Posted by: 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.

35 responses to “NWMLS: Record Low Inventory, Prices Approach a Flatline”

  1. softwarengineer

    RE: The Tim @ 1

    Makes You Wonder if Trolls Virus Infected Your Web Tim

    The FAIRUS.ORG non-profit website had some extremist insert a virus in it and they had to shut it down for a day to get it cleaned up. Even our virus software can’t keep up with this vermin hacker problem to warn us.

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  2. softwarengineer

    The Prices Bounce Up Every Spring

    That’s because Seattle is special and the higher priced ones are worth the extra loot over all the ram-shackle REOs.

    A little birdie whispered in my ear though this morning; even an over priced bid war over a clean Spring unit, once sold and lived in, give it 5-10 years, and then let’s indepentantly audit the actual $ maintenance done, over-looked at sale and needed from wear and tear. That over-priced perfect home don’t look so perfect then. I know, Seattle’s special….this is a moot point?

    Sounds like a bad time to buy from the charts, if I were a buyer.

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  3. David S

    Only one thing stands out to me: ‘Noting stabilizing prices are “forcing buyers to make offers…”‘

    Just what exactly is Pyramid Expert J. Lennox Scott putting in the coolaid this morning?

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  4. Kary L. Krismer

    It really is very frustrating to be a buyer right now, as has been noted here. Remember “the bottom isn’t as fun as it sounded like it would be!” [paraphrase] I’m comparing it to the second ending of the first-time buyer credit as far as sellers are concerned. It’s better than that was for sellers! Reportedly even short sales are getting multiple offers!

    I haven’t run the numbers yet, but I suspect part of the price bump is due to fewer REOs closing.

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  5. Kary L. Krismer

    By David S @ 4:

    Only one thing stands out to me: ‘Noting stabilizing prices are “forcing buyers to make offers…”‘

    What you’re missing is that the stabilizing prices have guns! That’s why the prices are up more in Seattle. Fewer buyers there can defend themselves.

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  6. Kary L. Krismer

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 5:

    I haven’t run the numbers yet, but I suspect part of the price bump is due to fewer REOs closing.

    I just checked and the REOs are down about 22 sales, so against a rising number of sales their effect on the median is less. Short sales were up about 8 sales, which without running the numbers is probably also a slightly lower percentage. These numbers are based on closing date reported, and thus not the same as the published numbers which include late reported sales for prior months and don’t include late reported sales for the current month (Tim’s issue).

    Also, note this from the Times’ article linked above:

    Countywide, he said, the median price of single-family short sales in March was 38 percent less than the median for nondistressed houses, while bank-owned houses sold for 57 percent less.

    The numbers 22 and 8 are from NWMLS sources, but not compiled or guaranteed by the NWMLS, and as noted, compiled differently than the official published numbers.

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  7. No Name Guy

    By David S @ 4:

    Only one thing stands out to me: ‘Noting stabilizing prices are “forcing buyers to make offers…”‘

    Just what exactly is Pyramid Expert J. Lennox Scott putting in the coolaid this morning?

    Whiskey? ;-)

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  8. tomtom

    Woo-hoo, the bottom is in!

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  9. Kary L. Krismer

    By No Name Guy @ 8:

    Whiskey? ;-)

    Amazing. That’s what I use in my health faucet! /Stephen Colbert

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  10. Julie Lyda, RE/MAX Northwest Realtors

    At this point the rising median is only indicating that more higher priced homes are selling, which is pulling up the average.

    This is not a sign that home prices are rising.

    My home is worth no more this month than it was in January.

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  11. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Julie Lyda, RE/MAX Northwest Realtors @ 11 – I would disagree, depending on the area and price range.

    When you have buyers competing for non-distressed properties, the price that a non-short sale seller can get for their property is greater than it was in January. Inventory was tight back then too, but not as tight as now. And there seemingly are more buyers (seasonal effect).

    That said, the median never indicates how much an individual property has gone up or gone down.

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  12. deejayoh

    By David S @ 4:

    Only one thing stands out to me: ‘Noting stabilizing prices are “forcing buyers to make offers…”‘

    Just what exactly is Pyramid Expert J. Lennox Scott putting in the coolaid this morning?

    Well, if you leave off the part of the statement that explains what he means, then I guess it is easy to make him look stupid

    But the real quote is:

    “Noting stabilizing prices are “forcing buyers to make offers that reflect a more balanced market

    But then, that’s not really fair, is it?

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  13. Scotsman

    FRENZY!! BUY NOW OR BE PRICED OUT FOREVER!!

    JLS has taxes to pay: (scroll down- not that interesting a house)

    http://seattle-mansions.blogspot.com/2011/02/groat-point-medina.html

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  14. Kary L. Krismer

    By deejayoh @ 13:

    But then, that’s not really fair, is it?

    Or funny. :-(

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  15. patient

    There’s nothing better to make a buyer feel excited about the market than telling him that he is FORCED to pay higher prices. Please, please don’t shoot me mr/ms agent here’s my wallet, take my watch as well.

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  16. softwarengineer

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 5

    Yes Kary

    I saw the same scenario throught the decades with HUD Homes, unqualified bidders pushing the prices way beyond reality. It would sure clean out the vermin if we demanded only “pre-qualified” [by banks BTW] REO and short sale buyers only on offers, albeit it would probably gut the pending sales numbers too, with a big butcher ax.

    The buyers would get a break though, lower prices.

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  17. Scotsman

    RE: The Tim @ 17

    Interesting background in the blurb about Scott’s home and Groat Point. Mostly members of the lucky sperm club- Scott, Freeman, McCaw. We used to roam in the old Mansion that was on the site before it got subdivided. The house to the SE of Scott’s is much more significant while the one to the NW is a cleaner, more interesting design. While I’ll freely admit I can’t afford Scott’s house, I wouldn’t pay what ever he’d want for a bland stucco box- even with the view he has.

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  18. Kary L. Krismer

    By patient @ 16:

    There’s nothing better to make a buyer feel excited about the market than telling him that he is FORCED to pay higher prices. Please, please don’t shoot me mr/ms agent here’s my wallet, take my watch as well.

    In yesterday’s piece, reason #3 not to buy was falling prices.

    I realize different people have different decision making criteria. If someone is concerned though about both falling and rising prices, then they simply don’t want to buy.

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  19. MichaelB

    http://www.wcrer.wsu.edu/WSHM/2011Q4/2011Q4-Snapshot.pdf

    Flatline or Freefalling! ie Jerry McGuire…

    6.6% of homes in washington state are seriously delinquent according to the Washington Center for Real Estate… How many are underwater?

    Great site with real stats: http://www.wcrer.wsu.edu/

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  20. MichaelB

    Flatlining or “Freefalling”? ala Jerry McGuire…

    http://www.wcrer.wsu.edu/ 6.6% of homes seriously delinquent. http://www.wcrer.wsu.edu/WSHM/2011Q4/2011Q4-Snapshot.pdf Prices dropped 9.1% in Washington State last year…

    Meanwhile, Median Household income also dropped….

    All Good! Ressurection of Real Estate Market is on the way!

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  21. patient

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 20 – It’s the language Kary. Buyers aren’t forced to do anything. They have a choice to make an offer, or not.

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  22. King County Home Prices Highest Since September | Seattle Real Estate

    [...] area last month was the highest we’ve seen since September. Ouch! According to stats from the MLS, last month’s median sales price was $330,000, 7% higher than it was the previous month, [...]

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  23. Scotsman

    RE: MichaelB @ 22

    “All Good! Ressurection of Real Estate Market is on the way! ”

    Oddly enough it probably is- not because of improving fundamentals in income, etc. but because of the inflationary bomb that will hit at some point in the next 5-7 years. As Ray says “don’t bet against the FED,” or more generally the fiscal dead end the .gov has put itself in. The current situation can’t continue, and the paths out- default and printing- are both ultimately inflationary.

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  24. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Scotsman @ 24 – Or if not, many people perceive it that way.

    Gold didn’t run up due to reality. It ran up due to fear.

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  25. patient

    RE: Scotsman @ 24 – Maybe but I doubt it. $20 gas without salary inflation will topple any government independent of political color. The gov can control a lot but oil prices are not in the hands of friends. I doubt the FED will allow inflation enough to spike energy prices to a level where goverments will fall. And inflation can be controlled much easier than deflation. Just raise interest rate to a couple of hundred percent and inflation is gone in a day.

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  26. Macro Investor

    RE: Scotsman @ 24

    Hello Mr. Giddy Bull, default is deflationary. Big time.

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  27. Macro Investor

    By The Tim @ 1:

    I have no idea how comments got closed on this thread. That was definitely not intentional. Sorry about that, and thanks to Kary for the email letting me know of the error.

    Thank goodness you fixed it, Tim. Kary was getting the shakes.

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  28. David Losh

    I’m surprised this selling season isn’t getting more discussion.

    We have buyers who should feel more confident than they did last year, and listed properties are 4,000, compare to 7,000 last year. That is more buyer ability with fewer properties to choose from.

    That kind of seems like a bubble to me.

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  29. David Losh

    RE: Scotsman @ 24

    You’ve pointed out, repeatedly, that we can’t print any more.

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  30. Scotsman

    RE: Macro Investor @ 27

    “default is deflationary. Big time”

    Personal and business- yes, with qualifications. But if the .gov/treasury defaults that’s highly inflationary. Suddenly we have all the extra dollars created by monetization and t-bill sales floating around out there in the economy without an offsetting debt or liability. It yields the same result as just printing up a few trillion in bills and throwing them out on the street.

    I’ll cut ya some slack Mr. Permabear because it’s not that intuitive- but think about it for a while, then get back to us.

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  31. Scotsman

    RE: David Losh @ 30

    Still true. It’s like pointing out that you shouldn’t drink anymore after having already put away a fifth this evening. But you can’t stop, so you keep drinking. There’s what you should do, what you can’t do, what you won’t do, and what you’ll just continue to do. got it? ;-)

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  32. whatsmyname

    By MichaelB @ 22:

    Flatlining or “Freefalling”? ala Jerry McGuire…

    http://www.wcrer.wsu.edu/ 6.6% of homes seriously delinquent. http://www.wcrer.wsu.edu/WSHM/2011Q4/2011Q4-Snapshot.pdf Prices dropped 9.1% in Washington State last year…!

    Awesome chart! I’m going to use it too. If only I’d bought in Columbia County – prices there were up 116%.

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  33. Kary L. Krismer

    The inventory does not seem to be rebuilding at all. We’re likely to have a record low inventory (going back to 2000) at the end of April, per the chart above.

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