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
    Terry says:

    Good story In the Kitsap Sun this morning (see below). Interesting to note that the concept of AFFORDABILITY seems to be getting more attention recently.

    Home Sales Slow Down in State

    But median prices continue to hit record highs across Washington.
    By NICHOLAS GERANIOS, associated press
    November 22, 2006


    While the housing market tailed off across the state in the third quarter, prices continued to climb, with the median price topping $300,000, the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at Washington State University reported Tuesday.

    Director Glenn Crellin said median home prices continued to hit record highs even as the number of homes sold fell.

    “While sales rates are no longer setting records, the overall housing market in Washington remains strong,” Crellin said in a news release.

    Rising inventories mean buyers have more choices and more room to negotiate, but there is not a glut of houses on the market, Crellin said.

    In the third quarter that ended Sept. 30, 43,050 homes were sold across the state, 16 percent fewer than a year ago, the report said.

    Sales declines were reported in all counties except Yakima, Grant and Thurston.

    The biggest percentage decline in sales was 32.6 percent in Lewis County.

    Among the urban counties, Snohomish County was down 31.8 percent in sales from 2005. Yakima County had the largest increase, with sales up 13.8 percent.

    Enough homes are for sale in the state to last 4.1 months, even if no new listings come on the market, the report said. That inventory level is above the 3.5 months supply in the second quarter and well above the 2.6 months supply of 2005.

    But it is still considered a low level of inventory, implying that home prices could still rise, the report said.

    Statewide, the median sale price of a home in the third quarter was $300,900, an increase of 14.9 percent from the median recorded in the third quarter of 2005.

    Among the urban areas, King County’s median was $432,600, up 16.3 percent from a year ago. The lowest urban median was $139,100 in Yakima County, an increase of 5.4 percent.

    Adams County was the only reporting area with a median price below $100,000, with its $98,800 median an 11.9 percent increase from a year ago.

    Homes continue to become less affordable to average buyers in Washington.

    The Housing Affordability Index, which measures the ability of a middle-income family to buy a median price home, slipped by 2.8 points in the third quarter to 85.1.

    That means a typical family has only 85 percent of the income required for the purchase of a median price home using a 30-year mortgage at prevailing interest rates.

    Buyers in 15 counties faced index values less than 100, moving two more communities into the less-affordable category compared with three months ago.

    Affordability is especially low in San Juan, Jefferson and King counties, which had index values ranging from 53.6 to 69.2.

    “Home ownership depends on the ability to purchase the first home, and too often that is more a dream than a reality,” Crellin said. “Only two counties (Columbia and Adams) offer the typical entry-level buyer the opportunity to afford a typical starter home, and neither is in an urban area.”

    The first-time buyer affordability index for the third quarter stood at 49.7, the sixth consecutive quarter of record-low affordability. Among urban areas, first-time buyer affordability index values ranged from a low of 38.8 in King County to a high of 96.4 in Benton County.

  2. 2
    Peckhammer says:

    Let the Flipping Begin:

    Vulcan is finally getting units done and ready for occupancy at 2200 Westlake. I was reading the urbnlivn blog and it seems that as they become available to the “owners,” a number of them are now appearing in the MLS.

    900 Lenora St #W-309: $537,000 – 1 bed/1 bath, 822 sq ft, $653 Sq/Ft

    910 lenora St #S 401: $599,950 – 1 bed/1 bath, 918 sq ft, $654 Sq/Ft

    2121 Terry Ave #1201: $1,459,000 – 2 bed/2 bath, 1,681 sq ft, $868 Sq/Ft

    2200 Westlake Ave #W 303: $479,900, 1 bed/1 bath, 740 sq ft, $649 Sq/Ft.

    Nah… no investor/flippers in Seattle.

  3. 3
    MisterBubble says:

    Don’t be silly, peckhammer. Those are simply people for whom the Equity Elevator has already moved on to the next floor! It isn’t their fault that the stupid developer couldn’t finish their homes in time….

    Come on, man….Don’t be a jealous renter!

  4. 4
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    So is it an equity ladder or an equity train? This mixing of metaphors confuses me, but them I’m a renter so I must not be very smart. With a simple message like “buy now or be priced out forever!”, even simple renters like myself can jump on the equity bicycle, or equity waterslide, or whatever.

    Sorry, feeling snarky today. =P

  5. 5
    plymster says:

    lake hills renter, I like the “equity waterslide” term the best – very apt. You make a splash when you get in, then you slide down until you’re underwater.

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