NWMLS: “May was a Grand Slam” …For Home Salespeople

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May market stats have been published by the NWMLS this morning. Here’s their press release.

Brokers suggest improving inventory may mean”season of opportunity” for weary house hunters

Would-be buyers who have been shut out of the real estate market should test the “real estate waters” during the summer months suggests one industry leader.

“Summer might provide some competitive relief for weary buyers,” said Gary O’Leyar, owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties, pointing to some of the newly-released statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service as indicators.

Despite murmurs of the possibility of relief for disenchanted house hunters, May was a hotbed of activity. Brokers notched 9,188 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) in the four-county region, the highest ever reported for the region. Overall, members reported 12,607 pending sales, up 2.7 percent from a year ago.

“May was a Grand Slam month for housing activity,” exclaimed J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate.

A more lengthy quote from J. Lennox Scott was distributed by email:

“May was the best month for sales activity of any month in history in the four-county area of King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap Counties. As Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Mariner’s, used to say: “My, oh my! Get out the rye bread and the mustard Grandma, it’s grand salami time”. We finally saw new inventory come on the market in May, and although we had a slight delay in the timing, the spring Puget Sound housing market is in full swing and just as intense and frenzy as it has ever been.

Based on J. Lennox Scott’s quotes in recent NWMLS releases, Seattle Bubble commissioned this exclusive artist’s depiction:

artist's depiction of J. Lennox Scott
artist’s depiction of J. Lennox Scott

Here’s your King County SFH summary, with the arrows to show whether the year-over-year direction of each indicator is favorable or unfavorable news for buyers and sellers (green = favorable, red = unfavorable):

May 2017 Number MOM YOY Buyers Sellers
Active Listings 2,149 +13.8% -20.3%
Closed Sales 2,576 +26.8% +2.7%
SAAS (?) 1.31 -0.9% +2.0%
Pending Sales 3,455 +23.6% -1.3%
Months of Supply 0.83 -10.2% -22.4%
Median Price* $632,250 +1.2% +12.9%

Pending sales have now been down year-over-year for four months in a row, but for three of those four months, closed sales have increased, which is certainly a bit odd. Perhaps this is indicative of a shift from last year toward fewer pending sales falling through. I’ll see if I can find anything else interesting in the data about that.

Here’s your closed sales yearly comparison chart:

King County SFH Closed Sales

Closed sales increased 27 percent from April to May. Last year over the same period closed sales rose 17 percent. Year-over-year closed sales were up three percent.

King County SFH Pending Sales

Pending sales shot up 24 percent from April to May, and were down one percent year-over-year.

Here’s the graph of inventory with each year overlaid on the same chart.

King County SFH Inventory

Listings rose 14 percent from April to May, which is much better than the meager four percent gain we saw last year. Year-over-year listings were still down 20 percent.

Here’s the chart of new listings:

King County SFH New Listings

New listings shot up month-over-month as they tend to most years in May, gaining 26 percent from April. They were also up 5 percent from last year. New listings slightly outpaced pending sales for the month.

Here’s the supply/demand YOY graph. “Demand” in this chart is represented by closed sales, which have had a consistent definition throughout the decade (unlike pending sales from NWMLS).

King County Supply vs Demand % Change YOY

We’re still in the midst of a very strong seller’s market, but at least the supply and demand balance isn’t getting appreciably worse for buyers.

Here’s the median home price YOY change graph:

King County SFH YOY Price Change

Year-over-year price growth fell off slightly from April to May but is still well into double-digit territory.

And lastly, here is the chart comparing King County SFH prices each month for every year back to 1994 (not adjusted for inflation).

King County SFH Prices

Another new all-time high, although the pace of growth is not as strong as last year at this time, so there’s that I guess.

May 2017: $632,250
July 2007: $481,000 (previous cycle high)

Here’s the article from the Seattle Times: No escape for priced-out Seattleites: Home prices set record for an hour’s drive in every direction


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.

339 comments:

  1. 1

    I think most agents would prefer a more balanced market. The only agents who would like this market are the agents who get listings by thinking up new things that sound good to sellers that actually hurt their interests. The latest is to cross of language in the P&S contract which they don’t understand which benefits the seller.

  2. 2
    Hugh Dominic says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1 – what language is that?

  3. 3
    Erik says:

    It’s all starting again…
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/fannie-mae-will-ease-financial-standards-for-mortgage-applicants-next-month/2017/06/05/9b391866-4a0b-11e7-9669-250d0b15f83b_story.html

    Does anyone remember what debt to income was last bubble before we crashed? I think trump will serve 2 terms. After his 2 terms, real estate will crash. Trump already wants to repeal the Dodd frank act. Once that happens, we will be off to the races.

  4. 4
    Erik says:

    0.83 months of supply… awesome! Great time to buy before prices really shoot up. The next phase of the bubble will cause housing prices to go up quickly, so get in while you still can.

  5. 5

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 2 – The “Information Verification Period.” It gives the buyer a limited time to investigate and find any “materially inaccurate information” in the listing. Without that language the time limit to complain doesn’t exist and removing the language doesn’t necessarily eliminate buyer remedies for inaccurate information. The buyer could complain and possibly prevail right up until closing, or perhaps even after.

    I think the thinking is that it’s a “contingency” and that the buyer could back out based on that language. But I’ve never seen or even heard of a buyer even threatening to back out based on that language. It’s a very small risk, and can be entirely avoided by simply having accurate listing information. It’s sort of similar to having or not having an inspection contingency, and MAY provide similar protections, but at least without an inspection contingency the seller avoids the risk of the buyer asking for repairs, backing out or notifying the seller of serious defects in the property (but at greater risk of losing in a post-closing lawsuit). The seller downside to the IVP language is minimal in comparison, almost purely theoretical.

    Here’s a link to a video hitting not the topic. Annie deals with it more from avoidance of post-closing litigation, but I would also note it also protects against a buyer backing out prior to closing past the 10 days. If a change is going to be made to that language, my suggestion would be to shorten the 10 days.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjGTYbWN26A

    Anyway, post 1 is merely me ranting about what I see listing agents do in this market. It’s an incredible seller’s market but listing agents try to come up with all sorts of ways to flex their power, even if those things make little or no sense. Most all these things are agent driven, and if they are properly explained to sellers then I don’t have much problem with them. But I really don’t think agents understand many of these things, so I really doubt it is being properly explained.

  6. 6
    Anonymous Coward says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 5:

    RE: if they are properly explained to sellers then I don’t have much problem with them. But I really don’t think agents understand many of these things, so I really doubt it is being properly explained.

    Do you have any data on this or is this simply your speculation based on your assumptions of what an agent without a legal background is likely to know or not know regarding the finer legal implications of a purchase and sale contract? You know, speculation just like certain other posters speculate on the percentage of Chinese buyers based on their assumptions of nationality when they overhear people speaking foreign languages at open houses. I’m not trying to pick on you; your posts are generally informative the first time you post them. Making the same point at every opportunity thereafter tends to make them less informative and more annoying…

  7. 7

    RE: Anonymous Coward @ 6 – I think I’ve only raised the IVP once before, but I will admit I’ve raised the inspection issue many times.

    But to your question, in discussing the issue with agents I find that less than 25% of them are aware of the Douglas v. Visser line of cases. If you check out the video I linked, only less than 3,000 agents have seen that video. If they don’t know about it, then they cannot properly explain it to their sellers. And on the topic of IVP removal, it’s hard to envision an explanation to a seller which would cause them to say they want such a thing because there is no significant seller benefit.

    As to raising the inspection issue repeatedly I won’t apologize for that, because the more sellers and agents who understand that the better, and not every seller reads every thread here. Being involved in litigation is a horrible thing, even ignoring the dollar costs.

    BTW, the “once before” may have been where I mentioned that I had a listing with three offers and all of them modified the IVP language without any request from me or the seller to do that. I’m not sure what the buyers’ agents’ explanation to the buyer clients would be for that! “I’m going to remove this language which benefits the seller in hopes that we will be more likely to prevail in a multiple offer situation, because the seller will prefer to have language removed which benefits them!” Note the offer that was accepted only modified the language by reducing the time to 5 days.

  8. 8
    Brian says:

    That artist’s depiction of J. Lennox Scott is spot on.

    J. Lennox Scott:

    As Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Mariner’s, used to say: “My, oh my! Get out the rye bread and the mustard Grandma, it’s grand salami time”.

    Kind of disgusting…

  9. 9
    ess says:

    By Erik @ 4:

    0.83 months of supply… awesome! Great time to buy before prices really shoot up. The next phase of the bubble will cause housing prices to go up quickly, so get in while you still can.

    I don’t know if it is a great time to buy or not, but it certainly puts pressure on those debating what to do and sitting on the residential fence to go out and purchase a residence. With the increased ability to obtain a mortgage as per your article in comment number 3, as well as the lack of supply, other factors that may send this market into the Puget Sound housing price stratosphere are an increasing number of good paying jobs in tech and other fields, increased net migration into the area, lack of affordable apartment units under construction, as well as increased rents. All of those factors may drive some to as you say – get in while you still can.

    And if the relaxation of mortgage requirements does impact the market as per millennials, that is a huge population, as I believe that millennials make up a larger number than baby boomers. Sooner or later – some of them are either going to have families, or tire of having room mates and finally decide to reside on their own.

  10. 10
    js says:

    By ess @ 9:


    Sooner or later – some of them are either going to have families, or tire of having room mates and finally decide to reside on their own.

    This comment makes no sense to me and reeks of observation bias.

    If you have a family or want to live alone you have to purchase a house? I managed to live just fine alone (no roommates) in a very nice neighborhood for many years before I purchased.

    And the best part was that when I decided I wanted to take time off work and travel the world, all I had to do was give the landlord notice and go on my way. Footloose and fancy free.

  11. 11
    redmondjp says:

    By js @ 10:

    By ess @ 9:


    Sooner or later – some of them are either going to have families, or tire of having room mates and finally decide to reside on their own.

    This comment makes no sense to me and reeks of observation bias.

    If you have a family or want to live alone you have to purchase a house? I managed to live just fine alone (no roommates) in a very nice neighborhood for many years before I purchased.

    And the best part was that when I decided I wanted to take time off work and travel the world, all I had to do was give the landlord notice and go on my way. Footloose and fancy free.

    This comment makes no sense to me and reeks of confirmation bias.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Erik says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 12
    The gated communities like sammamish aren’t protected from corruption.

  14. 14
    ess says:

    Research on millennials and desire to purchase a residence. Turns out they really do want to purchase a residence – but often they are financially unable to.

    http://time.com/money/3551773/millennials-home-buying-marriage/

  15. 15
    greg says:

    RE: Erik @ 3

    i think it was 35(ish) maxing out at 45 but requiring borrower to meet more stringent standards. but of course it varies based on lender stuff.

  16. 16
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Erik @ 13 – For it is the Shining City upon the incline. On the positive side, if the city managers have been cooking the books, perhaps pensions can be nullified, and they can be sentenced to live in Everett.

  17. 17
    ess says:

    The following article reminds me of the title of a (very) old song by a group known as the 5th Dimension

    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/no-escape-for-priced-out-seattleites-home-prices-set-record-for-hour-drive-in-every-direction/

    “Up, Up and Away !

  18. 18
    Erik says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 16
    That sounds like a pretty stiff sentence, but you get what you get because you do what you do. Maybe they can at least sentence them to a less dangerous area for poor eastside folks, like Juanita.

  19. 19
    Erik says:

    RE: greg @ 15
    That’s it? Now it’s going to be 50 percent! This is a good thing for those of us that are cheering for another housing bubble and bust. With a 50% LTV and Trump working the Dodd-Frank act, I see a huge bubble coming up. These increases could last until 2027.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    S Sounder says:

    Great graphic Tim! Incredible how the Seattle Time’s article uses the Windermere guy as their 3rd party expert when talking about whether we’re in a bubble. No bias there! Can’t they talk to someone from Runstad?

  22. 22
    N says:

    By S Sounder @ 21:

    Great graphic Tim! Incredible how the Seattle Time’s article uses the Windermere guy as their 3rd party expert when talking about whether we’re in a bubble. No bias there! Can’t they talk to someone from Runstad?

    I agree with that sentiment but the Windermere economist is also on record as calling for a downturn in the local economy within the next 2 years.

  23. 23
    Kit says:

    RE: Erik @ 4
    If 12% YOY isn’t quick enough, what is “growing quickly” in your eyes?

  24. 24
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 20 -That will stop those rascally developers.

    1.10.010 General penalties.
    Unless otherwise specified by City ordinance, anyone who violates the provisions of any ordinance of the City shall be punished pursuant to the general penalty provisions set forth below:

    (1) Criminal Penalty. Any person violating any of the provisions of any ordinance of the City is guilty of a misdemeanor. Unless otherwise provided, any person convicted of a misdemeanor under this code shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.00, or by imprisonment not to exceed six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

    (2) Civil Penalty. Any person violating any of the provisions of any ordinance of the City that is designated a civil offense or civil violation shall have committed a civil infraction. Unless otherwise provided, any person committing a civil infraction shall be assessed a monetary penalty not to exceed $250.00 for each day that the violation occurs. (Ord. O99-14 § 1)

  25. 25
    ess says:

    There are many concerned real estate wanna be buyers in the Puget Sound area that believe that one way to slow the rate of the property price increase is to ” tax those evil foreigner speculators that are parking ill gained monies into Seattle real estate and driving up prices so that the little guy can’t afford to buy”.

    Those wanna be buyers desire a foreign property transaction tax similar to Vancouver and Toronto for the Puget Sound area, but apparently the foreign real estate tax has had little effect on most real estate prices in the greater Vancouver area. The article below, confirming what my own the scene sources (in laws) inform me, indicates that some of the really expensive single family housing prices have become softer, but the regular market for mere mortals is heating up again, and prices are up and inventory is down months after the tax on foreign real estate investments was imposed. Which is good because one of my in laws bought just days before the imposition of the tax, and I worried their investment would have a significant drop right off the bat. Talk about lousy timing! It hasn’t, and the old theory of supply and demand in an area constrained by mountains and water still holds. Sort of like Seattle and area with mountain and waters, not to mention their own version of the UGMA. Not only would a foreign buyer’s tax probably have no long term impact in the Puget Sound area for most buyers, but its legality would be tied up in the courts for years, and probably ultimately found illegal on any number of legal theories.

    http://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/mortgages-real-estate/vancouver-real-estate-market-heating-up-again-as-sales-and-prices-rise

  26. 26
    Green-Horn says:

    RE: js @ 10

    Somebody who was a homeowner already when you were telling that landlord of your travel plans could probably finance any future travels simply by putting his home up on AirBNB during his absence.

  27. 27
    Anonymous Coward says:

    RE: Green-Horn @ 26 – Why deal with the hassle? Just rent it with a property manager and forget about it.

  28. 28
    Erik says:

    RE: Kit @ 23
    12% yoy is pretty high. I’m just saying that price increases will accelerate because that is generally what happens toward the end of the bubble as credit becomes very easy.

    There will likely be a mid cycle recession before this thing blows up. Feels like we still have some time. If you are thinking about buying, now is a great time. Pretty sure you could live in it for 2 years while you fix it up and sell it for a good profit. Maybe even a 6 figure profit if you get a good deal and do a good cost effective remodel.

  29. 29
    Joe says:

    RE: Erik @ 28
    You are right , people are making 300K profit in eastside homes < 500K price.

  30. 30
    wreckingbull says:

    By Brian @ 8:

    That artist’s depiction of J. Lennox Scott is spot on.

    J. Lennox Scott:

    As Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Mariner’s, used to say: “My, oh my! Get out the rye bread and the mustard Grandma, it’s grand salami time”.

    Kind of disgusting…

    Our local “journalists” need to retire J. Lennox. His quotes add nothing of value. He was a bit amusing at first, but now is just old. Hearing from escrow agents, loan officers, and builders would at least be a bit more interesting.

  31. 31

    RE: Erik @ 3
    But Eric

    We’ll be living in Seattle with Manufacturing Engineering [lower cost too] generated high paying jobs again….once the Boeing aircraft faces border tariffs for outsourcing and firing Seattle American citizens and converting our Boeing secrets to Japanese. We traded this for Amazon warehouse jobs? What a joke…lets take it back.

    There’s more to a great Republic than NWO greed and lawlessness.

  32. 32

    [Topic: Boeing]

    RE: softwarengineer @ 31 – I wonder how much Boeing’s decision to outsource to different countries has actually had a positive impact on sales of the 787. Also, whether there have actually been any net savings after factoring in transportation costs.

    I will say that the issue I was concerned about hasn’t materialized–yet. Some sort of shut-down at one of the various sites caused by a natural event (e.g. earthquake), political turmoil or labor unrest.

  33. 33
    uwp says:

    Google’s director of product management on staffing up the new “Google Cloud” building coming to SLU… “So it turns out this is a great place to hire; we can fill headcount faster in Seattle than we can in the Bay Area.”

    https://www.geekwire.com/2017/google-exec-new-seattle-building-going-basically-google-cloud/

    As long as those $100k+ jobs keep coming…

  34. 34
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 32
    Outsourcing definitely increased sales of the 787. Too bad leadership told the entire world how to design and build Boeing airplanes in the process. Boeing gave away all of its secrets and accused engineers of leaking information.

    Boeing told other countries how to design and build airplane parts and then asked them to make it for us. Do you see the problem with that?

    Outsourcing caused a 2 year delay and costed Boeing tens of billions of dollars in additional design costs. The CEO before this one was a business guy that didn’t really understand how airplanes are made. Terrible leadership makes terrible decisions that effect everyone.

  35. 35
    cm says:

    What regulatory agency oversees title companies doing business in Washington State?

  36. 36

    RE: cm @ 35 – I believe it is the Insurance Commissioner’s office. Their escrow business is regulated by Department of Financial Institutions. What sort of an issue do you have?

    You might find this useful. https://www.insurance.wa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/consumers-guide-title-escrow.pdf

  37. 37
    cm says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 36 – Thanks, Kary. Escrow company can’t produce proof of clean title less than 24 hours before close.

  38. 38
    sleepless says:

    By Anonymous Coward @ 6:

    By You know, speculation just like certain other posters speculate on the percentage of Chinese buyers based on their assumptions of nationality when they overhear people speaking foreign languages at open houses…

    It is not a speculation, it is a fact. I live in Clyde Hill Bellevue. And i have lived in Bellevue for the last 8 years (Enatai and Clyde Hill) and i can tell you firsthand that the demographic has changed dramatically towards Asians. Elementary schools, i can compare how many Asians were there 5 years ago vs today. Bellevue DT – lots of Asians eat out and walk in DT. We also spend a lot of time outdoors in parks and trails. I also see significant demographic shift towards Asians. Just a week ago we hiked at twin falls and i will tell you that for every 5 hikers (we actually counted them on the way to the waterfall) we saw 3 Asians vs 2 none-Asians. I count Indians as none-Asians BTW. If you add Indians to the Asian list, it is even more dramatic. We also attend local open houses, and see demographics there. 80% of open houses attendees in Bellevue are Asians and majority doesn’t speak English. They either speak native or come with English speaking agent (Asian as well) that speaks for them. Also, significant number of for sale signs are now in both, Chinese (or whatever) and English. Also, the “local” Costco in Kirkland, i can see the demographic changes there 8 years ago vs now. They also carry out more Asian varieties of food now.

  39. 39

    RE: cm @ 37 – Depending on what that is it might not be the escrow’s fault. It might be the title company or one of the agents.

    I’d have to dig it up, but a couple of years ago a couple of agents contacted Jesse Jones because of a title issue. It was a judgment that was against someone with a similar name as the buyer or seller. That’s the sort of thing agents are supposed to deal with, but these agents didn’t know that and ended up looking foolish on TV (to those who understand the process).

    Edit: Here’s a link to something from Rainier Title which explains what happened. http://www.rainiertitle.com/blog/news/post/rainier-title-on-king-5s-get-jesse#.WTnWV2jyuUk

    If it was something like paying off a capacity charge or getting a loan payoff, but might be the escrow’s fault. But I’ve seen lenders not deal with payoffs well.

  40. 40
    sleepless says:

    By ess @ 25:

    ” tax those evil foreigner speculators that are parking ill gained monies into Seattle real estate and driving up prices so that the little guy can’t afford to buy”.

    RE: ess @ 25 – I don’t think we have a “high” demand problem, what we should do is ease the supply. We need more housing units built. The problem with tapering the demand is that it can scare the builder off who would build even fewer houses. What we need is more housing being built. It is a win – win. More construction creates more tax revenue for the state as well as creates job. In turn, it helps to keep the prices in check. If something is in big demand, just create more of it. More happy homeowners, more jobs, everyone is happy.

  41. 41
    sleepless says:

    By uwp @ 33:

    As long as those $100k+ jobs keep coming…

    $100K+ jopb is not enuf to but $800K+ house. Also, keep in mind that many of those $100K+ jobs have “stay at home” wives, meaning single income. Also, how many engineer Google do you think will hire? How many people work for Google globally? The number is not that large. Google, just like Amazon and Microsoft, for every job it creates, 5-10 jobs get lost. Keep that in mind. With cloud computing the IT jobs all but disappeared. Or you think what Cloud computing does to IT jobs is not the same thing as what online does to brick and mortar retails. It is exactly the same but in IT industry. By IT i mean dev ops, system administrators and such.

  42. 42
    sleepless says:

    RE: sleepless @ 41 – Good example is Netflix when they moved to AWS in 2016 from in house DC, they decreased their infrastructure costs by 60-70% as well as went from 300+ dev ops, network engineer, system administrators, build and deployment engineers, DBAs to something like 50-60 who maintan the whole AWS Infrastructure now.

  43. 43
    sleepless says:

    Also, keep in mind, I don’t disagree that the tech jobs bring prosperity to the few, but they also bring impoverishment to the many by automation. With advancement in AI, how many Uber drivers will lose their jobs soon? Even those low paying Amazon whearhouse jobs are being automated. Also, why prices keep rising in Spokane and other flyover cities? No IT jobs there…

  44. 44
    N says:

    By sleepless @ 43:

    Also, why prices keep rising in Spokane and other flyover cities? No IT jobs there…

    Such a great point. Because clearly there is more to this recovery than just high paying tech jobs. How else do you explain Spokane being at all time highs (just like here) in price with inventory down 25% YOY (just like here). How much of it is investors, speculation, easy money, easing of lending standards, low inventory created by no building for many years and wall street sucking up the demand a few years back, people who moved in with family and now want their own place again etc.

    Go to Minneapolis, Denver, you name it and while the medium price may be different the price gains and inventory trends all follow the same line. Its interesting to note in the latest Zumper apartment rent data show that Spokane YOY rent increases far outpace Seattle in percentage terms (something like 16% to 6%) and this is the current trend in all second tier cities.

    The question becomes when things flip do the high paying jobs here make Seattle different…and does it just make the Seattle core different or will Everett, Lynnwood etc also hold their gains.

  45. 45
    justme says:

    RE: sleepless @ 41
    RE: sleepless @ 43

    Good observations there, Sleepless. What happens when Costco andr Nordstrom move their IT to Azure or Google Cloud (*). Job losses all around Seattle and King County.

    (*) they would not move it to AWS, for certain. That would be suicidal to entrust your IT with your biggest competitor

  46. 46
    Blurtman says:

    RE: sleepless @ 40 – No, everyone is not happy with worsening traffic, higher density housing and more disappearing nature.

  47. 47
    S-Crow says:

    Topic: closing delays

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 39RE: cm @ 37 – In spirit, there is never a “clear Title” prior to closing, per se. In the normal course of a transaction escrow works to obtain documentation, payoffs, etc from the items listed as exceptions on Schedule B of the Title Report. Those items of record are typically the mortgages, liens and judgments (IRS, DSHS etc) that are common. When escrow is ready to close all documentation is ready to go. Escrow “indemnify’s” those items listed on Schedule B on our closing order to the Title Co because escrow will be paying those off creating a “clear Title” subject to the new loan or loans being recorded at closing.

    Outside of escrow sitting on the file and not working on it until the last minute realizing there are difficult items to “clear”, it is highly doubtful that escrow is not prepared. Most delays our office see’s are from lenders/lender support staff and agents not managing their transactions well in a variety of ways.

    Most homeowners do not know that their loan may be processed in Florida, funded out of Arizona, Oregon or California but their loan officer is here. They have no clue and it still amazes me today that transactions close.

    S-Crow

  48. 48
    jon says:

    Dev ops and sysadmins are great people, but companies are not paying them simply because they have nothing else to do with the money. After those jobs are cut, the money will be spent on something else that is not being automated, or it is returned to shareholders who will then either spend it on something new, or they will retire. Either way, new job openings are created.

    Of course it’s a difficult transition for those affected, but in the end the dull, monotonous jobs are going to be replaced by ones that require human interaction, judgement, etc.

  49. 49
    Sid says:

    By sleepless @ 41:

    By uwp @ 33:

    As long as those $100k+ jobs keep coming…

    $100K+ jopb is not enuf to but $800K+ house. Also, keep in mind that many of those $100K+ jobs have “stay at home” wives, meaning single income. ,………….

    Vast majority of our friends in IT are dual income families. Also those Google Cloud (or any other big SV company) jobs will mostly be $200K+ jobs. That along with dual incomes makes a $800K house very much affordable.

  50. 50
    ess says:

    By sleepless @ 40:

    By ess @ 25:

    ” tax those evil foreigner speculators that are parking ill gained monies into Seattle real estate and driving up prices so that the little guy can’t afford to buy”.

    RE: ess @ 25 – I don’t think we have a “high” demand problem, what we should do is ease the supply. We need more housing units built. The problem with tapering the demand is that it can scare the builder off who would build even fewer houses. What we need is more housing being built. It is a win – win. More construction creates more tax revenue for the state as well as creates job. In turn, it helps to keep the prices in check. If something is in big demand, just create more of it. More happy homeowners, more jobs, everyone is happy.

    Yes – more housing units built would ease the lack of supply. With the constraints on residential construction for a whole host of reasons (discussed by many commentators here in the past), it isn’t happening. And “affordable housing” construction, either in the form of modest single houses or reasonably priced apartments certainly isn’t happening. I would assume that in the close in areas of Seattle and the east side, primarily expensive single houses and luxury apartments will be constructed in the immediate future. Obtaining “reasonably priced housing”, whatever that definition is these days, will be a function of having to go further and further away from the metropolitan Seattle area.

  51. 51
    Cap''n says:

    RE: ess @ 50

    Agreed. Most of what I see in phinney/greenwood/green lake are <500k SFH that would be great first home purchases where you could get some sweat equity instead being teardowns for 1.5 million plus new construction. That, or 650k cosmetic fixers being flipped for 900k plus. A listing description for an extremely tiny home described it as perhaps the last "affordable" SFH in the area. Sandwiched betweeen two apartment complexes. Sold for 472k. I think the listing agent might have been right.

  52. 52
    cm says:

    RE: S-Crow @ 47 – Thanks S-Crow. I misspoke (I was highly stressed yesterday). It was title, not escrow that totally dropped the ball. Closing was pushed out to another day until the sellers & the title co. get the title straightened out.

    I guess this will be a fun story to tell once the transaction is done.

  53. 53

    RE: S-Crow @ 47 – I viewed “clear title” as being extremely ambiguous, and simply meaning they were not ready to close for virtually any reason.

    I only remember one transaction that was delayed by escrow, but I do occasionally check in on escrow if there’s an item I’m concerned about. The one transaction which was delayed was perhaps the one of the simplest transactions because it was an REO (small lender in same city as property) and a cash buyer.

    One more thing on “clear title.” Another possible explanation of that is that the listing agent didn’t review/understand a title report prior to listing the property, and that there is a problem which will take time to resolve. If that’s the situation the listing agent likely owes the buyer’s agent a commission.

  54. 54

    By cm @ 52:

    RE: S-Crow @ 47 – Thanks S-Crow. I misspoke (I was highly stressed yesterday). It was title, not escrow that totally dropped the ball. Closing was pushed out to another day until the sellers & the title co. get the title straightened out..

    It’s sounding more and more like it was the listing agent that dropped the ball. Title sets the general conditions to close fairly early on and it’s the job of other people to make sure those conditions are met. So unless they added something late in the game (that was not a brand new recorded item) . . ..

    Just to give you some idea, I had a condo listing where the declaration had a right of first refusal in it–very unusual. My client did not tell me that, but it showed up when the title report came in. Anyway, once we had an accepted offer I had to give the condo board a copy of the offer, and then follow up to make sure that they were processing it on their end. Then I needed to verify that the document they intended to sign was acceptable to the title company to remove the exception for the right of first refusal. If the right of first refusal had held up closing it would not have been the title company’s fault, unless maybe they sat on approving the document. It would have been my fault.

  55. 55
    ess says:

    By Cap”n @ 51:

    RE: ess @ 50

    Agreed. Most of what I see in phinney/greenwood/green lake are <500k SFH that would be great first home purchases where you could get some sweat equity instead being teardowns for 1.5 million plus new construction. That, or 650k cosmetic fixers being flipped for 900k plus. A listing description for an extremely tiny home described it as perhaps the last "affordable" SFH in the area. Sandwiched betweeen two apartment complexes. Sold for 472k. I think the listing agent might have been right.

    You bring up a great and important subject, Cap”n. In a normal market, the less than desirable houses would often be purchased by those with less income or stellar credit willing to make improvements to offset their other financial shortcomings. These days – those buyers don’t have a chance. In passing I heard on one of the local TV stations that up to 9% of houses sold in a predetermined time period where bought by “flippers”. Thus another avenue for “affordable housing” has been eliminated in this market.

  56. 56

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 53 – My comment about only one transaction delayed by escrow failed to include a HUD transaction I did once. HUD used to require only one escrow, and they were horrible. Checking with DFI they had a ton of complaints about that company. Note that escrows selected on REO transactions usually are not great (my last REO transaction being a pleasant exception), but that company HUD required to be used was horrible. Multiple delays caused by escrow.

  57. 57

    Topic: No Inspection Contingency & Flippers

    By Anonymous Coward @ 6:

    Making the same point at every opportunity thereafter tends to make them less informative and more annoying…

    I finally have my proof of how important it is to a seller for a buyer to have an inspection contingency.

    Ocwen is without a doubt the most poorly run of all the banks when it comes to REO transactions. If you’re willing to deal with them you can get a very good price, because you’ll have reduced competition, but they tend to do really stupid things, like requiring that the buyer pay the excise tax (although they’ll reportedly negotiate that).

    Anyway, their terms of sale now include not only not allowing a buyer to have an inspection contingency, but they also won’t allow the water to be turned on and require the buyer to turn on the other utilities. Oh, apparently in addition to paying the excise tax the buyer is also responsible for the past due utilities.

    If there ever was a brain dead entity, it’s Ocwen. They were a PITA to deal with in bankruptcy court too. That Ocwen won’t allow inspection contingencies is conclusive proof of how critically important it is for a seller to have such a contingency as part of their offer. ;-)

    RE: ess @ 55 – It wouldn’t surprise me that a large percentage of Ocwen’s sales are to flippers. In any case I’m not sure that flippers purchasing and fixing up a house is a bad thing. I’ve seen people buy fairly dilapidated houses and live in them, but that’s not something I would typically recommend.

  58. 58

    RE: Sid @ 49
    The Seattle Area Average is 1.2 Workers per Household

    Singles own half the homes in the area too….IMO, they’re not buying homes, getting married and risk another divorce destroying future home equity…in the 90s, 70% of marriages ended up in divorce.

    Even marrying a single mom with kids can mean MASSIVE CHILD SUPPORT and they aren’t your kids….ask an attorney if ya don’t believe me.

  59. 59
    ess says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 57

    In my neighborhood there have been at least seven “flip” jobs within a few blocks of my house. I have no problems with flippers as a home owner in a neighborhood that is improved by major remodel jobs.

    On the other hand, as a marginal prospective buyer in an overheated real estate market, I would be concerned that my chances of purchasing a single family residence were little or none. I would had had no chance of getting into my first two real estate deals in this type of market.

    And quite often flippers are not just refreshing houses, they are improving them to the extent that the cost to obtain the house is hundreds of thousands of dollars more – excluding even more potential buyers and driving the market even higher as the availability of modestly priced single family houses declines.

    But you correct to the extent that sometimes new owners of less than stellar appearing houses are not as concerned about aesthetics as I or my neighbors, and don’t even take some simple steps to make improvements to at least the outside appearance.

  60. 60

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 57
    Yes Kary

    Its a slam dunk when buying high priced listed property….I’d get it inspected before staging and the seller white washes over rot and cracks. Expose the defects, so inspection can expose them.

    Quick sale foreclosures at like 1/2 price are the only homes I’d GRAB up quick without inspection [I’d inspect it myself first of course].

  61. 61

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 32
    Good Question Kary

    I don’t know if you knew our Democrat US Senator from Everett; Scoop Jackson. A real Patriot for Seattle folk and keeping Boeing jobs in Seattle….the last 20 years the Scoops were replaced by “lazy NWO do-nothings” for foreign overpopulation.

    Where were our Governors, Senators and Congressmen when Auburn Boeing Fabrication was outsourced? Thanking their false gods for less American white male engineers….LOL…but by gosh we assemble them in America….

  62. 62
    Ross says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 56:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 53 – My comment about only one transaction delayed by escrow failed to include a HUD transaction I did once. HUD used to require only one escrow, and they were horrible. Checking with DFI they had a ton of complaints about that company. Note that escrows selected on REO transactions usually are not great (my last REO transaction being a pleasant exception), but that company HUD required to be used was horrible. Multiple delays caused by escrow.

    RESPA (which HUD should be overseeing) says that a seller cannot require use of a particular escrow agent as a condition of sale. Is HUD doing that?

  63. 63
    Sid says:

    Massive reversal in FANG/tech stocks today. Can get scary if it continues next week.

  64. 64
    greg says:

    By ess @ 59:

    RE:

    In my neighborhood there have been at least seven “flip” jobs within a few blocks of my house. I have no problems with flippers as a home owner in a neighborhood that is improved by major remodel jobs.

    On the other hand, as a marginal prospective buyer in an overheated real estate market, I would be concerned that my chances of purchasing a single family residence were little or none. I would had had no chance of getting into my first two real estate deals in this type of market.

    strong bit, it is just not a good time to be seeking “deals”. It is more greater fool territory for some time now. That is not to say you can’t ride the wave, but that your risks are no longer based around value so much as they are about market timing.

    It is my view that this massive global wave of RE investment has to do with money supply and the lack of options. As the supply eases off and purchasing power settles in we will see more investment opportunities outside of RE. I predict many a REIT will unwind in the coming years as the investments begin to look comparatively weak.

  65. 65
    greg says:

    RE: Sid @ 62

    yep that has been a mighty run. Not surprised to see a pull back, if it closing down 3% on the popular techs, it could well be ugly on monday. Having said that for the last couple of years a drop is a buying op.

  66. 66

    [Topic–Post Bubble Construction]

    Yesterday I looked at a 2009 townhouse where the cement plank (unrecognizable brand) siding had apparently been installed by amateurs, and the window trim looked suspect too. Part of the siding was even showing signs of failing, but that could have been from the material behind failing due to water penetration.

    Then today I’m looking at another 2009 townhouse, and another unit in the complex is having a new roof put on. I don’t know where you buy composition siding that doesn’t last 10 years, but looking at the other units in the complex the roofs really were not holding up well at all. And it was fairly steeply sloped.

    I wonder how much of this was due to contractors just trying to cut costs as the market fell? On the siding one you would think there would have been plenty of experienced people to install siding back in 2009, but it looks like they hired someone from the HD parking lot.

  67. 67
    ess says:

    If Californians have property located in the right location, they can sell their houses in the Bay area, move to the Puget Sound area, pay all cash and still have lots of money left over. Think the real estate market is tough here – check out this recent article about a listing down there…..

    http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Silicon-Valley-real-estate-Mountain-View-Carol-Ave-11200348.php

  68. 68
    Depressed 1st time buyer says:

    Hello,

    I’ve been a lurker on this forum for the past two years or so.
    Love the data, the insight, and the occasional good joke in the comments.

    I’ve been looking to buy my first SFH for the past year (currently own a townhouse near the company I work for, in Mukilteo). I’ve been looking as far north as Marysville, and as far south as Shoreline.
    Having a more fiscally conservative nature, this market has me in a blue state of mind.

    I decided to post for the fist time, to ask for opinions and future perspective on the Snohomish county real estate. Is that the light at the end of the tunnel, or the train full of Amazonians ready to run over the North?

    Anyway love the discussion.

  69. 69
    cm says:

    New question. If a buyer is extremely unhappy with their real estate agent, how should they proceed? I ask as a hypothetical because I still don’t have a closing date and have had to cancel numerous contractors and set back a move-in date due to a title screw-up.

    My agent is on vacation…

  70. 70
    jon says:

    By ess @ 66:

    If Californians have property located in the right location, they can sell their houses in the Bay area, move to the Puget Sound area, pay all cash and still have lots of money left over. Think the real estate market is tough here – check out this recent article about a listing down there…..

    http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Silicon-Valley-real-estate-Mountain-View-Carol-Ave-11200348.php

    They could buy this gem and pocket $150,000, if they can avoid paying a realtor.

    https://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/2214-12th-Ave-W-98119/home/129271

  71. 71
    David B. says:

    RE: Erik @ 3 – It’s the American free-enterprise system: privatize the profits, socialize the losses.

  72. 72

    RE: cm @ 67 – You need to talk to the designated broker at your agent’s firm to get someone else to handle the situation in your agent’s absence (or beyond).

    You might also want to consult a real estate attorney–just to figure out what is holding up the situation, hopefully resolve it, or at the very least put some pressure on. That would typically be your agent’s job, but they are gone and you clearly need someone else.

    It would really help if you could explain what the nature of the problem is. If it’s just a tardy deed of trust creditor, the escrow is probably doing all they can. If it’s related to a prior owner it might be more complex–particularly if maybe it’s a very old real estate contract where no fulfillment deed was ever given, or some such thing, and the prior seller cannot be located. But in neither of those cases is your agent or an attorney likely to help much.

  73. 73
    Nicolatte says:

    ” tech jobs bring prosperity to the few, but they also bring impoverishment to the many.”

    Not true sir. I work in Banquets and catering. The hospitality industry is booming right now with more hotels being built and tech Giants having work meetings. They are simply hiring like crazy. These jobs on paper are minimum wage but when the tips are added in you are making as much or more than the tech guys per hour.

  74. 74

    RE: ess @ 67

    That is not something new though. When I moved to Granite Bay in 1998 outside of Sacramento, people were selling in the Bay Area and buying all cash with their Bay Area gains in and around Sacramento. That was before either “bubble” period.

    I remember a Bay Area garbage collector who sold a home he bought on the cheap many years prior, buying a brand new home all cash with the proceeds and becoming a “day trader” in his new home.

    Being a “day trader” was popular then. Do people still do that? I haven’t run into any “day traders” lately, or maybe they just don’t call themselves that anymore.

  75. 75
    ESS says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 74

    And from what I read, Sacramento has come out of the doldrums and is now a “hot” real estate market. As to day trading – I think it has lost some of its luster, as I have read that most people involved in that endeavor lose money.

  76. 76
    ESS says:

    RE: Depressed 1st time buyer @ 68

    Hey – at least you own a townhouse, which I assume has increased in value which should act as an anti-depressant to the prices you are viewing, especially in Seattle.

    As to the future of real estate in South Snohomish County, who knows? I do know that the closest house to me selling close to one million dollars in my town was purchased by an out of state individual employed by one of the tech companies. Million dollar houses near my house – never dreamed it would happen, but here we all are today……….

    I think this area will continue to do well so long the area increases in population as well as a fair number of buyers are forced out of Seattle/East Side market by the high prices. We are close enough to Seattle and the East Side, but still have some “reasonable” properties for sale that are considered “affordable” for this area. Furthermore, housing is not as concentrated as it is in more and more areas of Seattle. Some of us still like a yard bigger than 150 sq feet and the ability to look at something other than a neighbor’s wall or window. And when light rail comes to town(s) in Snohomish County, it will be a fast trip to get to either Seattle or the East Side if one can access the light rail stations in Lynnwood or Mountlake Terrace.

    Good luck hunting!

  77. 77
    Blurtman says:

    “The city of Sammamish’s vision for the Town Center is starting to take shape and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. Our new multi-family project is just steps from great retail experiences and we’re excited to provide new opportunities where residents can live close by,” said SeaLevel Properties Director John Shaw. “At SeaLevel Properties, we focus on producing a quality product and we believe this building reflects that commitment.”

    A Jersey Mike’s, a Chipotle and a nail place. Wheeeee! That’s a great retail experience.

  78. 78
    David B. says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 57 – I’ve mentioned it before but my ideal house as a buyer (when I’m in the market, which I’m presently not) is one that’s tired and dated but still in good structural shape. The “ugliness discount” means I get a good price, then I can use that savings to fix it up the way I like. Flippers tend to pander to the lowest common denominator, so buying a flipped house means I get to pay for upgrades I dislike.

  79. 79
    piggyshooz says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 77 – it’s Sammamish…..no point in pretending that there is any unique retail on the entire plateau. if those tenants didn’t go in then you would have panda express, subway, and another tanning salon take that space. also, not sure what anyone expected when the city required low income housing units in the project…..

  80. 80

    RE: David B. @ 78 – I like that strategy. It has the advantage of leaving you in the end with something you want, as opposed to something someone else liked or thought would be popular. Also you can make sure the job is done right with all necessary permits/upgrades.

    But the other issue with flipped properties is the fixes tend to be all cosmetic. Just recently a client wanted to see a house I advised against seeing after reviewing the seller provided inspection report. It looked nice for the most part, but whoever fixed it up didn’t deal with serious crawlspace issues and didn’t deal well with roof support issues. Similar issues with REOs that have been fixed up–they often look great but inspect poorly.

  81. 81
    Blurtman says:

    RE: piggyshooz @ 79 – Perhaps the plan is to turn 228th, already a local freeway at rush hour, into Redmond Way, but yes, there is just not enough interesting retail in the area. I suppose the franchised chains are the most competitive (or perhaps only) bidders, but that contributes to the schlockization of the area. My impression of the old guard city council is that they are former country bumpkins who rubber stamp the city manager’s plans. A few have conflict of interests themselves with RE and development business interests. It is difficult for someone who profits from environmental and quality of life destruction to write remotely truthful copy.

  82. 82

    RE: cm @ 69 – One other title situation occurred to me, and if you have only one seller (as opposed to a couple, or an LLC, etc.) it very well may be the problem.

    RCW 6.13.060 applies to “homestead” property one of the spouses live in and may require a spouse to join in a sale or financing transaction even if they don’t have an ownership interest in the property even if they don’t live in the property . It can cause some real problems, particularly for estranged spouses and situations where the spouse is unavailable or incapacitated.

    These type of situations always scare me because you’re basically counting on an estranged spouse being willing to come in and sign documents at closing, even though there may be nothing in it for them. It can be particularly bad if there is animosity between the couple.

    This statute is rather archaic and over-reaches into a lot of areas it shouldn’t. But it can create real headaches. Technically this should be disclosed on the first question of the Form 17 disclosure statement (“Do you have legal authority to sell the property”), but I would guess that happens less than 50% of the time.

    Anyway, that’s a situation where none of the professionals involved would be at fault, assuming the other spouse agreed they would cooperate and then changed their mind later. Another situation I ran into in the past was where the seller stipulated to judgment on a collection matter while a their sale transaction was pending. That created a “title issue” where one didn’t exist prior.

  83. 83

    A house in my neighborhood that took over 200 days to sell back in 2014 just sold in only 4 days for almost 50% more than the 2014 price. I showed the house a couple of times back in 2014, but didn’t go into the house this listing. The pictures look as if the condition was similar.

  84. 84
    piggyshooz says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 81 – I think you nailed it. looking from outside Sammamish, I’m noticing residents are changing the mentality to nimby vs the last decades view of subdivide and cash in. probably a reflection of the California transplants taking over.

  85. 85
    Hugh Dominic says:

    By David B. @ 71:

    RE: Erik @ 3 – It’s the American free-enterprise system: privatize the profits, socialize the losses.

    Seattle has a system of privatize the risk and socialize the benefits.

    Well, not exactly. The benefits are merely shifted to other private parties like developers, politicians, and certain social identity groups.

    So it’s privatize the risks and transfer the benefits.

    We will see how well this works. Private parties tend to avoid risks when there are fewer benefits.

  86. 86
    greg says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 66:

    [Topic–Post Bubble Construction]

    Yesterday I looked at a 2009 townhouse where the cement plank (unrecognizable brand) siding had apparently been installed by amateurs, and the window trim looked suspect too. Part of the siding was even showing signs of failing, but that could have been from the material behind failing due to water penetration.

    Then today I’m looking at another 2009 townhouse, and another unit in the complex is having a new roof put on. I don’t know where you buy composition siding that doesn’t last 10 years, but looking at the other units in the complex the roofs really were not holding up well at all. And it was fairly steeply sloped.

    I wonder how much of this was due to contractors just trying to cut costs as the market fell? On the siding one you would think there would have been plenty of experienced people to install siding back in 2009, but it looks like they hired someone from the HD parking lot.

    around 2009 maybe to 12 there were some companies that had let go a lot of staff and were doing a lot more work in house to keep those who were left busy. It could be they used general laborers instead siding, plumbing roofing etc.

  87. 87
    Umka says:

    By sleepless @ 38:

    By Anonymous Coward @ 6:

    By You know, speculation just like certain other posters speculate on the percentage of Chinese buyers based on their assumptions of nationality when they overhear people speaking foreign languages at open houses…

    It is not a speculation, it is a fact. I live in Clyde Hill Bellevue. And i have lived in Bellevue for the last 8 years (Enatai and Clyde Hill) and i can tell you firsthand that the demographic has changed dramatically towards Asians. Elementary schools, i can compare how many Asians were there 5 years ago vs today. Bellevue DT – lots of Asians eat out and walk in DT. We also spend a lot of time outdoors in parks and trails. I also see significant demographic shift towards Asians. Just a week ago we hiked at twin falls and i will tell you that for every 5 hikers (we actually counted them on the way to the waterfall) we saw 3 Asians vs 2 none-Asians. I count Indians as none-Asians BTW. If you add Indians to the Asian list, it is even more dramatic. We also attend local open houses, and see demographics there. 80% of open houses attendees in Bellevue are Asians and majority doesn’t speak English. They either speak native or come with English speaking agent (Asian as well) that speaks for them. Also, significant number of for sale signs are now in both, Chinese (or whatever) and English. Also, the “local” Costco in Kirkland, i can see the demographic changes there 8 years ago vs now. They also carry out more Asian varieties of food now.

    I’m totally with you.
    This fact can be easily confirmed if you go to the East side and watch what kind of children coming out of the school buses.
    What kind of people are shopping mostly in the baby clothing stores.
    Or simply go to the Driver License department and see what kind of people are getting new IDs.
    You will be lucky if can find any “white” people.
    The problem is a lot of people choose not to accept this fact.
    Especially people on this web-site. My guess its because a lot of them are realtors, and they have their own agenda….

  88. 88
    Blurtman says:

    RE: piggyshooz @ 84 – The longer time residents, especially landowners of subdividable properties, can cash in. And it is a bit hypocritical to compiain about development once you have your own home, which wasn’t there at one time. But it is true that open space is disappearing, traffic is getting worse, and cookie cutter developments and tacky chain retail is becoming the norm.

  89. 89

    By Umka @ 87:

    The problem is a lot of people choose not to accept this fact.
    Especially people on this web-site. My guess its because a lot of them are realtors, and they have their own agenda….

    I guess it depends on the issue. I focus on citizenship, because that’s really all that matters when it comes to real estate sales. If you think anything else matters then your bordering on racism, if not actually crossing that border by a large margin.

    And FWIW, the language someone speaks doesn’t determine their citizenship.

    Also for what it’s worth I have had a couple of clients volunteer their citizenship recently, but that was because they misunderstood the FIRPTA form. That only asks for the seller’s residency status, not the buyer’s.

  90. 90
    Umka says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 89:

    By Umka @ 87:

    The problem is a lot of people choose not to accept this fact.
    Especially people on this web-site. My guess its because a lot of them are realtors, and they have their own agenda….

    I guess it depends on the issue. I focus on citizenship, because that’s really all that matters when it comes to real estate sales. If you think anything else matters then your bordering on racism, if not actually crossing that border by a large margin.

    And FWIW, the language someone speaks doesn’t determine their citizenship.

    Also for what it’s worth I have had a couple of clients volunteer their citizenship recently, but that was because they misunderstood the FIRPTA form. That only asks for the seller’s residency status, not the buyer’s.

    So expressing my observations demographic-wise suddenly makes me a racist? If you did not notice – I haven’t said anything bad about any race. But, hey, thank you for spinning this to the racist thing!
    Your comment just proved my point.

  91. 91

    By Umka @ 87:

    You will be lucky if can find any “white” people.

    Yep, you’re not a racist at all. My bad. /sarc

    But assuming you have a point that isn’t racist, go ahead and make it. You’ve yet to do so. There are more Asian people, what’s the point?

    And before you answer, realize that many Asian people are US Citizens, either naturalized or because they were born here. And many of those people are bilingual, and will speak a foreign language (which you probably can’t even identify), particularly if they don’t want to be overheard. And even if they aren’t a resident alien or citizen they have a federally protected right to buy real property equally without regard to their national origin. So again, what’s your point of bringing it up on a real estate related website?

  92. 92
    sfraz says:

    RE: Umka @ 90 – Agree. I was in Blah view today for lunch and the restroom signs in the building (very large mixed use-new) were in Chinese. The Bellevue Square is predominantly cruised by wealthy Chinese. It is what it is. http://www.seattlemag.com/article/how-foreign-investment-changing-our-neighborhoods

  93. 93
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Umka @ 87 – Agree. Where I live in Sammamish, the area is becoming heavily Indian (not Elizabeth Warren Indian, but from India). Also lots of folks from China. My genome is part Asian, and it is unlikely that I am a racist, but some folks would believe that the US census is racist because it records race. It is perhaps an inconvenient truth that we live in the H1B IT job taking epicenter. Just get to know your neighbors and you can easily confirm this. Nice folks but perhaps the Chinese are even more polite and well mannered than the long time citizens, but that can be my Asian bias.

  94. 94

    By Blurtman @ 92:

    It is perhaps an inconvenient truth that we live in the H1B IT job taking epicenter. Just get to know your neighbors and you can easily confirm this.

    Seriously? You walk up to your neighbors and ask them about their national origin, immigration status and right to work in the United States? If they claim to be a citizen do you ask to see their Social Security card and/or passport for verification?

  95. 95
    sfraz says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 92 – Same in Bellevue. Many articles re: the EB-5 visas. It’s not racist. It just is.

  96. 96
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Umka @ 87 – In Bellevue, 4 out of 10 residents are foreign born. Asians now account for over 1/3 of its residents, up from 10% in 1990. Percent of a minority race or ethnicity is now over 50%, up from 15% in 1990. So your observation is essentially correct. But we live in an ultra liberal/progressive region and such topics are out of bound. Just ask the poor “deeply progressive”(!) professor at Evergreen state college when he brought up the subject of race on campus.

  97. 97
    ess says:

    Regardless of who is living in Bellevue or the East Side, one thing is certain. That is, that houses are selling for a great deal of money. Out of curiosity, I reviewed “houses recently sold” for Bellevue, and most of the houses that sold were for more than one million dollars or even much higher.

  98. 98

    By Eastsider @ 95:

    RE: Umka @ 87 – In Bellevue, 4 out of 10 residents are foreign born. Asians now account for over 1/3 of its residents, up from 10% in 1990. Percent of a minority race or ethnicity is now over 50%, up from 15% in 1990. So your observation is essentially correct. But we live in an ultra liberal/progressive region and such topics are out of bound. Just ask the poor “deeply progressive”(!) professor at Evergreen state college when he brought up the subject of race on campus.

    It’s not that you can’t bring up race, it’s that you have to have a point to bringing up race. And when you start making assumptions about people based on the language they speak that becomes highly suspect.

    But assuming that this discussion does somehow pertain to real estate, and Umka just isn’t somehow uncomfortable being around people with an Asian racial background, I’m going to assume the point is the impact it has on real estate prices. If that’s the case, why focus on Asians? Why not focus on anyone who didn’t live in Washington state prior to 1980 (or some other random year)? Or let’s bring up the “tasteless” subject of programmers in the prior thread. Clearly they are contributing to the increase in prices too! And while we’re at it, all those people who can’t pay cash, they are really adversely affecting those who can by driving up prices. We should discuss them too, and maybe make the assumption that anyone we see who drives a car over 5 years old would not be a cash buyer. /sarc

    But maybe I’m missing something. Is there a valid reason to be repeatedly bringing up the race of people on this website? Or are people of a certain race merely a scapegoat for those who find that they can’t afford a house?

  99. 99

    By ess @ 96:

    Regardless of who is living in Bellevue or the East Side, one thing is certain. That is, that houses are selling for a great deal of money. Out of curiosity, I reviewed “houses recently sold” for Bellevue, and most of the houses that sold were for more than one million dollars or even much higher.

    Good observation! For May the median sold price in Bellevue (SFR) was over $1.1M, but the median list price was just under $1M.

    Numbers from NWMLS sources but not compiled by or guaranteed by the NWMLS.

  100. 100
    Dustin says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 95 – Topics of race are not “out of bound” in the Seattle area. They’re discussed regularly on social media and in the news. It’s racist to blame Asian people for buying houses in Bellevue because it implies you think white people are more entitled to the houses. Would you be blaming white people for housing prices if only one third of Bellevue’s population were white?

  101. 101
    Erik says:

    RE: Dustin @ 99
    My family hates on Californians because they use to typically have more money and would buy expensive homes. Now people are hating on rich Asian people for the same reason. People are just jealous and blame the people coming in that have more wealth.

  102. 102
    noogakl says:

    New article in the Seattle Time today entitled “Bucking the luxury housing trend, $500M in new apartments designed to help Seattle’s shrinking middle class.”

    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/bucking-the-luxury-housing-trend-500m-in-new-apartments-aim-to-help-seattles-shrinking-middle-class/

    Because the dream of every middle class family in Seattle is to rent an apartment…

    I am not criticizing the developers in the article, who seem to have a more sustainable long-term business plan with their developments. But the title of the article suggests that this is a long term fix for the plight of middle class people living in Seattle and it most certainly is not.

  103. 103

    RE: Erik @ 100 – Well in fairness, California does suck! ;-)

    But yes, that is a prior example.

    If you go back even further it was “Negros” in the 60s, but the concern then was prices going down. I believe “There goes the neighborhood” was the saying of the day.

    And as Ardell likes to point out, a lot of local properties platted even earlier have covenant restrictions limiting the race of owners of the property. Those are now not enforceable due to federal law.

    Racism and real estate has deep roots.

  104. 104

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 102
    Race is Becoming a Moot Point

    Especially if those recent demography stats blogged on East Side Seattle pan out mostly Asian.

    We all bleed the same color, we’re all equal. This victim status for certain races is a complete joke, especially when their are no more minorities.

  105. 105
    Luther says:

    Yes, Kary ..on the Eastside it is a very common conversation around the neighborhood and the workplace to discuss immigration status; country of origin, and immigrant work issues. In my company our last several hires were Hispanic, French, South Asian, Taiwanese , Philippines, and Mainland China country of origin. For these employees and the American origin employees things like family visits, visa status, potential same family immigration , etc are an important part of everyday life and office chit chat. There certainly is nothing racist about that and everyone seems very interested in these critical life issues.
    Same thing in my Bellevue neighborhood which is extremely walkable , the neighbors routinely discuss these relevant issues freely among themselves as the neighborhood is increasingly South Asian and Chinese, for the very same reasons. Its just a sign of being in touch and concerned about your neighbors. We definitely do not consider ourselves racist lol.
    On the Eastside the changing demographics create many extra needs and opportunities for the community and are in fact a topic of very frequent conversations both in the workplace and where people live and go to school. These changes are real and open conversation and acknowledgement are the best way to make these changes a win win for everyone in the community.
    You can put away the “race card” because people who live on the Eastside would not buy into that red herring.

  106. 106
    greg says:

    By Erik @ 100:

    RE: Dustin @ 99
    My family hates on Californians because they use to typically have more money and would buy expensive homes. Now people are hating on rich Asian people for the same reason. People are just jealous and blame the people coming in that have more wealth.

    I think you hit on it with the word “RICH” that is the real issue, not race. Race is merely happenstance. I dont think anyone cares where the investment money is coming from, it is the fact that it is driving up prices that they object to or in fact celebrate.

    worth reminding folks that about 3 million homes were converted to rental during and directly after the big crash. That has put pressure on prices too but gets overlooked a lot. It is my believe much of that will unwind when rates go up. Not due to increased costs so much better low risk alternatives.

    people always whine about competition just this morning on the radio i heard some whining about Bremerton getting a ferry that might encourage more seattleites to move there… some locals were not happy and felt it went against the ethos of the area and others argued that “outside” monies would drive up prices and make it unfair on locals.

  107. 107
    Manamanah says:

    RE: piggyshooz @ 84

    Californication has been a factor on the plateau since way before there was a city of Sammamish, back at least to the 80s. Some of those kids were nice, and some of them (and their families) were truly awful. They nimby’d out a proposed prison at the bottom of union hill, where a now decaying green fence still stood last time I drove by. Developers just tore down another long-standing horse farm on the south side of the plateau, and are cashing in (adding to the adjacent large parcel sold by an ex-NFL player’s family).

    In that area, it is usually the people who are already wealthy who sell to developers, or who are the developers, who are cashing in bigly and wrecking what used to be beautiful. Can never be rich enough, right? Then folks who never saw what it was before fight over the jammed in boxes piled on top of each other.

  108. 108

    By Luther @ 104:

    You can put away the “race card” because people who live on the Eastside would not buy into that red herring.

    You might have provided an explanation of why that topic would be discussed on the eastside, and I’ll take you at your word for it, even though I’m a bit shocked that eastside neighbors talk about anything at all.

    But not a red herring issue at all unless you can come up with a valid non-racist reason why race is mentioned so much on a Seattle real estate blog. I would bet that well over half the people seen by those bringing up the topic are US citizens, including those who speak foreign languages. And I really doubt that residency and work permit status are common topics of conversation while waiting at the DOL.

  109. 109

    By greg @ 105:

    By Erik @ 100:

    RE: Dustin @ 99
    My family hates on Californians because they use to typically have more money and would buy expensive homes. Now people are hating on rich Asian people for the same reason. People are just jealous and blame the people coming in that have more wealth.

    I think you hit on it with the word “RICH” that is the real issue, not race. Race is merely happenstance. I dont think anyone cares where the investment money is coming from, it is the fact that it is driving up prices that they object to or in fact celebrate.

    I would agree with both those comments. Unfortunately it’s race that keeps getting brought up.

  110. 110
    Kit says:

    With all the discussion around just how hard it is to find white people, I can’t tell you how badly the Chinese buyers dominate purchases because as pointed out there is more to the interaction like who has money, but all of these counties still remain majority white. Asian populations are under 20%. I am sure if you look to specific cities, you’ll find the same.

    http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/executive/performance-strategy-budget/regional-planning/Demographics.aspx

    https://suburbanstats.org/population/washington/how-many-people-live-in-sammamish

    Don’t let your confirmation bias get too strong…

  111. 111
    GoHawks says:

    RE: greg @ 105 – What if rates don’t rise substantially? They have been falling for 30 years.

  112. 112
    Doug says:

    RE: GoHawks @ 110 – And there it is right there.

    You know, as avid a subscriber as Justme is to ZeroHedge, I would have thought he would have also come to this conclusion by now as well.

    Maybe a better question is what if rates go negative?

  113. 113
    Dave says:

    Perhaps we should ask the Tim to deploy a ‘no race comments’ line in the discussion forum here.

    The race card is highly sensitive these days and should only be used if absolutely necessary. As someone who recently lost a board position job due to race, I can attest that the current climate is contentions and challenging in the Puget Sound area.

    FYI, in 2016 I was the second to last last older white male on a company board with over 20 years of direct work experience and a handful of degrees so I gracefully and happily resigned when they found a highly valuable and regionally appropriate north African woman with over 5 years of experience. Diversity trumps experience in 2017 as her public appearances and photo ops are actually more valuable than my experience, strategic org theory, system architecture, and legacy programming languages.

    Apologies for the mini summary but I tend to be trolled as a racist unless I list the details even though one could easily argue that discrimination is running in reverse these days.

  114. 114
    Kit says:

    RE: Dave @ 112

    Personally, as a minority, I’d rather them be here than in various echo chambers. That said, not being an expert in race relationships or society, I couldn’t say I know enough to make the best decision.

  115. 115
    sfraz says:

    RE: Kit @ 113 – Kary is fanning the flames. demographics are constantly brought up in real estate. Demographics are discussed in various magazines/newspapers/local TV re: the same. When discussing these demographics, none of us seem to be racists, along with the journalists reporting this phenomenon. Vancouver property and the Chinese influence is SO prominent, there is a reality TV show re: that subject. “Ultra Rich Asian Girls” of Vancouver. So NO- Tim, real estate and demographics go hand-in-hand. AND – Kary- are you calling the Seattle Times, HBIC TV, Forbes, WSJ, Seattle Curbed, Zero Hedge, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR), etc. Racist?! You need to calm down, as usual.

  116. 116
    Jasper says:

    Weird. Erik is now the voice of reason, and now Kary is acting like a troll.

    Calling people “racist” for noticing things is not a good way to convince anyone of anything.

  117. 117
    Kit says:

    RE: sfraz @ 114

    Eh. I tend to skip over Kary diatribes, so apologies if I missed something, but I don’t really see him calling anyone racist. I agree with him and greg that people pick something easy to notice about a group like skin color and associate it to a stereotype versus something harder like being rich (which is still kind of a lowbrow way to make groups).

    In fact, my comment around Seattle still being 70% white is more directed at comments like “there are no more minorities” and “watch what kind of children coming out of the school buses.” It’s all fine to discuss and certainly not racist alone to make observations and want to discuss them. However, I didn’t get the impression from Kary that it wasn’t fine, but rather trying to direct it another way, because the reality is that there is more to this whole thing. Race, nationality, and visas play a part of it, but even I have a hard time spotting whose been here for how long among other Asians and even my tech-focused workplace is only a part of the larger scene. We shouldn’t only blame an influx of Chinese buyers and block out the context.

    For example, I came here as an Asian so my mixed-race kids wouldn’t have such a hard time. If my kids look Asian to you on a school bus or you see me in the market, will you assume we were born in America or will you assume I was born abroad? (The answer is here). If you know a group of coworkers on visas because you work in tech, what’s your perception towards the general populace? My workplace certainly doesn’t reflect the larger statistics of King County. Nothing of these assumptions are racist (or at least problematically racist) unless you are playing into racist biases that turn into racist acts in my view, but in a discussion like this, you need the broader picture and not just your own observations before you make really big conclusions.

  118. 118
    Eastsider says:

    Haha Kary will be busy responding to the ‘racist’ comments above. I’m sure if he runs the website, all of us will be blacklisted. LOL.

  119. 119

    By sfraz @ 114:

    RE: Kit @ 113 – Kary is fanning the flames. demographics are constantly brought up in real estate. Demographics are discussed in various magazines/newspapers/local TV re: the same. When discussing these demographics, none of us seem to be racists, along with the journalists reporting this phenomenon. Vancouver property and the Chinese influence is SO prominent, there is a reality TV show re: that subject. “Ultra Rich Asian Girls” of Vancouver. So NO- Tim, real estate and demographics go hand-in-hand. AND – Kary- are you calling the Seattle Times, HBIC TV, Forbes, WSJ, Seattle Curbed, Zero Hedge, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR), etc. Racist?! You need to calm down, as usual.

    I don’t have a problem with someone citing some actual statistics on how many foreigners from different countries are buying property. The problem is there are no such statistics for transactions in the United States. All those articles you mention just quote one or two real estate agents or other professionals, etc. Maybe they could actually track such things in Canada–I don’t know.

    But what I object more to is claims that you can somehow determine the number of foreign buyers by looking at peoples’ faces in some area of town or listening to the language they speak. If not racist at a minimum it’s incredibly ignorant if not downright stupid.

    Finally, you obviously don’t know what I think of Zero Hedge. If there ever was a less credible source of information I don’t know what it would be.

  120. 120

    By Umka @ 87:

    I’m totally with you.
    This fact can be easily confirmed if you go to the East side and watch what kind of children coming out of the school buses.
    What kind of people are shopping mostly in the baby clothing stores.
    Or simply go to the Driver License department and see what kind of people are getting new IDs.
    You will be lucky if can find any “white” people.
    The problem is a lot of people choose not to accept this fact.
    Especially people on this web-site. My guess its because a lot of them are realtors, and they have their own agenda….

    In case people have forgotten what started this topic, it was this. This is some incredibly racist BS IMHO. Looking at children getting off school buses! Being lucky to see a white person at DOL. And the post it was agreeing with was pretty much as bad.

    Unfortunately these types of comments are far too common on this site.

  121. 121
    Steven says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 119

    Im not afan of all the arguments you stir up but this is very agreeable observation. Ppl seem to think somehow that white people majority is what we should strive for and continue to have in a neighborhood. Maybe in a privaye conv u can say whatever u want but this is s till a pub forum

  122. 122
    Green-Horn says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 107

    Of course it’s probably taboo (and illegal) for licensed real estate professionals to consider or discuss race with their clients.
    But this doesn’t mean that their clients don’t think about it and make decisions based on it.

    Maybe folks like Kary right when are quick to call people “racist” for making observations about and discussing openly concerns about racial issues. For years the propaganda has been holding that whites are inherently racist and bear a burden of the original sin of American slavery & Jim Crow. At first I resisted this inherited guilt (even though my poor European roots immigrated here long after the Black American slaves were emancipated) but I’ve eventually come to terms with it. It’s probably a fact that we’re all racist and that we prefer the familiar and company from a similar background and culture. Indeed liberal Harvard professor Robert Putnam studied and showed how people of ALL RACES AND ETHNICITIES found it exhausting living in multiracial diverse communities and that the very diversity was what reduced social cohesion and trust FOR ALL RACES studied.

    So it’s not surprising that people of different cultures tend toward self-segregation. It’s not a matter of “superior or inferior” “American citizen or foreigner.” It’s merely a matter of familiarity, shared values and comfort. Now when I speak to real estate agents who specialize representing ChinCom (Mainland Chinese) buyers, there’s no surprise that they usually like to congregate among their fellow landsmen for normal social & cultural reasons. None wants to be a pioneer and “invest” in a neighborhood where they’ll be a lonely exotic… no matter how promising that investment looks. Follow the trend through our American history. Immigrants have always congregated in “ghettoes” together with their fellow countrymen. It was NOT just because of economic or racial oppression and exclusion that limited their options.

    Even today one can observe fairly strict racial self-segregation among home-owners who could afford many other options. Culture and ethnicity are just plain important… no matter how much we which to make society race blind.

    Now when mongrelized assimilated European-Americans with no other cultural or linguistic distinction wish to give satisfaction to this same instinct for “the familiar” they’re told it’s taboo, racist and horrible. These are obliged to do all the effort of adaptation that used to be expected of immigrants. Want to live expressed preference to reside among like minded people? No. You must tolerate living among people who will have make unfamiliar / incompatible / disagreeable noise, smells and spectacles about their homes. Want to build community institutions and manage schools based on shared culture and values? No that would be racist; only immigrants and minorities may do this. Sons of Norway, Polonia, etc? Ha. Just ask ’em. They’re desperate for young people to discover them. These institutions are fading and rapidly losing relevance because the integration of their descendants has been so complete and they’ve been completely submerged in mainstream American culture while their cultural and ethnic distinctions are all but lost. On the other hand for immigrants wishing to express such a preference, we’re supposed to “respect their culture” and “their wish to preserve it” in the face of the all overwhelming powerful oppressive influence of mainstream Americanness.

    If you misinterpret this rant as somehow “denigrating” to our newcomers, you’ve certainly misunderstood. I’m definitely an immigration enthusiast. It’s hard to overlook how they enrich our country, our economy, our culture and indeed also our region. However I’m not without my concerns. I observe how many Americans, otherwise generous and hospitable people are losing their patience as well as their welcoming spirit as they feel more and more alienated and “foreign” in their own land. Perhaps it’s hard to explain this concern in a contemporary context in which anti-racism and America being a nation of immigrants have become the preeminent civic values… perhaps the only values remaining on which a bitterly divided and atomized citizenry can (for now) still agree.

    Imagine a foreign country, say Belgium or Denmark was playing host to so many Americans that the Belgians and the Danes were feeling alien in a sea of encroaching “Americanness.” Wouldn’t we think it would be fair for the Danes and Belgians to limit the number and concentration of Americans so what made those countries & cultures so special… indeed so attractive to the Americans who chose to migrate there… that their previous cultures didn’t get submerged in a rising tide of concentrated Americans and their foreign American culture? Perhaps an absurd example… But history shows how many similar cases. A very well-known but infamous example, when at first so many Palestinians sold their properties of free will to European Zionists ready to compensate them sufficiently… I’m not taking sides in that one and I wish ’em all there peace, prosperity and good feelings. However one might agree that to this day it’s still an unfortunate mess. For similar reasons many smaller countries have much stricter restrictions about foreigners taking up residence and acquiring real estate than the US currently does.

    Even if results of demographic trends are incredibly easy to predict, these results are very difficult to imagine and grasp especially for the people engulfed in the trends. I do hope that America once again succeeds at integrating its newcomers and forging out of these good proud new American citizens who love our country and people at least as much as the ones who welcomed them do… and that these new Americans learn to identify with our shared community and are ready to sacrifice for its solidarity. There are promising signs of many patriotic immigrants. But I’m concerned that our past experience is no guarantee for successful integration in the future. You know, “Past performance is no guarantee for…” With so much current rhetoric and indoctrination taking a guilty self-flagellating tone, that “American culture is nothing but racism and oppression” it’s not hard to imagine a generation of newcomers who reject “that tainted legacy and the burdens of guilt it entails.” Instead an increasing number of newcomers seems to prefer to take on the mantle of the aggrieved, “the oppressed victims,” who themselves or whose parents for some reason recently made the mistake to chose to come and live among their oppressors. It’s not hard to see how that turns out when these clever but brainwashed folks take advantage of the self-flagellating posture of the host culture and for the sake of “justice” and actually enslave it. For this I don’t necessarily blame the newcomers nearly as much as I blame the local American professional radicals and revolutionaries who aim weaponize them and to draft them into their culture war. A certain real-estate developer who might have been promoted outside his level of competence once proclaimed, “They’re not sending us their best…” Be that as it may, there is also a case that might be made that many that they are sending are subject to a such demanding selection that they are actually much better than the ones who are already here. So even if they’re not sending their best, they may still be sending our betters… What else could explain all the insecurity about the newcomers taking away our jobs? Truly, they’re not just competing solely on wage costs… Before I want to tell my countrymen, “Buck up and compete! Try harder!” I wonder if America is perhaps importing not just a perpetual underclass but also an overclass that might condemn all its descendents to existence in its very own nascent sticky caste system. Apologies for this last digression, that if at all, is only distantly relevant to real estate…

    Finally even just with respect to the most immediate parochial considerations, to say racial considerations have no place in discussions of real estate is either ignorant or completely blinkered by current orthodoxy. All the progressive posh bourgeois bohemian folks who are constantly spouting homilies to diversity reveal preferences that are quite different in the premiums they pay to live in neighborhoods (and school districts) that are not very diverse at all. Convinced “diversity is our strength?” Congratulations! You qualify for a house at a nice discount!

  123. 123
    Hugh Dominic says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 119 – stuff it, Kary. You don’t get any points by playing the moral superiority race card. Check your privilege.

    Anyway, all white people are racists now. The line for what makes for a “(white) racist” has moved steadily into the mainstream of ordinary behavior over the past 30 years. It used to be they had to put on a white hood to be counted as a racist. Now merely the observation of race makes a white person a racist. So all white people should just get over it and be open “racists” rather than shrink into an ever smaller closet of acceptable speech, thought, and behavior.

    Sooner or later the line is going to move beyond where you’re standing anyway. So you might as well get used to the label.

  124. 124
    Green-Horn says:

    RE: Dave @ 112

    Thank you for sharing your story with everybody.

    Everybody, of all races, has their experiences and also their convictions.

    Those who claim “diversity is our strength” are sorely mistaken.

    Diversity is a challenge. Indeed one we might be failing…

    I wish I could be more optimistic, but as long as we’re keeping score and jealously tracking society’s privileges and rewards to make sure everything is distributed racially “justly,” looking to history for examples that follow a similar pattern, I don’t see a way out that doesn’t end in surrender, ethnic cleansing or at best peaceful cleavage.

    To be clear this is in no way to judge relative merits of the different ethnicities or races, but is merely a reflection on the difficulty of integrating peoples of different collective identities in a community where these don’t or aren’t able to identify with the larger community as a whole.

  125. 125
    Luther says:

    Kary , your comments about neighbors not talking in Bellevue is profoundly without basis in fact.
    There are many neighborhoods in Bellevue that are extremely walkable and then there are the town centers and mini town centers where a very significant amount of neighborly contact and discussion is maintained, especially in walkable weather. My wonderful Bellevue neighborhood is favored by a frontage road that is a constant stream (for nearly one mile) of neighbors running, walking, exercising pets, accessing vehicles etc.. Conversation about all topics is frequent. We have an unofficial HOA
    with frequent well attended meetings as another source of open discourse.
    You seem to have some very interesting thoughts and experiences in real estate transactions and real estate law , but your offhand comments on many other topics can be gratuitous and uninformed and very judgemental on top of that. You can even veer into thinly veiled personal attacks ala Ardell – ugh.

  126. 126

    By Hugh Dominic @ 121:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 119 – stuff it, Kary. You don’t get any points by playing the moral superiority race card. Check your privilege.

    Anyway, all white people are racists now.

    Almost everyone is racist in some way to some extent, including myself. But that doesn’t excuse those who make blatantly racist comments on this site. And I quite frankly don’t understand why you would be upset with my calling that out, as well as pointing out (as I have repeatedly) there there are no good stats on buyer race for US transactions. The lack of any real data removes any cover those bringing up the topic have for posting such thoughts here.

  127. 127

    By Luther @ 123:

    Kary , your comments about neighbors not talking in Bellevue is profoundly without basis in fact. . . . You can even veer into thinly veiled personal attacks ala Ardell – ugh.

    All I said there was “I’m a bit shocked that Bellevue neighbors talk about anything at all.” That’s more a comment about the society we live in, and I would make the same comment about all of the more suburban and urban areas of King County. People don’t tend to know their neighbors as well these days as in the past. But there are exceptions.

    As to Ardell, the only mention of her was with regard to the old covenants. Not sure how that’s a thinly veiled attack on her.

  128. 128
    GoHawks says:

    Make Seattle Bubble Great Again.

  129. 129
    Eastsider says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 124:

    Almost everyone is racist in some way to some extent, including myself. But that doesn’t excuse those who make blatantly racist comments on this site. And I quite frankly don’t understand why you would be upset with my calling that out, as well as pointing out (as I have repeatedly) there there are no good stats on buyer race for US transactions. The lack of any real data removes any cover those bringing up the topic have for posting such thoughts here.

    In Bellevue, percent of a minority race or ethnicity is now over 50%, up from 15% in 1990. So is it ‘racist’ to claim that there are more Chinese homebuyers/residents nowadays? You are clueless since you have no ‘data’ to disprove such claims. So stop being a PC speech police.

  130. 130
    Anonymous Coward says:

    By Eastsider @ 127:

    So is it ‘racist’ to claim that there are more Chinese homebuyers/residents nowadays?

    Ah, but what is meant by “Chinese” and how does that impact real estate? Are we talking about people purchasing real estate in Seattle using funds sourced from mainland China? Or are we talking about people of Chinese ancestry/heritage?

  131. 131
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Anonymous Coward @ 128 – Sure, some are using funds sourced from mainland China, some are Chinese-Americans. They do affect real estate prices given that in Bellevue, Asians now account for over 1/3 of its residents, up from 10% in 1990. Most of the growth happened in the past decade.

  132. 132
    Kit says:

    RE: Green-Horn @ 122
    >Those who claim “diversity is our strength” are sorely mistaken. Diversity is a challenge. Indeed one we might be failing

    It can be both. In most studies, group intelligence (ability to solve problems) tends to do well when a diversity of perspective is included because more angles and approaches allows you as the group to select the best one. In fact, being too similar tends to end up in group think. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_intelligence#Collective_intelligence_factor_c

    >I don’t see a way out that doesn’t end in surrender, ethnic cleansing or at best peaceful cleavage.

    People will always find ways to divide themselves. Americans were racist even against their own Caucasian groups like the Italians. Europe is shaped over centuries of wars religious and otherwise petty grievances of sovereigns. So your logic pretty much ends at there will be no peace until it’s just one person alive in any given country.

    Instead, I see that more and more groups over time are accepted as American. All of the Irish and Italians certainly are. Minorities are gaining ground. 50 years ago interracial marriage was illegal. People are gaining rights to do what they want and own their own bodies (without harm to others) without having to be their own country. We’ll be fine as a country. People will always be dumb, but collectively, we will be fine.

  133. 133
    Kit says:

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 121

    Oh no, did someone call you a racist and now you’re branded for life?

  134. 134
    greg says:

    By GoHawks @ 110:

    RE: greg @ 105 – What if rates don’t rise substantially? They have been falling for 30 years.

    it’s a very fair point you raise, but they are too low to stay this low without making housing unaffordable to the majority of Americans. We have too much corporate monies and small investor monies driving the market, and it is not in anyway limited to the USA, it is all over the globe. Where jobs are strong and economies thriving investors large and small have been piling in.
    Everyone and their dog has gotten into real estate but this time it is not regional or even national it is global. You have investors from EU buying here US investors buying there, Asian buying everywhere.
    There is far too much money chasing too few opportunities and everybody is playing it “smart” by buying hard assets.
    Raising rates and making real estate a less attractive investment is the clear course of action. It is true that it may not happen, but it would be a very foolish short term choice indeed to leave rates where they are. Moving them up is vital to getting the world back on track.
    If not we will see homeownership rates continue to decline, leaving even more people feeling like they don’t have a stake in our future and leading more discontent. Of course the Fed might not care at all, after all i am not even sure they would see that as having anything to do with them.

    in short if the US wants to continue to have a middle class rooted in home ownership they will need to put a lid on prices, because the alternative is massive wage increases and that looks a lot less likely.

  135. 135

    I do hear both people and agents saying they “lost” to “Chinese cash buyers” when they did not. When agents say it, it is an excuse as to why they “lost” that does not poorly reflect on their abilities. Similar reasons when buyers do it. Losing to “cash” is easier to swallow than merely losing and sometimes a “save face” retort to people asking if they “won” who knew they were making an offer.

    I need to do the “tedious” stats for work reasons. The reality is that NONE of the SFH “losers” in Kirkland this month lost to “Chinese cash buyers”. That doesn’t mean no one will say they did. Everyone needs a scapegoat when licking their wounds.

    To Luther, usually when Kary “attacks” me he really is venting his frustrations about the marketplace. The whole Home Inspection Contingency “argument” is just what he wishes were true vs what IS true, and I represent what IS true…in the markets where I work. Almost 90% of the sales in the aforementioned group had NO INSPECTION CONTINGENCY, so that is not an argument of principle no matter how many attorney videos he puts up saying that should not be the case. It’s a reality of the market.

    There were even fewer cash transactions in the aforementioned study group than there were sales with a home inspection contingency. So most buyers are not losing to cash. As example, if someone submitted an offer with an inspection contingency and a cash buyer “won”, that doesn’t mean they lost to cash. It means they lost, and would have lost even if there were no cash buyers. Same true of some other contingencies that can’t be tracked, even using tedious methods that can flush out the inspection and financing details.

    Not sure if the disclosure is required on this one, but just in case “The stats and findings in this comment are not published, verified or compiled by The Northwest Multiple Listing Service”.

  136. 136

    By Eastsider @ 127:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 124:

    Almost everyone is racist in some way to some extent, including myself. But that doesn’t excuse those who make blatantly racist comments on this site. And I quite frankly don’t understand why you would be upset with my calling that out, as well as pointing out (as I have repeatedly) there there are no good stats on buyer race for US transactions. The lack of any real data removes any cover those bringing up the topic have for posting such thoughts here.

    In Bellevue, percent of a minority race or ethnicity is now over 50%, up from 15% in 1990. So is it ‘racist’ to claim that there are more Chinese homebuyers/residents nowadays? You are clueless since you have no ‘data’ to disprove such claims. So stop being a PC speech police.

    I’m not being clueless. I’m not denying there are people of Asian decent, or even that their numbers are probably increasing. That’s not the issue at all and if you think it is you’re being incredibly dense.

  137. 137

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 133:

    To Luther, usually when Kary “attacks” me he really is venting his frustrations about the marketplace. The whole Home Inspection Contingency “argument” is just what he wishes were true vs what IS true, and I represent what IS true…in the markets where I work. Almost 90% of the sales in the aforementioned group had NO INSPECTION CONTINGENCY, so that is not an argument of principle no matter how many attorney videos he puts up saying that should not be the case. It’s a reality of the market.

    When I attack you it’s usually because you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about but keep repeating nonsense–particularly on legal issues. Or do we need to go over the need to list a property as being a short sale, or the liability on a second mortgage after a foreclosure, etc., or whatever the many issues have been that you’ve also argued with Craig Blackmon about.

    As to the current inspection issue, I don’t have a problem with sellers accepting an offer without an inspection contingency if they are properly advised, but I suspect most sellers who do so are being advised by clueless agents who cannot properly advise them. On the other hand, maybe those sellers are just as well off–assuming the agent and firm representing them has malpractice insurance and/or is solvent. They get the best of both worlds–no inspection and someone to indemnify them if they do get sued. That though ignores the mental anguish that comes from being involved in litigation.

  138. 138
    greg says:

    By Anonymous Coward @ 128:

    By Eastsider @ 127:

    So is it ‘racist’ to claim that there are more Chinese homebuyers/residents nowadays?

    Ah, but what is meant by “Chinese” and how does that impact real estate? Are we talking about people purchasing real estate in Seattle using funds sourced from mainland China? Or are we talking about people of Chinese ancestry/heritage?

    I have been assuming that most people talking about “chinese ” money are definitely talking about foreign investors and not Americans or resident aliens . No offense to local asians, but they are just part of the local mix and there is little value trying to break that out on race. None of that matters at all.
    When people talk about Chinese money they are talking about a very large group of investors that are still somewhat of an unknown factor. The talk comes at two levels i think.
    One is the somewhat disgruntled local who would rather not have to compete so hard for a home and particularly resents competing with non locals for a local home. And to some degree it is a fair enough point. You see it all over the world and within countries and even counties as we see with bremerton just recently ref all the whining about seattle money buying up their town.

    The other group who talk about “chinese money” are more the investor sort, and i think their concerns are somewhat different. I think they are concerned that the monies invested from abroad are driving prices to fast too far and into gambling numbers. Deservedly or not China’s public have a reputation for risky investments and ” greater fool” investing styles at least when it comes to stocks and real estate.

    It has nothing to do with race, and more to do with how the west currently perceives the investing chinese public . So i guess it is a mix of competition for property and the durability or longevity of the investments.

    Just to be extra clear, there is NOTHING racist in talking about chinese investment outside their borders it is part of the global economic picture. And it is worth noting that while the Chinese gov continues to direct investments around the globe for commercial and political reasons they are also putting real efforts into limiting or even ending consumer/retail investing in international RE.

  139. 139
    Erik says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 134RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 136
    I’m going to have to agree with Ardell here Kary. You want it to work a certain way because those are the “rules”. Guess what, there are no rules in selling houses. There isn’t a law you can fall back on or some legal wording you can dispute. Fact is if you have to waive inspection to win, you should wave the dang inspection for your client.
    I see The Tim doing a similar thing. He wants to housing to follow this preset track where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. He wants the fundamentals to stand that keep poor people poor and rich people rich. I just don’t get it. I’d like to see smart hard working people get rich and dumb lazy people get poor.

  140. 140
    justme says:

    RE: Erik @ 138

    Wow, Erik. Sometime you are quite the parody of yourself, and today even a parody of reality, I think.

    >>I see The Tim doing a similar thing. He wants to housing to follow this preset track where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

    A parody of reality, or an alternate reality? The reader be the judge.

    >>I’d like to see smart hard working people get rich and dumb lazy people get poor.

    Is that a parody?

  141. 141
    Dustin says:

    By Erik @ 138:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 134RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 136
    Guess what, there are no rules in selling houses. There isn’t a law you can fall back on or some legal wording you can dispute.

    Aren’t there actually a lot of rules on selling houses? And the entire purpose of the purchase and sale agreement is to contain legal wording you can fall back on. That’s why it’s prudent to make sure it contains wording that will protect you should a dispute arise.

  142. 142
    BubbleSpeak says:

    Just going to suggest that based on the prevailing thoughts on housing and economy as a whole, perhaps it’s 2005 all over again?

    Yes, yes, “this time is different” just like the last 2. I will concede, subprime is not an issue, but what if it’s all lending as a whole? I’ve talked to brokers. They only look at gross income to debt ratio. Or what if it’s not lending at all, but the economy as a whole?

    If as suggested above, lending is starting to loosen, rates are starting to climb, the stock market is at inexplicable highs, and prices are too, one can’t help but wonder, where do we go from








    oh, here.

    Again, just a thought. The bubble is never really recognized (save by a few) until it pops.

  143. 143
    GoHawks says:

    RE: BubbleSpeak @ 142 – 2005 all over again…..could be, the market didn’t top out until Summer of 2007.

  144. 144
    Erik says:

    RE: justme @ 140
    Of course I am exaggerating to some extent. Tim and Kary like the old rules to apply that keep the rich people rich and the poor people poor. That’s not an exaggeration.

  145. 145
    Erik says:

    RE: BubbleSpeak @ 142
    The crazy real estate prices are a Seattle thing. The rest of the country’s prices aren’t appreciating as quickly. Therefore, probably not a country wide bubble like last time.

    Is Seattle locally going to bust? Probably eventually, but my guess is it will be another 7 years or so.

    I just watch the credit expansion. Credit seems to be nudging up. Fannie Mae is up to 50% LTV. When the Dodd-Frank act is repealed, we need to look closely at the details of the repeal. If lenders are able to create another bubble, they surely will as long as the language in the Dodd-Frank act allows it.

    That’s my analysis, but I am always open to hear other people’s ideas. That’s why I’m here afterall.

  146. 146

    By Erik @ 139:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 134RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 136
    I’m going to have to agree with Ardell here Kary. You want it to work a certain way because those are the “rules”. Guess what, there are no rules in selling houses. There isn’t a law you can fall back on or some legal wording you can dispute. Fact is if you have to waive inspection to win, you should wave the dang inspection for your client. .

    You’re wrong about there being no rules, but in any case I was addressing it from the seller side, not the buyer side. I think most agents and even most buyers probably understand the risks of buying a house without an inspection. But the issue is selling a house without an inspection.

    With sufficient listing agent and seller education you don’t have to waive inspections for buyer clients. I did do that one one transaction recently, but the house was basically a tear down. That was the only time I ever remember waiving an inspection.

    What I really don’t understand is the $1M+ listings that go without inspection. That’s very risky for the seller since higher income/wealth people tend to have more than sufficient money to pay attorneys.

  147. 147
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 146
    I’ll admit I was trolling that time. I know next to nothing about selling real estate.

    I wanted to see you and Ardell fight it out so I could read the comments and follow along and learn more about the pros and cons of inspections. Ardell must be preoccupied at the moment.

  148. 148

    RE: Erik @ 147 – It’s pretty simple. Buyers not doing an inspection may get some surprises–sort of like buying at a foreclosure sale. But unlike a foreclosure sale they may still have a right to sue the seller. A seller not allowing an inspection is at a much greater risk of being sued and if sued the lawsuit will likely last longer and be more expensive, and they’re more likely to lose. But if they allow an inspection the buyer might ask for repairs or even back out.

    The other issue is pre-inspections. It’s not clear that a seller allowing a pre-inspection will shield them from liability in the same way as a regular inspection, but for a buyer it will give them the information they need (at a cost of time and money). For sellers the bigger issue is fewer people will probably make an offer, and one of those MIGHT have been a higher offer. Also there’s the increased likelihood of damage to the property due to an inspector doing something. If I were a buyer who found a house I really liked a lot I would be very happy to see that the seller is encouraging pre-inspections. I would do one and schedule it on the weekend when I could discourage even more competition. The risk though is some subsequent inspector might damage the property, and in any case with multiple inspections your attic insulation will be more disturbed.

  149. 149
    justme says:

    RE: Erik @ 145

    >>Fannie Mae is up to 50% LTV.

    Huh? Typo?

  150. 150

    RE: justme @ 149

    50% back end vs front end. Mortgage payment plus other debt payments. The long standing conservative rule of 28/36 stretched to 38% for conventional back in 1992 or so and is now up to 50%. VA was 40/40 back in the early 90s encouraging home ownership vs credit card debt by allowing the front end to be the back end as well. Possibly also because they theoretically had no student loan debt due to VA benefits for education.

    The new 50% is not automatic. Some scrutiny is applied before it is approved.

    For point of reference, some sub-prime approvals during the previous bubble were as high as 75% back end. Some Predatory Lenders were telling people how much they could afford to buy using that high back end ratio as the basis.

    The % is applied to gross income and not net and only includes debt expense and no other living expenses like utilities. VA is a bit different in that regard.

  151. 151

    RE: GoHawks @ 143

    That’s because the lending rules changed on August 3 of 2007.

  152. 152
    sfraz says:

    I think I’m going to go RV. Seems to be the rage in Ballard. Copied from “Safe Seattle” page today:
    Reader Input:
    .
    Hello Safe Seattle. I am writing because I am tired of spending time to report illegal camping areas to the city since last year, and seeing that nothing ever changes. The same tents stay in the same locations. Burke Gilman (Fremont to Fred Meyer area) is receiving new tents every day, and the response I get is, “Yes we are aware that there is an activity in that area.”
    .
    I cannot walk around Fred Meyer Ballard anymore because of the RVs that show up there. The pavements are invaded by their trash and it does not feel safe anymore. The RVs are in such horrible shape that I have no idea how they are allowed to drive vehicles with such conditions. I have lived in Seattle for 15 years and RVs always created concerns, but for the last 2 years, this city has changed so much that it reminds me of Hunger Games. I am sorry I am venting here but this was the last news I could find about RVs. Apparently, no one has any plans.
    .
    [We asked the reader if he could get pictures safely.]
    .
    I went back but I can’t take pictures because I no longer feel safe there. There are mentally ill people around, and some were in front of the tents and RVs, so I returned back home without any pictures. I recently got back to Seattle from a trip and found that a huge RV is parked right in front of my house. I no longer know what to say. I’ve lived in the major cities of the world, such as London and Istanbul. Never ever seen anything like this in those cities with 10+ millions population. I visited London a few months ago and spent time in the most undeveloped parts of it as well as the wealthy neighborhoods. I have not seen any RV or tents (not even one!) on the streets, neither around the industrial and undeveloped areas nor wealthy streets. Seattle needs an immediate help and good leadership. All I know is that I do not intend to stay here if nothing changes. Thank you for listening.
    .
    –Z

  153. 153

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 135

    Virtually no cash sales in Issaquah or Sammamish in June yet either. Lots of multiple offers and bid ups. So maybe cash sales are less common now than they were? I am looking at this data for a different reason for a client, but interesting. So maybe all the Chinese cash talk is for naught these days?

  154. 154
    redmondjp says:

    RE: sfraz @ 152 – Sad, isn’t it? How messed up is our community when you are better off being ‘homeless’ – no rules are enforced against you, and you get to benefit at others’ expense. If you can’t beat them, join them, right?

    A nice RV parked on the curb w/o moving = parking ticket and a tow to the impound yard. A beater RV that appears to have somebody living in it? It can stay there forever. Only in Freattle.

    Am I making light of true homelessness and the issues involved? I’m sure that one of our frequent posters will say so . . .

  155. 155
    Hugh Dominic says:

    By Kit @ 133:

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 121

    Oh no, did someone call you a racist and now you’re branded for life?

    I’m a racist. I’m not white, so I’m not a racist by birth. I earned it the hard way.

  156. 156
    Erik says:

    RE: justme @ 149
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/fannie-mae-will-ease-financial-standards-for-mortgage-applicants-next-month/2017/06/05/9b391866-4a0b-11e7-9669-250d0b15f83b_story.html?utm_term=.47af7d0be2b3

    I meant 50% DTI(Debt to income, Debt/income)

    Credit is expanding before our very eyes. People with more debt are going to be allowed to borrow with a conventional loan. This is a great start to a bubble. Now we need to carry this momentum and start lending to people without jobs. Then the fun will really begin.

  157. 157

    By redmondjp @ 154:

    Am I making light of true homelessness and the issues involved? I’m sure that one of our frequent posters will say so . . .

    Assuming you’re talking about me I don’t know why you would think that. I’ve hardly been a fan of City of Seattle government.

    Seattle is sort of like the crazy cat lady who has 93 cats living in filthy conditions. She has good intent and is trying to help the cats, but just does things that make things worse and worse for their living conditions.

    I don’t know what the solution is to homelessness, what the proper balance is between trying to help them and trying to enforce rules, but I can say that the solution doesn’t involve also encouraging another group who compete with the homeless for low level jobs (illegal aliens) and it isn’t a $15 minimum wage and it isn’t a soda tax (although that is hardly worth mentioning). If only some member of the City Council knew anything about economics. /sarc

    There was an article in the Kent Reporter where the City Council was being updated on the efforts to get two new burger places to come to town (Dick’s and Sonic???). If that was Seattle the City Council would be being updated on how two burger places were trying to open up and the efforts being made to keep that from happening. Then the next topic on their agenda would be how to reduce teen unemployment.

  158. 158
    Erik says:

    RE: justme @ 149
    Nevermind, Dodd-Frank has already been axed. Banks are now allowed to gamble with their own money with sub-prime mortgages. This could easily be a bubble just like last time. Only this time I’ll know what to do and get rich.

    http://money.cnn.com/2017/06/08/news/economy/house-dodd-frank-repeal/index.html

  159. 159
    wreckingbull says:

    By redmondjp @ 154:

    RE: sfraz @ 152

    Am I making light of true homelessness and the issues involved? I’m sure that one of our frequent posters will say so . . .

    Everyone knows that RV’ing is a white-man’s avocation, YOU RACIST!!!!!

  160. 160
    Hugh Dominic says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 157:

    By redmondjp @ 154:

    Am I making light of true homelessness and the issues involved? I’m sure that one of our frequent posters will say so . . .

    Assuming you’re talking about me I don’t know why you would think that. I’ve hardly been a fan of City of Seattle government.

    Seattle is sort of like the crazy cat lady who has 93 cats living in filthy conditions. She has good intent and is trying to help the cats, but just does things that make things worse and worse for their living conditions.

    I don’t know what the solution is to homelessness, what the proper balance is between trying to help them and trying to enforce rules, but I can say that the solution doesn’t involve also encouraging another group who compete with the homeless for low level jobs (illegal aliens) and it isn’t a $15 minimum wage and it isn’t a soda tax (although that is hardly worth mentioning). If only some member of the City Council knew anything about economics. /sarc

    There was an article in the Kent Reporter where the City Council was being updated on the efforts to get two new burger places to come to town (Dick’s and Sonic???). If that was Seattle the City Council would be being updated on how two burger places were trying to open up and the efforts being made to keep that from happening. Then the next topic on their agenda would be how to reduce teen unemployment.

    100% accurate.

    The people on the Council are neither intelligent nor well educated. They are merely principled.

  161. 161
    David B. says:

    By Erik @ 158:

    RE: justme @ 149
    Banks are now allowed to gamble with their own money with sub-prime mortgages.
    http://money.cnn.com/2017/06/08/news/economy/house-dodd-frank-repeal/index.html

    You mean “gamble with all of our money” due to the existence of government-backed deposit insurance and a well-established precedent of government bank bailouts. Privatize the profits, socialize the losses.

  162. 162

    By Hugh Dominic @ 160:

    The people on the [Seattle City] Council are neither intelligent nor well educated. They are merely principled.

    Principled sounds way too positive. I’d maybe use dogmatic, but that doesn’t quite work either. How about fanatical?

  163. 163
    Erik says:

    Listen here code monkeys. The Glass-Steagall act was our protection from banks until 1999 when it was partially repealed. Fast forward to 2010 and the Dodd-Frank act was put into law to protect us from the banks since Glass-Seagall was no longer protecting us.

    This site is about housing bubbles. Why is nobody talking about this? The emporer isn’t wearing any clothes!!! Let the bubble begin. It’s like 1999 all over again. Buy buy buy!

  164. 164
    ess says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 162:

    By Hugh Dominic @ 160:

    The people on the [Seattle City] Council are neither intelligent nor well educated. They are merely principled.

    Principled sounds way too positive. I’d maybe use dogmatic, but that doesn’t quite work either. How about fanatical?

    In the past, I would inform my friends and relatives that Seattle was one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and drive them around and show them and show off the various places in Seattle, both in downtown and throughout the city.

    These days when out of town company comes to Seattle, I apologize to them as to the condition of the city, explain that it is a recent phenomena caused by an out of control local city government, and concentrate our touring in areas outside of Seattle. If we do venture to Seattle, we avoid the downtown area as much as possible, and visit perimeter areas only at certain times when I know we won’t be stuck in traffic. As a result, we spend less money in Seattle, not that the city council ins concerned about those mundane capitalist matters.

    We observed campers in one local park the last time we visited, which certainly detracted from that experience, so staying out of the downtown area is no guarantee that one will avoid the general decline that is evident all over the city. But Seattle as a result of specified government policy is a trash infested free for all, and anyone opposed doesn’t have “compassion” for the homeless. Of course the fact that there are shelter beds and help for these individuals, but they have to abide by rules is conveniently ignored by ideologues in and out of government.

    Recently we ventured into the International District to have dinner with out of town friends. They had a dismal visit before and after their cruise which departed from Seattle. Apparently their hotel was adjacent to a homeless shelter just north of Seattle which caused them certain problems, and they were harassed after dinner as they attempted to obtain a taxi to return to their hotel. They had a very poor impression of Seattle, and I had the distinct impression they would not recommend Seattle to tourists. And one of our out of town guests owns her own travel agency, the visitor and convention bureau will not be pleased by that. But the upside is that any of my friend’s clients that are dissuaded from visiting Seattle will be increasing their carbon footprint elsewhere, which is great news for Seattle city council which is more concerned about progressive global matters than insuring that the city functions for its citizens.

  165. 165
    Doug says:

    Pre-FOMC rate decision, 10y-3m UST stands at 1.11% with the 10y rallying 10 bps today.

    Rate decision at 11am.

  166. 166

    By ess @ 164:

    We observed campers in one local park the last time we visited, which certainly detracted from that experience, so staying out of the downtown area is no guarantee that one will avoid the general decline that is evident all over the city. .

    Not just a Seattle problem, but due to homeless campers living next to a park might not be as appealing as it was in years past. Although I suspect you probably don’t have such issues if the park is anywhere near a council member’s home. /sarc

  167. 167
    Kit says:

    By wreckingbull @ 159:

    Everyone knows that RV’ing is a white-man’s avocation, YOU RACIST!!!!!

    Careful, the r-word may trigger some people here :P

  168. 168
    justme says:

    RE: Erik @ 158

    Uh, no, Erik. Dodd-Frank repeal is still going through the senate, It has not passed yet. There is still hope it will not.

  169. 169
    N says:

    By Erik @ 163:

    This site is about housing bubbles. Why is nobody talking about this? The emporer isn’t wearing any clothes!!! Let the bubble begin. It’s like 1999 all over again. Buy buy buy!

    Wouldn’t the time to have bought been in 2012 or perhaps 2013 or 2014 after you saw the recovery taking hold. Not after prices are up 75-100%.

  170. 170
    Doug says:

    RE: Doug @ 165 – what a beautiful oxymoronic dovish hike. raises rates without negatively impacting asset values. Yield curve flattens, getting us closer to recession, but Fed with increasing ammunition for the next downturn.

  171. 171

    RE: N @ 169

    Yes. It is not a better time to buy than to sell and has not been for quite some time now. That doesn’t mean that everyone will sell or no one will buy. But there is no question but that it is a better time to sell than to buy. The market has a 50/50 chance of busting. Pretty much even odds at the moment.

  172. 172
    Erik says:

    RE: N @ 169
    Yes, but I didn’t have any money to buy back then. I think prices will double again within the next 7 years.

    All I could afford at the bottom was a condo in serious need of repair that I purchased for $93K in Kirkland and sold for $233k 2 years later. Now I have a few dollars and a stable job and am ready to buy. It’s definitely not too late.

  173. 173
    sfraz says:

    Check it. Only in Seattle….See and be seen! Steps from Aurora. Drunks on the doorstep… https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/apa/6166509564.html

  174. 174
    Erik says:

    RE: justme @ 168
    Oh, well I think it will pass. That’s what the trump party wants.

  175. 175
    Dustin says:

    RE: sfraz @ 173 – Funny, but it seems like the joke’s on Aurora as much as it’s on Seattle’s high housing prices. I think rents will come down as new apartment projects are completed, renters become buyers (or leave the area for more affordable housing) and the Seattle hype cools. Passing upzoning measures will help too if we have the sense not to shoot them down.

  176. 176
  177. 177
    N says:

    By Erik @ 172:

    RE: N @ 169
    Yes, but I didn’t have any money to buy back then. I think prices will double again within the next 7 years.

    All I could afford at the bottom was a condo in serious need of repair that I purchased for $93K in Kirkland and sold for $233k 2 years later. Now I have a few dollars and a stable job and am ready to buy. It’s definitely not too late.

    Its good to hear different perspectives, that is exactly how I felt in 2006 but it didnt end well. For prices to double from here, especially in the suburbs you will need some serious wage increases as many are already pushing the limit.

  178. 178
    ess says:

    By Erik @ 172:

    RE: N @ 169
    Yes, but I didn’t have any money to buy back then. I think prices will double again within the next 7 years.

    All I could afford at the bottom was a condo in serious need of repair that I purchased for $93K in Kirkland and sold for $233k 2 years later. Now I have a few dollars and a stable job and am ready to buy. It’s definitely not too late.

    Good deal on your condo purchase and sale Erik.

    The way I would look at real estate investments is to imagine the worse case scenario, and determine if the investments will pay for themselves. Or in other words, can the particular investment reasonably pay for itself in an environment that has double digit unemployment, with decreased rents, and a possible decrease in population. Having been through some bust times, including the great recession, a rental reduction of about 10 -20% appeared to entice renters to rent the premises. Yes, it was less money for a while, and occasionally the premises took 2 months to rent. The important thing was that we managed during the downturn in the economy. It is those investments that were bought at the top of the market with virtually nothing down that are at the most risk. I don’t know how useful it is to try to determine when the market will turn, and how much it will go down. The only comforting news in a housing recessionary environment is that the lack of buyers can be offset by the increased number of renters. Of course in a Detroit situation – all bets are off!

  179. 179
    Hugh Dominic says:

    By ess @ 164:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 162:

    By Hugh Dominic @ 160:

    The people on the [Seattle City] Council are neither intelligent nor well educated. They are merely principled.

    Principled sounds way too positive. I’d maybe use dogmatic, but that doesn’t quite work either. How about fanatical?

    In the past, I would inform my friends and relatives that Seattle was one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and drive them around and show them and show off the various places in Seattle, both in downtown and throughout the city.

    These days when out of town company comes to Seattle, I apologize to them as to the condition of the city, explain that it is a recent phenomena caused by an out of control local city government, and concentrate our touring in areas outside of Seattle. If we do venture to Seattle, we avoid the downtown area as much as possible, and visit perimeter areas only at certain times when I know we won’t be stuck in traffic. As a result, we spend less money in Seattle, not that the city council ins concerned about those mundane capitalist matters.

    We observed campers in one local park the last time we visited, which certainly detracted from that experience, so staying out of the downtown area is no guarantee that one will avoid the general decline that is evident all over the city. But Seattle as a result of specified government policy is a trash infested free for all, and anyone opposed doesn’t have “compassion” for the homeless. Of course the fact that there are shelter beds and help for these individuals, but they have to abide by rules is conveniently ignored by ideologues in and out of government.

    Recently we ventured into the International District to have dinner with out of town friends. They had a dismal visit before and after their cruise which departed from Seattle. Apparently their hotel was adjacent to a homeless shelter just north of Seattle which caused them certain problems, and they were harassed after dinner as they attempted to obtain a taxi to return to their hotel. They had a very poor impression of Seattle, and I had the distinct impression they would not recommend Seattle to tourists. And one of our out of town guests owns her own travel agency, the visitor and convention bureau will not be pleased by that. But the upside is that any of my friend’s clients that are dissuaded from visiting Seattle will be increasing their carbon footprint elsewhere, which is great news for Seattle city council which is more concerned about progressive global matters than insuring that the city functions for its citizens.

    This, sadly, is the true story of Seattle.

  180. 180
    justme says:

    ….aaand the FOMC of the FRB (Fed) voted to increase the Federal Funds rate to 1-1.25% range AND voted to start unwinding QE, most likely with a start in September. For a good analysis, read

    http://wolfstreet.com/2017/06/14/markets-blow-off-the-fed-until-next-financial-event/

    I’m making the call: The housing price peak in Seattle (as per Case-Shiller) will happen in 2017, unless FRB changes its policies again. (Indeed, prices may already have peaked, we don’t have the data yet.)

    There you have it. All the the bubbleheads on this blog have been goading me for a long time to call the peak and the burst. Well, I’m calling the peak to be in 2017, if not an outright burst yet. It gives me no pleasure to do this. The bubble should never have reflated, and prices should never and would never have reached the current levels without the insane and immoral amount of FRB intervention during 2008-2017. This is yet again going to be very painful and costly for everyone. Especially those who bought recently. But better your loss than mine. Hopefully the masses will revolt against socializing the losses this time. This time, the people who did not lend nor borrow should be given the first opportunity to buy, not the greedbag speculators or greedbag lenders.

  181. 181
    GoHawks says:

    RE: justme @ 180 – justme, while I don’t agree with your prediction, I really do appreciate you being willing to put it out there. Well done.

    What do you think will be the event to trigger either less buyer demand or an uptick in listings, or both?

  182. 182
    Erik says:

    RE: ess @ 178
    If I imagined worse case scenario, I would remain stuck at my job until I’m 65. I am willing to take risks to retire early. My retirement age goal is 40. That’s why I have studied housing bubbles in detail… I want to hit it big and retire early. If I can hit it right just once, my work life will be over.

  183. 183
    Eastsider says:

    RE: GoHawks @ 181 – I believe the trigger event happened yesterday – the FED just started (or soon to start) to unwind QE.

  184. 184
    GoHawks says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 183 – thanks Eastsider. Interest rates dropped substantially yesterday, you think they are going higher now?

  185. 185
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Erik @ 182 – Even though I know you won’t take any advice, as you already know all the answers, and everyone else is an idiot, I will respond to your comment for the benefit of others. As someone who retired in my mid 40’s, I assure you that you won’t get there by trying to hit the ball out of the park by timing bubbles. You will get there with a slow, steady, diversified strategy.

    I’d start here:

    http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/02/22/getting-rich-from-zero-to-hero-in-one-blog-post/

  186. 186
    ess says:

    By Erik @ 182:

    RE: ess @ 178
    If I imagined worse case scenario, I would remain stuck at my job until I’m 65. I am willing to take risks to retire early. My retirement age goal is 40. That’s why I have studied housing bubbles in detail… I want to hit it big and retire early. If I can hit it right just once, my work life will be over.

    Erik – interesting comment regarding work. I hated what I was doing, but having real estate investments allowed my wife and I to take off almost two years to travel, and start a business together that allowed us to travel overseas one month a year during the very slow time of year. Being one’s own boss resulted in not having to answer to anyone. When we had to work 12 hours a day for days on end we did, and when we could take a month to six weeks off we did.

    All I am suggesting is some alternative planning for different case scenarios. You may or may not hit the rise and fall of housing prices exactly at the right time for a variety of reasons, so hopefully you have planned for those contingencies. And Wreck has a good point – you should also be diversified in investments that hopefully compliment each other. The only thing certain about the future is that it is uncertain.

  187. 187
    Eastsider says:

    By GoHawks @ 184:

    RE: Eastsider @ 183 – thanks Eastsider. Interest rates dropped substantially yesterday, you think they are going higher now?

    Instead of looking at the current interest rates (which can change drastically over next 12 months) or the stock market, let’s take a big picture view.

    The FED basically claims that they will unwind the massive QEs of the last decade, i.e. shrinking their balance sheet by up to $3.5 trillion in maybe the next decade. (IMHO they will not be able to pull it off but that’s for another discussion.)

    So the bond market will basically expand by up to $3.5 trillion, a complete retrace of what happened in the past decade. If you believe the previous QEs have contributed to the asset inflation, don’t you think the reversal will occur with the unwinding?

    We have seen so many ‘smart’ real estate investors on this site. This is what we witnessed in the 1999 Internet bubble. People then were talking about early retirement too. And they are still working today.

  188. 188

    One thing I think we’re almost certain to see, even absent some national event, is that there will be a softening of prices when the supply/demand balances out a bit better. If we had even a two month supply, which is still a seller’s market, then buyers wouldn’t be bidding as high and the prices would moderate some.

    My big concern nationally is some sort of backlash to the incredible partisan divide that has enveloped this country. It’s even affecting the court system at the highest levels. If we make it through the next 3.5 years without some sort of fallout I’ll be amazed.

  189. 189

    On the topic of Seattle government, there have been two stories lately. The latest is this, that Seattle’s gun tax has apparently been a failure and possibly even resulted in smaller tax collections after accounting for the loss of sales and B&O tax. The city is apparently refusing to disclose how little has been collected, but it’s well below expectations. Who’d have thought that people would buy their guns and ammunition elsewhere? /sarc Oh, and also gun crime is way up, so it’s been a failure in that respect too.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/06/15/seattle-gun-tax-failure-firearm-sales-plummet-violence-spikes-after-law-passes.html

    Then there was also the story about how changing the name of the crime of “soliciting prostitution” to “sexual exploitation” has resulted in people losing their jobs and foreign citizens even possibly facing deportation because employers and the feds don’t know what that means, and it sounds like a felony. I wonder if this change will also move the “buyers” outside the city limits? ;-)

  190. 190
    redmondjp says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 188 – Give it up, Kary. There is no (increasing) incredible partisan divide that you speak of – this is a progressive myth promulgated in order to stifle any opposition to their ideas (perfectly summed up by Obama’s comment about the GOP: “They Can Come For The Ride, But They Have To Sit In Back”). Get online and listen to Steven Colbert’s opening monologue last night.

  191. 191
    Erik says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 187
    If the entire market tanked, my contingency plan is to keep renting all the properties out while I stop paying the mortgage on one. In a year I’ll sell one and have some cash in hand. If things tanked now I’d be hosed.

  192. 192
    Doug says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 185 – +1

    Erik, have you thought about your walk away number as it relates to your annual expenses? Is your number at least 25x your annual spend? I seriously doubt you could retire early by flipping a couple of condos through 1 cycle, even if you’re lucky enough to time it perfectly.

  193. 193
    Erik says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 185
    Go away! I don’t think everyone else is an idiot, I just think you are not smart when it comes to real estate. You got lucky being a programmer in the 80’s and retired early like all the other programmers did back then.

    You beat me down and called me stupid when I was broke. Well I did good with real estate and proved you wrong. Now I just don’t want to hear your negative comments and how you are so smart. Everyone that was a programmer got rich back then. You aren’t a genius. You got lucky and had the right skill at the right time.

  194. 194
    Erik says:

    RE: Doug @ 192
    I just watch the bubble and try to figure out when I think it’s going to burst. I try not to let what I want drive my decisions. I assess where we are in the bubble to the best of my ability and go from there. When we are in stage 3, hypersupply, I’ll stop buying and start thinking about selling.

  195. 195
    S-Crow says:

    REALTOR ABP: if you want to sell your clients house and collect a commission, it would be incredibly helpful to your reputation and that of your brokerage to make sure when YOU TAKE THE LISTING, that your client have valid and unexpired Gov Issued ID. It’s a little late when I show up to sign clients on a sale and they cannot provide valid ID.

    S-Crow

  196. 196
    MntGoat says:

    When we talk about race and neighborhoods and cities changing overnight, this is mainly happening in western democracies that are (soon to be “were”) majority white (Western Europe, U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia). People are knocking down the doors and will do anything to get out of their 3rd world or close to 3rd world native lands into these western democracies from all around the world, since life is good in western democracies (wealthy, jobs, rule of law, high standards of living). Race demographics are also changing very fast in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, France, Germany, Sweden, etc… as the white populations shrink.

    So here’s the thing, let’s say the complete reverse were happening, if immigrants of another race, language, culture were flooding into cities in say Pakistan, China, India, etc… You don’t think the locals there would have an issue with it?? If in mere decades, they completely see the culture and racial make up of where they grew up change overnight?? I guarantee you would see them have major issues with it, and you would see much push back from the locals in those countries. And these countries don’t have “politically correct” baggage like the “guilty” western democracies have.

    Because of political correctness and the guilty white liberal run media/educational system, Americans, Europeans, Canadians, etc… are just supposed lay down and let it all happen and not DARE say a word to the contrary or immediately get branded a racist. Were are so heightened to the tiniest little thing that might be in some way considered racist, that people just become passive aggressive and tell people what they want to hear but likely really think something different in private. Or they just move away and stick their heads in the sand to not have to deal with it.

    With all that said, I’m not saying that immigration and all the changes are necessarily a bad thing or that they aren’t inevitable. I just get tired of the PC police immediately jumping all over people and using the “R-bomb” for merely voicing their opinions over a quickly changing place.

  197. 197
    Doug says:

    RE: justme @ 180 – Alright, there we go!

    So now how are we defining the top? Just a lower CS value in the fall of 2018 versus fall of 2017? What if the CS value is right back to an all-time high by fall of 2019?

    Or maybe you can call the magnitude of the correction. 10%? 20%? 50%!?

  198. 198

    By MntGoat @ 196:

    So here’s the thing, let’s say the complete reverse were happening, if immigrants of another race, language, culture were flooding into cities in say Pakistan, China, India, etc… You don’t think the locals there would have an issue with it?? . . .

    Because of political correctness and the guilty white liberal run media/educational system, Americans, Europeans, Canadians, etc… are just supposed lay down and let it all happen and not DARE say a word to the contrary or immediately get branded a racist.

    So basically because people in other countries would be racist if foreigners moved into their countries it is okay to be racist? Got it!

    That makes a lot of sense, especially if you ignore the fact that the racist comments here have been entirely based on skin color and not the country of origin of the people that they see, because they don’t know the country of origin of the people that the see (getting off the school bus, going to DOL, etc.).

  199. 199
    Sid says:

    By justme @ 180:

    ……………
    I’m making the call: The housing price peak in Seattle (as per Case-Shiller) will happen in 2017, unless FRB changes its policies again. (Indeed, prices may already have peaked, we don’t have the data yet.)

    ………..

    Nah. Just a slowdown in price growth probably.
    Prices (as reported by CS) for the same month will be higher in 2018 than in 2017.

  200. 200
    GoHawks says:

    RE: Sid @ 199 – I agree. Rate of appreciation has to slow at some point, but I don’t see it going dead flat or down in the next year or so.

  201. 201
    Kit says:

    RE: MntGoat @ 196

    I mean if you go long enough back, there was no people here. Then there were only Native Americans. Then the white people came. The US is still majority white, but even if we project to where it isn’t, so what? The bigger problem is why do those people care about the change happening? We’re fine at merely observation (though sure some idiots will always be idiots), but it hardly has that tone. I don’t care who is being racist and who is upset (see your Pakistan example), no matter where you are, why be so upset at the ever-evolving thing that is culture? Someone born in 1989 certainly has a different culture of someone born in the same area born in 1920 regardless of skin color. Even language and communication can be quite different between them.

    Hell, isn’t this why we all fought our parents on the stupid things they clung on to?

  202. 202
    Hugh Dominic says:

    By Kit @ 201:

    RE: MntGoat @ 196

    I mean if you go long enough back, there was no people here. Then there were only Native Americans. Then the white people came. The US is still majority white, but even if we project to where it isn’t, so what? The bigger problem is why do those people care about the change happening? We’re fine at merely observation (though sure some idiots will always be idiots), but it hardly has that tone. I don’t care who is being racist and who is upset (see your Pakistan example), no matter where you are, why be so upset at the ever-evolving thing that is culture? Someone born in 1989 certainly has a different culture of someone born in the same area born in 1920 regardless of skin color. Even language and communication can be quite different between them.

    Hell, isn’t this why we all fought our parents on the stupid things they clung on to?

    There are things to be concerned about. Racism is being codified into law and into policy. Certain races are explicitly not protected from discrimination, while others are. This is deemed to be a good thing for some reason.

    Female genital mutiliation is illegal, and male genital mutilation is encouraged. Males have few parental rights relative to females. Males may be subject to the military draft, and the list goes on. There has been no progress in the fight to get more women into waste collection jobs. Male education and graduation rates are falling.

    In Canada you can be prosecuted if you refer to a person as “him” or “her” instead of a preferred pronoun like “ze”. It’s considered a form of hate speech.

    Progressivism is the new Marxism. Full of hate and oppression. Ready to take what they believe they deserve. The original class warfare of Marxist doctrine has been replaced with race warfare but it’s the same. Marxism is one of the worst systems on Earth – in every case it led to poverty and misery, and in many cases it led to genocide.

    But all of this isn’t even the problem. The problem is that anyone who tries to have a conversation to the contrary is attacked hysterically. Professors are being threatened and losing their jobs just for speaking up.

  203. 203
    mountainfamily says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 185
    Was wondering if someone would mention MMM :)

  204. 204
    Concerned citizen says:

    I liked this blog when it was about real estate. Anti-immigrant bigotry isn’t nearly as fun.

    Sometimes it feels “lucky” to find someone posting in this blog that isn’t a race-baiting asshat . The sooner immigrant software developers price these deplorable POS’s out of the city of Seattle, the better.

    Bye-bye racists. Have fun living in the far-flung suburbs. Seattle won’t miss you!

  205. 205

    By Hugh Dominic @ 202:

    There are things to be concerned about. Racism is being codified into law and into policy. Certain races are explicitly not protected from discrimination, while others are. This is deemed to be a good thing for some reason.
    . . .
    But all of this isn’t even the problem. The problem is that anyone who tries to have a conversation to the contrary is attacked hysterically. Professors are being threatened and losing their jobs just for speaking up.

    What are you referring to in the first paragraph?

    As to the last, that’s a huge problem, but it’s not just colleges. Look at the protest/counter-protests which have been occurring this year. It’s extremely anti-free speech, but it’s also very counter-productive. How much news coverage do you think the recent events at Seattle and Evergreen College would have had without the counter-protest? But hey, I guess without counter-protests we’d never know that not everyone agrees on everything. /sarc

  206. 206
    GoHawks says:

    Amazon is trying to take over the world……

  207. 207
    Sid says:

    By GoHawks @ 205:

    Amazon is trying to take over the world……

    They already have.

  208. 208

    By GoHawks @ 205:

    Amazon is trying to take over the world……

    I assume you’re referring to Whole Foods. Hopefully that acquisition, and/or maybe the new Amazon Fresh warehouse, will make Amazon Fresh a bit better. Amazon Fresh has horrible inventory issues (although that has been getting better) and their produce sucks.

  209. 209
    Kit says:

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 202

    Firstly, while I agree with the better points of MRA including not circumcising sons and other points you made, the overbearingness of the PC movement doesn’t justify what we were talking about. Before the pendulum really swung back, I was annoyed at the stuff too. I don’t agree with the codification of laws like the one in Canada. However, in the way you can’t point to MAGA enthusiasts and say they are all “deplorable”, you can’t point to Progressives or the left and leave out the finer points because of some idiots. Any large group of people will have good points and idiots.

    The issue at hand is more akin to stop scapegoating on simple terms. The points above but even simpler to race and gender. Any good feminist shouldn’t label all men as evil. We can observe any shifts in demographics, but we can’t- to Ardell’s back-up – keep saying it really is all only the Chinese investors versus other investors (domestic, European, etc.), when we also have high skilled foreign workers, and a lot of domestic transplants coming for work. You won’t lose just because there are Chinese investors in the market.

    When people are saying that we aren’t white at all, the only city I found in our area is Bellevue where whites are still at 50%. The mass of Seattle and otherwise are white like 70% so. When we look at buses and markets full of Asian children, there are several tonalities that come out: 1. you don’t know which are from where and how long they’ve been here and 2. why do we care that non-whites are moving here? No one bothers to point out the Europeans. I get that the numbers are lower (India wins the most visas), but we constantly neglect that and make it “us versus the Chinese (investors)” and it ends up as “us versus those of Chinese decent”.

    Again, I personally tend to draw problematic racism at the action level and I don’t care for thought policing nor do I care about walking on egg shells, but if you can point out your observations then why can’t I say “here is something I think is bad to do”? I’m tired of people who call “libtards” snowflakes for trying to listen, be polite, and express themselves and get mad that they can’t be rude. You are free to be rude, but then I’m free to call you out on it.

    In this case, what I see is people like Kary and Ardell saying repeatedly that the numbers aren’t adding up to what you see and a bunch of people going “but the bigger stats don’t back up what I see” and it keeps repeating itself. Observations are fine and all as stats can mislead, but to think your confirmation bias to that narrative in your head is “busloads of Asians” is not getting that far from the made-up “busloads of illegal migrant voters”. It’s one to ask “why do I see this” and another to say “you are wrong because my limited view is clearly more right than anyone else’s”

    Edit: so why is pointing one way to a scapegoat bad? Imagine you drive a BMW (or use whatever you drive). There are some rude owners from every make and model of car, but one of your coworkers says “I hate BMW drivers, they are so rude”. As it goes on, some people believe them. Ok. So now people are more likely to notice BMW drivers being rude. They corroborate with confirmation bias. They notice BMW drivers more and notice other models less. Now you have a culture where people hate on BMW. If a new guy joins and he drives a BMW, you might watch to see how they drive. You might be so deep that you subconsciously look for confirming details. You may not be that deep, but the question is there. This is the power of generalizing and making arbitrary groups. This is kind of harmless, but with enough time/anger/issues, you end up at bigger messes.

    Race is harder to change than car brand btw. People tend to see me as Asian more than American in the Asian-American I am, despite being born here and pretty much ignorant to my parents’ culture. Personally I cringe when I have to call myself Asian to explain something since I am American, but we’re still at this point of me needing to.

  210. 210

    By Kit @ 208:

    In this case, what I see is people like Kary and Ardell saying repeatedly that the numbers aren’t adding up to what you see and a bunch of people going “but the bigger stats don’t back up what I see” and it keeps repeating itself. Observations are fine and all as stats can mislead, but to think your confirmation bias to that narrative in your head is “busloads of Asians” is not getting that far from the made-up “busloads of illegal migrant voters”. It’s one to ask “why do I see this” and another to say “you are wrong because my limited view is clearly more right than anyone else’s”

    This would be very unscientific, but go to the King County Recorder’s site ( http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/records-licensing/recorders-office.aspx ), and do an on-line search for one day for “warranty deeds.” Then look at the “associated name” column, which is the name of the buyer. That will show you how many buyers have Asian surnames, but of course it won’t show you how many are not US citizens. Of course some could be hidden through the use of LLCs. And there are also some Asians that you wouldn’t know are Asian from their surname–there are actually some Krismers locally. And finally, that would be all of King County and not just certain neighborhoods.

    If you want to get scientific you’d need to contact each buyer.

  211. 211

    RE: Kit @ 208

    When I read an ongoing sub-thread on race or national origin when discussing housing, it makes me wonder if people know that there are Fair Housing Law issues? I can’t remember a time when discrimination involving real estate sales was not a huge issue, and it is not getting better without constant vigilance.

    That is where “people like Kary and Ardell” are charged with a higher standard on this issue. Someone even asked if agents had “an ulterior motive” to being more sensitive to this issue. The answer is unequivocally YES! Agents are the front line against discrimination. No question about that.

    Many times I think, when people ask why can’t real estate just be buyer to seller without agents in the middle, well for one because left to their own devices people would more often violate fair housing laws.

    In recent times:

    Seller tried to force the sale not to close via many means because she was sure that “THEY”, due to the spelling of their names, were taking unfair advantage of her in some way. I represented the buyer. It closed.

    Seller looked out the window pointing to a woman who was in ethnic garb walking down “his” street saying, “I wish we didn’t have to move, but we just don’t feel like we belong here anymore”. Not uncommon for neighbors to ask me and sellers to please scrutinize potential buyers carefully as to “who” they are vs merely being qualified to purchase.

    As recently as June of 2015 the Supreme Court had to revisit the issue of Discrimination and surprisingly many were not in favor of that rule passing, including many in the real estate industry. http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2015/06/25/supreme-court-upholds-concept-disparate-impact-in-fair-housing-claims

    Along the lines of the June 2015 Surpreme Court issue, Sellers’ Agent said “your clients didn’t win in multiple offers and (wink-wink) it wasn’t about price. When I pursued it further it was because the sellers chose a buyer “who reminded them of themselves when they purchased the house”. My gay clients got that house.

    Do people really think that there is no difference when talking about race and national origin in Real Estate discussions vs moaning about it in work environments? It seems most think it is the same. It’s not about PC…it’s illegal to consider race or national origin when selling your home. No, you aren’t free to have your own opinion on these things when selling a house or renting a property.

    People don’t appear to know that, and I find that disturbing.

  212. 212

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 210 – I would agree with most all of that. I’d also add I wish “love letters” were illegal because they can lead to discrimination. It would even be nice if the buyers’ names could be hidden, but that would go too far because there are legitimate reasons to search the buyers’ names.

    But on the PC point, being PC is having a position without any underlying analysis or basis to back it up. This is hardly a situation of being PC. Even ignoring the obvious absurdity of claiming to determine citizenship by looking at someone or listening to the languages they might speak, discrimination in real estate violates the Fair Housing laws.

    Sorry I don’t have as many stories to tell. About the only thing that comes to mind is a neighbor being relieved to learn that a buyer looking for a house worked for a major corporation. That somehow made a difference. I think I’ve probably been lucky with my seller clients–if there were any issues they kept them well hidden–and there are no results I consider questionable.

  213. 213

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 211

    “I would agree with most all of that. I’d also add I wish “love letters” were illegal because they can lead to discrimination. It would even be nice if the buyers’ names could be hidden, but that would go too far because there are legitimate reasons to search the buyers’ names.”

    When I present in person I usually call the offers by the first name of the Agent during the review. This helps protect my seller clients against claims of overtly or inadvertently discriminating against the buyers who did not “win”.

  214. 214
    Kit says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 209RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 210

    Thank you both. I am an anxious person, so I hope it was clear that I was saying the layman view is the odd one out versus you guys who have the broader, more statistical-heavy and more boots-on-the ground view. Even though I avoid some of your arguments, I really appreciate when both of you give such views.

  215. 215

    RE: Kit @ 213

    Your comments are very well written. Kary and I don’t “argue” as much as people think we do. In fact we are facebook friends and I just gave him my recipe for soup. :)

    It’s not simply that we “see” more and have more access to data, it is actually part of our “job” to not allow discrimination. That can be difficult and awkward at times.

    I expect Kary sees it less than I do because people may be more careful when speaking to an attorney. Though I remember an agent who was an attorney being one of the worst I have encountered…so maybe not. :) Sometimes it is not the seller but rather the agent who is pushing things in a discriminatory way. So we have to be vigilant about these things and protect our clients whether they are the sellers or the buyers. They are every day events unfortunately that never end up in discrimination because agents are usually pretty good at nipping all that in the bud.

  216. 216
    N says:

    The hourly inventory data shown on this site shows we hit 2,500 SFH for the first time this year (it may hit 2,600 by the weekend), its been trending up each week with the lows and highs being higher each week — spring rush and the price increases that come with it appears to be dying down. Nothing unexpected however, as last year was exactly the same and we are still down YOY inventory wise.

  217. 217
    Brian says:

    It’s interesting that the Altos Research graph for Seattle inventory has it higher than this time last year.

  218. 218

    RE: Brian @ 216

    It’s been interesting for the last three weeks as more new houses are coming on. BUT the hard part is that ALL sell by “offer review date” or virtually all go pending within a few days.

    Often a buyer can only choose one to offer on. So 6 on market this week is no better than 1 on market if a buyer can’t offer on one and then go to the next ones if they don’t get that one. Most times the others are pending by then.

    I’m thinking we might see a tipping point soon, but as of last week, no. The best sell and the worst sell too. Not many leftover into the next week which I call the “next round”. It’s like playing musical chairs.

  219. 219

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 217:

    Often a buyer can only choose one to offer on. So 6 on market this week is no better than 1 on market if a buyer can’t offer on one and then go to the next ones if they don’t get that one. Most times the others are pending by then.

    Ideally they won’t all have the same review date, so you can make an offer on a second one.

  220. 220

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 218

    I’ve been seeing more without a review date for reasons we have discussed in the past. Gives buyers less time to do their due diligence. :(

  221. 221
    Gabe Sanders says:

    Always good to see an increase in inventory for buyers, though with enough of an increase sellers will have more competition which doesn’t bode well for continuing price increases.

  222. 222
    Brian says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 217

    Inventory is still gaining though. Typically week over week, we have an inventory build. We’ve been consistently about 400-600 less units than last year.

    Still, why does Altos say we have more units than last year in Seattle? Is this true or something special with their calculation?

  223. 223
    Hugh Dominic says:

    RE: Kit @ 208 – There you have it. I’m a racist. I’m a racist by today’s standards because I believe in government-sanctioned equality and free speech.

    Your argument is that if people have enough free speech then it causes inequality. You say that the aggregate number of observations about “those people” causes and self-validates racism. I say it’s not the government’s role to target that by limiting free speech.

    I say that the government should legislate true equality, not engage in “corrective discrimination”. The FHA does legislate to true equality along several semi-random dimensions; I mean, it’s ok to discriminate against autists, fatsos, short people, and the left-handed I guess. Other legislation and policy is outright racism-made-law, like worker protection laws.

    I say those are dangerous precedents and abuses of government power that are reminiscent of the start of violent and oppressive regimes. I say the end does not justify the means.

    However, those opinions make me a racist. I’m ok with that.

    Also, housing inventory is up.

  224. 224
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Brian @ 221 – Brian, when you say inventory, do you mean Tim’s inventory chart or the running inventory number from Estately? Because those two are King County, and the Altos number is Seattle proper.

  225. 225
    whatsmyname says:

    https://assets.bwbx.io/images/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/ioHizdVS6ydU/v0/-1x-1.png

    Heat map from Bloomberg showing inflation adjusted gains and losses across the US since 2000.

  226. 226
    Brian says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 223

    I was talking about the King Co Estately numbers growing consistently.

    But I am wondering if the Altos graph is accurate. Does Seattle proper have more inventory than a year ago?

  227. 227

    RE: Brian @ 221

    King has 3,657 properties for sale.
    167 are 1 bedroom
    578 are 2 bedroom
    283 of the at least 3 bedroom properties have 3,000 or less sf of lot
    497 of the at least 3 bedroom with 3000+ sf of lot are asking $1.5M or more
    1,646 are 1M or less
    313 of those 1,646 are in Seattle.

    I don’t know where Galen or Mike get their numbers. I pinged Galen (Estately) last time someone asked and he came over and partially answered that. I can ask Mike about Altos, but since he’s not local to Seattle I don’t think he would know for sure how he treats townhomes in Seattle, since some are condo and most are not.

    I have never met a buyer who would live anywhere in a whole County or at any price. So “inventory”numbers as an area not broken down by type or price are somewhat meaningless to me, so I don’t have old stats from last year to compare to the ones above.

    Past sales I can still calculate easily as well as median price going back 10 years. But “Active” disappears once pending or sold so I can’t “go back there” and calculate it.

    Required Disclosure: Stats in the post are calculated in real time by Ardell and not published, compiled or verified by The Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

  228. 228
    cm says:

    We finally closed on the transaction. This is the fourth property I’ve purchased and it was by far the most acrimonious transaction. My real estate agent & loan officer both said it was the worst transaction they had ever seen.

    That said, what sort of buyer’s agent commission refund should I expect? My agent was on vacation during the end of this mess, and her broker had to take over.

  229. 229

    RE: cm @ 227 – Congratulations. Did you ever get a decent explanation of what the holdup was?

  230. 230

    RE: cm @ 227 – And one more question. Where did your agent go on vacation–Antarctica? One of the joys of being a real estate agent is your vacations include checking email at least 2x a day, and if necessary making a phone call or two. That might not be possible in Antarctica, but most other places . . ..

  231. 231
    Kit says:

    RE: Hugh Dominic @ 222

    What? How did you get there? I don’t see how what I wrote leads to any of that.

  232. 232

    Nice to see that everyone here spent Father’s Day celebrating Father’s Day rather than thinking about real estate!

  233. 233
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 231
    I was working my Friday purchase all weekend.

  234. 234
    David Cohen says:

    I recently read i feel like it pretty much sums up the seattle market.

    In China, a new millionaire is created every 30 seconds. Because of demand for houses there, the price of real estate in China has soared. As a result, Chinese investors have flooded major housing markets including Vancouver, British Columbia, New York City, Los Angeles and, more recently, Seattle.

    Mainland Chinese have emerged as a major force in the global real estate market in recent years. Chinese investors overtook Canadians to become the biggest foreign buyers of U.S. homes in 2015, spending a total of $28.5 billion.

    Chinese money now funds about 55 percent of all foreign home purchases in Washington state, according to the National Association of Realtors. Seattle is now the No. 1 U.S. market for Chinese homebuyers, according to the Seattle Times.

    By comparison, real estate in the Pacific Northwest region is a bargain for Chinese investors. They can sell one condominium in their home country and afford two single-family homes here, according to a recent article by CNN Money. Most of those purchases are happening in wealthier suburbs on the Eastside, targeting homes priced more than $1.2 million.

    Neighborhoods in Bellevue, Medina, and Mercer Island have seen home prices skyrocket 125 percent in the past five years — twice as fast as the rest of King County, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

    Looking to Vancouver, British Columbia, as an example, home prices rose almost 18 percent in 2016. Home prices in the Fraser Valley, long considered an affordable alternative to pricey Vancouver, rose 27 percent in 2016. Feeling the pressure, provincial leaders implemented a 15 percent foreign-buyer tax last August. As a result, December home sales in Vancouver were down 39.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Economists predict Vancouver sales will continue to decline through 2017. Vancouver ranked number three on a recent list of the least affordable housing markets in the world in 2017.

  235. 235

    Here’s an article on the impact of tech companies on major cities. Seems sort of long on description and short on solutions.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/607957/the-unaffordable-urban-paradise/?set=608137

    I really don’t understand the appeal of the city for big companies. If I worked tech I’d rather have a job in Central Point, OR than Seattle or San Francisco . And I really don’t understand an established company like Weyerhaeuer moving to downtown. I’d have loved to see the company email to employees on that one. “Hey everyone. How would you like to add over an hour to your commute every day! And be able to work in a polluted dirty city environment! We know that’s what you want because you work for a forestry company.”

  236. 236

    RE: David Cohen @ 234 – It would be nice if you would link your sources. Much of that data regarding foreign purchases (as opposed to price changes) is suspect information. For example, the NAR data is based on surveying agents.

    Alternatively, you could just post to one source that actually has any reliable data on foreign purchases. I’ve yet to see any such data.

  237. 237

    Since I’m asking for links, I might as well provide one.

    https://www.scribd.com/document/317600531/2016-Profile-of-International-Home-Buying-Activity#download&from_embed

    5,960 out of 150,000 randomly selected agents responded to the survey.

  238. 238
    Minnie says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 235

    Here’s my take on that:
    Generally speaking,

    Big companies like to hire talented people. Talented people like to have things to do, be close enough to airports for travel, etc. They like to walk and bike, or at least the idea of it.

    Big companies also need the infrastructure to support not only its own buildings, employees etc, but also all of the “spin offs” resulting from the company; hotels, restaurants, catering companies, cleaning companies, maintenance and operations. Catering companies need to be close to large scale food distributors, shipping and receiving, waste management, etc.

    I could go on :-)

  239. 239

    RE: Dave @ 113
    Open Border Progressives

    Love the High Tech stock market increases this year, but hate the Trump agenda?

    Am I missing something? LOL

    Lets stop the bickering and fix our county’s heath care and taxes.

  240. 240
    justme says:

    RE: David Cohen @ 234

    What an absolute load of BS used house salesman propaganda.

    >>Because of demand for houses there, the price of real estate in China has soared. As a result, Chinese investors have flooded major housing markets including Vancouver, British Columbia, New York City, Los Angeles and, more recently, Seattle.

    Whoa, there. China has a gigantic oversupply of houses and ghost cities abound. Anyone can google and see for themselves.

    Conclusion: Seattle house flippers are running scared and resorting to propaganda to scare low-information buyers into buying their overpriced crap. China bogeyman is coming! Buy! NOW!

  241. 241

    RE: Minnie @ 238 – I get the infrastructure thing, and even the issue of local food. Employees as Weyerhaeuer probably saved a ton of money bringing their own lunch, but they also probably hated their limited options. But ignoring light rail the airport access was probably better.

  242. 242
    Anonymous Coward says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 235 – The pull is not generic big city. The pull is to a hub for your industry. It’s the network effect. Why did all the car companies end up in Detroit? Why so many steel mills in Pittsburgh? Why are so many financial firms located in NY and London? Why did all the movie studios end up in LA? Why so many “cloud services” companies in Seattle? It means all your vendors (including the ones that provide weird little products and services used by your industry alone) are just down the street; it means you have a very large talent pool from which you can easily interview (during somebody’s lunch time; no airplane flights required) and hire (no relo packages, nobody not willing to move because their kids are in school/spouse has to leave their dream job/etc.). And then there’s the fact that so many more technical conferences are local. You can send your folks more cheaply; they can go for an afternoon instead of having to commit 3+ days…

  243. 243

    RE: Anonymous Coward @ 242 – But that doesn’t explain the Weyerhaeuer move, or the similar tech company change from suburban to urban described in the article. Also the employee recruiting thing is two way–more will leave for the same reason!

  244. 244
    greg says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 239

    you are right, we need a much more progressive tax structure, we need to remove the incentives to invest in residential RE, we need to increase taxes on the wealthy and we need to provide a full public heatlhcare service for 100% of the population.

    You are right, lets stop the bickering and get this done. WA is an insanely regressive state ref taxes, i pay fractions of my fair share, because i have enough money to use every trick from trusts to mega backdoors.

  245. 245
    Anonymous Coward says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 243 – I wasn’t attempting to address those “local” relocations. My impression of in-town corporate moves (either urban to suburban or suburban to urban) is that are usually done for tax purposes (more prevalent in places with municipal income taxes) or because the management team doesn’t like the the existing location for personal reasons. And, yes, the employee poaching can be a bit of a two way street and there are other downsides as well (taxes, real estate costs, COL and wages, etc). But the list of industry hub cities is quite long covering lots of disparate industries and eras. So if we let history be our guide, we can conclude that the benefits often out-weigh the costs (even if we can’t do the cost/benefit analysis ourselves).

  246. 246
    greg says:

    By justme @ 240:

    RE: David Cohen @ 234

    What an absolute load of BS used house salesman propaganda.

    >>Because of demand for houses there, the price of real estate in China has soared. As a result, Chinese investors have flooded major housing markets including Vancouver, British Columbia, New York City, Los Angeles and, more recently, Seattle.

    Whoa, there. China has a gigantic oversupply of houses and ghost cities abound. Anyone can google and see for themselves.

    Conclusion: Seattle house flippers are running scared and resorting to propaganda to scare low-information buyers into buying their overpriced crap. China bogeyman is coming! Buy! NOW!

    i think you are merely stating why so much chinese money has been flooding the globe. The chinese RE market is risky, grossly over valued and investors are buying stability and a free currency hedge to boot.

    But the good news for buyers here is that the flood of money has been greatly reduced by much stronger restrictions. We don’t have to rely on RE sales for that data, but there are sources Kary can dig up if he wishes…

    Chinese money is just one source of monies that is driving up hard asset prices in hot spots across the globe. Buyers are seeking places they believe will ride out a bust better, and of course some are just buying cause they dont know what else to do with the extra monies floating about .

  247. 247
    Erik says:

    RE: David Cohen @ 234
    That’s nice. You were able to define one of the reason Seattle has the fastest rising home prices in the US. I think you for are forgetting the big reason. Let me give you a hint… It starts with a soft and ends with a ware. Right, you got it! Software jobs. These moderately intelligent people are way overpaid and spend way too much on housing. That’s the main driver of housing prices.

  248. 248

    RE: Erik @ 247 – Note that category overlaps with the “immigrants” category.

    https://www.geekwire.com/2017/study-nearly-30-washington-states-stem-workers-immigrants/

    But note also, that entire article doesn’t address citizenship.

  249. 249
    sfraz says:

    RE: greg @ 246 – There are loopholes as big as Texas they can easily walk through. Remember who is running the show – F.I.R.E. Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. “Seattle isn’t in Vancouver territory yet; its economy is far more diverse and robust, and thus less sensitive to foreign capital’s destabilizing effects. But already there are Vancouverlike symptoms, including flipping by nonresident players and a rising number of empty homes, especially in high-end neighborhoods. “About a third of my buyers don’t live here,” says one Seattle-area realtor who deals exclusively with mainland Chinese buyers. “They come here maybe a couple of months a year, or not at all. But they don’t want to rent their property.” At a time when Seattle is considering spending heavily on affordable housing, that trend is disconcerting. “We’ve got a housing shortage right now,” says Seattle Councilman Mike O’Brien. “And the idea that folks would park their capital in housing but not use [it] is not anything we want to see.” http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/hedge-city-vancouver-chinese-foreign-capital/

  250. 250
    ess says:

    RE: sfraz @ 249

    Good and interesting Mother Jones article Sfraz – thanks for posting.

    It will be interesting to see if the MJ prognosis that Seattle may become the new Vancouver BC for foreign real estate investment is correct. A shame that it is difficult to get real numbers of both the number of foreigners that are buying in the Seattle area, as well as what percentage of them are not occupying the houses that they have bought.

    To a certain extent, it is their or anyone else’s business if they want to or not want to live in the house they purchased. Why should the government impose a tax on a person who buys a house, or any other item for that matter, that isn’t used in a governmental approved manner? Are we really losing our freedoms to that extent? I bought a second winter coat that I really liked this past winter and didn’t wear my other winter coat at all. I know there is a shortage of winter coats because there are always drives for donated winter coats for those who can’t afford them. Glad the government didn’t tax my other unused coat!!

    Non occupied houses have their advantages in the Puget Sound area as well as other areas. While the owners are paying their (sometimes exorbitant) real estate taxes, they are not sending their kids to the local schools, they are not crowding the roads, the parks and using other government services that are all funded by those taxes that are due on a regular basis regardless if anyone is living in the house. Those that reside in those area benefit from less crowded schools, parks and roads. Having driven and gotten stuck in massive traffic jams in Richmond BC – the city referenced in the MJ article regarding empty houses – I would really dread the traffic if all the houses were occupied by car driving residents.

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