Around the Sound: Even Far From Seattle, No Relief For Buyers

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Let’s have a look at our housing stats for the broader Puget Sound area. Here’s your July update to our “Around the Sound” statistics for King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties.

First up, a summary table:

January 2017 King Snohomish Pierce Kitsap Thurston Island Skagit Whatcom
Median Price $525,000 $410,000 $270,000 $289,900 $255,000 $321,000 $300,000 $304,900
Price YOY 6.9% 8.2% 11.6% 9.4% 6.3% -1.2% 27.7% 9.1%
Active Listings 1,569 786 1,472 573 614 285 316 462
Listings YOY -18.9% -29.3% -23.1% 3.1% -21.8% -6.3% -22.9% -30.5%
Closed Sales 1,582 763 1,035 295 308 113 133 183
Sales YOY 20.4% 13.7% 23.2% 27.7% 18.0% 41.3% 26.7% 11.6%
Months of Supply 1.0 1.0 1.4 1.9 2.0 2.5 2.4 2.5

Skagit and Pierce counties actually saw the biggest bump in prices compared to a year ago, while King and Thurston saw the smallest gains. The median price in Island County actually retreated slightly. Listings are down dramatically almost everywhere, and sales rose across the board.

Here’s the chart of median prices compared to a year ago. Every county but Kitsap and Skagit saw smaller gains (or a loss) than a month earlier.

Median Sale Price Single-Family Homes

Listings were down significantly from a year earlier everywhere but Kitsap County, where there were three percent more listings on the market in January than a year earlier. The biggest drop in listings was in Whatcom County (down a whopping 31 percent), followed very closely by Snohomish County (down 29 percent).

Active Listings of Single-Family Homes

Closed sales were up big across the board in January. The smallest gain was in Whatcom County, where sales were still up 12 percent from a year ago. The biggest gain was in Island County, where sales soared 41 percent from a year ago.

Closed Sales of Single-Family Homes

Months of supply was worse in every single county than it was at this time last year. Nowhere is it even close to a balanced market, but Island, Skagit, and Whatcom are at least not quite as terrible as King, Snohomish, and Pierce.

Months of Supply Single Family Homes

Finally, here’s a chart comparing the median price in July to the 2007 peak price in each county. King, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties are still the only counties to have prices above the 2007 peak.

Peak Median Sale Price Single-Family Homes

In summary: Winter has been brutal for homebuyers in the Puget Sound area. Even way up north and down south competition is heavy and listings are rare. There are currently no signs on the horizon that it will let up any time soon.

If there is certain data you would like to see or ways you would like to see the data presented differently, drop a comment below and let me know.


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.

55 comments:

  1. 1
    Gabe Sanders says:

    Your market is definitely doing better than we are on my side of the country. I’m starting to see a bit of a retreat in sales volume though prices are still rising.

  2. 2
    screenname12345 says:

    Gabe, how are lot sales in Port St. Lucie these days? Anyone flipping again yet?

  3. 3
    EILE says:

    Someone is going to get hurt

  4. 4
    sfrz says:

    The blight is moving SOUTH:
    “An astounding $1billion CAD of global money poured into the city’s properties over the course of a five-week period, Bloomberg reported.
    And more than $57.1million worth of homes in the small neighborhood of Point Grey – which measures just 2.5 square miles – were purchased by students reporting no income.
    At the same time, there are now 66,719 vacant or temporarily occupied homes in the Vancouver area – more than double the numbers recorded in 2001, according to Simon Fraser University’s Andy Yan

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4214814/Foreign-buyers-driving-home-prices-Vancouver.html#ixzz4YQ6d6ZaM

  5. 5
    Blurtman says:

    The H-1B’s were swarming over this GEM today. Buy now or be priced out forever!

    http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/house_type/49088421_zpid/globalrelevanceex_sort/47.614796,-122.056437,47.61,-122.064065_rect/16_zm/

    $680,000

    421 209th Ave NE,
    Sammamish, WA 98074
    3 beds 3 baths 1,780 sqft

    Last sold: Aug 2016 for $580,000
    Price/sqft: $382

    Nice ROI!!!!

  6. 6
    Hugh Dominic says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 5 – what a GEM! Nothing says, “you have the American dream” like a façade of oversized garage doors greeting you when you come home.

  7. 7
    ess says:

    There seems to be a lack of condo sales due to a variety of factors previously explored on this site. Traditionally, condos were often viewed as an lower cost alternative to single family housing for those who wanted to buy into the market but could not afford a single family house.

    Has the lack of condo sales contributed both to the shortage of single family houses, as well as the increase of the price of single family houses in the area?

    For those of you in the business, what was the percentage of condos to single family houses that were for sale before the great condo famine?

    What are the chances that a significant number of moderately priced condos will appear on the scene in the near future?

  8. 8

    RE: ess @ 7 – I’d have to look up those ratios, but one thing holding the supply of condos back is there are a number of complexes in “not great financial shape,” and that makes it harder to sell at break even or a profit. So that keeps units off the market, and many of the units on the market have no funds to pay for upcoming major projects, making them not a desirable purchase for the average buyer.

    On the topic, I really have begun to question the value of condominium appraisals because I don’t believe the appraisers have access to the financials of the condominium being appraised or of the nearby complexes. I really wish the law were changed so that resale certificates had to be provided to buyers prior to making an offer, with an update to the certificate after mutual acceptance.

  9. 9
    wreckingbull says:

    Thanks for the wider-area analysis. One of the falsehoods which was dropped here in the comments circa 2012 was that gleaming Seattle would skyrocket while outlying areas would crumble. This made no sense then, and the data show it makes no sense today.

  10. 10

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 6
    Yes Hugh

    Let’s see….the property tax is like $500-700/mo, the HOAs dues [like $500-1000 or more per month?], utilities for winter heat and summer air conditioning another approximately $700+ per month? Now, maintenance and such [gardeners, house cleaners and care givers] should sky-rocket soon with sanctuary city elimination under Sessions “rule of law”. The rich elite want open borders for their “tax evasion” scheme, but the federal tax dollar spigot is turned off by the Populists.

    Did I mention the mortgage payment yet??? LOL

  11. 11
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 6 – Price/sq.ft. is high, but for a 3/3, $680k is hard to come by in this area. The flyer said “Nice inside” perhaps agreeing with your POV.

    There were four cars of unrelated folks there when I strolled by, as well as confused people driving around the hood trying to find the home. It’s our version of the Marin hills, but w/o the weather and with a lake.

  12. 12

    RE: softwarengineer @ 10
    Renting a Sammamish home for like $3-4K/mo for the H-1B Landlord to maybe break even sounds like a complete pipe dream. Ya better hope them “dinosaur” H-1Bs are really stupid investors….sheeple for the open border rich elite [that already bought in] to enslave and foreclose??? Tax evasion bringing in lower paychecks is right and good? Ask a Populist Trump supporter, the majority vote that currently controls such things as boycotts against open border companies like:

    Nordstroms
    Apple
    Starbucks
    etc, etc….

    Trump supporters can easily demonstrate against sanctuary cities with their pocketbooks…LOL

  13. 13
    N says:

    Crumble may be a strong word but I am having a hard time believing its wise to buy one of these houses 20 miles out that has doubled in price in the last 4-5 years. When the tide turns the reality is these houses are most likely to struggle the most and even though that’s what many can afford now, is now a bad time to buy? There is no telling for it sure but it does scare me away from taking the leap now. Thoughts? Would you buy in these areas today or wait a few years and see if things have changed.

    Thanks for the wider-area analysis. One of the falsehoods which was dropped here in the comments circa 2012 was that gleaming Seattle would skyrocket while outlying areas would crumble. This made no sense then, and the data show it makes no sense today.

  14. 14
    redmondjp says:

    RE: N @ 13 – You are right to be cautious N – there is no doubt that the outlying areas and/or less-desirable properties will drop in value more than closer-in properties will.

    Would you pay $600K for a 25-year-old house located in a 100-year floodplain in Carnation that requires flood insurance in order to obtain a mortgage? Lots of people apparently would, at least right now.

  15. 15
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8
    There is a lot of benefit in understanding condo law when owning a condo. Join the hoa and keep and be ready to call a lawyer. Hoa people make emotional decisions based on how much they like or dislike their neighbors, so you gotta work that part too. That’s why I join the board. Hoa’s rarely attack their own.

  16. 16
    Erik says:

    RE: ess @ 7
    You can look at the data the Tim posts from estately on this page. I just looked at king county condo inventory, and I’d estimate that the average number of condos for sale is 10x what it is now. I think as Seattle becomes a bigger city, more people will want to live in condos. They are easy and low stress because they usually don’t let maintenance slide too much. It’s a good way to use the banks money for low risk, high return investment.

  17. 17
    wreckingbull says:

    By N @ 13:

    Crumble may be a strong word but I am having a hard time believing its wise to buy one of these houses 20 miles out that has doubled in price in the last 4-5 years. When the tide turns the reality is these houses are most likely to struggle the most and even though that’s what many can afford now, is now a bad time to buy? There is no telling for it sure but it does scare me away from taking the leap now. Thoughts? Would you buy in these areas today or wait a few years and see if things have changed.

    I moved out of Seattle in 2008, so I am biased. I will say this: the quality of life I have now reminds me a lot of the quality of life I had in Seattle 20 years ago. If you have to perform a grueling commute into a Seattle cubicle farm, then no, I would not recommend it.

  18. 18
    ThisMarketisCray says:

    Hi all,

    I have been reading on this blog for a while now and find the articles/comments quite insightful. We have been looking for a SFH in Kirkland/Bellevue about 2 years and lost out on a couple of bidding wars.

    We currently rent a 1600 sq ft townhouse with a low HOA in Kirkland. It is a PUD, so the land under the townhouse is owned by the owner as well. Our landlord recently mentioned wanting to sell and we offered tobuy. We both came up with a similar number that we subsequently agreed upon. The agreed upon price is about 10k higher than the redfin estimate and 20k over Zillow estimate (off market sale without agent). They have done quite a few upgrades and looking at comparable recent sales in the area, the price seems to be fair.

    My rationale is that we will use the townhouse as a temporary residence and then convert it to a rental once we find our “dream home”. Beats having to move or continue paying rent. Plus we have lived in the place so there is a certain degree of comfort, not to mention avoiding bidding wars.

    But wondering with all the talk of anticipated glut in the condo market, if we may be better off just continuing to rent?

    Appreciate you alls’ advice. Thanks!

  19. 19
    Erik says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 17
    Seattle is progressive and you got left behind.

    Move to Woodinville. It’s a nice place to retire and you get plenty of land so you don’t have to interface with people.

  20. 20
    Deerhawke says:

    Tim I appreciate the broader perspective on the area as well.

    But perhaps it is not just this area that is having major inventory issues. There was a small article on D2 of the Seattle Times yesterday that says that house prices in all metro areas jumped in the 4th Quarter. There was also this information from the National Association of Realtors.

    “Job growth is fueling demand in a market starving for listings. The number of previously owned homes available for sale at the end of December fell 6.3 percent from a year earlier to 1.65 million, the fewest since the group started tracking the data in 1999.”

    We see the inventory issue as a Seattle issue, but it is more likely an issue for all larger metro areas, particularly those with a lot of tech industry growth.

    We keep hearing about how the retirement of the boomers or the portability of jobs in the internet era or (favorite pop theory here) is going to lead to a major downturn in real estate prices in large, tech-oriented metro areas like Seattle. These stats seem to have a mind of their own.

  21. 21
    GoHawks says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 20 – Deerhawke, we all (I’m raising my hand) see the market for the most part for what we hope it will do and tend to ignore facts.

    The stats have been clear for the past five years and not only have they not improved for buyers, they have gotten worse. Many on this blog have called for prices to tumble since the unsustainable days of 2014. The fact is, this market is not just for locals. There are more buyers in town now that can afford these prices (or at least are pulling it off) and very few properties to choose from. Months worth of supply is at or under 1.0 in King County. Inventory would need to double or triple to feel somewhat balanced. Until those factors change, prices will go up.

  22. 22
    jason says:

    Anyone buying now is taking a big risk. Now is a great time to sell. I bought 4 years ago and now I can sell at almost double? It is ridiculous that people are paying these high prices. When everyone else is buying, the best choice is to sell.

  23. 23
    uwp says:

    Does anyone recall what months of supply was 2005-2012.
    I’m sure Tim has a chart of it somewhere…

  24. 24
    GoHawks says:

    RE: jason @ 22 – is it fair to say that anyone buyer now on spec/hoping to sell higher in 2-3 years is taking a big risk. Is an owner occupant taking a big risk buying right now? What if their future mortgage payment is the same as their rent payment.

  25. 25
    jason says:

    Go Hawks

    Well, I say that if you were to buy now in the greater Bellevue are, you are overpaying because it is very likely to be cheaper in the next 2-3years. We are long overdue for a recession, and this will likely produce some strong headwinds to this overpriced housing market. If you own the house for 30 years, well then, with the tax write off, it is probably fine to buy now, but I would expect to be underwater for some time, which is never a good feeling. Also, how many people stay in the same house for 30 years anymore? Regarding the price of renting, it seems to me that you get a better quality of home for a similar price. I think it is cheaper to rent the same home when you factor in taxes and maintenance. If you look back in history and a house ever doubles in price, within a short period of time, it is a good idea to take some profits.

  26. 26
    jason says:

    Actually, I remember back in 2007 or so, my brother doubled him money on a townhouse and I told him to sell and rent, because that wont happen again. He sold the place and bought a more expensive home and spent the next five years or so under water kicking himself. Does no one else see the trend? When everyone is getting rich on their homes, it is time to take profits and run.

  27. 27
    GoHawks says:

    RE: jason @ 26 – Thanks for your candor. Makes sense. Out of curious, are you selling your home you have done so well on? If not, why not?

  28. 28
    justme says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 8

    >>but one thing holding the supply of condos back is there are a number of complexes in “not great financial shape,” and that makes it harder to sell at break even or a profit.

    Good point.

    >>I really have begun to question the value of condominium appraisals because I don’t believe the appraisers have access to the financials of the condominium being appraised or of the nearby complexes.

    Another good point.

    >>I really wish the law were changed so that resale certificates had to be provided to buyers prior to making an offer, with an update to the certificate after mutual acceptance.

    YES! In your experience, Kary, do retail certs contain cumulative numbers on unpaid HOA dues? Seems like it is easy to get into a purchase where the HOA is not providing enough info to really know what you are getting. Reserve studies are fine and dandy, but knowing the totality of unpaid dues seems like a must to me.

  29. 29
    N says:

    To some extent I think you are absolutely right. Look at other regions in our own state (Washington by most accounts is one the top states for real estate gains), Spokane has very low inventory of 2-3 months and inventory was down 30% from last January to this January. Prices are at all time highs too, surpassing the highs of the last boom.

    Sure its not as crazy as Seattle metro but low inventory is a big problem in Spokane too yet no one would say it is driven by a strong job market.

    By Deerhawke @ 20:

    But perhaps it is not just this area that is having major inventory issues. There was a small article on D2 of the Seattle Times yesterday that says that house prices in all metro areas jumped in the 4th Quarter. There was also this information from the National Association of Realtors.

    “Job growth is fueling demand in a market starving for listings. The number of previously owned homes available for sale at the end of December fell 6.3 percent from a year earlier to 1.65 million, the fewest since the group started tracking the data in 1999.”

    .

  30. 30
    jon says:

    The number of building permits is going up. It is now at an annual rate of 200,000 SFH in the Western US. That’s almost triple what it was in 2011. The last time it was this high was in 2007. From 1992 to 2007 it was higher than it is now.

    https://www.census.gov/construction/nrc/pdf/bpsa.pdf

  31. 31
    Deerhawke says:

    I suppose that other areas are seeing a lot of building permits, but it is painfully slow (and slowly painful) here in the Seattle area. In 2012 and 2013, I remember getting permits turned around by the city in 8 weeks. Now there are delays in getting an intake, getting processed, getting corrections turned around, getting published, etc. I think on average real permitting times have more than tripled.

    This is not to mention the sheer number of pages required. In building a single-family home now, I put in bigger and more detailed plan sets than for a 6-unit townhouse project in 2000. And that was for my last project. It does not factor in the new drainage code which requires more planning, more consultants, fees, more pages and more onsite infastructure.

    Maybe out where they build big honking plats in the hinterlands, the number of permits is going up dramatically, but I doubt that is anywhere around here.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    jason says:

    GoHawks

    Yes, I am selling my home, mainly for family reasons, but also because I am concerned about the market going down. It has been a great investment, but looking at the number of bulls out there, it is really just better to be a bear. The average person and even the average trader makes the wrong choices. Where were all these buyers 5 years ago? Most people just did not want to take the risk, but they should have, and now they are playing catch up. When too many people are on the wrong side of the trade, the market will correct because of the imbalances. It is just a matter of time.

  34. 34
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: jason @ 33

    Jason, good for you. I am glad you have a strong perspective and are willing to act on it.

    I had a friend who did something similar back in 1991 and again in late 2000. In both cases, he felt he could time the market. In both cases, his timing on the sell side was outstanding. He really sold right at the top of the market– or at least what the newspapers said was the top. His problem was getting back into the market. He couldn’t quite find what he and his wife wanted and ended up waiting a bit too long in both cases. I am sure his realtor loved him because he generated so much in commissions. The state must have been happy for the excise taxes paid. He keeps maintaining that he didn’t lose any money, but I doubt it. If I take him at his word, it seems it is likely he didn’t make any either.

    There has to be a really substantial correction to be able to get out, get back in and get paid for the exercise.

    If you see another 2008 on the horizon, you absolutely should sell. But if you foresee a garden-variety cyclical recession causing a real estate market correction, there is probably not enough delta to pay you for the transaction costs incurred.

    Anyway, best of luck with it.

  35. 35
    andy says:

    The waters are very different this time. The prices now are not crazy. Its been a decade since the last drop and house prices are only 9% higher. 481K verses 525K. So house prices have increased 1% a year since 2007 price peak. There continues to be a high paying job boom in Seattle area.
    Amazon is not going to be slowing down anytime soon and by 2020 will have 12.5 million sq ft of office space. Currently they have 8.5m so a 50% increase in 3 years!
    San Fran is the second most expensive city on earth Bermuda being first. Average rents are $3,750 a month and the average house price is an eye watering $1.2 milllion. This is a darn good reason for a techy to take a job in Seattle.
    Bottom line is in my humble opinion…there plenty of room left.

  36. 36

    By justme @ 28:

    YES! In your experience, Kary, do retail certs contain cumulative numbers on unpaid HOA dues? Seems like it is easy to get into a purchase where the HOA is not providing enough info to really know what you are getting. Reserve studies are fine and dandy, but knowing the totality of unpaid dues seems like a must to me.

    I’m not sure what you mean by cumulative, but they give the current delinquencies for all the units, sometimes with more breakdown, such as an aging by unit. You generally get fairly complete financial statements on the complex.

    I’m not being so critical about the information typically provided as the timing of when the information is provided–after mutual acceptance of the contract. The buyer is offering $XXX,XXX for the unit, not knowing whether the association has $50,000 in reserves or $2,000,000. Or not knowing if only 2 units have minor delinquencies or whether 20% of the units are severely delinquent. And assuming there’s a reserve study (they don’t always exist or might be out of date), they don’t know if the complex is 20% funded or 60% funded (but they can probably safely assume they are not 100% funded). They may not even know that a $2,000,000 siding project is planned, and only $200,000 to pay for it, with $1,200,000 of loans being contemplated to supplement a large special assessment.

    So how do you make an offer without knowing that information? You based on on what other people have offered in the recent past. But those people probably didn’t know that information either!

    We’ve taken to typically ordering the resale certificate before the listing goes active. Not only does that help with pricing, but it allows buyers to get more information so that it’s less likely they’ll back out after mutual acceptance because of something they don’t like. It’s sort of like those agents who have their sellers do inspections prior to listing, with one important difference. This is information that the buyer will get in any event because the same entity will be preparing the resale certificate regardless of when it is requested. It’s not at all like having two different inspectors check out a house, or one buyer deciding to do a sewer scope. The main downside is the information may not be that good, but it’s probably better to know that beforehand and deal with a buyer who is willing to accept that.

  37. 37
    Erik says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 34
    You think prices are going to plummet when there are 1383 houses for sale in King County 11 years after the top of the market? Seems very unlikely to me. I’ve been watching this bubble closely. Here are some indicators of a bubble…

    1. High inventory. We are at record low inventory in King County. Inventory should not be a concern until we get to 10,000 houses for sale in King County.
    2. Timing. Average real estate cycle is 18 years. We are far short of that.
    3. Sharp increase in interest rates. We are changing them very slowly, and I don’t forsee that changing.
    4. Funny loans. Like neg-am and NINJA loans.

    This website attracts a lot of doomsday predictors. Judging a bubble based on the fact that real estate has gone up already is not a good indicator of a housing price crash. There will likely be a mid-cycle recession, but like deerhawke said, it’s not worth selling your real estate over. Wait for the big one and do what the great and powerful Ray Pepper did…Rent out all of your property while you are not paying and collecting rent. Then make the banks buy you out.

  38. 38
    Brian says:

    By Erik @ 36:

    2. Timing. Average real estate cycle is 18 years. We are far short of that.

    Real estate isn’t average anymore. Investors treat it more like an investment now because rates of return are so low elsewhere for similarly safe investments. They also see it as a hedge against scary inflationary fiat currency. Take a look at inflation-adjusted home prices historically. Since 1890, There has never been such large run-ups as in 2006 and the current one. The past 20 years look more like a rocky stock chart than they look like the stably-increasing real estate prices for the previous 100 years.

    Based on reading some of your posts, you sure seem impressed with yourself. But good luck with your investments because a lot of others are also hoping for good real estate fortune these days.

  39. 39
    Erik says:

    RE: Brian @ 37
    Right, more people are investing now. That’s great if you can time the bubble right. But you gotta be in the game to score, so I would suggest that doesn’t own should buy.

    My story in real estate Brian is not an easy successful one. I bought a house in Everett in 2004 and saw prices going up. I refinanced it to the hilt putting all of my effort into remodeling. I plumbed that place from the main in the front of the house to the sewer out back. I replaced my electrical from the weather head to the grounding rods. I read lots of books and got help when I could, without paying for it of course. Then the market tanked. I had invested years of my life in filthy North Everett, which if anyone has been there they know it’s not a nice place to live. North Everett and this remodel stole years of my life.
    I use to be a nay sayer of Tim, the writer for this blog. I thought to myself that Tim knew something that I didn’t. For years I was a troll on this website prodding people so they would give me information. If you just say typical stuff, nobody pays attention to you and tells you things that are important to know. So I prodded and prodded and prodded. I said things that I wasn’t sure about and I would cram it down their throats just to get a reply and be set straight if needed.
    I ditched the junker in North Everett and left that dirty dirty area and moved to Kirkland. These cities are polar opposites. Kirkland is filled with people that want to better themselves while Everett is filled with people that are leaches on society in some way. Anyway, I flipped a condo in Kirkland and did very well. I’ve been buying condos in Seattle ever since and I fully expect my “luck” to continue.
    Lessons learned were this…

    1. Don’t bite of more than you can chew in real estate (You want 1978 or newer)
    2. Watch the real estate cycle closely
    3. Don’t buy in nasty areas like North Everett

    The continuous feedback I get on here is that I come off as arrogant, which is what I think you meant by me “being pretty impressed with myself.” Maybe I need to work on presenting myself in a more humble fashion, but my message is good. I just don’t want people to go through what I went through of being poor and living paycheck to paycheck. Now is a great time to buy, hold for a couple years, and sell. I bet there is $80k reward in it for those that make a good buy and sell for a good price.

  40. 40
    js says:

    By Brian @ 37:

    ..because a lot of others are also hoping for good real estate fortune these days.

    I think you hit the nail on the head here. Anecdotally speaking, it seems like there a lot of speculators in the market these days. Not to mention the REITs.

    Anyone have any statistics on owner occupancy change in the last 5 years?

  41. 41
    Bob says:

    RE: Erik @ 38

    On the other side of that Erik, I’ve had to sell a home in an overpriced market before. Believe me it is not fun. You start at what you think is market, then have to keep dropping over time as market evolves. I the meantime, you have to keep the place clean at all times, like you are living in a model home. Suddenly, the little things that didn’t matter before become important for buyers. Every little odd thing about the house had to be fixed. The house has to be renovated, simply to sell it. Plus, you can’t buy a new house until you sell the old one, unless you want more real estate in a declining markets. NO THANKS.

    Best to wait for the stock market crash, which will tank jobs and real estate as well. Buy at the bottom when inventory is high and you can actually buy a home you like.

  42. 42

    RE: Erik @ 15
    Smart Move Erik

    If ya can’t beat ’em join ’em….LOL

  43. 43

    RE: Bob @ 41
    The Current MASSIVE “Trump Stock Market Rally”

    Makes the gloom and doom of the open border rich elite more fake news….these morons believe 3rd world country economies are paradise; as long as I have my mansion surrounded by wired fence and guard dogs…bring on the slave labor and “Progressive/Rino federal tax evasion” national debt with over-priced healthcare and Fake News Healthcare that covers nothing [like the centerpiece of Obamacare, useless Wash St Apple Insurance commonly known as Medicaid].

    The American people are on to your anarchy, your FELONY crime of identity fraud will be prosecuted in immigration crimes….ask Sessions.

  44. 44
    Erik says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 42
    Exactly my thoughts.

  45. 45
    justme says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 36

    By cumulative unpaid or otherwise unrecovered dues I mean a full tally since the inception of the HOA. I think that would be an interesting number to see for each HOA, and even each unit. It is somewhat similar to being able to look at the balance sheet of a public corporation and look at the cumulative retained earnings. It tells a useful story about the history of the corporation, how well it has done over time.

    That being said, reserve amounts also tell a story. I wonder if there is a uniform standard for reserves. What is considered a good reserve level? 10% of market value of the complex? 10% of the replacement cost of the structures? 100% of the net present value of foreseen external structural maintenance cost for the next X years? ‘m just trying to put a number on it — do you have any insights?

    PS: agree very much about the timing of when retail certs (financials) are provided. I like the idea of you ordering them beforehand, with an update before closing,. That ought to be a standard requirement.

  46. 46
    Erik says:

    RE: Bob @ 41
    King County could add 7000 houses and not have too high of inventory. I don’t think that can happen overnight. When people say they are going to sell because prices are too high, I just shake my head. Based on the data we have, it is near certain that prices will continue up or stay flat the next few years.
    People that don’t understand the data go off feel. When it seems like things are going up too fast they sell, which is a lower level of understanding the market.

  47. 47
    Erik says:

    RE: justme @ 45
    I would ask the hoa for a reserve study. A reserve study predicts future expenses. If the reserves aren’t properly funded, that’s bad because a special assessment is likely on the way. If the hoa does not have a reserve study be even more cautious.
    Remember that an hoa can only charge you 6 months of back dues. If they try to charge you more for whatever reason, call a lawyer.

  48. 48
    justme says:

    RE: Erik @ 47

    >>Remember that an hoa can only charge you 6 months of back dues. If they try to charge you more for whatever reason, call a lawyer.

    That is very misleading, Erik. What is correct is that in WA state, HOA has (if formed since July 1, 1990 ) or can get (if articles amended properly) lien superpriority on the last 6mo worth of current owner unpaid HOA dues.

    More gory details are here, please read it:
    http://www.condolawgroup.com/2010/10/13/super-priority-lien-basics/

    And what do you mean by “charge me”? As an owner? As a buyer?!? You really need to read up on this before offering advice. I’m no expert, but what you said is a combination of vague, misleading and wrong. Sorry, Erik, you are trying to rehabilitate yourself as a “nice guy” on this thread, but the first order of things would be not to give shaky advice.

  49. 49

    By justme @ 45:

    That being said, reserve amounts also tell a story. I wonder if there is a uniform standard for reserves. What is considered a good reserve level? 10% of market value of the complex? 10% of the replacement cost of the structures? 100% of the net present value of foreseen external structural maintenance cost for the next X years? ‘m just trying to put a number on it — do you have any insights?

    The reserve study will take various components of the building and then determine their remaining life until a repair or replacement is required, then they will figure out what that would cost. They’ll do the same for just about every other component of the building, and then look at the existing reserves and current income. I’m not sure of all the details for their process (e.g. I know they track projected balances, but I don’t know if they set a minimum balance) to get to the percentage. But they are far looking into the future, and so they should show you approximately when the money shortages would start to occur.

    Keep in mind that they don’t get actual bids, so it’s really very rough estimates. And also a lot of it is judgment, and that can work both ways. One study I saw the building had wood siding in very good condition, and paint not in a deteriorated condition, but the study assumed all the siding would need to be replaced in 15 years. I doubt the wood would need to be replaced in that time-frame even if the HOA didn’t repaint for 15 years, and with proper maintenance 50 years might be more likely. Conversely I’m sure they frequently miss items. But there is at least a process, and it’s far more than what a typical buyer could reasonably do as part of their investigation.

  50. 50

    RE: justme @ 48 – I would agree with what you said (including your limitation of condos of a certain age). But I would also note that in a sale situation the dues would typically be brought current out of the seller’s proceeds. Short sales would be different, but I really doubt that any lender is going to make a new loan to a buyer without all the dues being paid, unless the association for some reason gives up any right to collect.

  51. 51
    justme says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 49

    Thanks, Kary, that is good information.

  52. 52
    justme says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 50

    Right. No disagreement there, I think.

  53. 53
    Erik says:

    RE: justme @ 48
    I was not wrong, I was vague. I fully admit I do not understand HOA law. That’s why I said to contact a lawyer for further assistance if the HOA wants to charge you more than 6 months dues. No need to be a jerk, I was just trying to offer my advice. Doesn’t mean you gotta take it. Obviously you want to dive into condo law. Personally, using the rule “if they charge your more than 6 months back dues when you are buying, contact a lawyer” works for me.

    Next time you ask about a condo law situation, I will ignore your comment. The people that are interested in making money contact a lawyer when they run into a situation where it’s over 6 months of dues. Not contacting a lawyer and trying to use my own brain has not worked in the past, so I just use the lawyers to sort it out for me.

  54. 54

    By Erik @ 53:

    RE: justme @ 48 – That’s why I said to contact a lawyer for further assistance if the HOA wants to charge you more than 6 months dues.

    Contacting an attorney is never bad advice!

  55. 55
    Jason says:

    Thanks for the information, on the market analysis. I’m just wondering, though, based on your market analysis, were you a purchaser of real estate, five years ago at the low? Also, in the heights of the real estate bubble, and 2007/2008 , Were you one of the people that were recommended continuing to purchase? Were you a seller?

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