45
    Pegasus says:

    New Caption:

    J. Lennox Scott and Tim Ellis reach agreement in principle on new partnership. Lennox to install in all of his offices Tim’s background music to sell real estate by. Tim’s recording of “Frogs in my backyard” will be used to motivate sales. All callers placed on hold will also get to enjoy the rare recording.

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  46. 46
    Scotsman says:

    Caption contest:

    The last known picture of “The Tim”

    David meets Goliath

    Is this a great country, or what?

    Overheard, later that night: “you touched him? Eeeew- not tonight, baby!

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  47. 47
    Jonness says:

    Though this isn’t as funny as Ira Sacharoff @2, I’ll give it a shot.

    Camera man: Before we take this photo, we should do a trust building exercise in order to heal any latent animosity you have toward each other. Please remove at least one thing you are wearing and place it on the table beside you.

    Lennox: (with reluctance) Oh OK. I’ll remove my toupee.

    Tim: I can do better than that. I’ll take the pencil protector out of my shirt pocket and take off my horn rim glasses.

    Lennox’s wife: Hmmm, standing next to Tim makes my husband suddenly look extremely unattractive. I’d give up all of our money for a date with Tim as long as he promises to where the pencil protector and glasses.

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  48. 48
    Mikal says:

    RE: shawn @ 38 – But he is running for president and has ALOT of support. Delusional, table for one.

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  49. 49

    RE: Jonness @ 45
    That’s awesome. You’re killing me.

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  50. 50
    Jonness says:

    OK Ira. As long as I’m embellishing other’s work:

    “OK, it’s a deal then Tim. For $50, you can rent my 3000 sq ft basement. But I’m telling you, you are making a terrible mistake by not giving in and buying the house from me for 5x what I paid for it in 2003.”

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  51. 51
    Pegasus says:

    shawn @ 38
    “a Jewish mom and a brown skinned Asian wife”

    How’s that working out?

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  52. 52
    Jillayne says:

    Regarding HVCC, I got a few interesting things out of Marc Savitt, who is hell-bent on repealing or modifying HVCC before he exits this life. Here is the most interesting item.

    Marc said (no link) that there has been a huge problem with appraisal fraud since Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) have started controling appraisals.

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  53. 53
    BillE says:

    -The Tim acknowledges that people must buy now or be priced out forever, and with a handshake, promises to stop keeping it a secret.

    or

    -The Tim shakes the salesman’s hand after negotiating 3 free oil changes into the deal on his new used car.

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  54. 54
    Jason says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 11

    Provide support for your assertion that it’s “a scientific fact as population density increases, per capita wages plummet.”

    If this were a “fact” then it would have to stand to reason that King county (Washington state’s most densly populated county) would have a per capita income lower than Garfield county (Washington’s least densly populated county http://www.ofm.wa.gov/pop/popden/default.asp). However, King county has a median household income of $62,810 and Garfield county has a median household income of $42,423 (http://www.ofm.wa.gov/economy/hhinc/default.asp). I created an excel worksheet combining the most recent estimates for both of these measures and labeled counties that were above, below and within +/- 5% of the statewide values for each metric. Only one county had over the statewide average population density (100.21 persons per sq. mile) and below the statewide median household income ($52,413). That county was Spokane (263.66 pop density & $42,196). Conversely, no county had a population density beneath the 5% tolerance in population density and above the 5% tolerance in median income. However there was one county with below the population density tolerance and a median income within the tolerance: San Juan county (93.18 persons per sq. mile & $52,671).

    Granted, the income numbers aren’t in per capita but household format. However in order for that to be the controlling difference then households in the more densly populated counties would have to be much larger than those in the more sparsely populated counties. In the case of the aforementioned King and Garfield counties, King county households would have to be 48% larger than those in Garfield county ($62,810 is 48% higher than 42,823). Obviously there must be some factor which is way more important than population density. Perhaps that greater population density encourages the development of skills which are absent in sparsely populated areas, or a climate more conducive to economic development, or a greater concentration of college graduates, or a combination of these three and others (http://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/369.html).

    Simplistic assertions of Malthusian philosophy as “scientific fact” are ridiculous. Cities around the world are the economic powerhouses of the countries in which they are located. Why would anybody from a rural area (where population densities are by definition lower) move to a city (where population densities are by definition higher) if your assertion were true? If per capita incomes were higher in less populated areas, then why aren’t people moving to the Sahara desert or the Empty Quarter of the Arabian peninsula?

    WA State 100.21 52,413

    County Population Density Median Household Income County Above or Below average density +- 5% County above or below median income +- 5%
    Adams 9.35 36,569 below below
    Asotin 33.84 38,503 below below
    Benton 99.41 49,087 average average
    Chelan 24.85 41,747 below below
    Clallam /3 39.96 43,457 below below
    Clark /1 686.38 50,199 above average
    Columbia 4.72 35,877 below below
    Cowlitz 87.47 41,920 below below
    Douglas 20.65 42,631 below below
    Ferry 3.54 33,083 below below
    Franklin 58.52 37,818 below below
    Garfield 3.17 42,423 below below
    Grant 32.11 35,902 below below
    Grays Harbor 37.14 38,905 below below
    Island 385.25 50,435 above average
    Jefferson /3 15.98 47,660 below below
    King 898.05 62,810 above above
    Kitsap 625.29 57,724 above above
    Kittitas 17.37 35,613 below below
    Klickitat 10.79 38,115 below below
    Lewis 31.23 38,319 below below
    Lincoln 4.52 39,511 below below
    Mason 59.10 43,989 below below
    Okanogan 7.69 34,476 below below
    Pacific 23.37 36,305 below below
    Pend Oreille 9.21 34,931 below below
    Pierce 484.60 51,479 above average
    San Juan 93.18 52,671 below average
    Skagit 68.52 48,606 below below
    Skamania 6.52 44,593 below below
    Snohomish 337.14 60,353 above above
    Spokane /2 263.66 42,196 above below
    Stevens 17.75 39,377 below below
    Thurston 343.59 55,085 above above
    Wahkiakum 15.52 43,860 below below
    Walla Walla 46.60 41,121 below below
    Whatcom 91.10 47,805 below below
    Whitman 20.05 34,211 below below
    Yakima 55.49 34,156 below below

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  55. 55

    RE: Jillayne @ 19 – He’s right that it was not just LO’s pressuring appraisers… when and if I had an appraisal come in low or any type of negative comment on the home, 9 times out of 10, the real estate agent would go absolutely nuts!

    I also had an appraiser meet with me under the guise of being a real estate agent (doubt he ever wrote a transaction–I think it was his excuse to meet with LOs) telling me that I should work with him instead of the appraiser I had worked with for the past 9 years because he could turn appraisals in 24 hours and they would always come in at value *wink wink*. His largest client at the time? Washington Mutual.

    I kid you not.

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  56. 56

    The National Association of Independent Housing Professionals, led by Marc Savitt, appears to be doing more to create problems than to solve them. I’m very concerned that this group is attempting to represent themselves as a spokespersons for the industry when, in fact, they represent a very small and ill-focused group. I think you’re doing the large majority of those of us in the real estate profession a disservice when you emphasize their agenda.

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  57. 57

    RE: Rhonda Porter @ 55 – I suspect every agent has had a transaction where they’ve worried about the appraisal. So if an agent “goes nuts” it’s probably because the appraisal wasn’t even the slightest concern for that particular property.

    Appraisers are not gods. They make mistakes and can be inexperienced. Also, some properties are just difficult. On the last matter where I testified as an expert witness the appraiser and I took entirely different approaches to finding comps for a difficult property than what I did. The judge found none of the appraiser’s comps to be good comps and threw them all out! If that had been a sale transaction that didn’t appraise out, I suspect the agent wouldn’t have been surprised at the low appraisal until they actually saw the appraisal, and then their emotion would turn to outrage, not surprise, when they saw the comps the appraiser used.

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  58. 58
    David Losh says:

    RE: Melissa Cloutier @ 56

    I agree completely that we need to get the mortgage industry in it’s place as the villain in a global economic crisis.

    The mortgage industry was the driving force in making higher valuations. Credit itself pushed up values by lowering payments with lower interest rates.

    The entire Real Estate profession is severely broken, but the mortgage industry needs to take the blame for it’s part.

    Come to think of it, all this whining to Congress bothers me. Had the industry worked in a fair manner there would be no need for regulation.

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  59. 59

    Re: David Losh @ 58

    My point about Marc Savitt is that he seems to be looking to make a name for himself at the expense of helping to find solutions. Every report I read is that he’s trying to make a villain out of others and offending policy makers, while other national groups like the Realtors and Mortgage Brokers are working to find solutions going forward.

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  60. 60
    tomtom says:

    By Brad @ 28:

    Echo Boomers:

    * Have seen high gas prices for much of their driving lifetime,

    http://inflationdata.com/inflation/images/charts/Oil/Gasoline_inflation_chart.htm

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  61. 61

    RE: Melissa Cloutier @ 59
    I don’t know Marc Savitt or anything about him. But when I read that Realtors and Mortgage Brokers are ” working to find solutions”, I suggest holding on to your wallet:)

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  62. 62
    tomtom says:

    Marc said (no link) that there has been a huge problem with appraisal fraud since Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs) have started controling appraisals.

    As if the status quo was working all that well:

    “The WaMu sales manager also demanded Wertz change her appraisal process to produce higher prices for the properties she was evaluating, according to Wertz’s lawyer Stephen Danz. The higher an appraisal comes out, the more likely it is a home loan will get approved.”

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/17/real_estate/wamu_lawsuit.moneymag/?postversion=2008011712

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