Cool: $140k “Micro-Home” packed with smart home features

The video is packed with quite a few obnoxious buzzwords (and some NSFW language) but I do appreciate the concept of this 352-square-foot home. It’s produced on an assembly line and can be “installed” in a wide variety of locations and configurations, plus it’s loaded with smart home tech and modular designs.

Check it out:

via The Verge


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.

132 comments:

  1. 1
    Ira Sacharoff says:

    I watched it. I watched it again. Sure, it looks practical and efficient. But what the heck was he talking about?

  2. 2
    sfraz says:

    Happening in AUS. Pods stacked up for “workforce” housing. Hmm… Hey “Alexa” turn on cinema…. Tim- are you onto something? Is Austin the shoe in for HQ2?

  3. 3
    Cap''n says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 1

    I haven’t seen a comment from you in years! (At least at feels like that long). Happy Day.

  4. 4

    They sort of lost me when they compared their product to an iPhone. Who wants to buy a house that will only last 2 years and is primarily bought by people who do zero research before buying?

    Beyond that though, I’ve seen other builders try to incorporate tech into their houses as a feature. I don’t have a problem with creating places for tech to be installed, or even cabling, but tech is far to short lived to build into a house. And that relates back to the video where they mention cars. Even for cars I want the car to last longer than the tech for the entertainment system.

    In 1974 my family built a house that had two pieces of tech, one of which is now a big dinosaur. The one still working fine is the low voltage switches for the lighting. Basically all the 110 volt switches are in one panel and the wall switches are all low voltage, allowing switches in many more locations (without 3 and 4 way switches). There are also two panels which show every light which is on, and where you can turn on/off every light. I’d always worried that a solenoid switch would wear out, but so far it’s worked flawlessly. The dinosaur is the installation of a “Kitchen-Triever,” which is basically an industrial file system carousel converted for Kitchen use. Really a bad idea, other than allowing a more open kitchen, because it was problematic in operation and also slow.

    Finally, interesting that they lead with the Alexa command to turn on the TV. Seriously, do they think anyone is going to say: “I’m going to buy this house because it has a Nest!” And really if they wanted that to seem cool (and hide the technology they are using) they should have at least changed the trigger word to “computer” rather than “Alexa.” I don’t know when that video was made (Alexa has only had that functionality for about 4 months), but that they didn’t do that sort of calls into question their understanding of technology.

    Finally, you can install something that will do virtually everything that they are suggesting with a house built in 1910. You don’t need to pick a house because it has those features. Why lead with that? Why not focus on the living area, ease of construction, etc.?

  5. 5

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4 – Trying to find a picture of the Kitchen-Triever I found this page. Apparently they maybe were still made into this century and had updated technology to interact with some sort of computer technology. If you could tell the device to go to “dinner plates” that would certainly make it better.

    http://www.oxpop.com/resume/kitchen/hotstuff/kardex00.htm

  6. 6
    whatsmyname says:

    $398 psf, and that’s with no land or hookups. How can it miss?

  7. 7

    RE: whatsmyname @ 6 – Well the first 352 square feet of any house are the most expensive 352 square feet. After that it’s diminishing returns! ;-)

  8. 8
    Doug says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 4:

    Who wants to buy a house that will only last 2 years and is primarily bought by people who do zero research before buying?

    LOL

    But seriously, who is this appealing to? The marketing seems to be, “go to work for 20 hours a day and then come home to your tiny pod stacked on other tiny pods like something out of sci-fi movie”. Maybe it will win out when family formation approaches zero, but until then…yikes. In a world where technology is contributing to a withdrawn socially inept youth this sort of housing fits right in I guess.

  9. 9

    RE: Doug @ 8
    LOL Doug

    We’re turning into overpopulated Japan with hotel rooms that look like old fashion train car bunks cramp stacked on top of each other….but by gosh we can watch iPhone TV in it at least…for another $100/$200 a month for internet GBs.

    But its Progressive no think and fits the HORRIFYING mentality of living with overpopulation.

  10. 10

    This is just a glamorous, hipster version of something that should be much cheaper. I think it’s cheap for a “house” at $139K but really you’re paying for a lot of frills. There are pre-made Tiny Houses going for $80K. It may not be smart but I don’t think it would kill anyone to turn off the lights themselves.

  11. 11
    MGSpiffy says:

    Interesting idea, good execution for what it is, but limited in overall appeal.

    352 Sq ft (generously measured if you look at the specs PDF) puts it a little smaller than the largest class A RVs (which usually stay just under 400 Sq Ft for various classification reasons – i.e. not taxing the snowbirds wintering in AZ ).

    As a primary residence, you’d need to someone who already would live in an Apodment for a while. I.e. college student, a transient or seasonal worker (Energy Industry?) or the like. I.e. something you live in for a while while you are busy spending most of your time elsewhere or outside. For almost everyone, the lack of space would causes a lack of flexibility and frustration (5 friends over dinner? where? how?) SO move in? Kids? need space for a project? etc etc… nope nope nope. And privacy?

    But with standardized hookups, and easy transport and stackability, it would be a way to put up temporary semi-long term (say 6 month) housing rather fast in remote areas.

    Bottom line – it could be good at finding its niche uses, but won’t ever be mainstream.

  12. 12
    Eastsider says:

    This “Micro-Home” may be larger than a typical home in Hong Kong. That is, it can be mainstream LOL.

  13. 13
    Smith says:

    The only use case I could see for this would be for disaster recovery housing…but, a very expensive option for such. They make shipping containers fitted out with living quarters, and I bet they are much cheaper and easier to transport, lay down and hook up than this thing.

  14. 14
    Brian says:

    When he shows them stacked, it makes me laugh. It seems like no thought went into the engineering or practically, just the thought “hey, we could stack these boxes yo!” If you’re going to bother trying to stack them, why not just build a normal building or use shipping containers?

  15. 15
    justme says:

    RE: Brian @ 12

    I agree. We already have stacked boxes on overpriced land in Belltown and other places.

    On that same note, one little earthquake and the stack will come tumbling down. Micro-homes are good as a distraction, though. That way people can talk about something else than Amazon HQ2, which is the real news this week.

  16. 16
    Bubble Trouble says:

    My first apartment was about 450 sq ft. And even in that I felt cramped.

    I can see this working as a hotel room or something along those lines. But as a primary residence? Good luck with that.

    But the tech is kinda cool and if these could be made to be 700, 800, 1000 sq ft, yeah I can see it going somewhere.

  17. 17
    Brian says:

    By justme @ 13:

    That way people can talk about something else than Amazon HQ2, which is the real news this week.

    I’ve been looking (not super hard) for the past year, so I’ve seen prices jump a solid 10-20% (mostly 20% in my price range). It has sucked to watch, though savings and investments have helped ease the pain.

    But for the first time I’ve really questioned if this appreciation can continue. There’s the Amazon HQ2 announcement, RedFin CEO saying there’s very early signs of a housing slowdown, a near-record time since the last recession, and mortgage rates poised to rise due to the Fed reducing its treasury holdings. I’m starting to wonder if I bought now if I’d be the housing slump bag holder.

    Definitely curious to see if the listings ramp up over the next month or if homeowners on the fence manage to brush off this concern.

  18. 18

    The ones in this article are significantly smaller than the ones above, but both are also smaller than the smallest recommended size (about 400 square feet) by some authority mentioned in the article.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/09/10/londoners-turn-micro-flats-risk-pushed-city/

  19. 19
    Bubble Trouble says:

    By Brian @ 15:

    By justme @ 13:

    That way people can talk about something else than Amazon HQ2, which is the real news this week.

    I’ve been looking (not super hard) for the past year, so I’ve seen prices jump a solid 10-20% (mostly 20% in my price range). It has sucked to watch, though savings and investments have helped ease the pain.

    But for the first time I’ve really questioned if this appreciation can continue. There’s the Amazon HQ2 announcement, RedFin CEO saying there’s very early signs of a housing slowdown, a near-record time since the last recession, and mortgage rates poised to rise due to the Fed reducing its treasury holdings. I’m starting to wonder if I bought now if I’d be the housing slump bag holder.

    Crazy talk. Seattle is special and different. 20% appreciation will continue forever.

  20. 20
    uwp says:

    RE: Bubble Trouble @ 17

    I would be happy with 3%.

  21. 21
    Drone says:

    I always like these concepts, but have no idea how they can possibly exist in the real world.

    For example, because life is busy right now (surprise!) I have piles of mail and paperwork all over my office desk and floor. I’m not proud of it, but hey that’s what life looks like right now. There’s no room for my random junk-to-be-sorted in a micro house. While I aspire to live a “lightweight” lifestyle, I’m not always capable of that.

    These units seem to require an obsessive eternal commitment to perfection in organization and cleanliness. A fine goal! But not a goal that will really “solve” housing for masses of normal people in any meaningful sense.

  22. 22
    Deerhawke says:

    My first apartment in NYC was a 350 sf efficiency. Really well laid out but it required a lot of discipline. I am surprised my marriage survived it. It was like you had to accept enforced intimacy or file for divorce.

    I know one person who is really interested in this kind of thing. Nice person but incredibly OCD. She organizes peoples’ houses and offices for a living. She has talked about getting one of these tiny houses when her son goes off to college. Which I suppose means that once she sees him off for college, there is no coming back for him.

    What I am seeing in Seattle is exactly the opposite. The city is responding to people who can’t find parking spaces in the neighborhood anymore, so they have stopped allowing Apodments. You can be sure this kind of thing would only be allowed if it were for homeless people.

    Meanwhile, people in the single family market want more and more space. There is a kind of arms race going on in the new construction single family market. A few years ago, a well designed 3001 sf house was the ticket. Then 3101. Then 3201. Now 3300 and we are on our way to 3500. I have real estate agents calling me and saying they wonder if I know of a 4000 sf new construction house being built. Seriously.

    I had two surgeons look at one of my houses recently. They loved everything about it. They raved about it. They could not say enough nice things about it. They came back several times. When they were writing up the purchase/sale, they inquired about the square footage. I told them it was 3265. Their whole attitude changed instantly. They were angry and felt they had been lied to. I had used “tricks” to make the house look bigger. Tricks like 10-foot ceilings and putting in over 100 windows. But they were not going to be fooled. Not them. They had medical degrees and they were not going to be fooled. Hah!

    True story.

  23. 23

    RE: Deerhawke @ 21 – I suspect those doctor buyers are the type that focus on price per square foot. That leads to all sorts of bad results in thinking.

  24. 24
    Erik says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 21
    Glad to hear forced intimacy actually worked for you.

  25. 25
    uwp says:

    RE: Erik @ 23

    “Forced Intimacy” sounds like something Erik would be complaining about in Everett.

  26. 26
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 22
    Fact based buyers are the worst kind of buyers. Beauty buyers will outbid the fact buyers every time. I spend a lot of time making my remodels perfect because I know a beauty buyer will swoop in and outbid the fact buyers every time. If they don’t, I know I didn’t do a good enough job.

  27. 27
    Voight-kampff says:

    I love small spaces. My wife and I currently live in 450 sqft in Belltown. We have owned several places in downtown Seattle. We have a weird “strategy” to realize profits in these crazy times:
    As soon as prices go up, we sell, and then downsize. Our current mortgage is less than the first condo we bought in 2003, which we sold right before the pop in 2008( thanks Seattlebubble!). We’re on our 4th place.
    I don’t know how long our strategy will continue as we will eventually run out of space for us and our cat,
    but we have a lot of money put away.
    We’re crazy… right?

  28. 28
    Scotsman says:

    Used shipping containers offer more- the structure is already there for stacking them, they’re cheap, and the means to easily transport them already exist pretty much everywhere. 320 square feet is standard. This is little more than re-inventing a very expensive wheel. The tech doesn’t make it special enough to find staying power in the current market.

    And I guess the coarse language makes it cool and hip. Does he have any idea how many people he turned off in the first 30 seconds? Marketing 101.

  29. 29
    toad37 says:

    RE: justme @ 14 – I hope The Tim does a post on the Amazon HQ2. Wondering if this is the first step of them slowly moving (mostly) away from Seattle… could have huge implications on local RE.

  30. 30
    UrbanDweller says:

    By toad37 @ 28:

    RE: justme @ 14 – I hope The Tim does a post on the Amazon HQ2. Wondering if this is the first step of them slowly moving (mostly) away from Seattle… could have huge implications on local RE.

    Are you kidding me? Do you know how much Amazon has invested in the SLU area over the last decade―a lot. They are not moving away from Seattle.

  31. 31
    Voight-kampff says:

    RE: toad37 @ 28

    It appears Amazon is just doing what most folks here advocate. Using leverage.
    their press release about hq2 simultaneously makes Seattle and other cities try and curry favor with them.

  32. 32
    toad37 says:

    RE: UrbanDweller @ 29 – I know very well, I worked and lived in SLU from 2013-2015… just a hunch that they might pull a Boeing. Will at least slow some of the speculation, imho. Investors will be salivating over tips on where HQ2 lands.

  33. 33
    Blurtman says:

    Makes you wonder if all liberals are overcompensating for some dark secret – pederasty, racism, self-hatred…

    Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigns after latest child violent love-abuse allegation

    CNN)Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced his resignation Tuesday, hours after new sexual abuse allegations surfaced against the embattled politician.

    Murray, a Democrat and the city’s first openly gay mayor, said he was resigning effective 5 p.m. Wednesday so the scandal would no longer overshadow his office.
    The mayor’s announcement comes after his cousin gave an interview with the Seattle Times alleging abuse, the latest in a series of similar accusations. The cousin is the fifth person to publicly accuse Murray of child sexual abuse since a lawsuit was filed against him in April.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/12/us/seattle-mayor-ed-murray-resigns/index.html

  34. 34

    Per this article, Seattle has the second highest median income of couples in the country, and San Francisco is third.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/power-couples-seattle-ranks-no-2-in-country-for-income-of-married-people/

    In the past I noted that the rise in house prices from the 60s on was somewhat driven by the increase in the number of dual income households. If you’re making more money you tend to spend a fair amount of that “extra money” on housing.

    Anyway, this is likely part of what’s driving Seattle’s price increases.

  35. 35
    wreckingbull says:

    I never understood putting 100 windows in a home or designing a place with floor to ceiling windows such as this prefab “home”. This trend is a bit idiotic.

    Windows should be used judiciously, providing a good balance between light/views and energy efficiency, moisture intrusion and privacy. No hole in the wall is perfect. They all leak to some extent. The more windows, the more risk you have of moisture problems in our climate.

  36. 36
    ess says:

    By Deerhawke @ 21:

    My first apartment in NYC was a 350 sf efficiency. Really well laid out but it required a lot of discipline. I am surprised my marriage survived it. It was like you had to accept enforced intimacy or file for divorce.

    I know one person who is really interested in this kind of thing. Nice person but incredibly OCD. She organizes peoples’ houses and offices for a living. She has talked about getting one of these tiny houses when her son goes off to college. Which I suppose means that once she sees him off for college, there is no coming back for him.

    What I am seeing in Seattle is exactly the opposite. The city is responding to people who can’t find parking spaces in the neighborhood anymore, so they have stopped allowing Apodments. You can be sure this kind of thing would only be allowed if it were for homeless people.

    Meanwhile, people in the single family market want more and more space. There is a kind of arms race going on in the new construction single family market. A few years ago, a well designed 3001 sf house was the ticket. Then 3101. Then 3201. Now 3300 and we are on our way to 3500. I have real estate agents calling me and saying they wonder if I know of a 4000 sf new construction house being built. Seriously.

    I had two surgeons look at one of my houses recently. They loved everything about it. They raved about it. They could not say enough nice things about it. They came back several times. When they were writing up the purchase/sale, they inquired about the square footage. I told them it was 3265. Their whole attitude changed instantly. They were angry and felt they had been lied to. I had used “tricks” to make the house look bigger. Tricks like 10-foot ceilings and putting in over 100 windows. But they were not going to be fooled. Not them. They had medical degrees and they were not going to be fooled. Hah!

    True story.

    I had thought the average size of new construction for single family houses was starting to decrease as families were getting smaller. Perhaps not in the particular area you concentrate in.

    Having downsized to a smaller house some years ago, I find it interesting that the prospective buyers became agitated when they discovered that the square footage was somewhat smaller then they believed it was.

    Which raises a bigger issue – do those of you in the business both as builders as well as real estate professionals witness prospective buyers looking for housing for status and the ability to show off? Do the buyers really “require” the space, or are they looking at a place as a showcase to exhibit their success?

    My wife and I attended an open house for new construction. It appeared that it was also constructed for show – rather to maximize space in a way that I thought would make more sense. The fixtures throughout appeared ( in my opinion) to be over the top, and there appeared to be much wasted space. Knowing the real estate market in that area, I have observed very nice comparable houses for sale selling for 40% – 50% less then the house we visited. But I guess if one has the money and is not concerned about the future – vive la dolce!

    And Voight in #26 – The house in question had more square footage dedicated to bathroom space than your entire condo. The largest bathroom in the house we viewed was bigger than my two largest bedrooms combined.

  37. 37

    By ess @ 35:

    My wife and I attended an open house for new construction. It appeared that it was also constructed for show – rather to maximize space in a way that I thought would make more sense. The fixtures throughout appeared ( in my opinion) to be over the top, and there appeared to be much wasted space.

    Interesting that you say that. I’ve always viewed it more as just poor architecture. Modern houses are seemingly more poorly laid out than houses built 100 or even 50 years ago. I just thought it was declining standards or too much wanting to be unique/different. You’re suggesting that maybe there’s an actual reason for it. Could be.

  38. 38
    Blake says:

    By UrbanDweller @ 29:

    By toad37 @ 28:

    RE: justme @ 14 – I hope The Tim does a post on the Amazon HQ2. Wondering if this is the first step of them slowly moving (mostly) away from Seattle… could have huge implications on local RE.

    Are you kidding me? Do you know how much Amazon has invested in the SLU area over the last decade―a lot. They are not moving away from Seattle.

    People should consider that this may be a bargaining tactic by AMZ… try to get more “incentives” from Seattle (Boeing?) And see what other cities may offer them. I recall years ago when Mercedes decided to locate a plant in Alabama and ‘bama bent over backwards and broke the bank for them!

  39. 39

    RE: Drone @ 20
    The Messy Office

    Is a sign of productivity analysts allege.

  40. 40

    RE: Blake @ 37
    Beg the World for Good Jobs?

    Has it really come to that now? How about just plain “can do” American Yankee Ingenuity? The recent hurricanes demonstrate we can team up and accomplish goals and dreams…by ourselves too.

  41. 41
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Blake @ 37 – This is the correct answer. It is about bargaining power. You don’t have bargaining power unless you have the ability to walk away. All my years buying crap on Craigslist has taught me well.

  42. 42
    Erik says:

    RE: Voight-kampff @ 26
    You sound smarter than most the people on this site. Keep up the good work and let the housing data set you free,

  43. 43
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: ess @ 35

    I have built small apartments and smaller townhouses and rowhouses. You have to be creative in making the space seem much bigger than it is.

    That is what I bring to a single family construction and so it naturally ticks some people off when they feel like I am going out of my way to fool them. From their perspective, if they think it feels like a 4000 sf house, well then by golly it should be 4000 sf. That is something they want to brag to their friends about after all, so you shouldn’t take it away from them. It is definitely about status and showing off. Pretty stupid if you ask me.

    I went to an open house on the East Side a while back that was a complete exercise in excess. Every room was at least 50% bigger than it should be. There was even an 800 sf space in the basement that they called a game room. I was thinking to myself “What game would that be– paddleball?”

    And most of the people moving in don’t have big families. It is usually just a couple or a couple with one child.

    Another thing that strikes me as odd in the way builders build houses these days is the size of the children’s rooms. You get a 900 or 1000 sf master suite but each kids room down the hall is only 90-100 sf. So in the midst of all this excess, they cheap out on their kids. Really odd and selfish. But really indicative of the mindset.

  44. 44
    Bubble Trouble says:

    By Deerhawke @ 21:

    I had two surgeons look at one of my houses recently. They loved everything about it. They raved about it. They could not say enough nice things about it. They came back several times. When they were writing up the purchase/sale, they inquired about the square footage. I told them it was 3265. Their whole attitude changed instantly. They were angry and felt they had been lied to. I had used “tricks” to make the house look bigger. Tricks like 10-foot ceilings and putting in over 100 windows. But they were not going to be fooled. Not them. They had medical degrees and they were not going to be fooled. Hah!

    True story.

    Just goes to prove that doctors can be really dumb people. If they were adamant on 4k sq ft, the first question out of their mouths should have been “what’s the sq footage?” before coming back several times to look at the house?.

    Maybe it’s just me but the VERY first thing I look at when looking at r/e is sq footage. I don’t have a min or max in mind, but I can’t imagine blindly walking into a place without knowing that basic piece of info. Well unless I’m on HGTV I suppose, and I only have 3 houses to choose from as well, lol.

    And besides it’s a dumb way to view houses. A 3k floor plan well laid out could be a better option than 4k of poorly laid out floor plan.

  45. 45
    Bubble Trouble says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 33:

    Per this article, Seattle has the second highest median income of couples in the country, and San Francisco is third.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/data/power-couples-seattle-ranks-no-2-in-country-for-income-of-married-people/

    In the past I noted that the rise in house prices from the 60s on was somewhat driven by the increase in the number of dual income households. If you’re making more money you tend to spend a fair amount of that “extra money” on housing.

    Anyway, this is likely part of what’s driving Seattle’s price increases.

    Home prices have gone up at a much faster pace than incomes. What matters is the rate of change not the numbers themselves.

  46. 46
    Bubble Trouble says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 32

    Weird how this is pretty much a local story with “oh by the way, in Seattle the mayor resigned” coverage nationally.

    Imagine if this were a Republican mayor. It would be 24/7 non-stop breathless hyperventilation in the MSM. But it’s a Dem from one of the most liberal cities in the country, so it will be forgotten by the MSM within 12 hours.

  47. 47
    Blake says:

    By softwarengineer @ 39:

    RE: Blake @ 37
    Beg the World for Good Jobs?
    Has it really come to that now? How about just plain “can do” American Yankee Ingenuity?

    100 years ago the “Robber Barons” used large chunks of their money to build PUBLIC libraries, hospitals and stadiums. Today our Oligarchs say if you don’t pay for a new stadium for MY team I’ll take them elsewhere! Those old Robber Barons were beneficent souls compared to the crony crapitalists we have today! They are insatiable… FILTHY rich but they will do almost anything for more more MORE! Mentally ill IMHO… irrational. They can’t stop.
    And the beltway corporate media lick their boots!

  48. 48
    Bubble Trouble says:

    RE: Blake @ 46

    Not only do they not provide any public good, they steal from us as well. Tesla has received $5B in tax dollars to produce vanity toys for millionaires, while making $billions for Musk. Oh but he’s saving the planet so I guess it’s totes cool.

    WHAT A COUNTRY!!

  49. 49
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Bubble Trouble @ 45 – Yes, indeed. There are many low-bandwidth liberals who are racist and bigoted. Just look at the common caricatures of Trump voters – toothless, mulleted trailer trash, Walmart shopping stereotypes. Liberals guffaw at these depictions, but scream bloody murder if anyone would dare caricature any other group but poor white people.

    Remember why Kurt Schilling was fired? But if you are black, you can get away with what Schilling did and worse. Liberals are OK with this: ESPN host under fire AGAIN for calling Trump a ‘white supremacist’ just weeks after comparing cops to ‘SLAVE PATROLS’ during Colin Kaepernick rant
    http://patrick.net/post/1309930/espn-host-under-fire-again-for-calling-trump-a-white-supremacist-just-weeks-after-comparing-cops-to-slave-patrols-during-colin-kaepernick-rant

    How racist are liberals? They think anyone south of the border is some kind of minority. Even if you move there from Europe, liberals believe that just living there transforms you into some sort of minority. Something in the water. All Latinos are minorities including the primarily white folks in Argentina and Uruguay. Here is an incompetent white guy from Mexico playing that game, hiding behind his incompetence by playing the race card: https://sports.yahoo.com/sergio-dipp-explains-awkward-monday-night-football-sideline-moment-125658426.html

    And guess who it is OK to target? White males. Here is a pathetic academic claiming that only white men are racist and sexist. And other academics really believe this bimbo: http://www.crge.umd.edu/urm.html

    And lastly, Elizabeth Warren. In these days of inexpensive DNA tests, Warren must have done an ancestry test, and so why doesn’t she release the results? Could it be that she is not a Native American at all? Her problem is that she is an undocumented Native American; she cannot provide proof of being on a tribal register. She should have claimed to be a Native American from south of the border, i.e., an Hispanic or even Latino. No proof at all required. Why do we treat American Indians more harshly?

    Yes, liberals are racist and bigoted, and low bandwidth, likely overcompensating for feelings of racism or even self-hatred.

  50. 50
    Deerhawke says:

    By Bubble Trouble @ 45:

    RE: Blurtman @ 32

    Weird how this is pretty much a local story with “oh by the way, in Seattle the mayor resigned” coverage nationally.

    Imagine if this were a Republican mayor. It would be 24/7 non-stop breathless hyperventilation in the MSM. But it’s a Dem from one of the most liberal cities in the country, so it will be forgotten by the MSM within 12 hours.

    Actually the story was on the front page of the Seattle Times and all over the jump inside. Does that not count as the MSM? It was picked up by CNN, MSNBC and all the center-left outlets as well as the WSJ. And it was on page A18 of the NY Times, which is where these kinds of stories always land. This is a story about Seattle’s mayor. We are talking about the mayor of a medium sized city. Not the governor of California. Not a US senator. Not the head of the national security council. Get a grip. Get out a bit and get some perspective.

    It really bothers me that people on the left and the right talk about the MSM act as though they have a secret fountain of truth. In fact, they have the same stories recycled with bits strategically left out. The mainstream media is mainstream. It is supposed to be that way.

  51. 51

    By Bubble Trouble @ 44:

    Home prices have gone up at a much faster pace than incomes. What matters is the rate of change not the numbers themselves.

    If you’re looking at the right numbers, maybe. The ones I posted clearly are not the right numbers (nor do they show a rate of increase). Note I just said it’s part of what’s driving the increase in price.

  52. 52
    Bubble Trouble says:

    By Deerhawke @ 48:

    By Bubble Trouble @ 45:

    RE: Blurtman @ 32

    Weird how this is pretty much a local story with “oh by the way, in Seattle the mayor resigned” coverage nationally.

    Imagine if this were a Republican mayor. It would be 24/7 non-stop breathless hyperventilation in the MSM. But it’s a Dem from one of the most liberal cities in the country, so it will be forgotten by the MSM within 12 hours.

    Actually the story was on the front page of the Seattle Times and all over the jump inside. Does that not count as the MSM? It was picked up by CNN, MSNBC and all the center-left outlets as well as the WSJ. And it was on page A18 of the NY Times, which is where these kinds of stories always land. This is a story about Seattle’s mayor. We are talking about the mayor of a medium sized city. Not the governor of California. Not a US senator. Not the head of the national security council. Get a grip. Get out a bit and get some perspective.

    It really bothers me that people on the left and the right talk about the MSM act as though they have a secret fountain of truth. In fact, they have the same stories recycled with bits strategically left out. The mainstream media is mainstream. It is supposed to be that way.

    LOL. Page 18 of the NY Times. Thanks for proving my point.

    It’s amazing that there are still people out there who think the MSM is impartial. Incredible really.

    Oh and speaking of US Senators, did you know that Democrat Sen. Menendez of NJ is on trial right now? Bet you didn’t. Why? Because the story is in a virtual black home in the super duper impartial MSM.

  53. 53

    RE: Bubble Trouble @ 50 – It’s been quite a while since the members of the press even tried to be impartial and unbiased. Most of the press is left leaning, but some of them are right leaning. But even worse than not trying to be impartial and unbiased, not much of the press coverage is particularly informative because the press in general doesn’t understand the topics they cover. Also, their goal is not to be informative, it’s to capture eyeballs and clicks.

  54. 54
    jon says:

    By Deerhawke @ 42:

    RE: ess @ 35

    I went to an open house on the East Side a while back that was a complete exercise in excess. Every room was at least 50% bigger than it should be. There was even an 800 sf space in the basement that they called a game room. I was thinking to myself “What game would that be– paddleball?”

    My favorite was a huge master bath with a toilet in the center of a large wall. It was after I saw that that the little bathroom inside the big bathroom caught on.

  55. 55
    ess says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 42

    That is something they want to brag to their friends about after all, so you shouldn’t take it away from them. It is definitely about status and showing off. Pretty stupid if you ask me.

    —————————————————————————————————————————–

    I must travel in different circles than the buyers of those huge houses. When I brag to friends about our house – it is that it is a one story rambler that I am able to paint the outside of it myself.

  56. 56

    Not only do I doubt that Sawant has a masters degree in economics, but now I question her very sanity. Unless the quotes are fake, that woman is completely nuts! (This is related to Amazon.)

    https://smartergovernmentwa.org/amazon-expanding-elsewhere-sawant-ready-storm-barricades/

    Edit: I just noticed the author is Rob McKenna.

  57. 57
    Kmac says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 54:

    Not only do I doubt that Sawant has a masters degree in economics, but now I question her very sanity. Unless the quotes are fake, that woman is completely nuts! (This is related to Amazon.)

    https://smartergovernmentwa.org/amazon-expanding-elsewhere-sawant-ready-storm-barricades/

    Edit: I just noticed the author is Rob McKenna.

    So… you were okay with it until you saw the author’s name?
    McKenna is hardly what I would call an extremist.

  58. 58

    RE: Kmac @ 55 – I think you completely misread what I wrote. I was critical of Sawant, and only questioned whether the quotes were accurate (because they are so completely over the top). That it was McKenna gave me more assurance that the quotes were accurate. I wasn’t critical of the article’s thoughts at all.

  59. 59
    Deerhawke says:

    This is an incredibly weird time in American politics.

    On a national level we have Trumpism, a bizarre cult of personality with a combover. Any fact Trump’s followers don’t like is immediately labelled “fake”. Facts don’t matter because the only fact that is important is the one their leader tweets is important. Weirdly reminiscent of 1930’s European politics.

    On a local level we have Sawant and her imitators/syncophants like Mike O’Brian. The whole city council and the Mayor’s office have become a complete caricature of leftism. Sawant actually is a Marxist (and often says so) and would have been the person handing out plastic bags and rubber bands under Pol Pot. She is one cold scary person.

    You wonder whatever happened to reasonable politicians like Dan Evans. He was an engineer and had an engineering approach to problems. He would start by asking simple questions like “What does the data tell us?”, “What works?” and “How can we afford this?”

    The Amazon decision is an interesting time to look at things clearly. On the one hand, Seattle was at best schitzo about their presence here, but often turned on Amazon and made their people feel unwelcome. On the other hand, the people that they hire are not right-wing ideological zealots and don’t really want to be moving to a red state. They want to be in a thinking, non-evangelical, data-first, blue state with relatively low taxes and respect for the environment.

    I hope Seattle sees this as a time to reassess.

  60. 60

    By Deerhawke @ 57:

    On the one hand, Seattle was at best schitzo about their presence here, but often turned on Amazon and made their people feel unwelcome.

    They come in such numbers I think that is almost inevitable, because some people will complain about change no matter what the change is. I remember seeing much worse things said about tech people down in the bay area than what I’ve seen up here. And when you combine that with Seattle government’s anti-car bias, things get even worse.

    But yes, a really strange time in politics, but I think a large part of that nationally is that both parties have really let people down. That explains both Trump and Sanders. But for name recognition, DNC shenanigans and a bit of voting for Hillary because she’s female, those two would have probably been the choice last November.

  61. 61
    Deerhawke says:

    You are right. They come in such numbers.

    It is a lot of change all at once and it is bound to incite all kinds of oddball emotions. I like the Seattle reserve and tolerance that I see in some of my neighbors. But underneath it all is some level of envy mixed with culture shock.

    It is a really different city than the one I saw when I got here in 1991. It is helpful for me to remember that at that point, there was tremendous anger and resentment against those awful invaders from California who had moved up in such numbers in the late 1980’s.

  62. 62
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 54
    Masters degree in economics doesn’t do much for me. It’s like these 1000’s of MBA’s, all you need is a heart beat and a check book and they’ll give you the diploma.

  63. 63
    Kmac says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 58
    RE: Deerhawke @ 59

    Phew….. now that that is all settled, what do you think about…………? ;-)

  64. 64
    Deerhawke says:

    Actually Kary, Sawant has not just a masters but a PhD in economics from NC State. Not much of an Econ program there, but it is not Phoenix University. Yeah, even worse, right?

  65. 65

    RE: Deerhawke @ 62 – Yes, even more shocking. That someone with an economics PhD would refer to Amazon as a “monopoly” is amazing to me. Particularly in the context of buying real property in Seattle!

    From article linked above:

    Amazon has similarly been using its monopoly power to gobble up swathes of prime Seattle real estate, and extract plum deals from the city’s Democratic establishment.

  66. 66

    A thought occurred to me today driving home on 405. Can you imagine how PO’d everyone will be if Amazon’s second city is Bellevue!

  67. 67
    Deerhawke says:

    Can you imagine how PO’d Erik will be if it is Everett?

  68. 68
    justme says:

    RE: Erik @ 60

    Do we have a name for them? Dollar monkeys? Bean monkeys?

  69. 69

    RE: Erik @ 60 – MBAs are over-rated. Back when I was still in school you could go to law school for three years and get a J.D., or you could go to law school and business school for a total of four years and get a J.D. and an MBA, and I think that was true no matter what your undergraduate major was. You probably learn more getting a B.A. in Business Administration than a MBA, but not having taken the MBA program I probably shouldn’t judge that.

  70. 70
    Erik says:

    RE: justme @ 66
    Close, I like to use the term “bean counter” for people in the financial field.

  71. 71
    Erik says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 65
    If Amazon opens a branch of their company that molests children and smokes meth, Everett has a big pool of talent for them to draw from and it would make sense for Amazon to move there.

  72. 72
    justme says:

    RE: Erik @ 68

    There is also the term Debt Donkey, popular on a certain well-known bubble site.

  73. 73
    davidbarts says:

    Chiming in late:

    1. Size: I live by myself in a 930 square foot house, after over a decade of 500-600 square foot apartments, and it feels positively palatial. It’s plenty of space for me. Couldn’t fathom the waste of being a couple living in a 4,000 square foot house.

    2. Permitting: I think Seattle is moving to allowing more of what they call DADU’s (detached accessory dwelling units). On the other hand, there’s so much NIMBYism in Seattle’s single family neighborhoods that if these start catching on, I’d expect a regulatory backlash (much like what happened for Apodments). A pity, as choosing a smaller space is one option for coping with living in an expensive city, and the more choices that are provided for people, the better. Plus, adding housing supply can only put downward pressure on prices overall.

    3. The technology: Blecch, not for me. Give me something simple and easy to understand. I prefer turning my thermostats back manually (and a number of folks in cold climates have already had their pipes ruined because Nest distributed a faulty automatic update. And an Alexa-dependent house? Double blecch! Why whould I want a house with an eavesdropping device in it? What’s next, a telescreen that watches you?

  74. 74
    Bubble Trouble says:

    By Erik @ 60:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 54
    Masters degree in economics doesn’t do much for me. It’s like these 1000’s of MBA’s, all you need is a heart beat and a check book and they’ll give you the diploma.

    Heh.

    I have a BA in economics and I concur. Economics is nothing but theories and if you bend hard enough you can pretty much “prove” any theory true. Pick any subject you want and you will have 2 studies that show the exact opposite result. And they’re both equally valid.

  75. 75
    Bubble Trouble says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 58

    People keep saying Trumpers will follow Trump no matter what. That’s because these people have never met a Trump supporter. Talk to one or two and see who much they love Trump after giving away the wall like he did with DACA negotiations.

    Trump ran on a populist/nationalist message and won. He won because of the message, no so much the messenger. The media of course hates the message, so they had to spin it as a cult of personality, not that 1/2 the country liked the message itself.

    But for the last 2-3 months, since the WH purge of Bannon and others, he’s turned into a typical beltway/swamp creature. And he’s playing with fire since everything he ran against in 2016, he’s becoming in 2017.

  76. 76
    Deerhawke says:

    Here is a trend I have seen on my job sites.

    Twenty years ago most of my concrete, framing, sheetrock, insulation, siding and painting crews were staffed with good-ol boys from Arlington and Everett or Kent and Auburn. On Friday afternoons, they would have their boots, hats and belts in their trucks so they could go out drinking and line dancing.

    In short order, the meth and opioid epidemics swept through. This meant that the crew boss replaced his guys with Mexicans. Interestingly, this crew boss inevitably was a movement Republican despite the fact that his livelihood depended on Mexicans doing the real work. Nowadays, most of those crews are run by Mexican Americans or green-card Mexicans married to Americans.

    And increasingly the trend is that the companies are actually owned by Mexican-Americans or Green Card Mexicans married to Anglos.

    This last construction cycle I replaced my increasingly inconsistent HVAC company with a new company run by two Mexican American guys who had been their crew bosses. When they left, the company folded. I also replaced my erratic and unreliable concrete guy with a company run by 4 Mexican brothers with green cards and Anglo or Mexican-American wives. They are not just hard workers, they are shrewd businessmen.

    What happened to the guy who ran the HVAC company? He is now studying to be an evangelical baptist pastor. He sends me online tracts and oddball rightwing political commentary. The concrete guy is still in business (for the time being) but he still sends me all kinds of online rants about how we need to go back onto the gold standard and (despite the fact that all his workers are Mexican) build a wall.

    It is pretty apparent to me that if there is a going to be a wall, the Mexicans will build it and we will pay for it.

  77. 77
    Erik says:

    RE: Bubble Trouble @ 71
    Yeah, the cream rises to the top. If you can get into a good company and prove yourself through performance you will do well with any degree. Btw, invest in real estate. It’s pretty difficult to go wrong with real estate. If something goes wrong you can quit paying your mortgage and collect sweaty renter checks every month with no recourse until the bank takes the house back.

  78. 78
    justme says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 73

    Interesting. What were the years of the meth epidemic and the opioid epidemic, in your local observation of the building trades?

    There is something seriously wrong with this country when low-level marijuana salesmen for years had their doors broken down by SWAT teams with military aggression, tactics and weapons/equipment, while Big Pharma and Big Medicine got off scot-free when poisoning people with their monopoly opium drugs. Same way as Big Banking got off scot-free after causing a massive bubble. And now Big Banking has done it again. These people should all be in jail and have their ill-gotten gains confiscated to pay for the carnage. And forced to rent in the communities they wrecked.

  79. 79
    Kmac says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 73

    I have been in the trades in this state since way before you moved here in the 90’s and up until last month or two, I had never even heard of this “opioid epidemic” in the context that is so prevalent today.
    Makes me wonder why we are hearing about it all of a sudden……

    Maybe it is designed to coincide with all of the “labor shortage” propaganda that the trade organizations and many builders sum up by simply stating “no one wants to do this anymore”.
    Total hogwash….
    Truth is, nobody wants to do it anymore **at the pay level that builders seem to want to pay**.

    This is the key to keep in mind whenever you hear those groups “complain” (as Kary likes to put it).

    My experience is that 20 years ago most of the tradesmen I operated around were from Bothell, Kenmore and Kirkland/ Juanita/ Finn Hill and even N Seattle area, not so much from Arlington.
    But the way you put it, that sounds pretty good in an exclusionary way designed to exemplify how that the riff-raff can’t afford the hoity toity Seattle area zip codes.

    Is this just your politics showing through?

  80. 80

    By justme @ 75:

    There is something seriously wrong with this country when low-level marijuana salesmen for years had their doors broken down by SWAT teams with military aggression, tactics and weapons/equipment, while Big Pharma and Big Medicine got off scot-free when poisoning people with their monopoly opium drugs.

    Two thoughts. First I’ve always wondered if we would have had an illegal drug trade to the same extent if marijuana had always been legal (ignoring of course the difference in the sale of marijuana being legal). In that regard I’ve not viewed marijuana as being much of a gateway drug, but having an illegal supply system certainly means that some of the participants in that supply system will start operating in other illegal drugs.

    Second, I think to some extent it is bull to blame “Big Pharma” for the opioid crisis, even though I don’t like them for their promoting Obamacare and profiting from it. Unless these drugs are somehow escaping from inventory, the blame lays squarely at the feet of the medical profession and doctors who write the prescriptions. I’m not even sure I would blame the local pharmacies, including those whose business mainly rely on such prescriptions. Their job is not to second guess the doctors, although I do suspect that they may have a duty to report doctors who seem to be writing too many prescriptions. But remember, doctors can’t even write prescriptions for antibiotics responsibly. At least for human targeted antibiotics it’s not the drug companies at fault for too much antibiotic use, it’s the doctors who can’t say no to their clients who ask for something and get it.

  81. 81

    By Kmac @ 76:

    I have been in the trades in this state since way before you moved here in the 90’s and up until last month or two, I had never even heard of this “opioid epidemic” in the context that is so prevalent today.
    Makes me wonder why we are hearing about it all of a sudden……

    I’ve not heard about it in the context of the trades, but state attorney generals have gotten it into their heads that they need to bring legally questionable lawsuits. So this is an area where they have acted by suing drug companies over opioids. That’s apparently more politically popular than cracking down on doctors. They’ve been bringing such suits for a couple of years now, but there was a recent significant uptick. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ohio-opioids-lawsuit-analysis/u-s-state-local-government-lawsuits-over-opioids-face-uphill-battle-idUSKBN18T1H4

    But the reason that you’re hearing about it more recently not only a number of state AG’s jumping on the lawsuit bandwagon, it is also that Trump has made that one of his focus issues. Even that though doesn’t get reported that much because the press is so focused on his Tweeting stupid things.

  82. 82

    I think this is a competitor of the company in the video above, but to verify that I’d need to re-watch the video above, and I really don’t want to do that.

    Assuming it’s a different company, this company too focuses on the smart technology in the tiny house–but hard to say if they do so as much from the article.

    https://www.geekwire.com/2017/paul-allens-vulcan-backs-ex-amazon-managers-modular-housing-startup-blokable-4-8m-round/

  83. 83
  84. 84
    ESS says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 79:

    I think this is a competitor of the company in the video above, but to verify that I’d need to re-watch the video above, and I really don’t want to do that.

    Assuming it’s a different company, this company too focuses on the smart technology in the tiny house–but hard to say if they do so as much from the article.

    https://www.geekwire.com/2017/paul-allens-vulcan-backs-ex-amazon-managers-modular-housing-startup-blokable-4-8m-round/

    I can see it with this local company – an ADU for every single family residence in Seattle to alleviate the “housing crisis”. Good-bye backyards!!

  85. 85
    David B. says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 78:

    But the reason that you’re hearing about it more recently not only a number of state AG’s jumping on the lawsuit bandwagon, it is also that Trump has made that one of his focus issues. Even that though doesn’t get reported that much because the press is so focused on his Tweeting stupid things.

    When Black folks have trouble with crack in their community, it points to those communities lacking the proper values. When White folks have trouble with opiods in theirs, it points to the government failing to act.

    Not saying it’s your double standard, Kary, but it is a double standard.

  86. 86
    David B. says:

    By ESS @ 81:

    I can see it with this local company – an ADU for every single family residence in Seattle to alleviate the “housing crisis”. Good-bye backyards!!

    Nobody’s proposing forcing anyone to install an ADU in their backyard. If you wish to keep your backyard as it is, you are completely free to do so.

  87. 87

    By David B. @ 82:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 78:

    But the reason that you’re hearing about it more recently not only a number of state AG’s jumping on the lawsuit bandwagon, it is also that Trump has made that one of his focus issues. Even that though doesn’t get reported that much because the press is so focused on his Tweeting stupid things.

    When Black folks have trouble with crack in their community, it points to those communities lacking the proper values. When White folks have trouble with opiods in theirs, it points to the government failing to act.

    Not saying it’s your double standard, Kary, but it is a double standard.

    Yes, it is maybe a double standard, but it isn’t only a racial double standard.

    A fair percentage of the opioid addicts are just people who had an injury where the doctor prescribed them a medicine that they started taking. Not the same thing, but it does show how doctors over-prescribe. When I had my wisdom teeth out (which explains a lot!) I was given a prescription of Tylenal (sp?) and codeine. I didn’t need it at all, and it actually made it more difficult for me to sleep, but I was given much more than possibly needed. I believe codeine is also addictive, but it was prescribed.

    Also, some people distinguish between legal and illegal drug use. So even though marijuana is not that different from alcohol or tobacco, some people view marijuana use as somehow evil, and alcohol and tobacco acceptable.

    So to your point, crack is never prescribed and always illegal. But yes, I’m sure the population affected is also part of it.

  88. 88
    ESS says:

    By David B. @ 83:

    By ESS @ 81:

    I can see it with this local company – an ADU for every single family residence in Seattle to alleviate the “housing crisis”. Good-bye backyards!!

    Nobody’s proposing forcing anyone to install an ADU in their backyard. If you wish to keep your backyard as it is, you are completely free to do so.

    True – but with those tiny little Seattle lots – when your neighbors decide to install an ADU in their backyards, you get to enjoy the increased density right along with them. Those folks did buy their houses with the expectations that they were buying in single family areas. With a wave of the magic comprehensive plan wand – surprise – now one resides in duplex land!

  89. 89
    Saffy The Pook says:

    By Deerhawke @ 73:

    Here is a trend I have seen on my job sites.

    Twenty years ago most of my concrete, framing, sheetrock, insulation, siding and painting crews were staffed with good-ol boys from Arlington and Everett or Kent and Auburn. On Friday afternoons, they would have their boots, hats and belts in their trucks so they could go out drinking and line dancing.

    In short order, the meth and opioid epidemics swept through. This meant that the crew boss replaced his guys with Mexicans. Interestingly, this crew boss inevitably was a movement Republican despite the fact that his livelihood depended on Mexicans doing the real work. Nowadays, most of those crews are run by Mexican Americans or green-card Mexicans married to Americans.

    And increasingly the trend is that the companies are actually owned by Mexican-Americans or Green Card Mexicans married to Anglos.

    This last construction cycle I replaced my increasingly inconsistent HVAC company with a new company run by two Mexican American guys who had been their crew bosses. When they left, the company folded. I also replaced my erratic and unreliable concrete guy with a company run by 4 Mexican brothers with green cards and Anglo or Mexican-American wives. They are not just hard workers, they are shrewd businessmen.

    What happened to the guy who ran the HVAC company? He is now studying to be an evangelical baptist pastor. He sends me online tracts and oddball rightwing political commentary. The concrete guy is still in business (for the time being) but he still sends me all kinds of online rants about how we need to go back onto the gold standard and (despite the fact that all his workers are Mexican) build a wall.

    It is pretty apparent to me that if there is a going to be a wall, the Mexicans will build it and we will pay for it.

    Hungry immigrants come to the country, bust ass, build capital, and wait for an opportunity to present itself. Then they go for it. This is the American way and it’s our secret weapon to world-beating competitiveness. Those who see it as a bug rather than a feature just don’t get it.

  90. 90
    Hugh Dominic says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 57 – “The Amazon decision is an interesting time to look at things clearly. On the one hand, Seattle was at best schitzo about their presence here, but often turned on Amazon and made their people feel unwelcome. On the other hand, the people that they hire are not right-wing ideological zealots and don’t really want to be moving to a red state. They want to be in a thinking, non-evangelical, data-first, blue state with relatively low taxes and respect for the environment.

    I hope Seattle sees this as a time to reassess.”

    Nailed it.

  91. 91
    Anonymous Coward says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 78:

    …attorney generals…

    “attorney generals”!! Really, Kary, you of all people should know better. :-P

  92. 92
    David B. says:

    By ESS @ 85:

    True – but with those tiny little Seattle lots – when your neighbors decide to install an ADU in their backyards, you get to enjoy the increased density right along with them. Those folks did buy their houses with the expectations that they were buying in single family areas. With a wave of the magic comprehensive plan wand – surprise – now one resides in duplex land!

    The key phrase here being “their backyards” — not yours.

    Neighborhoods change. They can densify, they can de-densify, they can gentrify, they can become more downscale. Your neighbors can also paint their house a different color, remove trees you like, or plant trees you don’t like.

    If that’s unacceptable to you, buy some acerage (enough to have a buffer big enough by your standards) and live in a rural area.

  93. 93
    David B. says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 84 – It’s not so simple. Illegal opiod use (both of flat-out illegal drugs like heroin and black-market pharmaceuticals) plays a significant role in the opiod epidemic. Yet we don’t hear many criticisms of cultural or personal flaws when it comes to choosing to purchase drugs on the black market instead of seeking medical help when you get hooked on painkillers and your prescription runs out.

  94. 94
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: David B. @ 89 – I think you have fallen victim to the false equivalence fallacy. Painting a home and landscaping are quite different than building new structures, which bring in additional people, pets and automobiles thus fundamentally changing the zoning of a neighborhood.

    Furthermore, as someone who lives in a rural area, let me assure you that you have far less protection, not more protection, from these sorts of things. Someone could come and open a hog farm next door with no problems. No amount of reasonable buffer mitigates that. The concept of zoning really does not exist in most rural areas. It is a true free-for-all. I like it, but I also realize there are serious potential risks to my current living situation.

  95. 95

    By Anonymous Coward @ 88:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 78:

    …attorney generals…

    “attorney generals”!! Really, Kary, you of all people should know better. :-P

    My bad, but in my defense I don’t think they started acting in concert until the tobacco lawsuit, and that was after I went to law school.

  96. 96

    RE: wreckingbull @ 91RE: David B. @ 89 – Seattle has been quite liberal with ADUs for well over ten years now, but wasn’t Seattle recently considering up-zoning lots of SFR area to multi-family.

  97. 97
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: justme @ 75

    I can’t say it was all drugs that led to the shift, but I did have several contractors I had to fire. First it was crack, then meth and then opioids, and now back to heroin and fentanyl (from what I hear).

    I am kind of hoping some of those other guys I used to work with managed to make it into union shops and these days are building forms or hanging sheetrock in all the new high-rises and Amazon buildings.

    RE: Kmac @ 76
    I am not sure where you get your information, but if “up until last month or two, I had never even heard of this “opioid epidemic”, you might want to check out the mainstream media for a change.

    Here is a quote from the Seattle Times this past week.
    ” TODAY, more than 142 Americans will fatally overdose on drugs; a majority will overdose on opioids. The epidemic is tearing its way through American families, neighborhoods and cities from the East Coast to the West Coast. More than 59,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses in 2016 — a 19 percent increase from 2015 — making drug overdoses a leading cause of death for Americans under 50.”

    For the full article:
    http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/recovery-communities-are-crucial-to-combat-opioid-epidemic/

  98. 98
    Kmac says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 94
    I’m not quite sure how an article written on Sept 17,2017 has anything to do with me not hearing about this “crisis” — “except for the last several months”?

    Sure hasn’t been common knowledge for the last twenty years let alone last three years.
    Perhaps I have missed it , but the timing of these revelations seems suspicious to me.

  99. 99
    Deerhawke says:

    Somehow if 100 Americans a day were dying as a result of “Islamic terrorism”‘, do you really think Fox would have missed it?

    Do you think Rush or Sean or Ann or Laura might have mentioned it? Hmmm?

  100. 100
    Kmac says:

    I don’t listen to any of the people you have mentioned.

    I’m not sure about your reasoning, but I can only assume that you are trying to set up a left- right argument…….which has been somewhat apparent the last few weeks.
    Have fun!

  101. 101
    Bubble Trouble says:

    By Deerhawke @ 73:

    Here is a trend I have seen on my job sites.

    Twenty years ago most of my concrete, framing, sheetrock, insulation, siding and painting crews were staffed with good-ol boys from Arlington and Everett or Kent and Auburn. On Friday afternoons, they would have their boots, hats and belts in their trucks so they could go out drinking and line dancing.

    In short order, the meth and opioid epidemics swept through. This meant that the crew boss replaced his guys with Mexicans. Interestingly, this crew boss inevitably was a movement Republican despite the fact that his livelihood depended on Mexicans doing the real work. Nowadays, most of those crews are run by Mexican Americans or green-card Mexicans married to Americans.

    And increasingly the trend is that the companies are actually owned by Mexican-Americans or Green Card Mexicans married to Anglos.

    This last construction cycle I replaced my increasingly inconsistent HVAC company with a new company run by two Mexican American guys who had been their crew bosses. When they left, the company folded. I also replaced my erratic and unreliable concrete guy with a company run by 4 Mexican brothers with green cards and Anglo or Mexican-American wives. They are not just hard workers, they are shrewd businessmen.

    What happened to the guy who ran the HVAC company? He is now studying to be an evangelical baptist pastor. He sends me online tracts and oddball rightwing political commentary. The concrete guy is still in business (for the time being) but he still sends me all kinds of online rants about how we need to go back onto the gold standard and (despite the fact that all his workers are Mexican) build a wall.

    It is pretty apparent to me that if there is a going to be a wall, the Mexicans will build it and we will pay for it.

    I keep hearing how illegals do all the work Americans won’t do. However, go to places like Spokane, Americans actually do all these jobs. Construction, lawn care, fast food, janitorial, etc. Americans who supposedly won’t do any of these jobs are, uhm, doing all these jobs. Weird, huh? It’s almost as if when there isn’t competition from illegals willing to work for near slave wages with no regards to safety and under the table, Americans can compete and win.

  102. 102
    Bubble Trouble says:

    I too had not heard about the supposed epic opioid epidemic until recently. And is it really that big a deal? 142 deaths a day….sure sounds like a lot. But there are about that many deaths a day from car accidents too. In a country of 330M, 142 a day is hardly an epidemic. Notice how the article phrases it….a “leading cause”. What are the other leading causes? Is this cause #1 or #30? Was this a leading cause 10 years ago, 20 years ago? No context of course. Why bother with pesky things like that? It’s a leading cause, it’s bad. MUST. DO. SOMETHING!!!!

    This is just the latest thing that we all have to be scared about. It’s a perfect story for the MSM. You get to bash eeeeeeevil drug companies and stupid rednecks out in the country(read Trump voters). Funny how this epidemic became and epidemic right around the time Trump became a serious contender. A twofer for the NY Times and WaPo. And of course the cure to this epidemic is the federal govt spending a gazillion dollars and imposing 1000 pages of new regulations.

    To put things in perspective, 650K people die a year from heart disease, 600K from cancer, 150K from pneumonia and 150K from stroke. But writing about heart disease or stroke is boring and doesn’t scare people. Writing about how taking a pain pill can kill you….that sells. And politicians giving a speech about heart disease……boring! But giving a speech about the evils of pain medicine….not boring. It’s a self feeding loop. The MSM frightens the public which leads politicians to take action which is covered by the MSM which gets politicians to keep fighting. And on and on.

    Oh and hey, whatever happened to the last epic drug crisis, meth? I remember a few short years ago, circa 2005ish when meth was going to kill everyone in America. Never hear about it any more. Or crack cocaine which was the epidemic du jour in the 80s and 90s.

    Oxy is the hot new killer for the 2010s. I wonder what will kill me in the 2020s….probably GMOs.

  103. 103

    By Bubble Trouble @ 98:

    I keep hearing how illegals do all the work Americans won’t do. However, go to places like Spokane, Americans actually do all these jobs. Construction, lawn care, fast food, janitorial, etc. Americans who supposedly won’t do any of these jobs are, uhm, doing all these jobs. Weird, huh? It’s almost as if when there isn’t competition from illegals willing to work for near slave wages with no regards to safety and under the table, Americans can compete and win.

    I think you hit on a good point. While most Americans wouldn’t want to do the work of picking apples, (for example), for other types of jobs the competition from illegal aliens (and US citizens willing to work under the table) increases the supply of labor and thereby lowers the wages/benefits offered. And those lower wages/benefits mean many Americans are less likely to want to do that type of work.

  104. 104
    Bubble Trouble says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 100:

    By Bubble Trouble @ 98:

    I keep hearing how illegals do all the work Americans won’t do. However, go to places like Spokane, Americans actually do all these jobs. Construction, lawn care, fast food, janitorial, etc. Americans who supposedly won’t do any of these jobs are, uhm, doing all these jobs. Weird, huh? It’s almost as if when there isn’t competition from illegals willing to work for near slave wages with no regards to safety and under the table, Americans can compete and win.

    I think you hit on a good point. While most Americans wouldn’t want to do the work of picking apples, (for example), for other types of jobs the competition from illegal aliens (and US citizens willing to work under the table) increases the supply of labor and thereby lowers the wages/benefits offered. And those lower wages/benefits mean many Americans are less likely to want to do that type of work.

    BINGO!

    But I think even the apple picking would be done by Americans if the wage were fair. Will anyone do it for $7/hr? No. Would they do it for $15/hr? Yeah I think plenty would. But when you have a never ending supply of illegals doing it for $5/hr (and no payroll taxes or OSHA worries, etc), yeah no American will do it. And then you have the great lie of “well if we get rid of illegals apples wont get picked”. Bullchocolate. What will happen is you will need to pay $15/hr and then apples will get picked. And yes I realize that will make apples more expensive. That’s fine, I’ll gladly pay 10 cents more an apple.

    My question is always how did it work in the “olden days”. Once upon a time there were no illegals in the US. Or very few. And somehow apples were picked, farms were operating, cars were washed, hotel rooms were cleaned, etc. The notion that if somehow illegals were to stop coming here, the economy would collapse is absurd.

  105. 105

    Returning to the main topic, these modular home ideas are hardly new. This 2005 condo complex in Snohomish County was modular. I believe the complex is about 33 townhouses, with garages–each unit being three pieces (downstairs, upstairs and garage).

    https://www.realtor.com/soldhomeprices/Kokanee-Creek-Condominiums_Everett_WA

  106. 106
    Kmac says:

    RE: Bubble Trouble @ 101

    I agree with your assessment, but with the caveat that places like Chelan have used illegals for labor for a long time.
    About twenty years ago, I asked an old time apple farmer about this and he told me that the difference between now and then is that back in 30’s, 40’s and 50’s all of the communities farmers actively made sure that all of the non citizens were actually rounded up and placed on a bus at the end of picking season and sent to where they came from. They did not live in the communities year round.

    This whole talk about an Opioid crisis made me flash back about the “Angel Dust” PCP crisis from the 70’s that quietly disappeared despite all of the angst. Perhaps crack took over the spot light going into the eighties??

  107. 107
    Ron says:

    Has anyone seen a slowdown in the market? I’m not sure if the Amazon news has affected it, but in the 1.1 – 1.5 range I’ve seen homes sitting on the market that would have flown off the shelf earlier in the year.

  108. 108
    MGSpiffy says:

    Ron @ 104: I’ve been seeing signs of slowdown in the same price range in 98040.

    I’ve been chatting up a couple realtors at their open houses, and one just acknowledged that others in her office are seeing the same sluggishness. One of the houses is in fantastic condition, priced in line with 2 others very comparable houses on the same street with similar lots (hill) that have sold in the last year (1.0-1.2m), it has had 2 price reductions, and still no offers to date. Another house, 2 doors down from just went on the market last week – I’ll be watching it. From listening to the people come through, they are coming off as really picky/choosy about what they want.

  109. 109
    Ron says:

    RE: MGSpiffy @ 105 – Surprised to see homes in MI sitting too. I wonder what is making those sit especially at that price point. Do you have a link?

  110. 110
    S-Crow says:

    RE: Ron @ 104 – Very observant. And I mean that sincerely.

    Happened about mid August. Reflective of both refi and especially purchase business.

    S-Crow

  111. 111
    N says:

    This weekend we hit 3,000 King County SFH’s on the market for the first time since October 2016.

  112. 112
    Matt P says:

    I’m sure the weather in Spokane plays a role in who is willing to do outdoor manual labor. It’s a whole different ballgame doing it down south, not that Americans won’t, but you have to pay them more than an equivalent office job to get them outside, as opposed to here where some might enjoy being outside with the much milder weather – wildfire smoke not withstanding.

  113. 113
    MGSpiffy says:

    RE: Ron @ 106 – no link, these are just houses on my street. I’ve made it a point to visit a lot of the open houses in my neighborhood, so I’ve been tracking them in person, talking with the agents. A number of the houses are very similar in size & lot and the ones listed right now are slightly reduced from the prices other houses sold for 3-6 months ago.

    The neighborhood itself is very family friendly – lots of kids, and they’re outside an awful lot, not in their screens. In the spring, nothing stayed on the market for more than 2 weeks. I’m sure the agents are confident everything will rebound and get back to red hot any day now.

  114. 114
    uwp says:

    SFH stats are still holding strong per Estately’s sidebar stats.

    Last Friday of August 2017 (8/25/17) SFH inventory was 13% below last Friday of August 2016 (8/26/16).
    Most recent Friday in Sept 2017 (9/15/17) inventory was 16% below similar Friday in Sept 2016 (9/16/16). And still roughly the same when comparing this morning to 9/19/16.

    Also, just the time of year activity slows down. Remember these posts from last Sept/Oct:
    “NWMLS: Listings Up, Prices Down August To September”
    “September Stats Preview: A Late-Summer Listings Bump”

    But I’m sure a listing increase combined with the Amazon HQ2 news will generate plenty of great headlines for next months articles (and justme posts).

  115. 115
    justme says:

    RE: Ron @ 104
    RE: MGSpiffy @ 105
    RE: S-Crow @ 107

    Thanks for getting this thread back on track. Very interesting, S-Crow, that the high-end slowdown predated the Amazon HQ2 announcement by 3 weeks or so. That may mean HQ2 will be a 2nd compounding factor in the slowdown, or maybe some Amazon insiders already knew and were enough to slow down the market all by themselves. Stranger things have happened.

  116. 116
    justme says:

    By uwp @ 110:

    But I’m sure a listing increase combined with the Amazon HQ2 news will generate plenty of great headlines for next months articles (and justme posts).

    Hey, thanks, but let’s share the credit around a bit more. Many others are contributing to our common cause of avoiding bubbles. See above for just a few examples, and there are many more. I will take credit for sticking my neck out and calling the bubble peak for 2017, with the assumption that FRB sticks with the QE unwind plan. On Wednesday, we shall find out if FRB sticks with the previously telegraphed plan or chickens out.

    Reference:
    http://seattlebubble.com/blog/2017/06/06/nwmls-may-grand-slam-home-salespeople/comment-page-1/#comment-263302

  117. 117

    Class Inequality Politics

    Has lead to this. IMO, a simple income tax system filed on a “pre-paid postage” post card with no deductions is needed. The top 5% are on tax welfare on mortgage deductions….this must end under tax reform. Seattle is treating their majority poor like manure.

    King County raised my property taxes about 25% last year….another 33% possible this year too [my assessed value went up 33% in 2017].

    They’re out of their minds.

    https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/tax-reform-could-squeeze-middle-080006391.html

  118. 118
    whatsmyname says:

    By uwp @ 110:

    Also, just the time of year activity slows down.

    A very good point. I wouldn’t think that slowing of month over month sales would be a sign of significant trend change, given that it has been the case in 15 of the 17 Septembers that Tim has tracked – including every year since 2012.

    Of course, if you want a perfect record of declining numbers, you can always look at the New Listings graph for October, November, December.

  119. 119

    By softwarengineer @ 113:

    King County raised my property taxes about 25% last year….another 33% possible this year too; my assessed value went up 33% in 2017

    For the billionth time, it doesn’t work that way. Your taxes are not going to go up 33% due to an increase in assessment by 33%, except by coincidence. It’s for the same reason your taxes didn’t drop when assessments were decreasing. The system is set up to keep revenues largely neutral–slightly growing at 3% per year.

    But what will impact you this year is the legislative fix for McCleary–the education funding decision. That will vary by school district. Apparently in the Kent school district taxes will actually go down with the fix. Seattle they will go up.

    The other issue is the Hirst decision, which deals with water rights. I’ve not heard what the impact will be on King County, but I suspect it won’t be as bad as some other counties. There the operative impact is that as rural unimproved land without public water the property assessments will decline due to not being build-able, causing the tax burden to shift to the properties which are improved or at least have public water available.

  120. 120

    RE: whatsmyname @ 114 – There’s another possibility. About four or five months ago I noted that the increase in the median was due to a shift to more expensive neighborhoods. That wasn’t the case when I checked a month or two ago–it seemed to be a more “real” increase in median. But we could have the opposite effect where the sales shift from more expensive neighborhoods, causing the median to drop to a greater extent than the actual change in values.

  121. 121
    Kmac says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 115
    absolutely correct in all points.

    Property taxes are basically a set budget and divided by the valuation of taxable parcels.

    I wonder how rural counties are going to fare when there is almost no new construction due to lack of available water per Hirst decision. These counties have always looked the other way for many years and nobody has really ever taken them to task (except maybe in Kittitas County).

  122. 122

    By Kmac @ 117:

    I wonder how rural counties are going to fare when there is almost no new construction due to lack of available water per Hirst decision. These counties have always looked the other way for many years and nobody has really ever taken them to task (except maybe in Kittitas County).

    It’s not just the lack of new construction, it’s the lowering of assessments on many parcels that will have an impact.

    As to Hirst though, I don’t blame the decision or the law. I blame the counties being lazy and not complying with the law. And while I didn’t follow the legislative proposals closely, the one or two I did look at seemed to just gut the law rather than perhaps specify new easier methods the counties could use to create new studies. I sort of got the feeling that it was sort of like gun control, where you had people with extreme views on each side unwilling to reach a compromise in the middle.

  123. 123

    BTW, on Hirst here’s an article by Rob McKenna on the topic. Note I do not necessarily agree or disagree with the article, although I do recall his position being somewhat different than mine, although I do believe we both blame the legislature for the failure to act.

    https://smartergovernmentwa.org/seattle-driving-away-amazon-not-states-economic-worry-water-ruling-stifled-building-damaging-economy-hugely/

  124. 124
    Kmac says:

    Not to go completely OT again, but most WA counties are commission rule counties and that is the problem as to why things haven’t changed.
    I have seen, first hand, how the planning departments make suggestions and give proper advise only to have two or three commissioners play favorites (or take vendettas) and override any recommendations by staff or simply intervene in the process.
    They are relying on weasel words and their insurance companies to buffer any fallout.

    Sorry about veering away from predictions of potential market corrections/crashes…….

  125. 125
    justme says:

    RE: Kmac @ 124

    I have not followed the Hirst well water case, and I thought the following page gives a reasonable intro for those who do not understand what Kary and Kmac are talking about :-)

    http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/nwro/hirst.html

    QUOTE:

    Background

    We protect rivers and streams across the state by creating instream flow rules, which set the amount of water necessary for protecting fish, wildlife and recreation. In 1985, we adopted an instream flow rule for the Nooksack River (WAC 173-501) in Whatcom County. This rule closed most streams in the watershed to new water right permits but allowed landowners to use permit-exempt wells in most of the area. Whatcom County’s development regulations followed our instream flow rule.

    ENDQUOTE

  126. 126
    Eastsider says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 119:

    By softwarengineer @ 113:

    King County raised my property taxes about 25% last year….another 33% possible this year too; my assessed value went up 33% in 2017

    For the billionth time, it doesn’t work that way. Your taxes are not going to go up 33% due to an increase in assessment by 33%, except by coincidence. It’s for the same reason your taxes didn’t drop when assessments were decreasing. The system is set up to keep revenues largely neutral–slightly growing at 3% per year.

    King county property taxes have gone up significantly in the last couple years. One key factor is King county assessments went up far more than other counties. That increases its share of property tax burden. In fact, I am not surprised if homeowners in other counties get a reduction in property tax bills.

  127. 127
    Kmac says:

    Less than 15% of my total tax bill goes to the State, so I don’t think the increase of one County’s assessments affects any other County all that much. Perhaps a little……

    The balance of my tax bill is for local assessments:
    Schools – 35%
    Fire Dist – <15%
    County ~ 17%

  128. 128

    By Eastsider @ 126:

    King county property taxes have gone up significantly in the last couple years. One key factor is King county assessments went up far more than other counties. That increases its share of property tax burden. In fact, I am not surprised if homeowners in other counties get a reduction in property tax bills.

    I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work across county lines, except maybe for the state portion of the RE tax. which I believe was only 15% of my tax for 2017–but that is probably changing with the McCleary legislation.

  129. 129
    Kmac says:

    Another interesting note about property taxes that I had observed in 2011, a Woodinville house that in 2006, King County had assessed at more than $850,000 was now assessed at (apprx) $675,000.

    Do you know how much less the 2011 property taxes were compared to the 2006 property tax?
    Less than $60 lower.
    Valuations have little to do with tax burden when equally spread throughout the specific region.

  130. 130
    Eastsider says:

    By Kmac @ 127:

    Less than 15% of my total tax bill goes to the State, so I don’t think the increase of one County’s assessments affects any other County all that much. Perhaps a little……

    The balance of my tax bill is for local assessments:
    Schools – 35%
    Fire Dist – <15%
    County ~ 17%

    Note that many local levies are based on the assessment values. So an increase in assessment will result in proportional increase in property tax bill.

  131. 131

    RE: Eastsider @ 130 – Correct, but that doesn’t apply to the issue of tax burdens across counties. Most of those local issues though are relatively small amounts–the big exception being local school levies. Not sure how that will change with the McCleary legislation.

    But let’s say those taxes are 50% of your tax bill. That would mean a 20% increase in assessment would be responsible for a 10% increase in tax–all other things being equal.

  132. 132

    The ignorance of the average person about RE tax issues is staggering. I was following a local Facebook group where the area had repeatedly, over about 10 years, voted down the fire district’s request for more funds. They were upset that this resulted in the local fire house not being staffed several days a week, which obviously had an impact on response times.

    One of the common excuses was that the county and or city was wasting too much money, or could take money from other uses. The only problem with that is that the fire district is a separate entity, and part of it’s protection area covered the city and part of it covered parts of unincorporated King County. Also, there’s the problem with a fact that there is no legislation which would allow that even if the fire district had been entirely within the city or unincorporated King County. So basically they were voting against it because they wanted something to happen that would be impossible.

    Now in their defense I did go back and look at the ballot proposals, and they were really poorly drafted. I didn’t compare them to the proposals for my fire district, which does have a history of passing, but I think they are expecting far to much of voters from the way they drafted their proposals.

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