Weekly Open Thread (2013-12-02)

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Here is your open thread for the week of December 2nd, 2013. 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.

Note: The comment limit in open threads is 25 comments per person.

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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.

38 comments:

  1. 1
    Blurtman says:

    Go Hawks!

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  2. 2
    The Tim says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 1 – Hah, that game was sort of a letdown… if you were hoping for a close contest, that is.

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  3. 3
    redmondjp says:

    RE: The Tim @ 2 – Even more of a letdown was the failure of Snowmageddon to materialize. SDOT heeded the hype and heavily coated the West Seattle Bridge with slip-n-slide deicer solution (entire roadway surface, not the thin stripes) just before noon yesterday in anticipation of freezing conditions which failed to occur.

    The deicer caused multiple single and multi-car accidents which ended up shutting the bridge down for over two hours. I drove over the bridge and back during my lunch hour, and saw three accidents that had just happened moments before. I actually thought that my clutch had gone out at a stop light, as I tried to go when the light changed and my car didn’t even move for several seconds!

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  4. 4

    By The Tim @ 2:

    RE: Blurtman @ 1 – Hah, that game was sort of a letdown… if you were hoping for a close contest, that is.

    That game reminded me a bit of the 1986 Seahawks/Dallas 1986 Thanksgiving day game where the Seahawks destroyed Dallas 31-14. That game though was perhaps a bit more of a surprise because the Hawks weren’t that good that year, and Dallas was thought to be better than it was.

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  5. 5
    Blake says:

    RE: The Tim @ 2
    It may have been a letdown for some, but for those of us season ticket holders it was F*&king AWESOME!!! This Hawks team is really special… What a year!! Can’t wait for the playoffs!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  6. 6
    Blake says:

    A bit alarmist perhaps, but what you you all think of this?
    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/talking-numbers/bove-government-destroy-american-mortgages-permanently-181249759.html
    -snip-

    “If Fannie and Freddie go away, what then happens to the mortgage markets?” asks Bove. “The answer to that question is that we no longer have things like 20-year and 30-year mortgages because banks are not going to put that type of mortgage on their balance sheets. And we won’t have fixed-rate mortgages.”

    Unlike the rest of the developed world, most homes in the US are bought with long-term fixed mortgages. Prior to the Great Depression, mortgages often required 50% down with interest only payments for five years with the principal due in full after those five years were up. To stabilize the mortgage market during that economic crisis, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) helped develop the 30-year fully amortizing fixed-rate mortgage which it would insure. Fannie Mae’s original role was to package FHA-insured loans from individual lenders and sell them to the markets; it is now also the largest purchaser and seller of residential mortgages.
    Bove says the banks he spoke with won’t be able to provide 30-year mortgages in large quantities without Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the markets. “I’ve called a number of very large banks – the largest issuers of mortgages in the United States – and asked them, ‘If there was no Fannie and Freddie, what would be the typical mortgage in the United States?’ And, the answer is a 10- to 15-year adjustable rate mortgage.”

    The end of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is a major sea-change in how the government views affordable housing, according to Bove.

    “It is no longer the goal of the United States government that every household should have its own home,” say Bove. “In my view, that’s a call for a return of public housing and all of the ills that went with public housing.”

    But, it’s not just affordable housing that will go away with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, says Bove. It’s also home equity and the added consumer spending that goes along with it.

    “If your mortgage cannot be a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage – [if] it’s a 10-year adjustable rate mortgage – then, the monthly cost of owning a house goes up dramatically,” says Bove. “And, if the monthly cost of owning a house goes up dramatically, the price of the house goes down. There is no equity buildup in order to have home equity loans in order to buy cars, boats, what have you. So, it has an impact on the overall economy, not just Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

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  7. 7
    The Tim says:

    RE: Blake @ 6

    “It is no longer the goal of the United States government that every household should have its own home,” say Bove. “In my view, that’s a call for a return of public housing and all of the ills that went with public housing.”

    Hah, what? So if the government isn’t helping people buy homes that they couldn’t otherwise afford (and sometimes can’t afford even with the help), then that equates to a country full of “projects”?

    Nice “logic” on display in that article.

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  8. 8

    You X Generation Didn’t See the Complete Failure of President Johnson’s “Great Society”

    Where we built the poor MASS homes and they quickly destroyed them all, ending this useless/wasteful project with bull dozers.

    Sounds like the Seattle area’s lack of decent inventory, a lion’s share destroyed by poor families who didn’t qualify to buy….its not just easy money that creates housing price stability, its good incomes that can afford the upkeep and the mortgage payments too…its too late for Seattle now.

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  9. 9

    RE: Blake @ 6 – I’m not sure why the article believes the banks won’t want that kind of asset on their balance sheets. Is Washington Federal not a bank?

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  10. 10

    By Blake @ 5:

    RE: This Hawks team is really special… What a year!! Can’t wait for the playoffs!

    Much better than the team that went to the Super Bowl in 2006. At that point in time the entire NFC was a joke and the NFC West was particularly weak.

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  11. 11
    Blurtman says:

    RE: The Tim @ 2 – Next Sunday might be a little more interesting, perhaps.

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  12. 12
    Blurtman says:

    Dick Bove is a banking industry apologist and acts as a PR man for the banksters. If this is what he is saying, he is likely reading a script provided to him by the banking industry.

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  13. 13

    This is a day late, most places, but remember to remove hoses from outside faucets, turn off water to exterior faucets with shutoffs, cover older outside faucets, etc. If the house is vacant, probably best to turn off the water.

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  14. 14

    Don’t Mix Cheap Midwest Housing Apples With Expensive Seattle Westcoast Housing Oranges

    “…The wide disparity in housing costs between states and regions is the main reason why a family with the same income may feel poor in one place but not in another. For example, in 2012 the supplemental poverty threshold for a family of four living outside a metropolitan area in Kentucky was $18,000. The threshold for the same family living in the San Francisco/San Jose metropolitan area of California—one of the most expensive housing markets in the country—was $35,500. Nationally, the official federal poverty threshold for a family of four is $23,283….”

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/12/04/pew-stateline-state-poverty-rates/3867527/

    Good Gosh, the $36K poverty level income in San Francisco [Seattle too?] is about the mean household income nationally…..and expensive area’s real estate is stable? I’d add “predictable” too? America is a 3rd world poverty country in areas like Seattle, we’re there.

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  15. 15
    Norma Juarez says:

    Just a heads up to all R.E. professionals out there. Allen Dupuy at Windermere – Ephrata has retired. He was a great Central WA asset and will be missed. The ladies at his former office can assist you with his old listings. Enjoy your “Golden Years” Allen!

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  16. 16

    The NWMLS numbers are out, and not really anything interesting to report. Volume is down slightly from last year, and the median pendings and solds continues to decline (but above last November). Bank owned and SS continue to be relatively low.

    Really pretty boring. It will be interesting to see how this is spun.

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  17. 17
    Dirty Renter in Banjo Country says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 12
    Bove talks his book, like no one else. Granted, that may, at times, align w/ the big banks but he’ll also bash them if it helps his book. An acquaintance used to call him ‘the neckless wonder’.
    Anton Schutz is the bank analyst to follow.

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  18. 18

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 16:

    Really pretty boring. It will be interesting to see how this is spun.

    We’re probably two days away from Tim’s piece on the coverage, but I like the Time’s spin, which is that a 7% YOY gain is much better than a +10% YOY gain. I wish I had thought of that, but I spent yesterday in a mind-numbing activity.

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  19. 19
    Macro Investor says:

    By Blake @ 6

    If Fannie and Freddie go away…

    Stop the quote right there. No way this happens, IN OUR LIFETIMES.

    If dot gov stopped subsidizing housing finance in all the ways they do — it would kill the housing market and crash prices. Which means bank collateral would all be under water, and the banking system would need another gigantic bailout. Since banks basically own politics, this whole idea is just a scare tactic and advertisement for existing gov programs.

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  20. 20
    Blake says:

    RE: Macro Investor @ 19
    Agreed.

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  21. 21
    Bill Johnson says:

    Has anybody noticed an abnormal number of new listings in seattle, the past couple of days, that have only one picture of the front of the house and no other pictures. Why would that be?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  22. 22
    Erik says:

    RE: Bill Johnson @ 21
    That is because inventory is so low these days people will buy just about anything. Inside pictures are no longer required to sell a house.

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  23. 23

    By Bill Johnson @ 21:

    Has anybody noticed an abnormal number of new listings in seattle, the past couple of days, that have only one picture of the front of the house and no other pictures. Why would that be?

    It sometimes takes time to get the rest of the pictures if you use a professional photographer. There’s a rule that you have to have one picture within 24 or 48 hours, so one picture will appear to avoid a fine.

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  24. 24

    The P-I is reporting that Zillow’s “crystal ball” is predicting that Seattle will be one of the hottest markets.

    http://www.seattlepi.com/realestate/article/Seattle-predicted-to-be-among-hottest-home-5038742.php

    Do you think the use of the term “crystal ball” was intended to convey skepticism by Aubrey?

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  25. 25
    redmondjp says:

    Crestfallen Everett homeowners suing the city:

    http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20131205/NEWS01/712059877/Everett-homeowners-file-lawsuit-over-landslides

    If you go to Google (“Burl PL, Everett WA”), take a look at the cul-de-sac just to the north of Burl Place on Panaview Blvd. (it is a shallow one and doesn’t appear to have its own street name) – you can see the cuts in the asphalt where the city put in storm drains (back in 2004 according to the article linked above).

    Also, you can search for “armageddon creek” on youtube and see the home-made videos of the runoff that allegedly is causing the landslide.

    Lesson – if you’re going to purchase a home on the edge of a hill, do your own due diligence – getting your own geotechnical report, although it may seem pricey at the time, could save you far more down the road.

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  26. 26
    redmondjp says:

    Good news for City of Snohomish homeowners – they are off the hook for those unpaid fees:

    http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20131205/NEWS01/712059921/Snohomish-homeowners-wont-have-to-pay-fees

    I wonder if those people who already paid will be getting refunds?

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  27. 27
    Matthew says:

    PLEASE BRING BACK THE THUMBS-DOWN BUTTON.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  28. 28

    By redmondjp @ 26:

    I wonder if those people who already paid will be getting refunds?

    I read somewhere that they won’t be. Probably either the Times or P-I, but it could be Google News.

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  29. 29
    redmondjp says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 28:

    By redmondjp @ 26:
    I wonder if those people who already paid will be getting refunds?

    I read somewhere that they won’t be. Probably either the Times or P-I, but it could be Google News.

    It’s not often that one can say this, but sometimes it pays to procrastinate ;<)

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  30. 30
    Erik says:

    RE: Matthew @ 27
    I agree with you on this one. Like Johness said “Bring back th flame thrower!” I took an emotional beating with the thumbs down button, but now that Kary is back, the people need a voice. We need to let certain people have it… Couugh Kary… Cough cough. Otherwise they run around tooting their own horn with no recourse. How about we only thumbs down eachother and we can only thumbs up your posts?

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  31. 31
    Erik says:

    RE: Norma Juarez @ 15
    Ephrata? Ha ha ha! Now I’ve heard it all.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  32. 32

    By Matthew @ 27:

    PLEASE BRING BACK THE THUMBS-DOWN BUTTON.

    Yes, Tim needs to accommodate those incapable of expressing a useful coherent thought. Particularly if it prevents them from posting in all-caps.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0

  33. 33

    By redmondjp @ 29:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 28:
    By redmondjp @ 26:
    I wonder if those people who already paid will be getting refunds?

    I read somewhere that they won’t be. Probably either the Times or P-I, but it could be Google News.

    It’s not often that one can say this, but sometimes it pays to procrastinate ;<)

    I’d procrastinate more, but I haven’t gotten around to it.

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  34. 34
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Erik @ 31 – Eric, I recently had the misfortune of flying on a 737-900ER. Sardines in a can. It was an Alaska flight out of EWR, a hellish experience in and of itself. And maybe Alaska ordered the higher seating density layout, a short term gain decision if so, but I will never fly this flight again. I was in row 10. Cramped seats, not just length wise, but width wise. Vestigial tray, hard cushioning. Narrow seat, and I ain’t a fatty. The 737-900ER is a terrible plane, from a passenger comfort perspective. I’m sure it makes money sense to Alaska, until they start to analyze declining reservations. This is progress?

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  35. 35
    Erik says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 34
    The airline defines the seat density. Boeing is making a 737 max, which will come with improved comfort. I worked on the 787, which is a pretty comfortable ride even with denser seats. You were flying in an old plane with old technology and therefore not as comfortable. Go with a more expensive airline next time. I only care about price when I fly though.

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  36. 36

    RE: Blurtman @ 34 – That’s a long flight for coach, assuming you were flying to Seattle. About half way through you were probably hoping that your pilot was trained in Russia and would attempt a landing at O’Hare.

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  37. 37
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Erik @ 35 – It was a new plane, but an old design, I guess. The 737-900ER was launched in 2007, and Boeing is still selling them.

    United is my airline of choice. They offer extended legroom up front in coach for the frequent flyers. Alaska is screwing over their loyal customers, driving at least this one away.

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  38. 38
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 36 – Worse, I was surrounded by a group from New Jersey. Who puts ice cubes in cabernet?

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