Posted by: Timothy Ellis (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.

38 responses to “Monday Open Thread (2012-12-03)”

  1. Kary L. Krismer

    By David Losh @ 33:

    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.

    It’s dividend rates, not capital gains rates. The reason dividends are taxed at lower rates is different than the reason capital gains have lower rates.

    This is actually an example of board members and officers putting their own personal interests ahead of the interests of the corporation. The corporation had no reason to do this, and it actually hurts the corporation. Presumably though, the members/officers control a lot of shares, so depending on what percentage, maybe that’s okay.

    In any case, it’s actually a clear example of how tax policy affects behavior, and evidence that pfft’s “studies” indicating that higher taxes don’t affect employment are BS.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  2. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: ChrisM @ 34 – There was a REO agent in the Seattle area that used to only use one photo on each listing. I actually liked that he did that because although it might waste my time going to look at a place that was a dump, if it wasn’t a dump, it meant my client would have less competition.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  3. apartment boy

    Just saw a Bloomberg newswire saying that Russia hired Goldman Sachs to helped polish it’s image in the international investment community.

    You simply can’t make this stuff up.
    The writers for ‘The Onion’ and ‘Mad Magazine’ are pikers…..compared to the new reality.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  4. Bingo

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1

    Isn’t it a bit ironic? James Sinegal, the co-founder and largest non-institutional shareholder of Costco (holds 947,860 shares directly) who is one of Obama’s BFFs (spoke at the Democratic Convention and is an advocate sparing the middle class of tax increases) stands to receive $6,600,000 in taxed advantaged dividends if paid out before the end of year.

    Classify this in the category of “Watch what they do, not what they say”.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  5. Kary L. Krismer

    Lawyers rank below bankers for honesty, in this Gallup poll.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/159035/congress-retains-low-honesty-rating.aspx

    They didn’t rank real estate agents, or lawyers who are real estate agents.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. Pegasus

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 5 – Why bother trying to rate the dregs of society? Misery likes company?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  7. Macro Investor

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 1:

    By David Losh @ 33:
    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.

    This is actually an example of board members and officers putting their own personal interests ahead of the interests of the corporation. The corporation had no reason to do this, and it actually hurts the corporation. Presumably though, the members/officers control a lot of shares, so depending on what percentage, maybe that’s okay.

    This goes against what they teach in business school, but it’s something I’ve noticed as well. In most cases, stock ownership is so fragmented all the power goes to management, and management runs the corporation for the benefit of themselves. When they have a large ownership, they have the right to ruin their own company if that’s what they want to do.

    Small shareholder really are low man on the totem pole. They should expect to be milked by high executive salaries, bonuses and stock options. And if the corporation gets milked so much it fails, they will generally lose their entire investment.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  8. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Macro Investor @ 7 – In most cases they can probably make some argument that what they’re doing benefits the corporation. I don’t see how they can do that here.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  9. David Losh

    RE: Macro Investor @ 7

    The fact is they will borrow the $3.5 Billion at a seet heart rate, pay it back with future profits, and pocket the tax advantage.

    It is like a big play ground for management with money coming in daily, until it doesn’t add up to profits any more. At that point they can bankrupt the corporation, or negotiate a pension, benefits, or lower wage package.

    In Costco’s case there is very little risk. It is a new company with years of tricky business to come.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  10. Blurtman

    RE: Bingo @ 4 – Are you with me then? To the guillotines!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  11. ricklind

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 5:

    Lawyers rank below bankers for honesty, in this Gallup poll.

    Got that right.

    Sorry Kary, I could not resist.
    Fortunately, I have some very ethical Attorney friends.

    Fel Temp Reparatio

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  12. Pegasus

    Goldman under scrutiny over WAMU’s demise:

    Creditor attorneys say there’s “unmistakable” evidence Washington Mutual was victimized by naked short sales in the months leading up to its September 2008 bankruptcy filing. They want to know if long-time investment banker Goldman Sachs was involved in “abnormally high levels’ of short selling of Washington Mutual’s stock.

    http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2012/12/03/wamu-trustees-seek-goldman-probe/

    Both of our wonderful Senators have refused to investigate this behavior in the past. Why would they finally start now?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  13. Ira Sacharoff

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 5:

    Lawyers rank below bankers for honesty, in this Gallup poll.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/159035/congress-retains-low-honesty-rating.aspx

    They didn’t rank real estate agents, or lawyers who are real estate agents.

    Real estate agents would be below used car salesmen, and lawyers who are real estate agents would have a negative number, akin to a rat or cockroach.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  14. Kary L. Krismer

    On the topic of LED bulbs, Phillips is changing theirs shortly.

    http://www.extremetech.com/electronics/142134-philips-revamps-mainstay-led-bulb-a19-led-is-prettier-and-more-efficient

    The exposed yellow is gone, the fins are gone and it’s more efficient. Also, two color temperatures. I didn’t really care that much for the old one, but I don’t have any place I need the new one, so it may be a while before I try it out.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  15. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Pegasus @ 12 – How is short selling going to cause a bank to fail? It was the Senator from NY that helped tip WAMU over. Will he be involved with this investigation?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  16. ChrisM

    Ray, this one’s for you.

    Fun story of someone who didn’t know about squatting options…

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-loft-squatter-20121202,0,6392806,full.story

    “Cote, 43, remembers the excitement when he and his then-wife moved into the Little Tokyo Lofts five years ago: dinners at new restaurants popping up in the Arts District and nights out at L.A. Live. They’d picked the loft because of its low cost per square foot, he said, after convincing themselves that the homelessness and blight around skid row were “part of the charm.”

    Moral of the story – keep current on your HOA dues!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  17. Pegasus

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 15 – They claim this was illegal shorting to drive the price down. Turning a company’s stock into a penny stock makes it almost impossible to raise money especially through the sale of shares, creates fear, etc, etc. Since it is against the law I am certain you will defend the practice with excuses and ridiculous remarks.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  18. softwarengineer

    RE: ChrisM @ 16

    I Visited Hollywwod a Few Years Ago

    My rented condo had a “security” steel gate and the “rentals” were so vacant there, they were renting ‘em out by the night like hotels. Same with Vegas lately, ya can get a big modern condo for the price of hotel room, on the Strip too.

    California’s bankrupt, so is NV.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  19. Kary L. Krismer

    By Pegasus @ 17:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 15 – They claim this was illegal shorting to drive the price down. Turning a company’s stock into a penny stock makes it almost impossible to raise money especially through the sale of shares, creates fear, etc, etc. Since it is against the law I am certain you will defend the practice with excuses and ridiculous remarks.

    I’m not sure what would make that illegal. Just a reporter claiming it’s illegal, or someone wanting to bring a lawsuit claiming it’s illegal, well that does not make it illegal.

    As far as I know, it’s still legal in this country to buy and sell as much stock as you want. That will impact its price. If you’re doing other things in conjunction with those transactions, such as maybe hyping a penny stock on an Internet forum, that could result in illegality. But I don’t think just shorting a lot of a stock is any more likely to be illegal than buying a lot of a stock. Do you have reason to believe otherwise?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  20. redmondjp

    RE: ChrisM @ 16 – I read that story yesterday. I don’t know about all HOAs, but the one I am in can only place a lien against the property for unpaid dues. That wouldn’t affect one’s ability to stay in the property. I would be most worried about unpaid property taxes.

    I just talked to somebody who built a new house five years ago and has stopped making their payments (still living there). Apparently the bank is making their property tax payments and adding the balance to their loan abount.

    Strange times, these!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  21. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: ChrisM @ 16 – 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(16) is rather nasty when it comes to condo dues.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/11/523

    This wasn’t really much of an issue when I was practicing, so I never had to deal with it.

    Someone though should have clearly consulted with an attorney, rather than getting their advice off the Internet or dealing with walk away scammers.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  22. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: redmondjp @ 20 – There is no personal liability in Washington state for unpaid real property taxes. The only remedy the county has is to go against the property.

    If the lender pays the tax, then you could have liability via that route.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  23. softwarengineer

    Should I Buy a House, Rent or Invest My Money in Seattle?

    Nov 0.11% 0.16% 0.57% 1.53% 2.41%
    YTD 1.35% 4.43% 15.03% 15.46% 14.04%
    Last 12 mo 1.50% 5.49% 16.22% 15.42% 11.72%

    Let’s see, in order, longterm CDs [+1.50% YOY] , pathetic return….but American mutual stock funds….WOWZA…..+16.22% YOY.

    Maybe crimped home inventory and “pathetic return” government subsidized zombie interest rates are the “cat’s meow” for the stock market?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  24. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 19 – Insider trading might make it illegal, but I don’t think that is actionable by third parties. It might be an SEC enforced only type of claim.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  25. Kary L. Krismer

    Part of a news story on a company caught illegally storing 6 million pounds of explosives:

    Explo has not commented on the investigation. Its website says the company has been in existence for seven years and that it has been “demilitarizing” and recovering explosives and propellant for 15 years.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Explosives-cleanup-jars-Louisiana-town-4088523.php#ixzz2E6u4Y6Wd

    Apparently they had a major accident at one time, where the explosive force was so great it knocked them back in time 8 years!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  26. Pegasus

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 19 – As usual you need to read the article before you open your yap and start expounding nonsense. They are talking about illegal shorting not the legal buying and selling of shares. Yes they still have to prove it as always(duh) and they are targeting one of the prime members of the kleptocracy who gets a free pass on most of their other illegal activities.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  27. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Pegasus @ 26 – As usual, you need to learn to read. I wrote why I don’t think it’s illegal to short shares as many shares as you want, absent some other factor (e.g. hyping a penny stock, insider trading). I asked if you had any reason to believe otherwise. You have not answered that question, and apparently didn’t even read what I wrote.

    But in any case, I did read the article. So bad guess on your part.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  28. softwarengineer

    RE: redmondjp @ 20

    Can’t Speak for All HOAs

    My HOA is recently hardcore [immediate attorney action to force foreclosure] and yes, puts an immdediate lean on the house against the bank against deadbeat owners [I believe we, the bank too, signed fine print, if you don't pay your HOA fees; the HOA can take the whole house too].

    The sherriff is out to evict the old deadbeat owners “pronto” and has. A legal minded HOA has that advantage I imagine over not living in a HOA and having to share the neigbborhood with “forever” squatters devaluing the neighborhood….

    We don’t allow junk cars or cars parked on our private roads period. You have to park in a driveway or a rented extra spot. A great security aspect BTW.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  29. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: softwarengineer @ 28 – As long as we’re covering using words incorrectly today, it’s lien, not lean.

    Also, as to jpredmond’s post, I forgot to add that there may be personal liability on condo dues. It’s clearer as to newer condos (ones covered by the most recent Condo act), but as I recall, Craig Blackmon thinks the liability exists on the older condos too.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  30. Pegasus

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 27 – As usual you have made it clear you have no idea what the article is talking about and you just had to throw out some nonsense that have nothing to do with the allegations. Try educating yourself about illegal shorting first.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  31. Kary L. Krismer

    RE: Pegasus @ 30 – As usual, you think allegations are true without understanding the legalities. This is just like the fraud issue. You think the elements of fraud are someone calling something fraud. Here you think something is illegal just because someone (with an obvious financial interest) calls it illegal.

    But for the third time, if you have some reason to think it’s illegal, please explain. You’ve failed to do that twice now, which to me is clear evidence this is yet another area where you don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  32. Pegasus

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 31 – Should I bother to explain why armed robbery is illegal just because you are clueless about anything being illegal? They are accusing Goldman of engaging in illegal behavior but you want to try the whole case right now with your baloney answers. The whole point is you know nothing about illegal shorting but you had to make up some nonsense to try to make it look like you did. You failed.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  33. Kary L. Krismer

    By Pegasus @ 32:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 31 I admit it Kary. I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground.

    Thank you for that admission. Further discussion on this topic is rather obviously pointless.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  34. Kary L. Krismer

    Here’s something from the Chairperson of the SEC, in 2009, indicating naked short selling wasn’t per se illegal at that time.

    http://fcic-static.law.stanford.edu/cdn_media/fcic-docs/2010-01-14%20Mary%20Schapiro%20Written%20Testimony.pdf

    But upon reading that, I do recall some restrictions on short selling of financial entities during the height of the financial crisis. I thought that was nonsense at the time, but if those regs were violated, it would be illegal even if it didn’t make sense (sort of like this country’s drug laws). Same comment as before though on that being actionable. I suspect only the SEC can pursue that type of claim.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  35. Blurtman

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 34 – Mary Schapiro is a buffoon. And Chris Cox should be in jail. Saw an interview with Gary Gensler on the Laura Luyster show re:Corzine crimes. “Yes, we are looking into it, and, and we are on record as saying this is potentially as area of concern,….blah….blah..blah…bloviation…bloviation…bloviation…

    “Oh, look, the robbers are speeding away.”

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  36. ricklind

    Interesting big picture view from PIMCO
    Maybe someone can bump it to tomorrows blog if I am tardy, it is worth a read.
    http://www.pimco.com/EN/Insights/Pages/Strawberry-Fields-Forever.aspx

    Fel Temp Reparatio
    “Happy days are here again”

    Rick

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  37. ricklind

    OK, party time, set your clocks.

    How long will the mortgage co transaction described below take to approve, and how many requests for more info. Vote: time in days, number of requests. No prize, just maybe smarter. OK, I will send a gift card, if you want it.

    A hypothetical someone sent in yesterday, Mon Dec 3, the paperwork ( income, taxes, retirement, etc, etc) for a re-fi of 45% loan against assessed value with a valuation of 140% (appraisal 140% of assessed) on a rental with positive cash flow and sufficient cash in all accounts. No cash flow issues, or market value issues. Straight re-fi for rate improvement.

    The terms: 15 year fixed. 2.75% Good market points. Essentially a good fair market quote.
    Oh, credit score 820. Yes, 820.

    Last time this hypothetical person did this he/she almost pulled the plug when the questions were endless after 3 months, but the broker “sensed” his/her very most extreme irritation about having a financial rectal exam without any KY jelly and tipped off the 20 year old lendor rep that he/she was about to lose a customer. No more questions after that..
    Nothing against 20 year olds, I have had 2 in my family. I just don’t want them to make my financial decisions.

    Here we go again.

    I vote 46 days and 4 more problematic requests, not counting routine faxes, emails, etc.

    Fel Temp Reparatio

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  38. ChrisM

    RE: ricklind @ 36 – Yeah, I read that earlier. I sort of agree w/ Gross’ analysis. Who can make long-term plans in this environment?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

Leave a Reply

Do you want a nifty avatar picture next to your name, instead of a photograph of Tim's dog? Just sign up with Gravatar, and make sure to use the same email address in the form below. It's that easy!

Please read the rules before posting a comment.

You have 25 comments remaining on this post.

Archives

Find us on Google+