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.

38 responses to “June Reporting Roundup: Late Hype Edition”

  1. lester

    As an “on the fence” buyer, I really appreciate having a data driven rationale to what is happening in the market. Great post!

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  2. Agent in Seattle

    The problem with analysts is that they have no boots on the ground.

    You can analyze the numbers all you want, and then use that data to counteract what someone with boots on the ground has said, but I am not sure which is going to be more reliable.

    Truth is, most of the buyers out there are not engaging in multiple offers because they’ve lost out on 3, 4, 5 homes… so they wait. Just sold another property with 23 offers last week…

    While I think the slowdown is happening, it’s not because there is less demand… at least, not in my opinion.

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  3. whatsmyname

    “Only two offers? Compared to a few months ago, that’s nothing. Definitely a sign that things are calming.”

    Are you sure? This is Tacoma, not Seattle. They seemed to think this meant things are on fire. And both Pierce and Thurston counties have increasing numbers of sales, including June sales up from May sales. I would say the evidence points more to these areas “never were as hot”, as opposed to they are “calming”.

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  4. Jay

    I want to find out the risks of buying a bank owned property. I heard that banks prefer buyers waiving inspection, so I will have to do a preinspection. Also, bank owned homes usually have the water off, so I have to pay to turn the water on to check the pluming and water heater. What else do I need to check? Thanks!

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  5. wreckingbull

    RE: Agent in Seattle @ 2 – Perhaps, but the problem with used house salespeople is that they have no “eye in the sky”. Sorry, not as cute as “boots on the ground” but I tried.

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  6. Jonness

    Interesting that home prices were flat from a year ago down in Olympia. It’s also nice that this article highlighted some of the recent cooling.

    I notice the outlying areas are not experiencing the big price run-up everyone is raving about. Olympia is definitely flatlining YOY. This is partly due to all the cuts to State jobs in the area. But more-so, outlying areas are typically not experiencing the big price run-up occurring in the big cities. I’m seeing rural raw land parcels in many outlying areas selling for prices last seen in the late 90’s. In order for rural areas to run-up, the market would have to stay hot for an extended period, as opposed to blipping up temporarily in part because we previously reached a very good level of affordability, which higher rates are now partially offsetting.

    I locked my loan last October at 3.125% for a 30-year fixed and also got an $1820 kickback. That same loan today would be 4.5% without the kickback. I borrowed $270K, which means my monthly payment would be $212.00 more per month if I borrowed today. That’s real money, and it’s having an affect on current affordability.

    IMO, in order for the current rally to have legs, incomes will need to grow at a pace that offsets rising rates, and/or the Fed will have to stay in the game.

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  7. David Losh

    RE: Jonness @ 6

    The problem with the Case Shiller Index is that it takes metropolitan areas, twenty, I think, because I don’t really pay attention to such nonsense, and people think they are talking about all Real Estate.

    All Real Estate hasn’t had the same price increases as the highly manipulated metropolitan market places that enjoy things like tax, or investment incentives.

    There has been no rally in Real Estate. It’s a smoke, and mirrors thing to get people to buy mortgages.

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  8. GoBlueInSeattle

    So basically, houses in Seattle proper (and particularly Seattle north to about 85th or south to about Mt Baker) – the core areas – are in high demand. And houses in the crappy, non-affluent suburban areas are not. Plus anything that might be a decent enough area, but is a 45-minute to 1-hour commute to job centers.

    And this is surprising? A decent neighborhood, served by transit, within a reasonable walking distance to amenities and a less than 45 minute commute to work is always going to be in demand, absent disruptionary macroeconomic factors. (like, say, a once in 50+ years globalized banking & financial crisis).

    Its why I finally got off the fence & was willing to stretch to buy a house in NE Seattle, near multiple bus lines, in a good neighborhood, nears lots of amenities, and a 30 minute transit commute to downtown. I sleep quite soundly at night.

    There’s a big difference between the Seattle sub-markets and the rest of Puget Sound. And with every light rail station that Sound Transit opens up north and east, its going to get even more noticeable over the next 10 years.

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  9. corndogs

    RE: David Losh @ 7 – “There has been no rally in Real Estate. It’s a smoke, and mirrors thing to get people to buy mortgages.”

    Dumb as a stump. Nothing else to say really.

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  10. corndogs

    RE: David Losh @ 7 – “The problem with the Case Shiller Index is that it takes metropolitan areas, twenty, I think, because I don’t really pay attention to such nonsense, and people think they are talking about all Real Estate.”

    Actually. Case Shiller is the only thing of value that ‘The Tim’ posts. Nothing else has any meaning. Especially the junk that you post.

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  11. Matthew

    I just read an interesting post on zerohedge that said there is a strong correlation between mortgages rates and sales but that the latter lags the former by 6 months.

    Like they say in Game of Thrones:

    “Winter is coming”

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  12. 3rd Generation

    “7. David Losh
    July 6, 2013 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    RE: Jonness @ 6 –

    The problem with the Case Shiller Index is that it takes metropolitan areas, twenty, I think, because I don’t really pay attention to such nonsense, and people think they are talking about all Real Estate.”

    Do you have a son named Erik ? Are you mentally retarded ?

    Stick with cleaning toilets. We have enough turds clogging up the site here already.

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  13. corndogs

    RE: Matthew @ 11 – “I just read an interesting post on zerohedge that said there is a strong correlation between mortgages rates and sales but that the latter lags the former by 6 months.”

    Too bad it didn’t talk about prices. Nobody really gives a sh!t about sales volume. You’re not using your Democrat brain to make any other unstated and incorrect assumptions are you?

    “Winter is coming” true, but Autumn is actually next in line. it was funny last September when ‘The Tim’ said, prices and sales were headed south for the Winter……. Corndog had the first post on the thread to tell him would be wrong……. and he certainly was very wrong wasn’t he…. Tims IQ is about 1.5 Losh units. You are about parity at 1 Losh.

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  14. David Losh

    RE: corndogs @ 13RE: 3rd Generation @ 12RE: corndogs @ 10RE: corndogs @ 9
    I’m fascinated by people who have Real Estate as an investment, that keep hoping that Real Estate is driving an economic recovery.

    Do you guys really think we are in an economic recovery? Is Obama the greatest American President since Ronald Reagan?

    I personally have a lot of faith in the stock market and financial markets, but Real Estate would have to be proved.

    I think banks have done well in the run up of Real Estate prices, and if you sell now you have a chance of getting out at evens, or with a profit, but housing has changed.

    I have come around to the way of thinking that GoBlueinSeattle said; that if you buy the right location, for a good price, you will have something when you pay that property off, but outside of those choice locations it will be a struggle.

    A person can always buy well. I like Tim’s way of thinking about his property, and the way he approached it. Once again on our way back from Boom City I was thinking about the potential Everett has. I know Boeing may be another economic struggle, but we have friends out in Arlington who work in manufacturing plants that pay well.

    There are a lot of areas that I see as bull dozer bait, and better suited to apartments than row houses, but for now housing is the least of our concerns.

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  15. 2kt

    RE: David Losh @ 7

    Dave, once again, your post is a complete nonsense.

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  16. David Losh

    RE: 2kt @ 15

    No it’s not. Real Estate, as housing units, has finally changed into what it is, a place to store your carp.

    In our market place, in particular, in Seattle, before the crash of 2008, I could buy, fix, and sell a property for a net of $100K, or more. Since the crash I figure I can get half that.

    Yes, I also know people who have found suckers who ended up with a pile of poo for a massive price increase, but by the time I factor in all the risk it really is a crap shoot.

    The bubble bloggers have my attention while the Real Estate owners, who insult me, have nothing to say. It’s just stupid insults with no evidence Real Estate will come back as the “investment” it once was.

    You guys just don’t have the means, or where with all to take advantage of the lower returns rental housing has to offer.

    You present nothing, you have nothing to say, but God bless you for your right to free speech.

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  17. David Losh

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 12

    I love the cleaning business. It’s the best business I have owned, so far. It is all labor cost with very little investment.

    As a contractor I could be out of pocket $10K with the hope of getting that money out of the buyer of our services. Today I get paid daily, at the time of service, and my accounting is very straight forward. I’m doing mid year reports right now, well actually I’m procrastinating by being on this blog, but still the numbers look good.

    I’m looking at my next business opportunity because things are going well.

    Now if I compare the cleaning business to rental housing units I’m many, many dollars ahead by providing a service rather than hoping my renter will gift me my next months income.

    Would I be buying rentals today? Heck no. Would I be building? Heck no. I don’t have the where with all to compete in today’s market, and I doubt anyone here does either.

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  18. One Eyed Man

    RE: corndogs @ 13

    ” it was funny last September when ‘The Tim’ said, prices and sales were headed south for the Winter……. Corndog had the first post on the thread to tell him would be wrong……. and he certainly was very wrong wasn’t he…. Tims IQ is about 1.5 Losh units.”

    To be both more specific and perhaps a little more objective, prices were slightly down overall on the Seattle CSI from Sept ’12 to Feb ’13 (the “winter”). March ’13, which seasonally includes the beginning of spring, was clearly up. But on an individual month to month basis, the Seattle CSI was up slightly in Nov ’12 but was down slightly in each of Dec ’12, Jan ’13 and Feb ’13.

    Objectively speaking, there does appear to have been a modest seasonal winter decline in price. And please don’t bother us with any nominally different pattern in the median because as we all know median is affected by the change in mix away from distressed sales and you’ve also previously acknowledged that the CSI is the only stat worth looking at.

    While my recollection is that sales volume wasn’t down, volume wasn’t exactly an off the charts blow out either. That’s probably one for The Tim and one for the deep fried, carbohydrate coated wiener with a stick up its urethra (no wonder he’s so cranky). I guess by your own measure, that leaves you at about 1.5 on the Losh scale (a metric with somewhat dubious integrity due to the source of its less than objective scaling). And I’m pretty sure the extra .5 is mostly the stick, although that might be a catheter, given the level of egotistical incontinence chronically exhibited.

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  19. Matthew

    Cornholed,

    Why do I have a feeling you are posting from the luxurious comfort of your mom’s basement? Does Mrs Cornhole make a mean meatloaf?

    Sales volume and prices go hand and hand. It’s that whole supply and demand thing. Maybe you slept through economics. I picture you as a Columbia Basin College guy.

    And I am far from a Democrat. But I guess it makes you feel better to paint people with a broad brush if they disagree with you.

    Everyone that disagrees with Cornholed is an ugly socialist!!

    LOL. How very kindergarten of you.

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  20. One Eyed Man

    RE: Matthew @ 19

    Although I would find it touchingly poetic if CD lived in his mother’s basement, CD has previously told us that he lives in an approx. 4000 sq ft REO overlooking Gig Harbor that he bought in Feb(?) 2012 for about 500K. He continually brags that he bought it just as the last lemming jumped off the cliff and that he is brilliant for finding his personal bottom with both hands and a mirror.

    If you’d like to see pictures of the Homes of the Middle Class and Famous, you can probably find it (and maybe see photos) on one of the real estate brokerage sites (or maybe the MLS) or in the Pierce Co Imap as an early 2012 sale for about 500K. Its one lot up from the water on the north side of the bay. If you can’t find it, I’m sure I could find it and get you the AP# and the prior listing number although I will probably decline as I think CD regrets being so open about his abode after being so publicly rude to so many people. It’s a NW contemporary which isn’t my personal choice of style but its a nice location and nice house for the money. CD did well on the purchase and is an intelligent guy with some excellent insights into things like the comparatively limited amount of shadow inventory, the upside investment impact of the mortgage interest rate arbitrage for those who hope to make money holding long term, the importance of CAP rates as a barometer for investment property analysis, and similar statistically based observations about the real estate market.

    Perhaps CD would be nice enough to hold a Seattle Bubble meet up on his deck, because we all know how to find his place and his deck probably gets the afternoon sun and has a great view of Gig Harbor. Or, if we held a South Sound meet up (good for Ray, but too far for most others) at the Tides, we could probably see CD’s house across the bay. I occasionally am in the south sound sailing or fishing and I think I saw his place from the water while staying overnight in Gig Harbor last summer.

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  21. whatsmyname

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 18
    CSI is a backward looking, black box. They use undisclosed, proprietary algorithms to adjust for the fact that they can’t really look at the facts behind the data. Fair enough, given the massive size of the task, but the only thing you really know about it is that it is done by the same people who rated the risks on MBS/CDO reinsurance. You remember how that worked out.

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  22. One Eyed Man

    RE: whatsmyname @ 21

    I agree that CSI is largely a proprietary black box, and Krismer used to say his stats showed that it generally tracked the MLS median. But its still probably better than the median and the best index available. Although S & P may own CSI now (or was it sold or transferred again, I can’t remember?), I don’t think they originally develop the proprietary algorithms. A bunch of grad students studying under Case and Shiller probably did to earn their keep in the late 1980’s with revisions by others as the model matured over time.

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  23. whatsmyname

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 22
    I will half agree with you, anyway. I think it fairly well tracks the median, albeit in slightly retarded fashion. I like newer and more transparent with the clear caveat that you have to take the mix into account. I frankly wish Krismer would pop in at least monthly with his estimate of the non-distressed median. I think we would be seeing a much diminished difference from the overall median.

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  24. Blurtman

    RE: whatsmyname @ 23 – Kismer shipped off to Afghanistan several months back. He has a long term view of the RE market there.

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  25. Erik

    RE: 3rd Generation @ 12
    Don’t you ever ever ever suggest I have any relationship to Losh! Losh gets high and rambles online, I don’t. My thoughts are fairly clear and concise, Losh’s comments are not. Losh often contradicts himself.

    Please tell me where you disagree with me trust fund baby. I think you are a spoiled little brat use to getting his way.

    I do like the idea of measuring people’s intelligence in Losh units. Makes sense to me. I propose the scale ranges from 1-100 Losh units. I agree nobody on here is less than 1 Losh unit. Wreckingbull is atleast 10 Losh units.

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  26. Erik

    RE: corndogs @ 13
    I don’t think political view has anything to do with it. You, Matthew and Losh proclaim to be Republicans. Are you suggesting that you and your buddies are intelligent because you are Republicans? I know a lot of dumb republicans and lot of dumb democrats is my point.

    It seems like to link Republican to logical. That is certainly NOT the case.
    That would be like saying that every mathmatician, doctor, engineer, or lawyer is a Republican. That isn’t the case at all. I would assume it is opposite and more democrats are the thinkers, but I don’t know if that’s true.

    Good call on correcting Tim on his prediction though. Tim is wrong from time to time, but 1.5 Losh units seems really unfair. Tim is atleast 50 Losh units assuming the Losh intelligence index runs from 1-100 as I suggested above.

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  27. 2kt

    RE: David Losh @ 16

    Real estate offers predictable source of income and reasonable rate of return relative to cash returns. You posts are mostly incoherent rants, you lack logic and don’t understand even most elementary financial issues. God bless you and your cleaning business. I am glad you found your true calling.

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  28. Erik

    RE: corndogs @ 13
    I read back some posts and figured out the place you bought last. You got a great deal it looks like. I don’t have enough money or income to consider buying a house that expensive, but I did alright for what I was working with. Based on our situations, we both did good. You ultimately did much better because you had the finances. I just hope i get the opportunity to get a deal like that someday. I would brag too if my deal was that good.

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  29. Erik

    RE: Matthew @ 19
    Corndogs got an awesome deal on his place. I don’t think that is really debatable.

    He lives in Pierce County. Pierce County is full of rude angry people. I would be surprised if he wasn’t angry and rude. It is in his culture and he brings it to this blog.

    RE: whatsmyname @ 21

    It’s not a black box. Look at their website and it tells you how they compute it. Nobody knows which houses they use to make their calculation, but it isn’t a black box. I think it is a black box to you because you do not understand it.

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  30. Derek

    RE: Agent in Seattle @ 2

    Your “boots on the ground” is what data analysts call “anecdotal evidence”. Hate to burst your bubble.

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  31. David Losh

    RE: 2kt @ 27

    I just read your comment, and that is no argument.

    Rental income has never been predictable, and will decrease as time goes on. The consumer is in debt, maybe you missed that in today’s data.

    It’s pretty cheap to build apartments anywhere, and everywhere. As I understand the world of predictable income that income for apartment building is 6%. You’re rental portfolio would be 10%? with a promise of future appreciation. If you lose 10% in price and fall below the inflation rate of your over all investment then you have less of a return.

    Many consumers now have part time jobs, or contracts for work that used to be full time. We still have unemployment, and the government is cutting the budget.

    So where is your predictable rental income?

    The way prices, mortgages, and affordability are going your good renters will become responsible home owners.

    I’ve seen it before in the 1970s, and I think the bubble bloggers are right, we are in a new world of Real Estate.

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  32. whatsmyname

    By Erik @ 29:


    It’s not a black box. Look at their website and it tells you how they compute it. Nobody knows which houses they use to make their calculation, but it isn’t a black box. I think it is a black box to you because you do not understand it.

    Erik, they have a sophisticated, though necessarily generalized narrative which even a dolt like me can follow most of – very much like what you would find in a CMBS prospectus a few years ago. I am sure the equations help a fellow like you to believe that he understands what’s going on. But what will you do with those equations after realizing that, as you say, “Nobody knows which houses they use”……and as you don’t say, nobody knows how they do their weightings, or what revisions the Index Committee has mandated for index policy. (And all of this ignores how one would reasonably account for the lack of the significant portion of any current market that is new construction,) It is not to say that they are dishonest; I don’t think they are. We just can’t follow the inputs, i.e. a black box. In that way, you are correct when you say that I “do not understand it”. Are we different in that regard?

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  33. 2kt

    RE: David Losh @ 31

    Dave, show me “cheap apartments everywhere” in Seattle. From what I see, people pay close to $2/sqf. That ain’t cheap. Nothing is guaranteed, but you can always rent a decent home to decent people. I don’t see rents falling this year or next year. After that, we shall see. Once again, real estate offers a decent return versus cash return. What alternatives do you see, gold? stock market? Oh, I know cleaning business. This one, dear Dave, is like caviar, an acquired taste.

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  34. Jonness

    By cornholer @ 13:

    Tims IQ is about 1.5 Losh units. You are about parity at 1 Losh.

    Despite what we like to claim about ourselves or others, I have observed a tight correlation between the thumbs up:thumbs down ratio on this website and IQ.

    Actually, I apologize if this post offends anybody. I have been hysterically laughing at Mathew’s creative play on Corndog’s identity, and decided to post something humorous as a followup. No personal attacks intended. :)

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  35. Erik

    RE: whatsmyname @ 32
    I have spent hours looking at the case shiller equation, and I cannot completely get it either. I don’t understand the inputs like you are saying and what assumptions are made when those inputs are defined. It’s kinda like a FICO score. I don’t really get it, but in general I kinda get what’s going on. I just accept that it is correct. It is no more a black box than your fico score.

    RE: Jonness @ 34
    I would love it if corndogs was broke and lived in his mom’s basement. I saw the real estate move that he made and i was thoroughly impressed. He bought a place in gig harbor for 500,000 in feb 2012 with an extra lot he can sell. Really nice house it looked like online. He’ll end up owing 300,000 in Gig Harbor with a view of the water. You can hate him all you want, but at the end of the day it looks like he did pretty great on his buy. For a lot of us on here, that is the whole reason to blog on here… so we can make acquisitions like he did. That’s the reason i’m here. I think some people on here aren’t intelligent about understanding real estate as I have said. If I saw that those people made really smart deals, I would eat my hat and respect what they say. I haven’t seen that from those people I’m describing. The people I’m describing most likely inherited their money and they are slowly losing it.

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  36. corndogs

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 20 – Well, OneBallman, you have a habit of typing multiple page love letters to Corndog. Despite the wordiness, the theme is simple and repetitive. You compare my penis to a corndog, you talk about my a$$ and then you get creepy by complimenting me. Corndog says more in 3 sentences then you say in three pages. The way I tore you up a few months ago was brilliant and unique. Think long and hard, Oneball. Type for days… You are no Corndog.

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  37. corndogs

    RE: Matthew @ 19 – “Sales volume and prices go hand and hand. It’s that whole supply and demand thing. Maybe you slept through economics.”

    Really Maddy? Sales volume and prices go hand in hand? and you learned that in college? Doesn’t quite work that way with real estate little buddy. The truth is that sales volume has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with it outside of it’s affect on remaining inventory.

    So here’s a few graphs that compare sales prices and sales volume for Seattle. I see sales volume dramatically increasing 2000-2004 while prices were relatively flat. I see sales volume flat then decreasing as prices went through the roof 2004-2007. The lowest sales volume was 2009, but the lowest price wasn’t until 2012. If your point is that they are inversely related, then why are sales volume and price both going up recently. Maddy, you are simply wrong. So back to your original post, I will reiterate, a correlation between interest rates and sales volume is absolutely meaningless in regards to price.

    http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Seattle-Washington/market-trends/

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  38. One Eyed Man

    RE: corndogs @ 36

    So from your lack of response to the substance of my comment, I guess you admit that your comment #13 was partially incorrect and primarily just another boastful rant to belittle others and satisfy your own ego.

    Second, please don’t mistake my acknowledgement that you’ve made some substantively good comments to be any form of complement. Its simply a statement of the facts as I see them.

    And just to correct the record, I don’t recall ever making any reference to your anatomy in my comments on prior threads. (I will acknowledge that I may be wrong. Unlike corndog, I’ve been wrong before.) Its my recollection that you were the one who made observations about my anatomy in your prior comments and I more or less requested that in the future, you keep your face away from my crotch.

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