Case-Shiller: Seattle Home Prices the hottest in the nation. Again.

Let’s have a look at the latest data from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. According to March data that was released this morning, Seattle-area home prices were:

Up 1.8 percent April to May
Up 13.3 percent year-over-year.
Up 17.7 percent from the July 2007 peak

Over the same period last year prices were up 1.4 percent month-over-month and year-over-year prices were up 10.7 percent.

Home price growth in Seattle as measured by Case-Shiller show no signs of slowing. Seattle leads the nation yet again in month-over-month and year-over-year home price growth. Thanks, Amazon.

Here’s a Tableau Public interactive graph of the year-over-year change for all twenty Case-Shiller-tracked cities. Check and un-check the boxes on the right to modify which cities are showing:

Seattle’s rank for month-over-month changes hit #1 in February and has held that position since then, through May.

Case-Shiller HPI: Month-to-Month

Hit the jump for the rest of our monthly Case-Shiller charts, including the interactive chart of raw index data for all 20 metro areas.

Seattle’s year-over-year price growth edged up yet again from April to May, to the highest level it has been at since nearly 11 years ago—October 2006. Yet again in May, none of the twenty Case-Shiller-tracked metro areas gained more year-over-year than Seattle. From February through August of last year, Portland had been in the #1 slot above Seattle.

The same eight cities as last month hit new all-time highs again in May: San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Portland, Dallas, and Seattle.

Here’s the interactive chart of the raw HPI for all twenty metro areas through May.

Here’s an update to the peak-decline graph, inspired by a graph created by reader CrystalBall. This chart takes the twelve metro areas whose peak index was greater than 175, and tracks how far they have fallen so far from their peak. The horizontal axis shows the total number of months since each individual city peaked.

Case-Shiller HPI: Decline From Peak

In the 118 months since the price peak in Seattle prices are up 17.7 percent.

Lastly, let’s see how Seattle’s current prices compare to the previous bubble inflation and subsequent burst. Note that this chart does not adjust for inflation.

Case-Shiller: Seattle Home Price Index

Check back tomorrow for our monthly look at Case-Shiller data for Seattle’s price tiers.

(Home Price Indices, Standard & Poor’s, 2017-07-25)


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.

62 comments:

  1. 1
    AverageJoe says:

    According to official BLS CPI data and Case-Shiller data, Seattle May 2017 topped inflation adjusted peak Seattle hit in July 2007. I dont have 2017 salary data yet, but that would be interesting to see inflation-adjusted affordability and how far it goes with this bubble now.

  2. 2
    Bubble Trouble says:

    We’re #1!!

    We’re #1!!

    We’re #1!!

    :)

  3. 3
    Bubble Trouble says:

    RE: AverageJoe @ 1

    You didn’t have Chinese buyers on the scale you have now. Which would make that analysis skewed and pretty much worthless. Although it was reported in the Seattle Times today that the Chinese buying frenzy has slowed. I guess even rich Chinese have a breaking point.

  4. 4
    Brian says:

    Seattle is quickly catching up to the likes of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego in the unaffordability index. And those are all California cities that have the advantage of Proposition 13 to keep the property taxes down. Seattle doesn’t have that. Property taxes here go up, up, up. Not to mention the weather at other times of the year…

  5. 5

    By Brian @ 4:

    Seattle is quickly catching up to the likes of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego in the unaffordability index. And those are all California cities that have the advantage of Proposition 13 to keep the property taxes down. Seattle doesn’t have that. Property taxes here go up, up, up.

    Huh? Doesn’t Prop 13 allow the taxes to be readjusted at time of sale? If so, seemingly that would act as an anchor on prices (and mobility).

    Also, for the most part our taxes don’t go up just because property values rise. It will be interesting to see though what happens in counties affected by the Hirst decision, as unimproved properties drop in assessed value. People in such counties might get a real shock when it comes time to pay taxes.

  6. 6
    ESS says:

    Kary@5
    In my limited knowledge of Prop 13 in California, there is some ability to move the tax break when one buys and sells a new primary residence. There is research on the web on that topic for a more extensive discussion. I always felt a tax break that only benefited the “first come first serve” was patently unfair, but that is what voters decided and obviously the proposition survived legal challenges.

    Bubble #3 – I always believed it was unfair to blame foreigners for forcing up the housing prices. As the Times article clearly articulated, that percentage of the buying population in the greater Seattle area was a relatively small percentage of the purchases. Some people need to blame others for their own misfortune, and foreigner buyers are an easy and handy target.

  7. 7

    By ESS @ 6:

    Bubble #3 – I always believed it was unfair to blame foreigners for forcing up the housing prices. As the Times article clearly articulated, that percentage of the buying population in the greater Seattle area was a relatively small percentage of the purchases. Some people need to blame others for their own misfortune, and foreigner buyers are an easy and handy target.

    And the evidence of that is very questionable, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly before, including a rather lengthy thread a couple of months ago. But in a nutshell if your evidence of foreign buying is from a survey of 6,000 Realtors, that’s piss poor evidence because there’s no reason for Realtors to know the citizenship of their buyer clients. Also I just noted today that they apparently include resident aliens in their definition of foreign buyer. That makes it even more worthless.

    https://www.nar.realtor/news-releases/2017/07/foreign-us-home-sales-dollar-volume-surges-49-percent-to-record-153-billion

  8. 8
    Brian says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 5

    Prop 13 keeps a lot of people from needing to sell when property values rise. It also makes them not want to move due to the potentially massive property tax increase on a new home. But they can pass it down to a family member who can continue the tax savings. This is one of the reasons why there’s so little inventory in places like San Fran. No incentive to move for people that have lived there for many years.

    More info:
    http://www.nber.org/digest/apr05/w11108.html

  9. 9
    Bubble Trouble says:

    RE: ESS @ 6

    Foreign buyers accounted for $2B worth of transactions in 2016, in Washington. That’s 2000, $1M homes. And that’s just in WA state alone. You don’t think that has an impact? Come on!

    And I’m not blaming anything on anyone. I’m simply saying the last bubble wasn’t fueled by foreign money the way it is today. I don’t want to sound like the “this time it’s different” guy, but it is different this time. That’s not to say that the foreign money won’t dry up – since it is starting to – but it *IS* different from the last time. Different doesn’t always mean better of course.

  10. 10
    Bubble Trouble says:

    Prop 13 also allows the property to pass on to heirs and the heirs keep the low property tax. This is why you have 70 year old parents living in paid off $1.5M homes, while clipping coupons to make ends meet. And you ask, why on earth don’t you just sell and go live it up in retirement, without ever worrying about money again?

    The reason is because they want to pass the home on to their kids, and the $1500/year tax protected by Prop 13. Without Prop 13, if the kids were to buy the same home, their tax would be $5000 or more.

    This is a widespread phenomenon in CA, people holding on to homes to keep the cheap property tax. And it’s contributing to the lack of supply.

    I’m torn on Prop 13. 1/2 of me thinks any measure to keep taxes low is a good thing. But the other side of me realizes how this has screwed up the entire housing market in the state. Well maybe not the entire state, but in high priced areas like LA, SD, SF.

  11. 11
    ESS says:

    http://www.yourlegalcorner.com/articles.asp?ID=80&cat=estate

    The ability to transfer the Prop 13 savings for those over 55 that want to downsize is discussed above.

    Bubble Trouble 9 – one of the issues determining what impact foreign buyers have on real estate in Puget Sound is that there is no way to actually determine what percentage of the transactions are from foreign buyers. It exists, but to what extent?

    As to your “this time it is different” comment – do you infer that the dynamics have been altered enough this time because of foreign money coming to the Puget Sound area that there won’t be another bubble/crash? And if most of the foreign transactions are for all cash deals – doesn’t that mitigate against another bubble and crash, at least in that segment of the market? Or will there be another bubble/correction/crash – but this time fueled in part by foreign investments? A shame we don’t have statistics on this – governments collect stats on just about everything else that has to do with nationalities.

    Also – how much does the foreign market affect the rest of the market? Is there a shortage of higher end houses that causes a ripple effect that forces buyers who were outbid to purchase elsewhere and forcing up the price down the line, or are they just building more luxury homes to meet the demand?

    As to your comments about passing on the homes to the kids in California in comment 10, that certainly appears to be correct. Which answers another question I had – why were my relatives in California all establishing trusts? Apparently, that is the mechanism to provide even more tax relief for their property taxes when doing estate planning. Again – a system which is patently unfair for newcomers and their families, as well as renters and taxpayers that get stuck with property tax initiatives. As with any skewed system – it may keep taxes low for some – but dramatically increases taxes for others. Californians voted for this, and apparently it has been litigated all the way to the Supreme Court, so there they are.

    Kary – is there any movement in the real estate community to attempt to develop an operational definition of who is a foreign buyer and to monitor those statistics? Would it be of any use in developing real estate policy, or just used as a tool to demagogue the emotional issue of price increase and housing shortages?

  12. 12

    RE: Bubble Trouble @ 10 – I would suspect the federal income tax might have more of an impact in high appreciation areas when you’re talking about 70 year old people. If married they’d be better off waiting for one of the spouses to die to get a step-up in basis. But that’s probably true everywhere, or at least every community property state, where there has been appreciation over $500,000 over the years.

    It would be interesting to get some real numbers on this for such a couple. How much is their real estate tax compared to a neighbor who recently bought, and what would be their income tax hit if they sold?

    BTW, I much prefer Washington’s system of just having a lower RE tax for the elderly who meet income eligibility limits. California’s system probably benefits a lot of people earning six or seven figures a year.

  13. 13

    By ESS @ 11:

    Kary – is there any movement in the real estate community to attempt to develop an operational definition of who is a foreign buyer and to monitor those statistics? Would it be of any use in developing real estate policy, or just used as a tool to demagogue the emotional issue of price increase and housing shortages?

    I don’t believe there is an effort because taking steps to gather the information could lead to future claims that you’re trying to somehow restrict such buyers. There is no real upside to getting the information, at least at the real estate brokerage level or below. I suppose you could have escrow agents collect the information, but quite frankly I’m not sure how well they collect the information on sellers beyond looking at a FIRPTA declaration. I doubt they actually check documents beyond drivers’ licenses which are necessary to notarize documents.

    As to the purpose of collecting such information, I’m not seeing that it would be all that useful. If you’re going to collect that data, why not collect data on people coming in from other states too? But once you had it, what would that really tell you? Allow you to make guesses as to whether it would change in the future?

    Finally, I’ve been a critic of NAR stats for years, starting with their predictions on how much prices are going up in the next year. That seems to be something that is designed to drive sales. I don’t see what their purpose is in trying to guess how many buyers are foreign buyers. It just seems like something Zillow would do to keep their statisticians busy and get their name in the press. On this topic though, it just brings out the worst in some people, so I wish they would stop.

  14. 14
    Sid says:

    By Bubble Trouble @ 2:

    We’re #1!!

    We’re #1!!

    We’re #1!!

    :)

    Bezos will be #1 (richest) tomorrow at 1:05pm. It will be the headlines on Friday morning.

  15. 15
    Doug says:

    RE: Sid @ 14 – +1 :)

  16. 16
    Doug says:

    Nothing to see here. Talk to me about a bubble when Seattle’s HPI surpasses LA, SF, and San Diego.

  17. 17
    sfraz says:

    RE: ESS @ 11 – You are asking the wrong person. Realtors DON’T want the hot money to be traced. They are making too much money. Goes for the banks as well. Our gub’ment is OWNED by F.I.R.E. (finance, insurance, real estate) , which checks all the boxes to keep the shell game going strong.

    Kary – is there any movement in the real estate community to attempt to develop an operational definition of who is a foreign buyer and to monitor those statistics? Would it be of any use in developing real estate policy, or just used as a tool to demagogue the emotional issue of price increase and housing shortages?

    “Stepping up regulation of the real estate industry, and realtors’ facilitation of dodgy transactions, is a cause that’s been doggedly made by some investors and especially former Michigan senator Carl Levin, but it never gained much traction.
    That’s in part because real estate agents have a highly-organized and influential lobbying group, with the ear of many in the US Congress. The National Association of Realtors (NAR), at 1.1 million-strong, is the largest professional organization in the world, and was the eighth-largest political action committee in the US in the last election cycle, contributing to 400 senators and congressmen.” https://qz.com/341083/the-case-for-treating-us-realtors-like-us-bankers-when-it-comes-to-foreign-cash/

  18. 18
    sfraz says:

    Miami shell game. No questions asked. Follow the money. Be sure to sanitize your hands.

    “Law firms like Mossack Fonseca and their Miami partners operate in a shadow economy, largely free from the “know-your-customer” rules imposed on U.S. banks. Others in the real-estate industry, including Realtors, are also exempt.

    The corrupt know they can park their cash here with few questions asked.” http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/real-estate-news/article69248462.html

  19. 19
    Doug says:

    I closed on a house in early November, 2016. Using just Case Shiller data through May alone, the market could take a 10% hit tonight and the home value would be back to where it was when I purchased it.

    I’m sure both bears and bulls alike will be emboldened by that fact as each spin it to fit their narrative. Either way, we can all agree we are witnessing a tectonic shift taking place in Seattle and, to me, this doesn’t feel like the top. Seeing SF and NY at the bottom of the country’s growth is telling. This isn’t a national bubble; capital is just being reallocated.

  20. 20
    Deerhawke says:

    No real surprises in this Case-Shiller report. What they mainly supply is national context. This market is still in the expansion phase.

    I built two really nice houses in Greenlake this past year. All of our subs were super busy and had trouble finishing their work on time, but two in particular had real issues showing up. They had clearly double-booked. We figure that this project should have been done in late April or early May. With a lot of pushing, one got finished and sold in June. But here we are finally finishing the second one in late July.

    I was really angry with these jokers for shining me on and wasting my time. I was especially pissed that they made us miss the spring market. Now I am wondering if they kind of did me a backhanded favor.

    Prices in my area have stabilized higher and continued to increase through the summer. I am not seeing much inventory in my area getting ready to come on the market. Buyers are starting to realize that there isn’t going to be much of a summer lull– anything good is still gone in a week.

    So at this point we are finishing up our second house and will wait to put it on after Labor Day. I am starting to get the sense that the delay could end up really paying off for us.

    But no, I will not be thanking those subs or hiring them again.

  21. 21
    sfraz says:

    “Meanwhile, to our complete ‘shock’, the Times goes on to point out that the Seattle market has seen a lot of interest from Chinese buyers of late who like to pay cash (also shocking) for luxury homes that they don’t even bother to visit before buying and rarely ever actually occupy.” http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/spot-outlier-seattle-home-prices-go-vertical-laundered-chinese-money-flows

  22. 22
    Bubble Trouble says:

    RE: ESS @ 11

    I don’t know what will happen. People have been predicting a crash in Vancouver for 40 years and it has yet to materialize. That Chinese money has not stopped pouring in. Could Seattle go another 40 years without a massive correction? I don’t know. It might. Or the bubble might pop tomorrow. I’d say the odds are 50/50 for either scenario to happen.

    Oh but what if the tech bubble pops, then all those Amazon workers will be jobless and then surely the r/e market will tank. Well again, maybe, maybe not. Keep in mind post tech bubble 1.0 crash in 2001, the Bay Area’s r/e market only corrected by 10%. And this was at a time when finding a job in Silicon Valley was tough. I know, I was there when it happened.

  23. 23
    Bubble Trouble says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 12

    I’m sure there’s some data out there that shows Prop 13 impacts.

    Here’s a snippet from the Santa Clara county website:

    “For example,Buyer A neighbor bought a property in Year 1 for $100,000 (base year value). By Year 6, that property would have a factored base year value of $110, 408. Buyer B bought a similar property in Year 6 for. $150,000. The market value of both properties is $150,000, but the taxable assessed value of Buyer A’s property purchased in Year 1 is $110,408 while that of Buyer B’s property purchased in Year 6 is $150,000. The factored base year value of the property purchased in Year 1 is not indicative of the market value of the similar property purchased in Year 6.”

    Keep multiplying that out for 40 years and you see that little old lady in House A could be paying 1/10 the tax of Millenial who just bought last week in House B. The luckiest people on this planet are those who bought a house in Pasadena in 1978. The house is worth 20X what they paid for it and their property tax is lower than my car payment, lol. OK maybe I am exaggerating, but only a little

  24. 24
    Cap''n says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 20

    Whereabouts is the one finishing in July?

  25. 25
    ess says:

    By Bubble Trouble @ 22:

    RE: ESS @ 11

    I don’t know what will happen. People have been predicting a crash in Vancouver for 40 years and it has yet to materialize. That Chinese money has not stopped pouring in. Could Seattle go another 40 years without a massive correction? I don’t know. It might. Or the bubble might pop tomorrow. I’d say the odds are 50/50 for either scenario to happen.

    Oh but what if the tech bubble pops, then all those Amazon workers will be jobless and then surely the r/e market will tank. Well again, maybe, maybe not. Keep in mind post tech bubble 1.0 crash in 2001, the Bay Area’s r/e market only corrected by 10%. And this was at a time when finding a job in Silicon Valley was tough. I know, I was there when it happened.

    I got a job in Vancouver in the late 70s (speaking of being tough to find a job around here during a Puget Sound recession – I had to leave the country), and at the end of my contract Western Canada was in also recession. My former boss actually lost money when he had to sell his house that he bought a few years before. A suburb of Vancouver – sold his house for about 40K – now it is probably worth over one million Canadian. So they have had a few hiccups along the way up there.

    You comments about the Bay area and the tech bust elude some of the folks who hope a major housing crash will enable them to purchase a residence for 50% off the current prices. Higher unemployment, even mass layoffs will not necessary result in 50% reductions in housing prices. And if the area’s economy is diversified, other industries may not have the same economic issues. I remember when Boeing had 100K employees in a state that had a population of 2.5 million, and when they reduced their workforce to 40K, that was of serious concern because it was Boeing and no one else. But at present – Boeing has less employees in the Seattle area than it did years ago, and is aggressively reducing its work force, and that factor hasn’t even registered a blip on the real estate market in the area.

    And from a personal standpoint, we made out fine with the two units we were renting out during the great recession where housing prices dropped almost 50% in this area. Yes, we had to reduce the rents by 10% or so for a few years, but the reduction in rents did not parallel the reduction in the price of housing. Probably because people who are not buying or forced to walk away from their houses had to rent somewhere, and new housing construction came to a halt.

    While the future is always unpredictable, there are certain long term trends that one can probably count on. Those include future population growth in this area, a more diversified economy with more major companies located in Puget Sound, a long term shortage of affordable single family houses due to all the factors that have been discussed here before – Urban Growth Management Act, countless regulations, natural boundaries preventing unlimited building, the reluctance of single family neighborhoods to densify and other factors. So I would put the chances of a major housing recession/ bubble pop lower than 50-50, although the exact proportion, when it will happen, and how much real estate prices will fall is also anyone’s guess.

  26. 26
    Cap''n says:

    The only thing I am confident is unsustainable is 10 percent YOY. I believe our time as one of the hottest in the nation is limited to the next year or so.

  27. 27
    Bubble Trouble says:

    RE: ess @ 24

    I agree, that long term r/e is usually a good bet. But short term, I wouldn’t be buying anything in Seattle right now. I ‘m also in the same boat as far as rentals go. I bought my rentals for cash flow, and look at appreciation as a bonus . And during a r/e downturn, rents never fall as much as home prices, if it all.

    It’s a cliche, but people have to live somewhere. And that somewhere is either buy or rent. If people stop buying, they start renting, and vice versa. So as an owner of rental properties, either rents increase or the value of the home increases. It’s a great long term hedge against r/e pricing risk, all the while paying off a mortgage with someone else’s money.

  28. 28

    By sfraz @ 21:

    “Meanwhile, to our complete ‘shock’, the Times goes on to point out that the Seattle market has seen a lot of interest from Chinese buyers of late who like to pay cash (also shocking) for luxury homes that they don’t even bother to visit before buying and rarely ever actually occupy.” http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-26/spot-outlier-seattle-home-prices-go-vertical-laundered-chinese-money-flows

    Wow, a Zerohedge report on questionable data. Maybe we should step it up a bit and start linking to the National Enquirer.

  29. 29

    RE: Bubble Trouble @ 23 – That all sounds good, but I was looking more for what the effect was on the market and prices. Originally I was thinking that the higher proportion of taxes landing on more recent buyers would hold down prices, but I think it’s probably much more complex than that. On the other side you’d have greatly reduced supply pushing up prices.

  30. 30
    Deerhawke says:

    By Bubble Trouble @ 25:

    RE: ess @ 24

    And during a r/e downturn, rents never fall as much as home prices, if it all.

    It’s a cliche, but people have to live somewhere. And that somewhere is either buy or rent. If people stop buying, they start renting, and vice versa. So as an owner of rental properties, either rents increase or the value of the home increases. It’s a great long term hedge against r/e pricing risk, all the while paying off a mortgage with someone else’s money.

    This is generally true. But I can tell you from personal experience that rents can drop during a really bad downturn. It happened here in Seattle. I have a 4 BR 2BA house in Greenlake that had always been a consistent cash-flow property. Always rented for 15 years. During 2009, the house became vacant and despite significant upgrades, the rent dropped from $2100 per month to $1600 per month. Ouch.

    You say that it is a cliche but people have to live somewhere and that means they have to buy or rent. Not entirely true. They can double and triple up. A friend who has a really tiny two bedroom house found 4 people living there and sleeping in shifts. Another person who was in town looking for a job was sleeping on the couch. So 5 people in 800 square feet.

    Or they can move back home with Mom and Dad and neither buy nor rent. That is what my tenants did. Three out of the 4 tenants boomeranged back into that old bedroom with posters on the wall from high school.

    I don’t see that happening again here but it is always possible if there is a nasty recession.

  31. 31
    redmondjp says:

    Anybody else notice that the Lowes store in Bellevue is closing? Their last day open is tomorrow. I know the location isn’t the greatest (and maybe it will become part of the maintenance yard for the East Link section of the light rail), but still it surprised me a bit.

  32. 32
    ess says:

    Interesting comments from folks above. Allow me to respond

    Cap”n 26 – I agree, the rate of price increases will probably slow sooner or later. On the other hand, today’s Seattle Times has an article (if I recall) that indicated that Seattle is the second most popular destination for Chinese millionaires. Don’t know if their interest will translate into tangible purchasing here that will skew the numbers even higher. I guess we will have to wait and see.

    Bubble Trouble # 27 – I agree – Seattle has been experiencing price hikes over the years that do seem rather dramatic and I personally would not be looking to purchase property there.
    On the other hand, there may be other factors in play that will continue the price increases. For example:

    As Kary #29 says above – it may be a question of limited supply that is driving prices and not a bubble.

    And with that limited supply, there are not only folks who are employed in jobs that can support those prices, but wealthy individuals – foreign and domestic, that have the assets to purchase a million dollar house without worrying about any immediate price decreases. For them, they want to live in Seattle, and the money is almost immaterial.

    Or to quote F Scott Fitzgerald
    The rich are different than you and me.

    Lots of trust fund kids out there!

    And houses in Seattle are still much less expensive than similar property in other West Coast cities. One won’t obtain too much sympathy when complaining about both housing prices and rents to residents in the Bay area, parts of LA, San Diego, or Vancouver BC.

    Thus it may be those who are buying houses in Seattle and on the Eastside who have the last laugh. I hope they do get to laugh ,but I wouldn’t bet the farm ( or any new real estate purchase) on it.

    Deerhawke #30 – I appreciate what you went through with the reduction in rents – we also had rent reductions and longer term vacancies. Alternatively, most businesses fail within five years, I would imagine that most property bought as rentals (i.e. businesses) don’t fail within five years. During one of the greatest era of economic turmoil that specifically hit the real estate market , the “gross” on your rental was still 76% of what normal “business” was before the great economic downturn, and I assume that only lasted a few years before you were able to increase the “gross”. Bet many other businesses wish they could obtain 76% of gross during an economic crisis, be able to keep the doors open with that reduced amount and be operating today.

  33. 33
    Deerhawke says:

    Ess #32 There are a lot of articles on Chinese millionaires driving up prices in Seattle. I don’t have any information on condos at Insignia or elsewhere downtown, but otherwise they are not buying in Seattle. About 95% of the Chinese buyers are on the East Side. You might get the occasional Chinese millionaire buying a townhouse for their kid starting at the UW, SU or even North Seattle Community College. Other than that all the action is Bellevue, Kirkland and possibly Redmond.

    That place I mentioned that dropped from $2100 in 2007 to $1600 in 2009 was back to $2100 in 2012. Now it is at $3300. My only complaint is that I didn’t have the cash to buy any more properties in 2010 and the first 2 quarters of 2011.

  34. 34
    Dave says:

    RE: Bubble Trouble @ 23
    “The luckiest people on this planet are those who bought a house in Pasadena in 1978. The house is worth 20X what they paid for it and their property tax is lower than my car payment, lol. OK maybe I am exaggerating, but only a little.”

    My grandfather bought a SFH in Pasadena in 1977. Adjusted for inflation, that house is worth 17X what he paid for it so you are not exaggerating. The silent generation did indeed have a great window of opportunity. Sigh.

  35. 35
    justme says:

    AMZN $1,046.00 -6.80 (-0.64%) 12:41 PM 7/27/17
    Post-Market:$1,016.00-30.00 (-2.87%)5:12 PM

    I wonder what kind of story Jeff Bezos is going to cook up to try an counteract the -77% YOY profit drop.

  36. 36
    N says:

    By justme @ 35:

    AMZN $1,046.00 -6.80 (-0.64%) 12:41 PM 7/27/17
    Post-Market:$1,016.00-30.00 (-2.87%)5:12 PM

    I wonder what kind of story Jeff Bezos is going to cook up to try an counteract the -77% YOY profit drop.

    But profits don’t matter for a company that already has a P/E of 196 :)

  37. 37
    Sid says:

    By justme @ 35:

    AMZN $1,046.00 -6.80 (-0.64%) 12:41 PM 7/27/17
    Post-Market:$1,016.00-30.00 (-2.87%)5:12 PM

    I wonder what kind of story Jeff Bezos is going to cook up to try an counteract the -77% YOY profit drop.

    AMZN beat on revenue. Stock goes up tomorrow.

  38. 38
    learnaboutRE says:

    I have a question related to fence if anyone here knows. We bought a property and our neighbor is not particular friendly. We want to build a new fence between the properties but they don’t want to share the cost. They did the same thing to the other neighbor and just used the fence others have built. Can we demand half the cost for the new fence?

  39. 39
    Erik says:

    RE: learnaboutRE @ 38
    No, just build the fence and face the nice side of the boards towards you. Atleast that’s what I’ve done in the past. See if you can grab an extra few inches of land for your compensation. I would never do that of course, but I’ve heard of that happening.

  40. 40
    Minnie says:

    RE: learnaboutRE @ 38

    I agree with Erik. Build the fence you want (without having to compromise if they paid for half they would have an opinion) but just know that they won’t pay. Fences are expensive so invest in what you want.
    Good luck!

  41. 41
    ess says:

    By learnaboutRE @ 38:

    I have a question related to fence if anyone here knows. We bought a property and our neighbor is not particular friendly. We want to build a new fence between the properties but they don’t want to share the cost. They did the same thing to the other neighbor and just used the fence others have built. Can we demand half the cost for the new fence?

    I don’t understand it. At one house we have the neighbor installed a fence abutting three other properties including ours. We were the only ones that chipped in to pay for our half of the portion of the fence that ran along our property. At another house, the neighbor knocked down his house and built a much bigger house. He removed a number of trees from his and adjoining properties to avoid the mess they make on roofs and gutters. We were also the only ones to chip in for the tree removal that was particularly harsh on our roof that would also have messed up his. When I borrowed my other neighbor’s extra long ladder to paint the outside of that house – it saved me the cost of renting a larger vehicle to bring my much longer ladder to the house. Upon completion, we took out our neighbor for lunch to thank him for the use of the ladder. And at the same house – we noticed that about 10 feet of fence had been replaced by our back neighbor. He never said a word to us about it – we had never met him until we banged on his door and presented him with a 50 dollar gift card to Home Depot as thanks.

    As far as I am concerned, if one gets a benefit from improvements to property that others undertake that are necessary, one should pay for it. And if one doesn’t have all the money up front – I am sure that the easy payment plan would be acceptable over a few months. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also provides a certain amount of goodwill, which is important amongst neighbors. One may need that goodwill in the future from one’s neighbors when the tables are turned. But it is a new nasty world out there – which is too bad. Sorry to hear that you won’t get any help.

    I wonder if there is any legal precedent anywhere where recalcitrant neighbors have been ordered to pay for stuff like that. Kary – you heard of anything? I don’t personally don’t recall, but that was never an issue I had to research.

  42. 42

    RE: ess @ 41

    More often it’s better for one person to own the fence. Hard to have shared ownership in residential real estate…and it’s rare. “Whose fence is it?” is often unknown. The people who live there are no longer the same people from when the fence was installed.

    Usually you buy and pay for your own fence and you place it a few inches inside your property line and not ON the property line. Even when you share the cost…that doesn’t make it yours if it’s on the other person’s property.

    When you sell your house you can’t say “Oh…and half the fence is mine.” :)

  43. 43
    ess says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 42

    Due to the odd shape of the property of our house, I have common fences with six neighbors. I have no idea who owns any of the fences. Furthermore, virtually all the neighbors moved in after we bought the house – they probably don’t have any idea either. I just hope that when it is time for replacement – it is a joint venture.

  44. 44

    By Deerhawke @ 33:

    Ess #32 There are a lot of articles on Chinese millionaires driving up prices in Seattle. .

    Yes there are. And they all cite to the same low quality data and quote a two or three agents. So basically those articles prove we have a low quality press, not the number or dollar amount of foreign investment.

  45. 45

    By ess @ 41:

    I don’t understand it. At one house we have the neighbor installed a fence abutting three other properties including ours. We were the only ones that chipped in to pay for our half of the portion of the fence that ran along our property. At another house, the neighbor knocked down his house and built a much bigger house. He removed a number of trees from his and adjoining properties to avoid the mess they make on roofs and gutters. We were also the only ones to chip in for the tree removal that was particularly harsh on our roof that would also have messed up his.

    . . .

    I wonder if there is any legal precedent anywhere where recalcitrant neighbors have been ordered to pay for stuff like that. Kary – you heard of anything? I don’t personally don’t recall, but that was never an issue I had to research.

    I think what you’re talking about is just having good neighbors. This year one of my neighbors and I got together on some tree trimming, we agreed what was to be done and we shared the cost (at least for the trees on our border). It went much better than this situation! http://komonews.com/news/local/battle-ground-man-threatens-neighbor-with-rifle-for-trimming-his-trees-i-just-lost-it

    Building a fence though is an entirely different matter. First, it is more expensive. Second, it’s not necessarily something that the other neighbor even wants! And sometimes the motivation of the person initiating the process is related to pets, so why should neighbors contribute there? But as to your question, I don’t know of any authority that allows a neighbor to demand contribution for a fence, unless that’s something in the neighborhood covenants, and in those cases I suspect the covenants would often say that’s an HOA expense.

    Finally, I would highly recommend a survey before building a fence unless maybe there are existing markers. A “homeowner’s” title policy will provide some money for moving a fence built in the wrong location, but off the top of my head I don’t know if that applies to new fences, and there are deductibles and dollar limitations on coverage.

  46. 46
    wreckingbull says:

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 42:

    RE: ess @ 41

    More often it’s better for one person to own the fence. Hard to have shared ownership in residential real estate…and it’s rare. “Whose fence is it?” is often unknown. The people who live there are no longer the same people from when the fence was installed.

    Usually you buy and pay for your own fence and you place it a few inches inside your property line and not ON the property line. Even when you share the cost…that doesn’t make it yours if it’s on the other person’s property.

    When you sell your house you can’t say “Oh…and half the fence is mine.” :)

    This is really good advice. Is it really worth a few inches of lot-line to risk future litigation and headache? Property line disputes get real nasty real fast.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAKDCfFkGTQ&feature=youtu.be

  47. 47

    RE: wreckingbull @ 46 – I was expecting to see a damaged arm or hand. That woman clearly wasn’t good at doing the job at hand. But what was she upset by?

    IMHO, setting the fence back is optional if you do a survey, but one advantage of doing that is you don’t have to ask the neighbor for permission to maintain the other side of the fence. Also, they would need permission to lean anything on your fence or have anything touch it.

  48. 48

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 44:

    So basically those articles prove we have a low quality press, not the number or dollar amount of foreign investment.

    On the topic of a low quality press, look at the misinformation which as been disseminated after the enactment of the new distracted driving law. Here is the operative language:

    (c) For the purposes of this section, “dangerously distracted” means a person who engages in any activity not related to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of such motor vehicle on any highway.

    Note there is no mention at all of eating or drinking, but obviously eating or drinking is an “activity not related to the actual operation of a motor vehicle.” But bad reporting has lead to an uproar because people have been told eating or drinking is now illegal in a car.

    Here’s a link to the full text of the bill.

    http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Passed%20Legislature/5289-S.PL.pdf

    Also there was the recent decision about zoning between the UW and City of Seattle. The press couldn’t even get the reporting on that right.

    Apparently reading comprehension is not a skill of far too many people in the press.

  49. 49

    RE: wreckingbull @ 46

    Love that video!!! Yes…that explains the issue VERY well!!! :)

    I am amazed at how many people think a fence is indicative of a property line. Recently there have been a fair number of corner lots for sale (resale) out in Sammamish. You would be surprised how many people don’t realize that they have to maintain the area on the other side of the fence between the fence and the curb. Most extensive on a corner lot.

    I don’t know who they think is coming around to mow, weed and maintain the grass and plantings on the other/outside of the fence.

    I don’t now how many hundreds of times I have disclosed “That is where the fence is…that fence doesn’t mean it’s the property line.” :)

  50. 50

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 49

    Another funny neighbor tearing down a fence video. This is what happens in jurisdictions that don’t require permits for erecting fences. LOL! This is one of the first areas where I have lived that does NOT require a survey with each property sale and does not require a permit for a fence.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOhar-Xv1Is

    When a permit is required (not here) the fence must be “within” the property and not ON the property line, the “good” side of the fence must face the adjacent land and not the owner’s land and a new permit is required for any repairs exceeding 50% of the current value of the fence.

    To Kary, I often see fence issues as Exceptions to the Title Policy, especially when there is a jig-jog in the fence.

    I can’t tell you how many times buyers have asked an Open House Agent where the property lines are and the agent looks at them like they have two heads. When you think about it, it is pretty crazy that we expect people to buy houses not knowing exactly where the property line is, and yet it happens every day, year in and year out.

  51. 51
    Deerhawke says:

    As a builder I am a big believer in having a survey before putting in a fence. And then putting the entire fence– concrete, posts and all — on your own property.

    A few years ago, I built a house and noticed that someone had moved the property stakes in 2 feet on one side. And they had carefully filled in the original holes. Hmmm…

    I had the surveyor back out and we reset the pegs. This time I rotohammered them down 8 feet so they would not come out easily. The following week the tops had been cut off just below the surface and the plastic surveyor caps were put onto new pieces of rebar two feet away. Pretty clear that this was the work of that adjoining neighbor who had ill intent.

    So the following week we had the surveyor and a fence installer show up at 9 am after the neighbor and his wife had left for work. We made sure to put the entire fence inside the property line by a full inch. The concrete for the hole went right to the property line.

    When the neighbor got home, he had a fit and threatened to cut the fence down with a chain saw. I saw this coming and had a sub (a non-employee) serve him with two letters. One was the surveyor’s account of the mysteriously moving property lines and his assurance that the fence was fully 1 inch within the property line. The other was a letter from my lawyer threatening to have him arrested for criminal trespass and threatening suit if he touched the fence. I also mentioned that we had a camera trained on the fence line from the new house.

    A few days later the neighbor showed up with a fence installer of his own. His intent was to nail some cheap and rather ugly vinyl trellis on the other side of our fence. I got there after the first piece was installed and told the installer to stop or face a suit. By this time the neighbor had left for work. He got a call from his installer telling him that he couldn’t do the job on someone else’s property. We cut the piece off the fence and left the pieces with the rest in his driveway. We got a call from his attorney. He tried to convince us that he had some kind of rights under adverse possession but when he heard that the original survey for the property showed an old fence that was an additional foot onto the neighbor’s property, he said he would “investigate. ”

    After I sold the property, the neighbor moved some rockery and poured the whole adjoining area with concrete flatwork. What was clear was that what he wanted was to add a parking space and needed that extra 2 feet to avoid having to move the rockery.

    Moral of the story. Good fences based on good surveys make good neighbors.

  52. 52

    RE: Deerhawke @ 51

    What’s your standard “in” for an interior lot? Not more than an inch or two I would think as to the back side of the posts vs the panels.

  53. 53
    ARDELL DellaLoggia says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 51

    Oops…ignore my 52. Missed the “by a good inch” in my first reading.

  54. 54
    Kmac says:

    RE: learnaboutRE @ 38
    I will probably scroll down and see that Kary has already answered this.

    Read the RCW:
    http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=16.60

    When any fence has been, or shall hereafter be, erected by any person on the boundary line of his or her land and the person owning land adjoining thereto shall make, or cause to be made, an inclosure, so that such fence may also answer the purpose of inclosing his or her ground, he or she shall pay the owner of such fence already erected one-half of the value of so much thereof as serves for a partition fence between them: PROVIDED, That in case such fence has woven wire or other material known as hog fencing, then the adjoining owner shall not be required to pay the extra cost of such hog fencing over and above the cost of erecting a lawful fence, as by law defined, unless such adjoining owner has his or her land fenced with hog fencing and uses the partition fence to make a hog enclosure of his or her land, then he or she shall pay to the one who owns said hog fence one-half of the value thereof.

    Just wait until the neighbor decides to paint his side of your fence…. and it bleeds through.
    Become friendly with the grumpy neighbors……

    Good luck trying to maintain the other side of your fence, with a foot or two of inset, let alone just a couple inches.

  55. 55

    RE: Kmac @ 54 – I’m not familar with that section of the RCWs, but it appears it might be intended just for agricultural situations. The definitions section is poorly drafted and very old.

  56. 56

    RE: Deerhawke @ 51 – Great story. Two things.

    Surveys are not exact and surveyors can disagree. So one inch might be cutting it a bit close, but your surveyor could probably tell you if they see any issues.

    You probably now need to “call before you dig” for a lot of what you described, including driving something into the ground eight feet–but clearly for the fence posts.

  57. 57

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 49:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 46

    Love that video!!! Yes…that explains the issue VERY well!!! :)

    I am amazed at how many people think a fence is indicative of a property line. Recently there have been a fair number of corner lots for sale (resale) out in Sammamish. You would be surprised how many people don’t realize that they have to maintain the area on the other side of the fence between the fence and the curb. Most extensive on a corner lot.

    Fences can become borders under a process similar to adverse possession, but in that scenario there’s no one to make the claim for the other side of the fence!

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/realestate/2010/06/06/adverse-possession-an-easier-alternative-merriman-v-cokeley/

  58. 58

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 57

    I’m pretty sure they changed the law to make Adverse Possession much more difficult. “… and shall also during said time pay all taxes legally assessed on such lands…” Added https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=7.28.070

  59. 59

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 58:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 57

    I’m pretty sure they changed the law to make Adverse Possession much more difficult. “… and shall also during said time pay all taxes legally assessed on such lands…” Added https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=7.28.070

    If you look at the end of your link it says: “[ 1893 c 11 § 3; RRS § 788.]” That means the statute was enacted back in 1893 and has not been changed once since! Now maybe you’re going to say you’ve been a real estate agent for 140 years, and it used to be much harder when you started . . . ;-)

    But that’s just another way of gaining adverse possession, but in only seven years rather than ten, and it requires “color of title,” which is typically a deed which for some reason didn’t actually convey title, and paying taxes during those years. There may be other elements of ordinary adverse possession not required too such as hostility. If you read my blog piece it was actually addressed in the first sentence of the third paragraph: “While there are also more lenient provisions where the adverse possession claimant has ‘color of title,’ . . .” The statute you cited is one of the things I was referring to. But ordinary adverse possession is 10 years and requires the elements mentioned in my blog piece.

  60. 60

    This seems sort of messy–a way the British have of trying to deter buying houses as rentals.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/tax/news/stamp-duty-refunds-10000-people-wrongly-overpayed-second-homes/

  61. 61
    Eastsider says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 56:

    Surveys are not exact and surveyors can disagree. So one inch might be cutting it a bit close, but your surveyor could probably tell you if they see any issues.

    Most readers here know Kary is being paranoid, as always. LOL.

  62. 62

    By Eastsider @ 61:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 56:

    Surveys are not exact and surveyors can disagree. So one inch might be cutting it a bit close, but your surveyor could probably tell you if they see any issues.

    Most readers here know Kary is being paranoid, as always. LOL.

    You mean informed. You apparently believe myth number 6 here: https://www.pointtopointsurvey.com/2016/07/7-land-surveying-myths-misconceptions-debunked/

    But hey, if you want to bet the farm on a surveyor when you’re dealing with a hostile neighbor situation, go for it! I’m sure they won’t bother to hire their own surveyor. /sarc

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