Weekend Open Thread (2012-11-30)

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Here is your open thread for the weekend beginning Friday November 30th, 2012. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

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NOTICE: If you have comments to make about politics or economics that do not somehow directly relate to Seattle-area real estate, they may be posted in the current Politics & Economics Open Thread. If you post such comments here, they will be moved there.


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.

34 comments:

  1. 1
    softwarengineer says:

    Seattle Wages and Home Prices on the Mend?

    “…The U.S. birth rate plunged to a record low in 2011, spurred by a recession-related drop in the number of children brought into the world by foreign-born women in America, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Research Center….”

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2012/11/29/u-s-birth-rate-plunges-to-record-low-recession-blamed/

    I imagine school related property taxes can go down as student numbers dwindle too.

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  2. 2
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1

    Phil: Yes, we would have invited Bob to join, but he married a foreign-born woman.

    Tom: Say no more…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  3. 3
    apartment boy says:

    I have to admit that I’m a perma-flip-flopper and have yet to decide what the future holds – inflation or deflation. This article, at least for today, makes me lean toward inflation, thus the monetization of our debt and the loss of our reserve-currency status; and the inevitable descent into banana-republic status.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/bond-investor-gundlach-buys-stocks-050001179.html

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  4. 4
    redmondjp says:

    RE: apartment boy @ 3 – Do you ever go to the store and actually buy things? Hades, even prices on many items at Harbor Freight Tools have increased 30-40% just in the past few years.

    Over Thanksgiving we were looking for canned cranberries in our pantry and found a three-year-old can, along with a recent one. The can size has shrunk by a full 2 oz! This seems to be the rule nowadays at the grocery store, not the exception. Check out the thickness of cereal boxes – they appear to be the same size from the front, but are a third thinner than before.

    All these examples indicate inflation. And even though natural gas prices are low right now, this is going to change within the next few years as we shut down coal plants all over this country and replace them with natural-gas-fired ones. Not to mention the significant natural gas exports that we are now gearing up for (Williams pipeline is building two new cross-state pipelines from Canada to OR, which will connect to a new LNG plant on the OR coast so we can send it to Asia).

    And did anybody else notice that there seem to be fewer good deals during the Black Friday sales (and I’m excluding the loss-leader items such as the limited-quantity flat screen TVs)?

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  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
    ricklind says:

    By apartment boy @ 3:

    I have to admit that I’m a perma-flip-flopper and have yet to decide what the future holds – inflation or deflation. This article, at least for today, makes me lean toward inflation, thus the monetization of our debt and the loss of our reserve-currency status; and the inevitable descent into banana-republic status.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/bond-investor-gundlach-buys-stocks-050001179.html

    “Monetization of debt.”
    I like it.
    Describes the process perfectly.

    It has happened many times before. The first time I have read of is during and after the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta. Sparta won, but it broke them both.

    FWIW, this process has consistently resulted in inflation and the degradation of currency. See Marcus Aurelius, Caracalla, Aurelian and Diocletian for examples of other administrations with the use of fiat currency used to stabilize the economy. Also kind of describes the Weimar Republic’s problem but we are, fortunately, not anywhere near there and hopefully, won’t ever be.

    Fel Temp Reparatio

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  8. 8
    ricklind says:

    RE: Jill Schlicke @ 6

    ROFLMAO!

    Fel Temp Reparatio

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  9. 9

    Next time you want to believe something you read in the press, just think if this nonsense.

    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Spike-in-gun-sales-attributed-to-Zombie-Apocalypse–181630821.html

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  10. 10
    Pegasus says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 9 – Here is the sad part. They are actually labeling both firearms and ammo as Zombie killers like they are toys. How many kids will think that and hurt someone?

    http://www.cabelas.com/handgun-ammunition-hornady-zombie-max-handgun-ammunition.shtml

    http://www.armoryblog.com/news/zombie-apocalypse-hits-shot-show-2012/

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  11. 11

    RE: Pegasus @ 10 – Odd, in 9MM those appear to be cheaper than the regular 9mm in 115 gram. The Zombie model does appear to be JHP too, so I wonder if they’re cheaper just because they’re stupid and people should be embarrassed to buy them. ;-)

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  12. 12

    Looking ahead to the release of sales data, the new median should probably be a two year high, largely because the banks have not kept up the pace on processing short sales. For a month or two they had been running about 25% higher volumes than normal, but apparently not in November.

    Vague references to data are from NWMLS sources, but data not compiled by or guaranteed by the NWMLS.

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  13. 13
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 9 – Komo News and the local stations are merely car accident and home fire filler stories for advertising on the telly.

    The question is, why the ramp up in arms and ammo sales?

    Are people feeling threatened, and if so, by what or whom?

    Are the zombies an allegory for the disenfranchised 99% who, when the system crashes, are going to be seeking food, gas and shelter from their more prepared neighbors? (This is what I get from doomster sites.)

    What gives?

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  14. 14

    RE: Blurtman @ 13 – My guess would be NRA propaganda about President Obama, and the reaction to his being re-elected. Clinton drove a lot of gun sales too, and probably for better reason. President Obama has been relatively mild attacking the Second Amendment, compared both to other parts of the Bill of Rights he apparently hates, and what Clinton tried to do.

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  15. 15
    David Losh says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 13

    The price of guns jumped with Obama’s election. His re election has made many guy owners very nervous, http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/11/09/Stock-Price-of-Gun-Manufacturers-Up-10-Day-After-Obama-s-Re-election

    The idea is that some how the Obama administration will introduce new gun legislation.

    However, I think Obama has a longer range plan, and wouldn’t introduce legislation that will cost Democrats seats in Congress.

    Maybe after 2014 legislation could be introduced, but I doubt that.

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  16. 16
    David Losh says:

    BTW, zombies are code for the great unwashed masses that will be coming for your stuff.

    Dehumanize your target for guilt free shooting.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  17. 17
    Blurtman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 16 – Can’t we turn them into investment bankers? For reference, see They Live.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  18. 18
    Blurtman says:

    Ira’s résumé has already gone out.

    Marijuana legalization measure requires 40 staffers and a pot expert

    http://blogs.seattletimes.com/politicsnorthwest/2012/11/30/marijuana-legalization-measure-requires-40-staffers-and-a-pot-expert/

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  19. 19

    RE: Blurtman @ 18 – From link: “There’s a lot of people who think they have a lot of experience in this area,” joked Rick Garza, Kohler’s deputy.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  20. 20
    Macro Investor says:

    By Blurtman @ 13:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 9
    Are the zombies an allegory for the disenfranchised 99% who, when the system crashes, are going to be seeking food, gas and shelter from their more prepared neighbors? (This is what I get from doomster sites.)

    Am I the only one who’s really, really tired of the doomers and the prepers? There’s a logical fallacy firmly in place here… all bad things we can imagine MUST HAPPEN RIGHT AWAY.

    Yes, lots of negative trends are happening in our society. But most have been evident for 30 years or more. Change happens very slowly. We will adjust our expectations downward without hardly noticing. We are number 1… no 2… 5, 6… er, never mind.

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  21. 21
    whatsmyname says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 12:

    Looking ahead to the release of sales data, the new median should probably be a two year high, largely because the banks have not kept up the pace on processing short sales.

    Not to impose on you, but what do your vague sources think about the number of sales for the month?

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  22. 22
    David Losh says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 20

    but things didn’t happen slowly. In 2006, 2007, and 2008 we had a rolling global black out. One day everything is everything, just like we pictured it, and the next day the spiget got shut off.

    There are no more long term investments, pensions, Social Security, MediCare, or MedicAid, just like that, all the safety nets get decimated.

    Now there’s some talk about the deficit, Greece is getting hand outs from Germany, and Africa is in an uproar.

    Geez, that’s all in four years.

    Now you can say it took thirty years to make the mess, but that doesn’t help today.

    So, you’re saying the zombies aren’t at your door so they don’t exist. It’s like people with jobs saying unemployment isn’t that bad, or people who own a house free, and clear don’t see what all the fuss is about.

    The zombies are real people, with real lives, and real desperation. They are coming for you.

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  23. 23

    RE: Blurtman @ 18
    About ten years ago, the police raided the house next door, removing 700 mature marijuana plants. I never saw my neighbors and figured they worked odd hours or were very quiet. It turned out that nobody actually lived there. If these guys are out of jail, they might have a job waiting for them with the State of Washington.

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  24. 24

    RE: whatsmyname @ 21 – Better than last year, less than last month. Same disclaimer.

    The sales volume has become less meaningful, since there are too few places to buy. If there were more decent inventory, there would be more sales. Or stated differently, rather than being constricted by the number of buyers, as has been the case the last 4+ years (if not much longer), it’s constrained by the number of sellers.

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  25. 25
    ARDELL says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 21

    Kary can answer as to his “vague” sources. I can only answer as to my “cherry-picked” sources. :) Namely the areas I track which are Bellevue, Issaquah, Lake Washington and Northshore School Districts for the month (of November)..

    SFH Volume is up 16%, Median Price is up 13% and Distressed Property Sales are down 45%
    Condo Volume up 6%, Median Price up 13% and Distressed Property down 49%

    There is a significant change in the mix of Distressed Property Sales. Bank Owned dropped from 56 to 15 as to single family and from 43 to 16 on condos. Conversely Short Sales increased from 44 to 47 (tiny change) as to single family but increased from 14 to 28 on condos.

    If you modify the Price Increase on Single Family homes to account for the change in Distressed Property, the price increase YOY is only 2.5% vs 13%.

    I don’t think this change is because banks have gotten better at approving short sales. I think people are more willing to make higher offers on short sales because of the lack of inventory generally. Just saw one in Bellevue that was a short sale, and not a screaming deal by anyone’s stretch of the imagination, get 9 offers in the first 30 hours.

    As to Bank Owned being so low, I can’t tell if that is because banks are holding on to inventory or because more are selling at the Trustee Sale and not coming out the other side to go “on market” as listed in the mls bank owned properties.

    (Required Disclosure: Stats in this comment are not compiled, verified or published by The Northwest Multiple Listing Service.)

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  26. 26
    Blurtman says:

    Would it be inappropriate for David Gregory to push that ostentatious hair piece off of Tim Geithner’s head?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGW-OXauTA0

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  27. 27
  28. 28
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 24 – b>RE: ARDELL @ 25

    Thanks to you both for the information and your perspectives.

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  29. 29
    ChrisM says:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2012/12/housing_crash_leaves_a_generat.html#incart_river

    “But the housing crash hit especially hard for young, first-time homeowners who bought at or near the height of the market. By some counts, nearly half of mortgage holders under 40 years old are upside down.”

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  30. 30

    RE: ARDELL @ 25 – I haven’t been tracking condo short sales at all. So when I spoke of a blip up for a month or two, I was only addressing SFR.

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  31. 31

    RE: Pegasus @ 27 – Yes it will be de-criminalized next week, but you don’t think a real estate agent would wait for the state authorized stores?

    Street weed is to authorized retail outlet weed as FSBOs are to listed properties. ;-)

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  32. 32
    Tim says:

    Op Ed in WSJ regarding Costco’s dividend Christmas gift to shareholders. I’m sure there are a lot of shareholder and members here. Like I say: don’t listen to what people say, just watch what they do. It’s all you need to know.

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  33. 33
    David Losh says:

    RE: Tim @ 32

    This is an excellent example of what these historically low interest rates are being used for.

    Costco will borrow $3.5 Billion to pay a $3 Billion dividend to avoid the capital gains tax increase.

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  34. 34
    ChrisM says:

    Another awesome listing that really shows the value that Realtors(tm) provide:

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Elma/128-S-Bank-Rd-98541/home/14759812

    Unbelievable photos. Incredible public remarks that draw buyers like flies to sh**, which describes this listing.

    Clearly, William Osborne, RealHome Services & Solutions really knows how to sell…

    Holy cow, he has at least two listings!

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Elma/225-Stamper-Rd-98541/home/14758059

    Both of equal quality.

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