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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Eleua says:

    BTW, on a completely unrelated note, please see this pictorial on the events of 5 years ago. You can read my brief intro at my THE WTF? FILES blog.

    It’s a 7meg download and worth the wait.

    I’ll have some pithy RE related comment after I take the kiddies to school.


  2. 2
    Matthew says:

    Couple of things of interests…. Couple of people I work with are moving and have their houses on the market. One in maple valley paid 240,000+ for his house, has in on the market 376,000. Said he had an open house this weekend and only his neighbors came to look at it. Another guy in Covington said that two of his neighbors have houses on the market, one guy paid 260,000 and is selling for 430,000!!!!! Said his has been on the market for a couple of months and the guy is refusing to drop the price…. The guy with the house in maple valley said he is going to keep dropping the price until he sells it as he wants to get it off the market ASAP, he said he realizes the market is softening and actually seemed reasonable. It will be interesting to see what it goes for.

  3. 3
    matt says:

    BTW, blogger matt above is different the old skool ‘other’ matt, who’s been posting for quite some time now… I guess he got to it first… anyway, my fault…. will have to figure something out…

    will have to start a blog of my own (see URL)

  4. 4
    ob says:

    Doing some checking on zillow this morning. and things there are really seeming out of whack. Even after picking my own comps it’s basically doubling the average. Something is up there.

    Back-story on property, an investor in a new housing development bought a place and has never even been up here. House has sat closed up for almost a year and now is on the market. It is being listed at $575K and was bought for $515k December of last year.
    A) Nothing in there is selling for over $500K now, and the comps show this.
    B) After choosing comps that are all lower then the zestamate, Zillow add’s $58k to the price of this home.
    C) Should be fun to watch the price on this property drop in the coming months, as it is nearly the most expensive house in the development now, and by no means the nicest or at the best location.

  5. 5
    Anonymous says:

    Can someone tell me why whenever I check a listed property in zillow, the asking price is at least 50,000 more than the zestimate?

  6. 6
    Anonymous says:

    Anon 12:04-

    Why is the asking price higher than the Zestimate?

    -Because sellers in Seattle still believe it’s a hot market. Which is why so many go into price reduction mode after a few weeks. And why the DOM are streching to lengths unheard of in the past few years.

    – Because some people have HELOCed out their houses and now need more than they are worth.

    Those are some of the possibilities.

    Like the flipper mentioned in above post, they will end up chasing the market down- a common phenomena in RE downturns.

  7. 7
    Matthew says:

    matt, I will change my name, didn’t realize there was another matt here, no biggie!

  8. 8
    Christina says:

    Can someone tell me why whenever I check a listed property in zillow, the asking price is at least 50,000 more than the zestimate?

    But when I check a listed property (in the City of Seattle) in zillow, the zestimate is $30,000 ABOVE the asking price.
    Yes, I live in the City of Seattle.

    Few believe me when I say there are affordable 3-bedroom houses here — dolts are buying in Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace for what they could buy here and are extending their commutes. I think it’s because people would rather live in trendy, expensive zip codes than in zip codes where one can walk to all amenities and bus it to work within a half-hour, saving $$$ on gas. It’s not about the location with decently sturdy construction, it’s about living in a “nice” house. My neighbours lived in these houses for 40 – 55 years, so the crime level was low enough for them to feel comfortable here. But they bought in an era where houses were places to park your carcasses at the end of the day, and people had different views about debt.

  9. 9
    synthetik says:

    re: eleua’s 9/11 pictorial:

    After watching the pictorial I was left wondering this:

    WHY were there only a handful of people on those flights?

    Personally, I fly 4-5 times a year and used to fly much more than that. Most of the flights are fully booked or nearly fully booked.

    Why were there only 15 or so people on each flight? That makes no sense.

  10. 10
    synthetik says:

    FYI, this video “loose change” is extremely provacative. I honestly don’t know what to believe, but it brings up some interesting points.

    It’s a bit long but worth seeing; has been viewed almost 3M times.


    It might be a bit slow since so many people are hitting it today.

  11. 11
    plymster says:

    Synthetic – I watched “Loose Change”, recently, and I have to agree. I’m not typically a big conspiracy theorist, but…

    * Why are we no longer hunting Osama Bin Laden (formerly trained and funded by the CIA and a member of one of the richest oil families in the world)?
    * Why has the price of oil dropped just before the 2006 election (in fact, just before Labor Day, one of the drivingest holidays around)?
    * Why has Iraq’s oil output been essentially shut down?
    * Why was relief to the Gulf Coast (where much of the nation’s gasoline is refined) so late in coming after Katrina?
    * Why has Dick Cheney moved the bulk of his investments into European funds?
    * Why do terror alerts coincide with major elections, or appear right after major political blunders (Tom Ridge, former Director of Homeland Security, wondered about this when he was in office)?
    * Why did Ken Lay (one of the people who helped pen our current energy policy) die prior to sentencing?

    All of this is very circumstantial, but when you have enough circumstantial evidence, eventually, even the most grounded individual has to admit that something stinks.

  12. 12
    Anonymous says:

    Followed a link to the “Building an Empire” blog when I took a look at the at the “Tales of a Seattle Real Estate Investor” Blog.


    I wonder if the gentleman who operates the latter blog has read any of the content posted by his fellow R.E.I. lately.

    “Unfortunately, I was just notified this past Friday that our House 14 loan has just come due. It was a nine month, interest-only loan. And, as much as I hate to admit we’ve had this damned house that long, it’s true! So, now, I have to think about finding a refi loan for it!

    And, here we are with too many loans. I’m not going to be able to proceed with any more deals until I sell some of the properties we have or pay them off. What to do, what to do–I know, SELL!

    I’ve learned a lot of somewhat painful lessons about strategy and patience in my real estate investing over the past year…”

    Should make for some interesting reading in the months ahead.

  13. 13
    seattle price drop says:

    S Crow and anyone who’s interested:

    The letter from the Comissioner of Banks in MA. to lenders is posted on todays (Monday,Sept. 11) Housing Bubble Blog in the first 1/3 of the comments section of the “Gullible Buyers Thought Party Would Not End” thread. (commenter: Boulderbo)

    MA. shut down 11 lending firms on Friday.
    The specific types of loans that they want to crack down on are: NINA, NIV, stated income, low and no-doc.

    It’s a great read.

  14. 14
    seattle price drp says:


    Our Seattle REI guy has recently come to the conclusion that RE in Seattle area will not cash flow (lightbulb moment!) so is checking into properties in………..oh this makes me ill….are you out there Pepedaniels and Biliruben?…………………Buffalo.

    Yep. Buffalo, as in New York.

    Where RE investors have gone to die for the last 40 years.

  15. 15
    S Crow says:

    Seattle Price Drop-

    Yep,did catch that about Massachusetts, but many thanks anyway.

    My east coast bureau chief (my brother who resides and has property in Massachusetts)says New England is getting uglier by the month.

    This next year appears that it may be a whammy to many lending companies and mtg. brokers.

  16. 16
    Eleua says:

    WHY were there only a handful of people on those flights?

    This was commonplace in 2001.

    Airlines were furiously adding capacity, while their revenues and passenger embarkments were declining. The dot.bomb went off the prior year and that killed off much of the business travellers that were the jutification for all the new capacity. Consumer spending was slipping.

    Given that the airlines employ the dumbest executives in the entire world, they thought it was a fine time to slap up more airplanes. Efficiencies were not a big concern. The thought was to have greater frequency to capture the higher end business traveller – thus emptier planes.

    AFTER 9/11/01, the airlines streamlined, and reduced capacity. They went to the “butt in every seat” mindset. Today’s market bears little resemblance to pre-911 markets.

    Prior to 911, airlines could charge a premium – and get it. After 911, you could fly coast to coast for $199. Every hillbilly, whore, cheat, thief, vagrant, and mentally derranged person in America could fly around like he was a Fortune 500 mid-manager.

    Also, these were early morning trans-cons. Often the earliest flights are the most empty.

    Crowd control (from a terrorist point-of-view) is much easier in a large and fairly empty airplane.

    BTW, with the exception of the $2/gal gas by November and the timliness of terror alerts (Monica missiles in the previous Administration), I don’t buy the other conspiracy theories.

  17. 17
    seattle price drop says:

    Am hoping we have a bit of investigating of our very own Seattle/WA State lenders, along with letters from the commissioner.

    Surely we could use some of that here in the Emerald City.

  18. 18
    synthetik says:

    >every hillbilly could fly for $199 after 9/11

    Personally, I was doing a Tampa to LA flight every two weeks at an average cost of $218 – as low as $199.

    This was in late 1997 through mid-1999.

    I also made quite a few Florida to San Fran by way of Houston or St. Paul and a number of Florida to Newark flights.

    All full, all the time – even red eyes were mostly full.

    btw, I was reading an article about how 9/11 caused the housing boom. Bullshit. The article did give a brief mention to the nasdaq plunge but it listed spring of 2001 as the timeline of that event. Not the best way to gain credibility.

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