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.

16 responses to “Top 10 Most-Viewed Posts of 2012”

  1. Lo Ball Jones

    Happy New Year…it’s time for a little comment feature we call “The Wall of Reality”.

    Look at what $175,000 gets you in Kennwick!

    http://www.envisionwa.com/plans/1751/royal-ann-estates/

    Think about it…and they have some of the best bicycling roads in the country!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  2. ARDELL

    RE: Lo Ball Jones @ 1

    I didn’t know where Kennewick was so I googled it. This is what came up “Kennewick is a city in Benton County in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Washington, near the Hanford nuclear site.”

    So then I googled Hanford Nuclear Site and got this “The Hanford site represents two-thirds of the nation’s high-level radioactive waste by volume. Today, Hanford is the most contaminated nuclear site in the United States and is the focus of the nation’s largest environmental cleanup”.

    Do you think home price differences do not contain a huge dose of “reality”? I have nothing against $175,000 for a new home…but there’s always a reason for the price difference. There are reasons why some places are more expensive than others.

    I’d rather have an old house near downtown Monroe at that price than a new house there…but then I lived through the whole Three Mile Island thing.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  3. wreckingbull

    RE: ARDELL @ 2 I am a bit surprised you are not familiar with Kennewick or Hanford, but you may be new to our state. No big deal. You should spend some time over there; very interesting country actually.

    Another reality about the Tri-cities and Hanford is that Hanford and its associated contractors provide some very solid and well-paying jobs.

    http://www.hanford.gov/page.cfm/HanfordContractors

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  4. Azucar

    RE: ARDELL @ 2

    Ok, so discounting the land to say $25,000 due to it’s location and proximity to nuclear waste, what I get out of the link is that it should be about $150,000 in “parts and labor” to build a new 3 bedroom 2.5 bath 1750 sq. ft. house… or at most around $175,000 as that’s what these are going for so even if the land was free that’s what the house is worth.

    There’s a fair number of tear-down/fixer houses, and vacant land, around the Seattle area that sell for under $200,000.

    So what that tells me is that if I could get this builder to build me a house on a lot that I were to acquire in Seattle, I should be able to get a brand new 3 BR, 2.5 Bath, 1750 sq. ft. house in a decent area of Seattle (wherever I can find a lot for $200,000) for under $400,000.

    Now I just need to find a vacant lot in a good neighborhood!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  5. ARDELL

    RE: wreckingbull @ 3

    Tri-Cities is a whole different territory. I pretty much stay in the areas where I work and fly out of the State when I take a break. An agent is always a student of the market, and the market is never State-wide. :

    I do go South of I-90 to get a decent Philly Cheesesteak at Hey Paison in Burien because they have the best Philly Cheesesteak, even if they do spell paisano wrong.

    I never work in areas where I would not live or where I would not want my children or grandchildren to live. I draw some pretty impenetrable lines as to where I wander. Moreso with buyer clients than with seller clients.

    I have lived and worked in 5 States and it’s always been the same. I spend almost all of my time only in the areas where I work. I’m one of those I AM what I DO people. Not much interest in life outside of family and my work.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. ARDELL

    RE: Azucar @ 4

    There’s a lot of talk like that lately. Lots of people wanting a new house where there aren’t new houses or just frustrated with low inventory. In the 22+ years I have been in the business I have never seen anyone pull that off as a reality in that price range, though I have heard people thinking that way often.

    It just doesn’t work that way. You lose the economies of scale. There are a lot of other reasons why it just never happens, but yes…lots and lots of people are thinking that way right now. Turning it into a reality is easier said than done.

    I haven’t seen anyone able to grab a $200,000 lot and build a house on it for $400,000. It looks good on paper…but it just doesn’t happen.

    Let me know if you see anyone pull that off. Everyone I have ever heard start with that premise, ends up buying an old house in a good neighborhood or a newer townhome.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  7. Howard

    I believe that there are many factors:

    Building permits are more expensive here. I have friends who spent $30k on $500k house
    Cost of connecting to utilities are probably more expensive
    Energy efficiency building standards are probably higher here. The above house had to have heated make up air for the kitchen hood
    You can probably find skilled trades people out there for $20/hour… Those same people are making $32-$40 per hour here

    I have been told to expect $175 to $200 per sqft for hard costs… That house in the nuke zone at $100 per is uncontainable here..

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  8. ARDELL

    RE: Howard @ 7

    Off topic…but the stock market is going to go nuts in the a.m. I think it will be up 200 points before I even wake up and could end up at 13,500. We might even see back to peak in the stock market in the very near future.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  9. Ira Sacharoff

    By ARDELL @ 8:

    RE: Howard @ 7

    Off topic…but the stock market is going to go nuts in the a.m. I think it will be up 200 points before I even wake up and could end up at 13,500. We might even see back to peak in the stock market in the very near future.

    “Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future.”- Yogi Berra

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  10. Azucar

    By ARDELL @ 6:

    RE: Azucar @ 4

    There’s a lot of talk like that lately. Lots of people wanting a new house where there aren’t new houses or just frustrated with low inventory. In the 22+ years I have been in the business I have never seen anyone pull that off as a reality in that price range, though I have heard people thinking that way often.

    It just doesn’t work that way. You lose the economies of scale. There are a lot of other reasons why it just never happens, but yes…lots and lots of people are thinking that way right now. Turning it into a reality is easier said than done.

    I haven’t seen anyone able to grab a $200,000 lot and build a house on it for $400,000. It looks good on paper…but it just doesn’t happen.

    Let me know if you see anyone pull that off. Everyone I have ever heard start with that premise, ends up buying an old house in a good neighborhood or a newer townhome.

    Hey, The Tim, is this something you could do a post about? The feasibility of having a cookie cutter type home (one like the $175K 3 BR 2.5 BA that is neighbors with the nuclear waste site) instead be built on a lot where someone might want to live, like:

    Kirkland – http://www.redfin.com/WA/Kirkland/11843-89th-Pl-NE-98034/home/282032

    or

    North/western Lake Washington – http://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/11907-Lakeside-Pl-NE-98125/home/319127

    Does the loss of the “economies of scale” really drive the price up where the house/lot combo would be over $400k? Is it other factors (permits, cost of labor in Seattle, etc.)? Or could it be done? There’s cheap cookie-cutter neighborhoods closer to Seattle where they’re “selling homes from as low as 224K” ( http://www.lennar.com/New-Homes/Washington/Seattle/Lake-Stevens/Cascade-Crest ). Why couldn’t the guys who are building those go down and build a place on a lot of my choosing? Assuming the lake Stevens lot is at least $40k of the price of those homes, the “parts and labor” should be under $180k. Could one of those homes be built on a $180K lot, producing a $360K total price for a new home on a lot that isn’t surrounded by duplicates/mirror image floorplans of itself? If so, why doesn’t that happen more, especially considering the low inventory of quality newer homes out there at reasonable prices? Is it because those cookie cutter homes aren’t “quality”, and people who go to the trouble of finding their own lot and arranging the building on it want higher quality… which ends up costing more?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  11. wreckingbull

    Wise man once say:

    He who lives above subduction zone should not cast aspersions at brother who lives near nuclear research site.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  12. ChrisM

    RE: Lo Ball Jones @ 1 – Hmmm. Having grown up in the Tri-Cities I fled as soon as possible.

    Yeah, Tri-Cities is cheap compared to Seattle. So is Lubbock. There’s a reason…

    I was in Tri-Cities earlier this summer – I’m still astonished to see the insane housing there. Ugly as all get out.

    Also, Hanford is very boom/bust, if you’re contemplating a career there.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  13. Lo Ball Jones

    By ARDELL @ 2:

    RE: Lo Ball Jones @ 1
    Hanford Nuclear Site

    Is that any worse than the radioactive debris that is still floating to us from Fukushima?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  14. Lo Ball Jones

    By ARDELL @ 8:

    RE: Howard @ 7 Off topic…but the stock market is going to go nuts in the a.m.

    A stock market rally fueled not by increases in productivity but by perception of a government action that is perceived as beneficial but which taxes the lowest paid Americans by $1000 more, preventing them from spending that in retail and the rest of the consumer economy.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  15. Blurtman

    RE: Lo Ball Jones @ 14

    “Fiscal wounds still screaming
    Driving me insane
    I’m going off the rails on a crazy train
    I’m going off the rails on a crazy train”

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x11e2y_ozzy-osbourne-crazy-train_music

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  16. Macro Investor

    By Lo Ball Jones @ 14:

    By ARDELL @ 8:
    RE: Howard @ 7 Off topic…but the stock market is going to go nuts in the a.m.

    A stock market rally fueled not by increases in productivity but by perception of a government action that is perceived as beneficial but which taxes the lowest paid Americans by $1000 more, preventing them from spending that in retail and the rest of the consumer economy.

    Market participants see it as avoiding another major recession, which would have been triggered by the automatic spending cuts.

    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 5 comments remaining on this post.

Archives

Find us on Google+