Reader Rant: Seattle Home Prices Still “Make No Sense”

Reader Rant: Seattle Home Prices Still “Make No Sense”

Once in a while a reader leaves a comment that deserves its own post. In the wee hours this morning, gardener1 left such a comment:

Dear god, I cannot fathom why anyone would commit 30 years of hard earned wages into a crapshack like the housing that is available in Seattle. Has the Seattle algae slimed their brain cells into mush?

$300,000 IS A LOT OF MONEY. Why would anybody pay more than a quarter of a million dollars over half a lifetime for a run down frame shanty built 80 years ago? Is Seattle long on stupid people? Was PT Barnum from Seattle? Where is the explanation for this insanity?

I can live here (grudgingly) for a fraction of the monthly payment buying a house would cost me. If the landlord raises my rent, I’ll move. I still live in a better dwelling than half the houses in my neighborhood (W. Seattle) whose owners pay twice as much mortgage payment as I do in rent.

It makes no sense. I don’t see how they sell one house a year in this city. Who are these suckers being relieved of their wages in exchange for tenement dwellings, and WHY do they do it? I’m completely mystified by Seattle housing. I just can’t grasp it.

Personally, this kind of sentiment made perfect sense to me between 2005 and 2008 or 2009. Today, not so much:

King Co. Actual & "Affordable" Home Prices

Even if interest rates were at the same level they were throughout the bubble (6.1% on average), King County’s “affordable” home price would still be around $340,000, which is a good eight percent above the actual median price in January.

Yeah, $300,000 is a lot of money. But it doesn’t feel like quite as much money when you consider that the total PITI monthly payment on a $300k home after 20% down at today’s rates is only $1,470. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the housing bubble, it’s that most people base their buying decisions much more on their gut feeling than on an emotionally-detached analysis of long-term financial consequences.

[Update]
The comment by AxlRose below gave me an idea for another new chart: Actual median household incomes and the household income required to make the median-priced home affordable. Here it is:

King Co. Home Price, Income Req. to Afford

The median household income today is 39% higher than the income required to make the median-priced home affordable. At the peak, the median household income was 35% lower than the income required to make the median-priced home affordable.

  

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.

150 comments:

  1. 1
    AxlRose says:

    I’ll go ahead and repost my thoughts:

    Using 28% of gross income for a mortgage payment, an approx. $65k salary can buy a $300k mortgage at current rates. I don’t recall the median salary in the area but it’s not too far from $65k. $100k buys over $450k of mortgage. Factor in double income families, and a little bit of tech wealth, and a $315k median sounds rather reasonable. I know there are plenty of people around making these kinds of salaries, or much more. I’m an average IT guy and I’m able to afford a $400k mortgage and stay within the golden rule of 28%. Maybe the difference between myself and commenters here is that I never looked for a home in Seattle proper, but stuck to the eastside, where I work, so maybe the housing stock is better because it’s generally newer. I also don’t have any other debt mucking up the picture. But the prices seem pretty close to in line with salaries, at this point.

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  2. 2
    Oberon says:

    In my recent experience rents are actually higher than purchase monthly payments in Seattle’s close-in neighborhoods (e.g., Ballard).

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  3. 3
    AxlRose says:

    RE: Oberon @ 2 – Same for the 400k-600k homes on the eastside. You can find rentals for less, but it won’t be as nice. Rentals are rather scarce in areas like south Sammamish.

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  4. 4
    John Bailo says:

    “Affordable” assume you keep your high paying job, that we don’t have another recession, that you don’t get laid off for more than a year, that they don’t raise the taxes sky high to cover all the “infrastructure”, that they don’t build a lot of “density” next door and make the crime rate go sky high, that compared another place that isn’t cloudy 250 days a year its still a good buy…etc…etc…

    Maybe this is the answer…

    The ultimate condo:

    Carrizozo, NM 88301
    For Sale:$59,900
    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1006-5th-St-Carrizozo-NM-88301/2123450288_zpid/

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  5. 5
    4nr says:

    Having recently arrived in Seattle from a slightly more liberal country located somewhere to the North of here and being only slightly real estate savvy, I was a little thrown off by listed home prices. My sentiment was pretty much identical to gardener1’s…

    Lucky for me, I found this site and after a little commiseration and a lot of time scanning Zillow and Redfin and being a little more familiar with the Seattle area now I have come to the realization that as cheap as I am and as much as I want homes to be more affordable and be more representative of the actual bricks and sticks they may be comprised of – ultimately, what people will pay is what they are worth. Tim very astutely is showing in this post that the average Seattleite can now afford the average home. The onus is now on the buyer to be shrewd enough to be satisfied with the house he/she is buying, very likely without fear of being severely ripped off.

    I own 2 rental condos back where I’m from, and they are in area relatively untouched by a bubble. They are both nicely appointed and rented to nice retired folks. What I hate having to admit is that I won’t find condos like that anywhere near Seattle for that price. But this really is a nice area of North America (I’d live here over Florida without question), and with lots of good industry here (Microsoft, Boeing, etc.) the area’s affluence seems to justify the slightly higher housing costs.

    I really like this site and while I won’t be buying anything soon, I can’t tear myself away from this little hobby of tracking an industry undergoing stress and change.

    Thanks!

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  6. 6
    David S says:

    Tim you’re missing the point. It’s not the affordability of the house anymore, we know they are now affordable. It’s what you get for this so called affordable price. It’s a run down remodel ready house. It has mostly original, eh hem, read “lovingly maintained”, everything. Nobody has done anything to improve these properties in the past two decades. Just because they have become affordable does not make them a good value.

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  7. 7
    AxlRose says:

    RE: John Bailo @ 4 – Will there ever be no risk of those things happening? Has there ever been before? Of course, everyone has to make their own judgement of how safe they think their situation is.

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  8. 8
    David S says:

    By Oberon @ 2:

    In my recent experience rents are actually higher than purchase monthly payments in Seattle’s close-in neighborhoods (e.g., Ballard).

    When you count interest, taxes, PMI, depreciation, maintenance, and a future asset liquidation expense, still cheaper to buy? This has been covered.

    A fifteen year hold with a future sales price of $350,000 is an expense of about $195 a month for 15 years! My pencil works different than yours that’s for sure.

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  9. 9
    The Tim says:

    RE: David S @ 6 – Do you (or anyone else) have evidence that the median-priced homes being sold during the bubble were any different? From what I’ve been able to find, they weren’t. It was the same housing stock, just 30-50% more expensive.

    There’s an underlying assumption of this site that the readers here are people who think that living in Seattle is something they would like to do, and that they would probably like to buy a house in the area some day. We can have a discussion about whether the quality of homes available in the Seattle area merit ever buying a home or even living in the Seattle area at all, but I’m not really sure what that accomplishes.

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  10. 10
    bd says:

    I imagine the median household income of home buyers is probably notably higher than the overall median household income, since the median incomes of households headed by the very young and the retired are generally lower than the folks who are first time buyers.

    During the bubble, the market was clearly distorted by the fact that people were being given unsustainable loans, but at this point it does not look significantly out of whack with incomes (Not to say it’s not out of whack with your particular income.)

    The biggest concern I would have as first time buyer at this point is interest rates. Seems like they can only go up which will certainly depress prices. That seems a real risk, especially if you need to maintain some flexibility (ie the ability to sell sooner rather than later because of adverse life events). But then again, I don’t know what the inflation situation would be with significantly higher rates. If inflation goes up significantly, that might balance the risk of taking a loan.

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  11. 11
    Basho says:

    You guys are missing the role of expectations of future housing prices. This period is not comparable to prior ones because potential buyers are much less likely to believe that they will make money on their purchase.

    If you assume that it costs 15% round trip to buy and sell a house (realtors fees, inspection fees, repair costs, moving expenses, etc…), over a seven year holding period a homeowner requires 2% annual appreciation just to come out even.

    In the pre-bust period people were generally confident that home price appreciation would mean that they would come out ahead when it came time to sell. Now, that isn’t taken for granted. The new environment has resulted in potential buyers becoming far more concerned with the price of the house, any defects in the structure or location, and their likely holding period.

    The perceived risk of a buying a home right now has increased relative to the past. That means that potential buyers will tend to demand a discount to prior measures of fair value (e.g. price/rent, price/income).

    Personally, I would be extremely surprised if the Case-Shiller for Seattle is higher one year from now. Studies of human behavior have shown quite convincingly that people are highly resistant to selling an asset at a loss, even if that asset’s future prospects are inferior to alternative assets. Unfortunately for people that are waiting for higher prices to sell, the life-events that cause one to need to sell a house are not ones that are highly deferrable. Divorces, health problems, layoffs, promotions, retirements, and reassignments are not waiting for higher home prices to occur.

    Most buyers on the other hand, have the option of renting. They can even rent a place someone intends to sell when prices move up sufficiently.

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  12. 12

    By The Tim @ 9:

    RE: Do you (or anyone else) have evidence that the median-priced homes being sold during the bubble were any different? From what I’ve been able to find, they weren’t. It was the same housing stock, just 30-50% more expensive..

    That would be impossible to say, because no one goes into enough listings to say.

    Ignoring that, before almost everything sold, where now much of the inventory is old and stale. So if you’re looking at active inventory, that might be worse than before, where the properties actually sold might be better.

    Another factor is some lenders are doing more now regarding the condition of the property than before. So that factor would also indicate things might be better now. Again, it’s really impossible to say.

    On the negative side would be more REOs now. Those are generally in worse condition.

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  13. 13
    bd says:

    RE: David S @ 8

    Ah so, your pencil tells you that homes will appreciate at about 1% annually on average for the next 15 years?

    Wow. That’s a very conservative pencil.

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  14. 14

    By bd @ 13:

    Wow. That’s a very conservative pencil.

    I wonder what the pencil thinks about Facebook stock?

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  15. 15
    patient says:

    By David S @ 6:

    Tim you’re missing the point. It’s not the affordability of the house anymore, we know they are now affordable. It’s what you get for this so called affordable price. It’s a run down remodel ready house. It has mostly original, eh hem, read “lovingly maintained”, everything. Nobody has done anything to improve these properties in the past two decades. Just because they have become affordable does not make them a good value.

    I couldn’t agree more. We could afford the home we wanted at the height of the bubble but my gawd why would we do that? We can also afford a gallon of milk for $1000 but would never pay it. Housing here is stil way, way overpriced related to true value.

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  16. 16
    Ross Jordan says:

    By The Tim @ 9:

    RE: David S @ 6 – Do you (or anyone else) have evidence that the median-priced homes being sold during the bubble were any different? From what I’ve been able to find, they weren’t. It was the same housing stock, just 30-50% more expensive.

    Don’t we basically have evidence of that through the changed mix of distressed home sales? (which I think most would agree have more deferred maintenance issues). Another aspect may be the mix of brand new homes, which was presumably higher during the bubble (though that might not be true since there was and still is a big backlog of new homes leftover, even if starts went way down). Finally, there is a significant amount of “priced in forever” sellers, which is probably affecting the demographics of sellers (i.e. higher percentage of homes for sale probably comes from other situations such as death, divorce, economic situation than from “move-up” sellers. People dying, divorcing, who’ve lost their jobs and so on probably do a worse job of upgrading their homes)

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  17. 17
    tomtom says:

    By patient @ 15:

    Housing here is stil way, way overpriced related to true value.

    How are you calculating ‘true value’?

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  18. 18
    bd says:

    RE: patient @ 15

    Tim, time for another chart! Housing prices v. true value.

    patient will have to explain how to calculate true value, of course.

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  19. 19
    greg says:

    Personally I think housing is very attractively priced right now. Complaining about prices being too high in Seattle is ridiculous. Go to any desirable big city and prices will be higher than some small town in Texas. If you are an investor or are thinking like one then maybe you shouldn’t buy right now. That is your call.

    I personally think we will see the US dollar devaluate and inflation along with interest rate hikes. Along with this housing prices will increase. The fact you bought not exactly at the bottom of the trough won’t be a huge deal, and I personally think we have to be close to that point… although i thought that last year :P

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  20. 20
    sdb says:

    Gotta go with #6. Yeah, you can buy a house for $300k, even $250k, in somewhere like West Seattle. But it’s pretty much a piece of crap. Not a nice, small move-in ready starter home. It’s a vinyl siding nightmare with a leaky basement, an awkward kitchen, and a backyard on a slope that is impossible to mow.

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  21. 21
    SmugRenter says:

    As a renter, I am annoyed with smug homeowners who feel they will come out “ahead” of me just because they bought a house. Even with the housing crash over, this attitude seems to be resurfacing–ironically, now on a site called seattlebubble.com.

    I look at these “affordability” graphs and they don’t make me feel any more comfortable. Homes are still money pits to me: closing costs, maintenance, remodeling, increased utilities, lost opportunity costs, longer commute distance, decreased flexibility, etc. How long will it take the economy to recover and home prices to start climbing again? And when the economy does recover, I think my six-figure stock portfolio vs your six-figure house will appreciate much faster…

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  22. 22
    The Tim says:

    By SmugRenter @ 21:

    How long will it take the economy to recover and home prices to start climbing again? And when the economy does recover, I think my six-figure stock portfolio vs your six-figure house will appreciate much faster…

    If you’re buying a home to try to turn a profit, you’re doing it wrong.

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  23. 23
    patient says:

    By tomtom @ 17:

    By patient @ 15:
    Housing here is stil way, way overpriced related to true value.

    How are you calculating ‘true value’?

    True value was not a good word. Perceived value is better. When I see a home with 30 years of wear and tear costing pretty much the same as a new home it boggles my mind. Used items do not appreciate with inflation, they depreciate with wear and tear. New home prices should appreciate with inflation. Ok if you changed the roof and added some windows you can put that into the equation and slow the depreciation for a while. Land someone screams, ok so work in land inflation as well. Perhaps the two cancel each other out if you have a home with 50% land value and the price should stay stagnant forever. But the reality is that used homes are brutally over priced unless they’ve been totally remodeled in the last couple of years. New home prices are somewhat better but I doubt they have followed inflation. I’ sure Tim has a graph that can show the real numbers.

    The issue is if of course speculation where people rely on the greater fool that will pay more when you want to sell your molding shack. I.e prices are based o trade-value not “true” value.

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  24. 24
    Erik Heiberg says:

    The more I think about it, it still seems like everything that the government can do or has control over, it is doing to prop up or artificially elevate prices.

    Interest Rates: Basically at zero right now. They can’t go any lower. When they do start to rise, perhaps a year, or possibly 3 years from now, it will bring prices down.

    Easy credit: I’m willing to bet in the coming years that lenders will clamp down on how much a borrower is required to come up with as a down payment. We will slowly drift back toward requiring a 20% down payment. In this day and age, people (especially the younger generation) are terrible savers. This would also bring prices down as it weeds out a good portion of potential buyers who don’t have the discipline to save.

    Inflation: This could and likely increase prices. However, if wages don’t keep up with inflation, I really doubt that it will have the impact that some would expect. Perhaps it would affect new homes greater than existing inventory. I’m not entirely sure on this one.

    And of course, the economy, confidence in the economy, unemployment all play a role too, though, not as much in my opinion. Baby boomers looking to retire (many already have) and looking to downsize?

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  25. 25

    RE: patient @ 23 – Properly maintained, most of a house doesn’t deteriorate. That’s why there are 100 year old houses locally, and other places even older houses. A poured concrete foundation will last–but it might need upgrading to earthquake code. Properly maintained, cedar siding has a very long life–longer than much of the stuff being installed today. I’ve discussed pipes before, and why I prefer copper over the older cast iron or the newer various plastic systems.

    Off the top of my head, roofs and paint are really the only items that depreciate if properly maintained. I consider the basic furnace and water heater to be simple replacement items. Other things might not be up to current standards (e.g. electrical, insulation and glass), but sometimes that’s a good thing (e.g. siding). The point is though, they didn’t depreciate, they’re just not modern.

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  26. 26
    Lily says:

    I was renting a million dollar shack in North Cal for $3300/month. I didn’t enjoy Cali enough to pay that kind of premium (especially after their income tax), so I moved to Seattle. I don’t go around to Cali housing bubble blogs to complain about it because I know plenty of people love Cali enough to pay the price.
    if you think the price to rent ratio is still too high, go ahead and cite your grievances, that’s what this blog is about. If, on the other hand, you think Seattle is just too expensive, move to a smaller town, but compare the whole package. Can you get similar career opportunities with similar pay, adjusted for cost of living and tax? How much do you value the mild climate and beautiful outdoors? How much do you value living in a culturally diverse, medium density city with a public transit system?

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  27. 27
    Peter Witting says:

    I read that post with little more than a shrug. The commenter obviously doesn’t like living in Seattle and isn’t impressed with the local housing stock. So move. Or keep renting.

    What would make him happy? That the giant suburban McMansions of Atlanta magically replace the existing “shanties” for free? Does he want West Seattle to somehow be leveled to make mowing the lawn easier? That isn’t going to happen.

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  28. 28
    patient says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 25

    They don’t detoriorate? Right.

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  29. 29

    RE: patient @ 28 – Is there something I said that you disagree with?

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  30. 30
    patient says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 29

    You’re a real estate agent. You must be driving around in the neighbourhoods quite a bit and visit many homes. Tell me with a straight face that zero deterioration of the exterior and interior is the norm? All homes look exactly as when they were brand new including appliances, carpets, furnaces, walls, roofs etc. Actually don’t bother I know you would be lying.

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  31. 31

    RE: patient @ 30 – Learn to read. I said when properly maintained, and mentioned the items which will deteriorate (roof, paint, water heater and furnace). You added in carpets, and I would agree, although I’d add not all houses have wall to wall carpet.

    I can’t help if it you don’t understand what components of a house deteriorate and which ones don’t. Here’s my advice to you. Don’t buy a house. Some people aren’t suited for home ownership because they don’t understand such things. You’re clearly such a person. Your house would probably soon look like the typical REO.

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  32. 33
    tomtom says:

    By patient @ 23:

    By tomtom @ 17:
    By patient @ 15:
    Housing here is stil way, way overpriced related to true value.

    How are you calculating ‘true value’?

    True value was not a good word.

    I asked you to define your words.

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  33. 34

    By bd @ 32:

    The discussion of the first seems really useful to all potential buyers, the second is not all that useful, but might come across at least as an amusing or gratifying conversation, or seem just like pointless whining depending on sympathies of the audience.

    I think the wine example someone gave is a good example of the second. If you want a $50 bottle of wine, you need to pay $50 because that’s what other people are paying for it. If others are not paying $50 for it, the price will drop. A lot of people (most?) however, think that is too much to pay for a bottle of wine, no matter what other people are doing. That doesn’t mean, however, that a particular bottle of wine isn’t worth $50.

    My favorite example of that sort of thing is cars. I don’t enjoy luxury cars, so the idea of paying over $30,000 for a car is totally absurd to me. But I don’t sit around saying I’m not going to buy a new top of the line Lexus until they cost less than $25,000. If I did though, that would probably indicate that I wanted one more than I thought they were too expensive.

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  34. 35
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 34 – That explains the belching ’71 Chrysler Imperial.

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  35. 36
    David Losh says:

    I thought that was a great comment that gardener1 left.

    $300K is a lot of money to pay for crap. For $300K you get crap.

    If you look at 2003, $300K could buy you a house. In 2007, $300K bought you crap.

    So really nothing has changed except the interest rates. You pay a lower interest rate for 30 frigging years for crap. When your done paying, you have crap that probably needs more repair than when you bought.

    The game changer was that we now know they will continue to build more crap for the next 30 years. So at the end of your payment cycle, you get nothing, or less than nothing because you had to maintain it.

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  36. 37
    wreckingbull says:

    I agree with the OP in regards to quality. Homes in Seattle are complete crap compared to many other locales. Now does that mean they are overpriced? Maybe not.

    I feel the pain though. I decided to move out of Seattle proper because I could not hold my nose and dump 400K on a POS. I may still live in a POS (improving each month though) but at least it is a cheap POS.

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  37. 38
    gardener1 says:

    Apparently with my comment on this website turned into a front page post, I have just experienced my 15 minutes of fame in this world. I’m honored? :-\

    I do my best writing around four in the morning behind a nip or so of Russian vodka. Turns me into Tolstoy on Real Estate.

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  38. 40
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 39

    Arg- stupid edit function- here ya go:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u24nH03NccI&feature=player_embedded

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  39. 41
    AxlRose says:

    I guess I didn’t realize that everyone agreed that Seattle homes are now affordable, and that we were on to the new issue that everything is crap. Time to retire the site name then, and start SeattleCrap.com. It’s a moving target for some, it seems. Keep in mind, no matter how nice of a house you find, it will always have headaches, and maintenance to be done. If one isn’t interested in dealing with that, maybe one is barking up the wrong tree. As for comparing stocks to a home, yes, if the intention is purely for profit, then it’s probably not a good idea to buy a home in Seattle. But if that’s your intention, aren’t you part of the problem? Isn’t that what everyone’s been complaining about all these years?

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  40. 42

    There’s Seattle and there’s Seattle. A lot of people think that in order to live in Seattle, you must live on Queen Anne, or Wallingford, or Greenlake, or Ravenna, or across the water in Bellevue or Kirkland or in Sammamish. If you live anywhere else in the Seattle area, you obviously are either an uncultured slob or a future crime victim. But the facts remain that there’s a wide divergence in house prices in neighborhoods within 45 minutes of downtown Seattle. There are brand new homes in Covington for 215,000 dollars. I sold a 1920’s brick tudor on 1/3 of an acre overlooking lake Washington last summer for 250 thousand, the same house in Ravenna would cost 500 thousand, yet this home is only a twenty minute drive from downtown Seattle. So I partly agree with gardener1 about certain Seattle neighborhoods. As much as I like Ravenna, paying 600,000 dollars for a Craftsman fixer is insane. Sure, it’s a nice neighborhood, but what are you, nuts?
    Yet, there are all kinds of neighborhoods not all that far from the downtown core that have seen significant price declines, and where the mortgage payments are less than rents. But these are not hip, cool prestigious neighborhoods. They don’t have vegan restaurants and restaurants serving locally sourced organic pigeon entrails in a beurre blanc reduction. They have a few more people of color. If you look at the crime rates, they’re safer than Ballard. But they’re either thought of as boringly unhip or “dangerous” ( ” Hold on to your wallet, Madge, I think I just saw a black person.”)

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  41. 43
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 42 – You played the race card again which destroys your credibility. You already add a lot here even if you are a screaming liberal. You don’t need to resort to those tactics to get your point across. I have appreciated your honesty in the past when the race card is not played.

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  42. 44
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Pegasus @ 43

    And the pigeon card. ;-)

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  43. 45

    RE: Pegasus @ 43
    I don’t think you’re getting me, Pegasus. My criticism isn’t about overt racists. My criticism is about the classic Seattle liberals. If it’s not about race, what is it? Poverty? The fact that the south end has poor people, and the classic Seattle liberal wants to pretend they don’t exist?

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  44. 46
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 42Do you really think that choice of restaurants and fear of people of color is what causes that price differential? What about schools? I am amazed, and impressed, at some of the sacrifices my friends and coworkers have made to assure their kids are in a good school.

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  45. 47
    ChrisM says:

    I’ll be honest, I’m down in Portland, and am greatly concerned about the long-term prospects for significant property tax increases, as the city, county and state all have gross financial shortfalls, especially looking at govt pensions (where they *still* assume 8% annual ROI).

    For grins, I did a quick redfin search to see what 300k gets you in Seattle. Honestly, I’m not cherry picking – these were the first two that came up, sorted by price for non shortsales:

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/7356-39th-Ave-NE-98115/home/317775
    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/1815-S-Stevens-St-98144/home/168696

    So, $357/sq ft & $192/sq ft. Quite a range. For those saying Seattle housing is now in line w/ median income, what then do you believe is an appropriate $/sq ft?

    OK, so asking price is aspirational. I’m not sure I’m using Redfin correctly to get recent sold, but these came up (I think they’re really bank takeovers?)
    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/9012-7th-Ave-NW-98117/home/100927
    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/2001-S-Ingersoll-Pl-98144/home/143156

    Finally, I dispute Tim’s final graph; I know it flies in the face of prudent underwriting, but I just don’t think a 48k annual income makes a 325k house affordable. Call me crazy…

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  46. 48

    RE: wreckingbull @ 46
    Yes, when you’re talking about Seattle proper. Seattle has some neighborhoods with mediocre schools and very high home prices. But Seattle also has more dogs than kids. Outside of Seattle schools do play a much bigger role in home prices. But it also strikes me that too many parents think their children are brilliant and need to be surrounded by other brilliant children, so they want to find a school district with the very highest test scores. That’s fine if your child is very highly academically oriented, but not all kids are. parents look at something like greatschools.org and see that a certain district is rated 9 out of 10 for test scores. A school district that’s rated 7 out of 10 is not even considered, even if some of the schools in that district test 9 out of 10. Maybe I’m wrong.

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  47. 49
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 45 – The south end has POOR PEOPLE? No shat? Really? Your liberal friends will not like hearing about this. Don’t tell any of the voters that seem to get the same politicians voted in again and again in Washington State in spite of being totally incompetent.

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  48. 50
    David Losh says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 45

    I’m shocked you would pull the race card in a discussion about Real Estate! You of all people should know that we are color blind in this great country of ours!

    Shocked!

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  49. 51
    Jonness says:

    By AxlRose @ 1:

    But the prices seem pretty close to in line with salaries, at this point.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, prices are about 23% too high compared to historical relationships to incomes.

    http://housingcorrection.com/images/seattlepricestudy.jpg

    IMO, you are being misled by monthly payments due to low mortgage rates. What most people who go down this path are missing is, interest rates are at historic lows for a reason! It’s not just magic, happenstance, or blind luck.

    The number of nonfarm jobs in this country is lower than it was in the year 2000. Yet, the debt people have taken on is WAY higher, despite inflation adjusted wages not having gone up. Meanwhile, we continue to bleed jobs at an astounding rate while the trade gap widens (our money floods out of our country’s economy). Meanwhile the world’s most developed countries continue their engagement in a prolonged period of massive debt deleveraging. In short, the robust growth of the last 30 years was fueled by an unsustainable debt party.

    If you go down to Vegas, then a different story emerges. Homes are cheap relative to incomes AND mortgage rates are at historic lows. Seattle’s still got a ways to go. The Fed knows this and is doing everything in its power to bring down interest rates in order to buoy the housing market. Yet, prices in Seattle continue to fall. This is known as a liquidity trap where even dirt cheap money does not cause people to borrow and spend. So what do you do when this happens? At this point, nobody knows other than to wait it out.

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  50. 52
    patient says:

    I can smell the fear that the masses will wake up and stop treating homes like some special class where depreciation do not apply. The thing is that neither you or me can do anything to control what will happen. Just as we couldn’t control the bubbles rise or fall. But we can stay informed, predict and place our bets. Good luck to ya all.

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  51. 53
    Chereya says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 48:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 46
    Yes, when you’re talking about Seattle proper. Seattle has some neighborhoods with mediocre schools and very high home prices. But Seattle also has more dogs than kids. Outside of Seattle schools do play a much bigger role in home prices. But it also strikes me that too many parents think their children are brilliant and need to be surrounded by other brilliant children, so they want to find a school district with the very highest test scores. That’s fine if your child is very highly academically oriented, but not all kids are. parents look at something like greatschools.org and see that a certain district is rated 9 out of 10 for test scores. A school district that’s rated 7 out of 10 is not even considered, even if some of the schools in that district test 9 out of 10. Maybe I’m wrong.

    It’s not that parents want their kids around “other brilliant kids” it’s that we want our kids around other parents who also value education as a priority. Schools have good testing scores not because the kids have an inherent higher intelligence, it shows that the school community as a whole cares about education. It usually means that there is a higher amount of parent involvement in the classroom and in their own child’s school/home work.

    Whether this means that there is one parent whose job is being at home to manage the kids or it means that both parents work but they pay for outside tutoring etc, it still says (to me) that a lot of someones in the parent community are taking an active part in their childrens’ academic success. It takes a lot of time and energy on the parent’s part to ensure that kids are doing well in school. Kids would rather goof off and play video games or hang out with their friends. It helps to have them in an environment where all the other kids have to go home to do homework under a watchful eye.

    Yes, some parents will paint a school district with a very broad brush but then that’s their loss isn’t it if they could have gotten a 9 rated school in a 7 rated district and paid a lot less for their house?

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  52. 54
    David Losh says:

    RE: Jonness @ 51

    I don’t usually agree, as you know, but debt is the number one killer of the global economy.

    The banking system is rigged to benefit the very wealthy, and those who depend on the financial markets to generate massive profits.

    All this talk about what a wage earner can afford is a crock. The wage earner in the engine that makes the debt payments, that amount to free money, in the form of interest income.

    That interest income is the basis of the financial markets, along with our ever increasing costs for insurance.

    Mortgages are just debt, nothing but debt, because the asset you end up with cost you twice as much of the asking price, for crap.

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  53. 55
    Azucar says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 48:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 46
    … But it also strikes me that too many parents think their children are brilliant and need to be surrounded by other brilliant children, so they want to find a school district with the very highest test scores. That’s fine if your child is very highly academically oriented, but not all kids are. parents look at something like greatschools.org and see that a certain district is rated 9 out of 10 for test scores. A school district that’s rated 7 out of 10 is not even considered, even if some of the schools in that district test 9 out of 10. Maybe I’m wrong.

    I don’t think it plays out like that. You don’t need to think that your kids are brilliant in order to want them to go to a school where the kids get high test scores. Most parents want to send their kids to the schools where kids get high test scores because they figure that if their kid is average among a group that’s scoring high it’s better than being average among a group that’s scoring low. The belief is that the school and the education that it is providing is contributing to what the scores are, not that a bunch of really smart kids all happen to go to the same school that offers the same education (and educational challenges) as a school that happens to have enrolled a bunch of dimmer bulbed kids.

    I don’t see a huge difference between a school that ranks an 8 and one that’s a 9, but when you get down into the 3’s and 4’s I gotta wonder and suspect:

    1 – the school isn’t preparing the kids very well for these tests (i.e. it isn’t educating them very well, if the tests are doing what they’re supposed to be doing)
    2 – the school has a lot of kids who maybe aren’t trying very hard, or aren’t getting helped/pushed as much by their parents to put the effort in at home to learn what the school is teaching (and thus the kids are off playing in the sewer drains and trying to get my kids to go out and do the same instead of doing their homework or something more educational on the computer).

    Both of the above options that I wonder about with the low scoring schools are things that I’d rather not trust my kid’s education with.

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  54. 56
    Jonness says:

    By The Tim @ 9:

    We can have a discussion about whether the quality of homes available in the Seattle area merit ever buying a home or even living in the Seattle area at all, but I’m not really sure what that accomplishes.

    I thought that was what you created this topic to discuss?

    $300,000 IS A LOT OF MONEY. Why would anybody pay more than a quarter of a million dollars over half a lifetime for a run down frame shanty built 80 years ago? Is Seattle long on stupid people? Was PT Barnum from Seattle? Where is the explanation for this insanity?

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  55. 57
    patient says:

    RE: Jonness @ 55

    Exactly, some seem annoyed that comments to this post focus on valuation in relation to price instead of the normal affordability angle which is a bit strange since it seems to be the essence of gardener1’s message.

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  56. 58
    Hugh Dominic says:

    By David Losh @ 50:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 45

    I’m shocked you would pull the race card in a discussion about Real Estate! You of all people should know that we are color blind in this great country of ours!

    Shocked!

    I am compelled to remark that David Losh is a known racist.

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  57. 59
    Hugh Dominic says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 45:

    The fact that the south end has poor people, and the classic Seattle liberal wants to pretend they don’t exist?

    Are you talking about “south of I-90″ south? Nobody wants to live there. Ardell won’t even work there.

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  58. 60
    Hugh Dominic says:

    RE: AxlRose @ 1 – I’m sorry, but the whole premise of this thread is absurd. The complaint is that nobody in their right mind would work for 30 years to pay for a $300,000 house.

    As compared to what? Moving somewhere else? Killing yourself? Living in a tent? Renting that same house for those 30 years for $1,100 per month? (which will cost you, oh, about $460,000 in total if you allow for limited inflation)

    I need to hear the superior alternative.

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  59. 61
    Hugh Dominic says:

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 58 – Ah, here it is:

    By David Losh @ 48:

    Black people move into neighborhoods and ruin it for every body. The black male, in particular, has no enterprise, and only a sense of entitlement.

    On Queen Anne you can segregate these people out of the main stream. They can live there with the grocerias and day care without bothering any body.

    In West Seattle black people are in every bodies business about every little thing. That’s what makes the neighborhood disjointed. If we could only contain these people to one little area then you might have something. The way it is now they are just a blight that keeps spreading.

    Just so you know who we’re dealing with.

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  60. 62
    fubarrio says:

    RE: Erik Heiberg @ 24 – guys, i keep hearing the inflation meme repeated here…even in an otherwise sensible post like Erik’s.

    global wage arbitrage
    personal b/s destruction leading to less credit worthiness
    unfavorable demographics
    inability of current cash flows to support more credit

    just because none of you have ever lived in severely deflationary times doesn’t mean that you’re not about to.

    if we have deflation is 1% per annum increases on a deteriorating asset make sense?

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  61. 63
    fubarrio says:

    By Lily @ 26:

    How much do you value living in a culturally diverse, medium density city with a public transit system?

    we have a public transportation system? :-)

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  62. 64
    Azucar says:

    By Hugh Dominic @ 60:

    RE: AxlRose @ 1 – I’m sorry, but the whole premise of this thread is absurd. The complaint is that nobody in their right mind would work for 30 years to pay for a $300,000 house.

    As compared to what? Moving somewhere else? Killing yourself? Living in a tent? Renting that same house for those 30 years for $1,100 per month? (which will cost you, oh, about $460,000 in total if you allow for limited inflation)

    I need to hear the superior alternative.

    Exactly! That, and the fact that that same 315,000 house was over 400,000 and climbing in 2006, and at that time people were scrambling to bid on it. I don’t think the median house has gotten worse since 2007, just 30 percent cheaper. And now it appears to be common knowledge to some people that it’s way too expensive?

    Maybe (IMO probably) it has more to fall, but it’s definitely a better deal than it was 3 or 4 years ago. AND interest rates are lower, so monthly payments are lower.

    I don’t think rents are going to drop a huge amount over the next 5 to 10 years (in fact, I suspect they’ll be higher in 5 and 10 years from now)… so given the choice between two similar places – one I could rent and the other I could buy – if the monthly payments are the same I’d go for the purchase. Of course, I’m thinking along the lines of getting a place that I will want to retire in eventually, so that probably skews my thinking towards buying.

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  63. 65
    Cheap South says:

    Your numbers might qualify you for a $400K mortgage today; but when you get the pink slip you are done. The problem today (and for the last 30 years or so) is lack of job stability. Like someone mentioned before in this blog; your last two payslips do not represent your ability to make payments for the next 30 years.

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  64. 66
    Robroy says:

    The worst time one could buy a house is in an economy such as the one we are in coupled with historically low interest rates. When home prices do start to go up it will be a slow climb, so there is no need to try to time a bottom. With interest rates as low as they are, you are virtually guaranteed of never having a “refi at a lower rate” opportunity. When rates do start to go up, it will impact house prices negatively, even if they are on the rise, since, as everyone here knows, you don’t buy a price. You buy a monthly payment.

    Lastly, we’re not out of the collapse woods yet. There are fits and starts, but there is still much bad news and the economy is not exactly built on bedrock:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u24nH03NccI

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  65. 67
    Bd says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 48

    Schools will play an increasing role in housing prices in Seattle. We are only three years out of the school choice system which let people have lovely homes in South Seattle and have their kid transported elsewhere to be schooled at public expense. Those days are over.

    I have more than one friend in South Seattle who is now realizing their cheap house comes with a $15-30k yearly add on cost for private schooling, if they want their kids to go to a school that they consider acceptable. It make those houses seem none too cheap.

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  66. 68
    David Losh says:

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 61

    Wait a minute, you changed my comment. The comment is about white people, white people ruin everything.

    Just so we know what we are dealing with.

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  67. 69
    Peter Witting says:

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 61 – Oh for cripe’s sake, that post was ironic sarcasm and you’re pulling it out of context.

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  68. 70

    RE: David Losh @ 68 – Interesting defense to a claim of racism: Wrong race!

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  69. 71
    David Losh says:

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 61

    I can’t find the original comment, you obviously have it tucked away some place, but I’m always happy to talk about white people.

    My comment had to do with “gentrification” which is a nice term for when white people move into a neighborhood, and bring in the strollers, the dog, and SUV to park in the driveway. Then you have the community meetings about what we can do to “improve” the neighborhood, and set up block watchs, and have the police attend the community council meeting. A big push comes when a Strabucks is enticed to be an anchor store. The price of property goes up, more people sell, and Ira brings in his buyers to get another “deal” in the neighborhood.

    This gentrification process is a reaction to red lining. Red lining was when banks refused to lend in certain neighborhoods, because of the risk. Usually those neighborhoods had a high per cent of minorities. I like to use the term minority because even though white people only make up about 10% of the worlds population they seem to be in control of a lot of things.

    White people like to be in control, don’t they Hugh, by any trick, or scheme they can think of.

    So yes, I am a known racist. I recognize, by years of experience, to be suspicious of whitey. Never trust whitey. You’ve proved that point once again.

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  70. 72

    Excellent Blogs Everyone [Thank You Tim for the New Idea]

    This is the best posts I’ve read at SB and honest posts too. Now, how would SWE rack and stack the comments in his opinion?

    The ones against Gardner or who thought Seattle homes we’re now affordable:

    1. Younger “X” Generation new home owners, with a 30 year noose around their necks.
    2. Naive Pacific Northwest enthusiats that think this is great compared to New York’s or Los Angeles’ horrifying real estate prices.
    3. Toss in a few kids inhereting their parents’ old decrepit Seattle home [and living there now] and they’re rationalizing its not an old run down dump anyway.
    4. Realtors that could care less and perhaps bought up a cheap distressed property for their own, but sell the sheeple whatever they can for the most commission money.

    The ones agreeing with Gardner [like SWE BTW]:

    1. Young “Y” Generation renters, worrying where their next paycheck will come from.
    2. Rich investors types like Buffet, who would smile at buffoons wasting investment money.
    3. I’d also toss in anyone with “basic demography science knowledge” that knows with time, population density is just gonna make wages decrease and home prices collapse with no end.

    The “R” Card is a moot point for this discussion, I agree with most of the bloggers; albeit I’d add a caveat, what race on planet earth isn’t racist?

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  71. 73
    Robroy says:

    Schools are a non issue for me, both regionally and nationally. Homeschooling is the future. As a simple example, I give you this:
    Khanacademy.org

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  72. 74
    Robroy says:

    By Cheap South @ 65:

    Your numbers might qualify you for a $400K mortgage today; but when you get the pink slip you are done. The problem today (and for the last 30 years or so) is lack of job stability. Like someone mentioned before in this blog; your last two payslips do not represent your ability to make payments for the next 30 years.

    Yep. When my new director was brought into Seattle in 2008 from Colorado, she was looking to buy a house. I implored her to rent. She did. In early 2011 she left to accept a VP position in another city. If she had owned, she would have been underwater roughly $200k (based on her price range) and handcuffed to Seattle. But as a renter she simply gave notice and moved on. And her rent was a fraction of what her monthly house payment would have been for the same house.

    Those thinking of buying today need to ponder the above.

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  73. 75
    Blurtman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 71 – Racism is the belief in the existence of races. So you are at quite at home, as most folks that post on this site are racists.

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  74. 76

    RE: Robroy @ 73

    You’re Right

    When public schools stop hiring math/science instructors in their highschools without a BS degree in math/science because they couldn’t do both bi-lingual and math/science on the same old public school budget; I knew the Community Colleges would be re-teaching a lion’s share of the students the math/science they never learned in public schools. They are now. 9th grade algebra on, ask the Community College Associate professors, I have.

    Public school teachers send their own kids to private schools, that says it all.

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  75. 77
    bd says:

    RE: Robroy @ 73

    Home schooling would be the single most expensive educational option I could pick. I could send five kids to private for the price of staying home with my kid.

    Homeschooling only pencils out if you have lots of kids, or a parent with marginal employment opportunities.

    Even then it’s no cake walk, which I’m sure you can imagine if you have kids. If not, let’s just say it’s not as simple as sitting them in front of a computer.

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  76. 78

    RE: Robroy @ 74 – I think a lot of that type of thinking was due to relocation benefits, which were perhaps better in the past.

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  77. 79

    By bd @ 77:

    Home schooling would be the single most expensive educational option I could pick. .

    Home schooling is a way of ensuring your kid has an incompetent teacher. But hey, they’ll be able to spell really well. /sarc

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  78. 80
    John Bailo says:

    By The Tim @ 9:

    RE: David S @ 6 – Do you (or anyone else) have evidence that the median-priced homes being sold during the bubble were any different? From what I’ve been able to find, they weren’t. It was the same housing stock, just 30-50% more expensive.

    There’s an underlying assumption of this site that the readers here are people who think that living in Seattle is something they would like to do, and that they would probably like to buy a house in the area some day. We can have a discussion about whether the quality of homes available in the Seattle area merit ever buying a home or even living in the Seattle area at all, but I’m not really sure what that accomplishes.

    The key thing that you fail to grasp is the difference between a rising market and a falling market.

    For example, if I told you about a $100 stock that will go up 20% tomorrow, guaranteed (and I’ll back it up) would you buy it? Of course.

    Suppose the stock were $360? Yes, it doesn’t matter if the price is going up.

    Now suppose I told you that I know of a $360 stock that will go down 50 cents tomorrow (and assume you’re too unsophisticated to short sell). Would you buy it? No…you would never buy it.

    Now you say, that people here are basically sitting on the sidelines — let’s be honest…real estate vultures — waiting to swoop in at the lowest possible price.

    Well, talking about things like “affordability” no longer matters. Because if the person is already in an apartment, he is already getting the “Seattleness” of living there, he simply wants to optimize that experience and lock in for good.

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  79. 81
    Robroy says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 79:

    By bd @ 77:
    Home schooling would be the single most expensive educational option I could pick. .

    Home schooling is a way of ensuring your kid has an incompetent teacher. But hey, they’ll be able to spell really well. /sarc

    It is a risk, but sites built on the type of thing I posted will reduce that risk if not virtually eliminate it. I went to Mercer Island and Kent public schools between 1966 and 1972. If all schools were like those on Mercer Island, I would be a huge ambassador for public schools. If they were all like the schools in Kent, even back then, I’d want to see them all abolished. Fact is, they are much worse today and many are worse yet. That is, they do more harm than good.

    Home schooling, at the very least, suggests involved parents and none of the negative social teaching of public schools.

    Public schools are sooooo 20th century and a paradigm that must be discarded.

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  80. 82
    Robroy says:

    By bd @ 77:

    RE: Robroy @ 73

    Home schooling would be the single most expensive educational option I could pick. I could send five kids to private for the price of staying home with my kid.

    I’m not talking about the financial benefits of home schooling. I’m talking about the impact on the children and their future. http://pencil-catcher.com/stats-on-home-schooling.html

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  81. 83

    RE: Robroy @ 81 – I wasn’t trying to endorse public schools, just point out that very few parents have sufficient knowledge of the various topics kids need to be taught. Those that do probably don’t stay at home.

    I don’t consider being taught by people who don’t know what they’re talking about to be a good thing. That’s why I don’t like a lot of real estate “clock hour” continuing education courses.

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  82. 84
    Scotsman says:

    BERNANKE: HOUSING MAY NO LONGER BE VIEWED AS SECURE INVESTMENT

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/ben-bernanke-ftmfw-quote-day

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  83. 85
    AxlRose says:

    RE: Jonness @ 51 – Well there’s some different calculations going on here. Your chart uses 3x salary as a guide for affordable. I was using 28% gross salary, which I know is touted by conservative thinkers, even ole perma bear SWE pointed to a link that used that figure. This translates to 4.66x salary at current rates. I’m close to the midway point between the 2, and it gets lower every year. Not sure how Tim’s chart is calculated. Rates will probably go up, though we’ve been hearing that for years. I don’t care since I’m not moving until my kids are done with school, at least. For me, buying a house is about my family (queue the choir of laughter from the bubbleheads) and when I’m done with it, if I break even I’ll be fine with that. Pretty safe bet 15 years out. In the meantime, I love my house, it’s not a shack, and I couldn’t rent it for appreciably less than I pay now, and especially over the long term. There are good houses out there, they aren’t all shacks.

    RE: Cheap South @ 65 – So paying cash is the only reasonable option to you, or at least having the ability to if needed? That might be nice but I can’t do it, nor can most people. You work with what you’ve got in front of you. Yes it’s possible I could lose my job (though my employer has a reputation for never cutting anyone, throughout it’s history and yes including the recent recession), but I try not to get too wrapped up in that kind of thinking. I work hard and I’m betting on myself. If I lose, at least I tried.

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  84. 86
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 83

    Damm data. Plenty of studies show that even parents with poor or little education produce superior results when home schooling. Almost every time. If that doesn’t condem the current public school system I don’t know what would. Surprise, surprise.

    We home schooled for one year. It was a lot of work, but even at only half a day it produced superior results. First child in Stanford. Second child wait listed at Harvard, wouldn’t have accepted, went to small liberal arts (Bowdoin). We know many parents who home schooled. Very average parents got very superior results almost every time.

    What makes you think teachers are any more special than other parents? Who is most motivated to get results for your child? Are teachers paid for results or . . . time on the job? Saying all teachers are good is like saying all realtors are professionals, or competent, or worth anything close to 6%, or . .

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  85. 87

    By Scotsman @ 86:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 83

    Damm data. Plenty of studies show that even parents with poor or little education produce superior results when home schooling. . .

    You can get a study to show anything. Today there’s a study out which claims that people who smoke marijuana are twice as likely to be involved in auto accidents. They throw out claims like it especially being true of fatal accidents and where they smoked within 3 hours.

    Think about it a moment. They don’t know how many people are DUI w/ marijuana, but they’re claiming that they are somehow able to determine they are twice as likely to be in an accident? Three hours and fatal accidents? I don’t think there’s a way to determine how recently someone has smoked, which is part of the problem with enforcement.

    But as more and more states start legalizing marijuana, the study will be thrown out there as being meaningful, in the same manner you just throw your study information out there.

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  86. 88

    RE: Azucar @ 55
    I completely agree with you, and thank you for a well thought out and sensible post. I’m not saying that schools don’t matter. They matter a lot. What I am saying is that different schools have different strengths and weaknesses. I think too many parents strictly look at test scores. I too, wouldn’t send my kid to a 2 or 3 out of 10 ranked school, and didn’t. ( My kids survived the “better” Seattle Public schools.) But I’m just not sure that a school ranked 7 instead of a school ranked 9 presents less learning opportunities for the students. Some schools focus a lot on the tests, at the exclusion of other very worthwhile things, simply in an effort to make the school district look good.There are some things that are very important in a school. Safety is one. The opportunity to learn and advance without major distractions is another. Lots of parental involvement is another.I just think looking at test scores is way too narrow a focus, and doesn’t really indicate at all how your child will do. What if your child has learning disabilities? Autism? Does it matter what percentage of the students pass the state tests in that case?

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  87. 89
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 87

    Your supposed point is total nonsense. You compare people who were known to have smoked with people who were known not to have smoked. That’s where the comparison comes in, not to some larger unknown.

    Go have another cup of coffee before approaching the computer.

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  88. 90
    bd says:

    By Scotsman @ 86:

    We home schooled for one year. It was a lot of work, but even at only half a day it produced superior results. First child in Stanford. Second child wait listed at Harvard, wouldn’t have accepted, went to small liberal arts (Bowdoin). We know many parents who home schooled. Very average parents got very superior results almost every time.

    You home schooled one year out of thirteen, and, no worries, your kids went on to good univeristies and happy lives?

    Sounds more like an endorsement for skipping the expense and trouble of home schooling than the reverse.

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  89. 91

    RE: Robroy @ 81

    Hades, Homework [not Testing] in Public Schools is Like 95% of the Grade

    Ya might as well go on a computer 100% and cheat for your kid more easily, the parents are doing it the hard way now….trying to get all the assignments in paper from the kid’s backpack to cheat is hit or miss.

    I imagine the “popular kids” all copy each other’s homework in the cafeteria and the “loners” are screwed.

    Graduation rates includes a lion’s share of GEDs now-a-days too, did ya know? In my day if ya got a GED you were a small minority complete derelict ex-con or half brainless. BTW, we had money for study halls to help the failing students learn and pass tests….now-a-days, study halls are free English language classes.

    In today’s schools I could have gotten rich selling my completed homework papers….LOL

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  90. 92

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 88

    Good Question on Autism in Schools Ira

    Autism has hit the headlines lately as 1 out of 110 kids [it used to be 1 in 2000 just a decade or so ago]…..but 95% of the “so-called” Autistic are like mildly Autistic or ADD [they talk, they act normal and yes, they can likely go to college and work too]. This is severely hurting funding IMO for the really disabled bottom of the spectrum that can’t talk or ever work, but desparation in today’s economy breeds desparate measures….and everyone wants a government handout lately?

    Its hurting Special Education for the severely/chronically disabled at all public schools, because the limited funds get stretched too thin for mild Autistics that should be in mainstream classes and no government handouts either IMO.

    There’s government think tanks working this type of budget deficit problem as we blog.

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  91. 93

    RE: Scotsman @ 89

    Or a Good Swig of Life Span Reducing Russian Vodka

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  92. 94
    MichaelB says:

    By Robroy @ 73:

    Schools are a non issue for me, both regionally and nationally. Homeschooling is the future. As a simple example, I give you this:
    Khanacademy.org

    How do kids get socialized at Khan Academy? Homeschooling may be the future…but not for the majority case where both parents work.

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  93. 95
    MichaelB says:

    When you can buy a quality median home on a quality median piece of land in a quality median neighborhood for a median price that is 3 times the median wage or less and 15 times what it would cost to rent that property or less, it is a good time to buy. At any rate, it’s not the perceived value of the house that’s too high – everyone knows it’s a piece of crap. It’s the asking price of the land that’s too high and reversion to the mean tells us it must eventually come down. Seattle is 25% to 30% away from that. In a deflationary economic environment, it could actually get a lot worse before it gets better. Good luck to those who bought before the bubble fully burst! (You know who you are).

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  94. 96
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 93 – Or puff of medicinal mary jane.

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  95. 97
    Scotsman says:

    RE: bd @ 90

    Sorry- you’re right, I should have added more detail. They had been at Seattle Country Day which was going through a lot of changes at the time. We weren’t happy with the new direction, so we pulled them out. In the one year they were home schooled, for half the day, they both progressed beyond their peers who remained in the “pricey private school.” They then went on to what was essentially a home school co-op until graduation.

    My point is that home schooling is very, very effecient as it does a better job of meeting individual needs, even when taught by very ordinary people. If we had it to do over again we would probably home school at least until high school through a co-op situation.

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  96. 98
    MichaelB says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 97

    Actually you are comparing apples to oranges. Most kids are in public schools. The cost per student in Washington public schools is as follows:

    3) 44th in state funding per student – ($7,432 vs $8,973 U.S. per student)

    If your time is worth $30/hour x 40 hours per week…. Umm, homeschooling is a very expensive proposition.

    Net Net, public schools offer an excellent value, but it depends on the school. Hence the correlation between property prices and school quality.

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  97. 99
    Peter Witting says:

    RE: bd @ 90 – Furthermore, the fact that the parents have an interest in education and the money to pay for $$$ private colleges suggests those kids would have done well, home-schooling or not.

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  98. 100

    RE: MichaelB @ 94

    Contact Churches

    They can help in this area.

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  99. 101

    RE: MichaelB @ 98

    Supporting Public Schools

    If your kid is the top 5% of acheivers and doesn’t need a teacher much, public schools can work fine…..its just the mainstream kids are square blocks in round holes….

    You’ll know by highschool if you need CBT instead. Some public schools put all the graded homework on the web for parents to complete, those would be good choices too.

    You notice I didn’t have the parent tudor the kid who’s working fulltime, cheating by the parent is the only option [the parent/child can’t stay up unti 2AM tudoring] or pay the piper [if you’re really rich] and get the kid a private tudor. Send the kid to a Comunity College while in highschool for math and science?….but its drawbacks are like the private school, excessive costs and how do you arrange transportation and work fulltime too??? A magic wand, or make sure the kid has his/her own car/insurance….that’s an additional arm and a leg in costs today too. Just get them a real diploma, then the college tests for highschool classes to redo like the rest of the highschool graduates; its the easiest option.

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  100. 102
    bd says:

    By Scotsman @ 97:

    My point is that home schooling is very, very effecient as it does a better job of meeting individual needs, even when taught by very ordinary people. If we had it to do over again we would probably home school at least until high school through a co-op situation.

    I agree it can be significantly more effective. I have doubts about its overall efficiency though.

    DIsperse a class of 28 kids to their homes to receive individually tailored instruction each under the supervision of a separate adult and it’s no surprise they cover more material in a shorter amount of time. The costs for each of those families are significantly higher though, particularly if you compare it to free public educaiton.

    I, by no means, am saying people shouldn’t home school, I’m just saying that you can’t say, in many cases, that you can save loads of money by buying a house where there are crappy schools just by home schooling your kid.

    The economics totally change, of course, if you have someone who isn’t going to be much of an earner anyway who can supervise the home schooling.

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  101. 103

    RE: Blurtman @ 96

    Perhaps We Really Need a Prohibition Against Tobacco?

    “…While no association between marijuana smoking and cancer was found, the study findings, presented to the American Thoracic Society International Conference this week, did find a 20-fold increase in lung cancer among people who smoked two or more packs of cigarettes a day.

    The study was limited to people younger than 60 because those older than that were generally not exposed to marijuana in their youth, when it is most often tried….”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501729.html

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  102. 104
    kfhoz says:

    By Scotsman @ 97:

    RE: bd @ 90


    My point is that home schooling is very, very effecient as it does a better job of meeting individual needs, even when taught by very ordinary people. …

    Average ordinary people do not possess anywhere near the level of literary skill that you show on this site.

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  103. 105
    MichaelB says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 100

    Maybe in the basement of the CYO…

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  104. 106
    MichaelB says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1

    I believe “Tudoring” is only required for a real estate license.

    By grade four, it can be accurately predicted whether a child will attend University or not. Therefore, waiting until high school may be a bit late…

    Are you “high”?

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  105. 107

    By Scotsman @ 89:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 87

    Your supposed point is total nonsense. You compare people who were known to have smoked with people who were known not to have smoked. That’s where the comparison comes in, not to some larger unknown.

    Go have another cup of coffee before approaching the computer.

    Apparently statistics is not your strong suit. To Losh this up a bit:

    10 black people get traffic tickets.
    20 white people get traffic tickets.

    If that’s all you know, you can’t say that members of one group is twice as likely as the other to get a ticket. You would need to know the percentage of the population that is black and white in that area.

    Getting back to the example, they have zero information on how many people are driving sober, on alcohol and on marijuana, so they can’t say one group is twice as likely to be involved in an accident.

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  106. 108
    whee says:

    I don’t know why anyone would spend 30 years paying off debt. Even a 15 year mortgage seems a bit risky.

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  107. 109

    By whee @ 108:

    I don’t know why anyone would spend 30 years paying off debt. Even a 15 year mortgage seems a bit risky.

    You can typically pay either off early!

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  108. 110
    Scotsman says:

    RE: MichaelB @ 98

    ” Umm, homeschooling is a very expensive proposition.”

    What are kids worth? What are YOUR kids worth?

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  109. 111
    The Tim says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 110 – I don’t get why people have kids just so they can pay someone else (nannies, daycare, schools) to raise them.

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  110. 112
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 107

    Losh it up?!

    OK, blacks are 13% of the population, but you have them getting 33% of the tickets.

    Racist! Everybody knows Asians are the worst drivers. ;-)

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  111. 113

    RE: The Tim @ 111 – A form of buyer’s remorse?

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  112. 114
    Scotsman says:

    RE: The Tim @ 111

    Agreed. Besides, they’re expensive enough as it is without adding in nannies, daycare, etc. AND the cost of un-doing all that they do- that you didn’t want done.

    I used to argue with people who thought that kids weren’t worth the struggles, etc., saying they were one of the high points of my life. Now I tend to just agree with them- if you don’t really want kids, and aren’t ready to make them a priority please don’t have any. Leave it to those of us who are willing to put in the required effort/expense and go on your merry way. I’ve known too many messed up kids whose parents had plenty of money, but no time to care for and connect with what they almost considered not much more than required accessories for some concept of success. Sad, and expensive for society as a whole.

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  113. 115

    By Scotsman @ 112:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 107

    Losh it up?!

    OK, blacks are 13% of the population, but you have them getting 33% of the tickets.

    Racist! Everybody knows Asians are the worst drivers. ;-)

    Silly. You’re forgetting the impact of the racist cops! ;-)

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  114. 116
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 115

    You, sir, are correct. My bad, bro.

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  115. 117

    By Scotsman @ 114:

    I used to argue with people who thought that kids weren’t worth the struggles, etc., saying they were one of the high points of my life. Now I tend to just agree with them- .

    Where I ended that, I wasn’t really sure what direction you were going to go. ;-)

    I like where it went.

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  116. 118
    bd says:

    By Scotsman @ 114:

    RE: The Tim @ 11

    Agreed. Besides, they’re expensive enough as it is without adding in nannies, daycare, etc. AND the cost of un-doing all that they do- that you didn’t want done.

    Wow. I didn’t realize you guys were stay at home, home schooling dads. Well done!

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  117. 119
    whee says:

    Yeah but nobody is calculating a 30 year on the premise that they’ll pay it off early, or at all in some cases. The whole metric is just a way to purchase wealth effect. If people actually only bought what they could pay off at their current income in 10 years or less, home loans would be structured pretty differently, although probably the interest rates wouldn’t be much different ultimately.

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  118. 120
    The Tim says:

    RE: whee @ 119 – Whoa, “nobody” is a bit of a stretch. I got a 30-year and have been paying slightly more than the payment would have been on a 15-year. At my current rate of payment, I’ll pay off my 30-year loan in 14.5 years. Some of us are actually interested in owning our homes.

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  119. 121

    RE: The Tim @ 120 – My last car loan was a 60 month which I started paying on a 36 month schedule and finished in 30.

    Our prior house loan we were paying off ahead of schedule too, but I don’t know what that worked out to as far as when it would have been paid off it we had kept going.

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  120. 122
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 103 – I don’t know too many people except Kary who would smoke the equivalent of two packs of joints a day, so perhaps the data is a bit apples to oranges. ;>) Always struck me as as odd that the gubberment could throw someone in jail for smoking the buds of a plant that God put on this earth.

    With regards to smokers, I have no problems with them as long as when in public, they keep the inhaled smoke inside their lungs. No one has any right to give someone else cancer, and that goes for diesel smoke belching trucks.

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  121. 123

    By Blurtman @ 122:

    Always struck me as as odd that the gubberment could throw someone in jail for smoking the buds of a plant that God put on this earth.

    What part of government do you find to be logical and rational? ;-)

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  122. 124
    Macro Investor says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 23:

    By Blurtman @ 122:
    Always struck me as as odd that the gubberment could throw someone in jail for smoking the buds of a plant that God put on this earth.

    What part of government do you find to be logical and rational? ;-)

    But at least they usually agree on the important things almost unanimously… like each time they vote to take away our rights.

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  123. 125
    Macro Investor says:

    By Scotsman @ 12:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 107

    Losh it up?!

    OK, blacks are 13% of the population, but you have them getting 33% of the tickets.

    Racist! Everybody knows Asians are the worst drivers. ;-)

    What are you h8ers implying about Obama’s driving? He’s half black, half Asian.

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  124. 126
    MichaelB says:

    By Scotsman @ 110:

    RE: MichaelB @ 98

    ” Umm, homeschooling is a very expensive proposition.”

    What are kids worth? What are YOUR kids worth?

    The schooling method selected does not show that you value you kids more than others. Home schooling is great!…for some families, some kids,….but not most and not ALL.

    The whole point is that while homeschooling and private schools are great solutions for individual families, they are very expensive – prohibitively expensive for the general population. If public schools were spending $30k/year per student, I believe most parents would be satisfied with the results. At any rate, all kids should be “home schooled” even if it is only after school, as learning at home is the key to success.

    Our son attended Terrace Park in Mountlake Terrace. An excellent school with a gifted and talented program. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. Edmonds High School has an IB program – an excellent education is also possible there. Bellevue School District is one of the finest in the country…. UW is one of the top universities in the world. Lot’s of great public schools and public school teachers.

    The point is – proximity to quality public schools matters in house values. That’s why the Tim is either going to have to home school or send his kids to a private school. people should consider that in valuing a home…

    Home schooling is great (FOR YOU)- however, it does not necessarily reflect how much you value your kids…It’s just your choice among many alternatives as to how to educate them.

    You emphasize the importance of education, but not neighborhood quality?

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  125. 127

    RE: Blurtman @ 122
    Just the idea of Kary smoking 40 joints a day cracks me up. Even in my pothead days of 35 years ago I never approached more than 1/10th that number. But Kary’s tough. Bong hits before breakfast. Bong hits before law school classes. The dude was unstoppable.

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  126. 128
    Jonness says:

    By Hugh Dominic @ 61:

    Please post the source so we know whether your post is fictitious or not.

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  127. 129
    Jonness says:

    By AxlRose @ 85:

    RE: Jonness @ 51 – Well there’s some different calculations going on here. Your chart uses 3x salary as a guide for affordable.

    No it doesn’t. It shows the historic line of PRICE in Seattle is 3x. As I pointed out previously when you claimed Seattle house prices are in line with wages, no they aren’t. You are confusing affordability due to historic low rates amidst the worst economy since the Great Depression with “low prices.” Prices in Seattle are not low. They are high. In fact, prices in the Metro area as a whole are about 25% too high.

    Go ahead and buy in at 4.3x. I’m not here to stop you. But before you do, you should probably ask yourself how affordable is that house going to be when you lose $100K on it and have to move for work-related reasons?

    As I’ve pointed out, the unemployment rate is a leading indicator of house prices. But that’s not the end of the story. The unemployment rate won’t go down in a meaningful manner until the banks start lending again. The entire Kahuna is riding on MV=PQ where M=MB/R. Until the banks begin to lend in earnest, this economy is stuck. While the economy is stuck, Seattle prices will continue to adjust toward their historic norm of 3x median household income.

    Nobody knows where the bottom is. The best that can be done is to keep an eye on the leading indicators, as they reveal the direction of the overall trend.

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  128. 130
    Jonness says:

    By Scotsman @ 86:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 83
    We home schooled for one year. It was a lot of work, but even at only half a day it produced superior results. First child in Stanford. Second child wait listed at Harvard, wouldn’t have accepted, went to small liberal arts (Bowdoin). We know many parents who home schooled. Very average parents got very superior results almost every time.

    A good friend of mine I met while getting a CS degree was home schooled through the 8th grade. His parents decided to send him to public school when he got to high school age. To make a long story short, he had to massively dumb himself down to fit in. The other kids couldn’t understand a word he said, because his vocabulary was far too advanced. And to watch this guy solve extraordinarily difficult engineering problems is to die for.

    Public K12 schools are mostly very low quality education mills. I know because I went to public school. It was more a joke to me than anything else where control sick people simply wanted power over my thoughts, actions, and emotions. It represented the opposite of using my mind.

    It’s a great way to breed a society majority of stupid sheep who vote for further mind control though. Like I said, I went to K12 public school (prior to testing out). Just tell me what box to check on the ballet, as I can’t figure it out for myself.

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  129. 131

    By Jonness @ 30:

    By Scotsman @ 86:
    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 83
    We home schooled for one year. It was a lot of work, but even at only half a day it produced superior results. First child in Stanford. Second child wait listed at Harvard, wouldn’t have accepted, went to small liberal arts (Bowdoin). We know many parents who home schooled. Very average parents got very superior results almost every time.

    A good friend of mine I met while getting a CS degree was home schooled through the 8th grade. His parents decided to send him to public school when he got to high school age. To make a long story short, he had to massively dumb himself down to fit in. The other kids couldn’t understand a word he said, because his vocabulary was far too advanced. And to watch this guy solve extraordinarily difficult engineering problems is to die for. .

    Totally ignoring the lack of value of this type of story of proving anything, what it does show is that the person was not properly socialized. Smart educated people know how to communicate with others.

    Also, you don’t know that he wouldn’t have been just as good in engineering if educated elsewhere.

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  130. 132
    AxlRose says:

    RE: Jonness @ 129 – The green line is 3x income, giving an implication that is the affordable mark. Most buyers will have mortgages so the affordability is the relevant measure, not price. Yes I know this makes me a monthly payment shopper and I understand why that is bad (for instance I wouldn’t buy a car this way), but since houses are much more expensive, it’s the only option if one wants to buy without the cash. And actually, it’s not quite the same as buying a car. In that case, the trap is getting screwed if the dealer is controlling both the sale price and the rate, (and the trade in value, if applicable) so he may give on one but get you on the other, if you are a montly payment shopper. Not so when house shopping. I understand what you are saying though, yes if that happened I could be screwed. Nothing wrong with renting in that case and starting over!

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  131. 133
    AxlRose says:

    One could argue the prices are already adjusted up due to low rates so the car analogy is happening anyway, but that is not a given and has even been disputed by typically bearish sites posted here.

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  132. 134
    Blurtman says:

    RE: AxlRose @ 132 – 3X income perhaps, but you should also factor in the expected duration of employment, or odds of interrupted employment, and also consider the size of a sensible savings cushion.

    What is missing is the ability of homeowners to hedge their long exposure. I am surprised that an enterprising financial engineer has not developed such a product, which would undoubtedly fail to perform when under stress.

    One contrary viewpoint which will engender some flack is that folks can sometimes outperform when under pressure. But would you want to bet that you are one of those who can?

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  133. 135
    Jonness says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 131:

    Totally ignoring the lack of value of this type of story of proving anything, what it does show is that the person was not properly socialized. Smart educated people know how to communicate with others. Thus, my friend excels at giving presentations on complex subject matter.

    You are confusing mindless bragging on yourself while in public with intellect. Pretending to dumb oneself down to the level of the mindless brainwashed Nazi’s of our society isn’t nearly as difficult a task as you imagine.

    Also, you don’t know that he wouldn’t have been just as good in engineering if educated elsewhere.

    Actually, there’s something to be said about having teachers who implore you, before the age of puberty, to get involved in projects such as designing electronic devices that use software to allow you beat the house as opposed to just mindlessly saluting the flag and talking about your favorite TV show with your friends.

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  134. 136

    By Jonness @ 135:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 131:

    Totally ignoring the lack of value of this type of story of proving anything, what it does show is that the person was not properly socialized. Smart educated people know how to communicate with others.

    Also, you don’t know that he wouldn’t have been just as good in engineering if educated elsewhere.

    Don’t flatter yourself when it comes to your intellectual prowess. You are confusing mindless bragging on yourself while in public with intellect.
    My friend graduated from UW computer science, so I guess he was properly educated to your standards. But seriously, he never cracked a single book open while going through the course but was among the best problem solvers and test takers in the program.

    Kary, you lack the intellectual ability to even get in UW CS, let alone graduate from the program.

    Ignore things much (the highlighted material)? Merely repeating the same story about the same guy doesn’t change that.

    BTW, I really don’t care what you think of me, but to pass it back, I really don’t think much of you either. Seriously, i do wonder how you manage to function in the world being so completely misguided. Not really sure what that proves, but you seem to think it’s somehow important.

    Finally, how do you think the quoted material is flattering myself? Also, why do you think you know squat about my abilities to either get into or graduate CS? Talk about flattering yourself! Again, you don’t know squat. This exchange proves you’re barely literate.

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  135. 137
    Jonness says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 36:

    BTW, I really don’t care what you think of me, but to pass it back, I really don’t think much of you either. Seriously, i do wonder how you manage to function in the world being so completely misguided. Not really sure what that proves, but you seem to think it’s somehow important.

    The only one around here who is misguided is the mindless idiot realtor who ran out and overpaid for his house in 2007 while claiming it’s impossible to know whether house prices will go up or down in the future.

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  136. 138

    By Jonness @ 137:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 36:

    BTW, I really don’t care what you think of me, but to pass it back, I really don’t think much of you either. Seriously, i do wonder how you manage to function in the world being so completely misguided. Not really sure what that proves, but you seem to think it’s somehow important.

    The only one around here who is misguided is the mindless idiot realtor who ran out and overpaid for his house in 2007 while claiming it’s impossible to know whether house prices will go up or down in the future.

    More proof you’re illiterate in that you don’t understand my explanation of what I did.

    But again, when I was assessing what to do I wrote one of the disadvantages as being: “Prices are high right now–downside risk.” Is that language too high of a grade level for you to understand that?

    I’ve also noted our old house probably went down as much or even more than the new house, and that renting is not an option. Is that too intellectually complex for you to understand?

    I’ve also noted that the new house has provided the equivalent of over $90,000 of after tax income in the form of free rent. Again, I’m sure that’s over your limited ability to understand.

    Finally, the use of the term “over-paid” is laughable. You don’t know how to determine value. How could you possibly determine I over-paid?

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  137. 139
    Jonness says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 38:

    Proof you’re illiterate in that you don’t understand my explanation of what I did.

    The only thing it’s proof of Kary is that you are incapable of admitting when you are wrong, and your way of coping with this is to remain in serious denial throughout the remainder of your life.

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  138. 140

    RE: Jonness @ 139 – Again, further proof you’re illiterate. How could I have been “wrong” when I recognized the downside risk? It was a risk I was willing to take, and I still would have made the same decision even today. The only thing I’d change in hindsight is how quickly we got the old house ready for sale. There we lost about $20k.

    You’re just so focused on one factor you can’t even make a valid decision. Another reason I have no respect for your opinion. You’re incompetent.

    BTW, as long as you’re going back to 2007, about the only one I know who was right about the downturn for the right reason was Eleua. Others were focused on nonsense, the worst of it being Seattle is 18 months behind Seattle, or comparing median house prices to median income. Being right for the wrong reason doesn’t really mean much.

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  139. 141
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 131

    “what it does show is that the person was not properly socialized”

    Sorry, Kary- a complete miss on your part. I’ll assume you haven’t been around a lot of home schooled kids. One thing that sets them apart, and is instantly recognizable, is their social skills, especially around adults. Since they spend a good deal of time interacting with adults, both their parents and others they come in contact with on field trips, special outings, etc. they are very comfortable in those situations. What they don’t get, or more likely have less/little tolerance for is the drama and immaturity of other kids in their teens.

    The lack of proper socialization argument is one of the oldest and least effective (take the time to do some research) those who doubt or oppose home schooling bring up. It is patently false. A very large majority of home schoolers will run circles around publicly educated kids, especially out in the real world- that [art of humanity that doesn’t exist in a high school hallway.

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  140. 142
    Ross says:

    RE: The Tim @ 111 – Mostly because the local population of aunts and grannies has disappeared. Humans have historically been most successful when raising children was a community activity. If you want that kind of community these days for little kids, you need to pay to send your kid to day care or preschool. When they’re a little older, it’s a bit easier* to find like-minded parents and make a co-op, which IMHO is really the ideal we should be aiming for.

    Still not easy, though. You have to do a lot of searching and networking online to find or found a co-op that suits. Since we’re not religious believers, there’s less support for us.

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  141. 143
    Mike S says:

    RE: Jonness @ 135

    Its too bad you don’t share the education that the person you were writing about does.

    I think that was the worst run on sentence I have ever seen.

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  142. 144
    Mike S says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 41

    Your whole post should be followed by *Citation needed

    Home schooled kids from what I have seen teaching my college classes, actually lack very important skills that general educated students have.
    Social skills being one of them.

    So where are you getting your information?

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  143. 145
    One Eyed Man says:

    By Scotsman @ 110:

    RE: MichaelB @ 98

    ” Umm, homeschooling is a very expensive proposition.”

    What are kids worth? What are YOUR kids worth?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvZgwtpPmLY

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  144. 146
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Mike S @ 144

    My guess is that Scotsman’s sampling of home schoolers is strictly upper crust (and therefore biased) even if a few of them came from just south of I-90.

    I know a home schooler too. He’s brilliant and an over achiever to boot. But he doesn’t have the same set of experiences that other kids have. He never played sports and can’t skip a rock. That may sound insignificant but I like sports and rocks and its an indicator of other potential missing experiences (kind of like the canary in the coal mine).

    IMO his family has alot to do with his level of achievement. His grandfather was a former chair of the Metro Council before Metro was dissolved.

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  145. 147
    Pegasus says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 146 – If you home school children you can still get your children active in sports in most parts of the country. If you need for the children to become experts in throwing rocks have them move in next door to Kary.

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  146. 148
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Mike S @ 143 – You haven’t read the Harvard reading list, then. Numerous books that have sentences that go on for more than one page.

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  147. 149
    Axion says:

    Love this thread. The originating post rang so true with me. In fact, today I was running errands in my neighborhood and I was depressed looking at all of the dumpy $400K + houses that would be worth maybe $200K in in some mid-sized midwest city. My wife and I have been renting in Seattle for over 10 years (much of it in a nice apartment and recently in a nice house). Our rent over the years has been very cheap and it continues to be so. We could have bought at any time, but we saw the bubble. Our annual income is over $100K. We have two young kids, so the desire is there to settle down. However, we are still waiting for the right time. Our goal is to find something on the east side because we want our kids to attend good schools. But I don’t see any rush to buy something right now given: 1) prices are flat and maybe still declining, 2) inventory stinks, and 3) there is still uncertainty in the economy. So we wait, pay cheap rent, and save.

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  148. 150

    By Jonness @ 30:

    BA good friend of mine I met while getting a CS degree was home schooled through the 8th grade. His parents decided to send him to public school when he got to high school age. To make a long story short, he had to massively dumb himself down to fit in. The other kids couldn’t understand a word he said, because his vocabulary was far too advanced.

    By Mike S @ 44:

    <Home schooled kids from what I have seen teaching my college classes, actually lack very important skills that general educated students have.
    Social skills being one of them.

    It’s very possible, if not likely, it wasn’t advanced vocabulary causing problems, but lack of socialization, and vocabulary was only the perceived issue.

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