You may have seen the generic story in the news yesterday about home prices finally slowing down. What you may not have noticed was that the Seattle Times reprinted the story from Bloomberg News and added their own little gloating bit to it.
Home prices fall in some U.S. cities, but not here
Home prices in the first quarter fell in several U.S. cities for the first time in at least 15 years, more proof that the Federal Reserve is winning its campaign to cool off the housing market, a trade group report says.
But 60 metropolitan areas, including Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, saw double-digit appreciation. The median price of an existing single-family home in the Seattle area jumped 16.4 percent, to $338,600, from the first quarter of 2005.
The pace of home sales in Washington shows signs slowing, but prices continued to climb in the first quarter of this year. About half of Washington’s 39 counties reported fewer sales this year than in the first three months of 2005, but "the market remains very strong," said Glenn Crellin, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research in Pullman.
Has anyone else here read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books? (Although I enjoyed the movie, the books are still much better.) In the third book, Life, the Universe, and Everything, the main character Arthur happens upon a flying party. Allow me to quote from this brilliant novel:
The mess is extraordinary, and has to be seen to be believed, but if you don’t have any particular need to believe it, then don’t go and look, because you won’t enjoy it.
So other factors come into operation, like when the drink is going to run out.
Now, because of certain things which have happened which seemed like a good idea at the time (and one of the problems with a party which never stops is that all the things which only seem like a good idea at parties continue to seem like good ideas), that point seems still to be a long way off.
One of the things which seemed like a good idea at the time was that the party should fly – not in the normal sense that parties are meant to fly, but literally.
One night, long ago, a band of drunken astro-engineers of the first generation clambered round the building digging this, fixing that, banging very hard on the other and when the sun rose the following morning, it was startled to find itself shining on a building full of happy drunken people which was now floating like a young and uncertain bird over the treetops.
Not only that, but the flying party had also managed to arm itself rather heavily. If they were going to get involved in any petty arguments with wine merchants, they wanted to make sure they had might on their side.
The transition from full-time cocktail party to part-time raiding party came with ease, and did much to add that extra bit of zest and swing to the whole affair which was badly needed at this point because of the enormous number of times that the band had already played all the numbers it knew over the years.
They looted, they raided, they held whole cities for ransom for fresh supplies of cheese crackers, avocado dip, spare ribs and wine and spirits, which would now get piped aboard from floating tankers.
The problem of when the drink is going to run out is, however, going to have to be faced one day.
The planet over which they are floating is no longer the planet it was when they first started floating over it.
It is in bad shape.
The problem of when the drink is going to run out is going to have to be faced one day.
(Kathleen M. Howley, Seattle Times, 05.16.2006)