Bubble Link Roundup

It’s time for another link roundup: a list of links that are worth posting, but not each as their own post. Some of these are Seattle-specific, some aren’t.

Seen any other good snippets lately?

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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
    biliruben says:

    Ardell and Craig over at RCG argue with remarkable venom about how best to not rape buyers quite as much as is now the norm.

    As the World of Real Estate Turns.

    Nice they are having the conversation. Maybe it will be settled and some sort of industry standard will become the norm before I buy again after the market shake-out of the next few years.

  2. 2
    deeplennon says:

    The Susan Ryan article is a laugh riot.

    I love her title on the blog “Realtor, home remodeler”.

    Why not just say “I became a realtor to save the fees on all my flips” ?

  3. 3
    Matthew says:

    Reading that conversation over at RCG makes me wish even more for the impending housing apocolypse.

  4. 4
    Alan says:

    From housing panic:
    Then mortgage loan risk and oversight was taken away from local bankers – packaged, commoditized and sold off by the corrupted Fannie and Freddie to hedge funds, China and others far far removed.

    China has been on the winning end the same trade cycle that we were on the winning end of during WWI. During the war, we lended money to England so that they could buy supplies that we produced. After we sold them our goods we lent the money right back to them. China has been doing the same thing to us but with consumer goods. The result is that China owns a huge amount of national debt.

    I wonder how much of the mortgage debt did go to China. If the RE market crashes, all of that debt could just disappear. Chinese interests will own the RE through foreclosure, but the wealth transfer to whomever sold the houses will have already occurred.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Mikhail says:

    Off topic, but does anyone know how big a portion sub-prime loans are of the Puget Sound real estate market? I remember seeing some statistics showing there are a lot of 100% interest, and exotic, loans in the Puget Sound, but it didn’t say anything about what portion of these mortgages were sub-prime.

    I am just curious as to how much of an impact the imploding sub-prime lending market might have on our region. If there really aren’t that many sub-prime loans in the Seattle area, then maybe the sub-prime crack-up (in and of itself) won’t have much of an effect here.

  7. 7
    WTF says:

    Long time reader, first time poster…

    Has anyone else noticed that the price of condos in downtown is seemingly accelerating? A few months ago I saw a number of places under 200K for 1 BR and even a few 2 BR for under 300K – now, only a handful of 1 BRs show up and anything with 2 BR is 350K – that’s 100K more than my friend paid for his house in Shoreline 2 years ago.

    I’d like to see the price over the last few months to determine if I’m feeling this correctly.

    I’m scared to death of this market and soon to be priced out of it – to purchase anything. This from someone who’s making what was once considered “good money” (80K) and has 35K in hand.

    It’s depressing to watch, and that’s just the upswing.

  8. 8
    Pat says:

    I’ve been looking at the real estate market on the eastside of Seattle. Once upon a time, we lived in Kirkland (big Finn Hill). Of course, like dummies, we sold & left & now I want to return. I can’t believe it; the house we bought in 1973 for $44,500. sold two years ago for $380,000+. & that was a good deal? Where does the average person live or buy? Doesn’t look like no place in WA State. I’m sorry for anybody seriously wanting to buy–it ain’t out there. W’re not all Bill Gates’ with tons of money. It’s a sad state of affairs for home buyers.

  9. 9
    rentalbliss says:

    Pat tell me about it I live there currently and just found this gem:


    It has been listed for over 100 days at $394K and no takers, now they want to up the price $70k and charge almost twice the going rent. I have no words that can say how utterly crazy this all is.

  10. 10
    FinanceGuru says:

    Sorry to let everyone predicting a recession down, yet the 4Q06 GDP was 3.5%…most people were estimating between 2.7% & 3.2%. This is huge news and will help mitigate the impact of housing on the economy as a whole. Also Exports increased by 10% from 2005 with the rate of Imports declining. The unemployment rate is 4.5%, and the stock market had a fantastic year. The overall economy is not slowing and will have a moderate slow down at best.

    Also in regards to average salary for a region article I commented on below this posting. This does not take into account many small businesses that are not picked up in the govt statistics. How about all those with EBAY and online businesses…surely the median income would be adjusted higher. I have a friend that made about $75K last year by selling equipment through EBAY last year (and he showed me his account balance records)…not sure how to account for those people.

  11. 11
    WTF says:

    What happens when people like me can’t afford to “get in”? The 3x rule puts me at roughly $250K and I’m still a ways from 20% down.

    How can prices continue to rise if the entry cost doesn’t allow any additional first time buyers? Don’t the current owners have to sell to someone?

    Doesn’t that cut out the legs of this monster?

  12. 12
    shotsix says:

    wtf: I’m in your boat (decent five digit salary, money saved, scared of never finding anything to buy in-city). I too find the whole thing seemingly insane. Luckily, I found this site and don’t feel so alone in my frustration. I don’t think you should have to do crazy/risky financial things to buy shelter in your friggin hometown.

    And, that crazy Susan Ryan article, how can you trust anyone with such an epically sized conflict of interest?

    Isn’t this whole house “flipping” thing deflating the hopes of first time homebuyers by gobbling up (driving up the price) of sweat equity properties? Plus, some of those flipped properties really suck in the quality of the renovation….sometimes I swear the original home would have been better even at the “flipped” price.

  13. 13
    shotsix says:

    wtf said: “How can prices continue to rise if the entry cost doesn’t allow any additional first time buyers? Don’t the current owners have to sell to someone?”

    Isn’t that the definition of a pyramid scheme? The last group of “investors” is left holding the bag. Hopefully it will indeed “cut the legs off the monster.”

  14. 14
    T says:

    It is literally impossible to ever be “Priced out forever”. Linked is a blog post. I made about this very subject several months ago.

  15. 15
    T,V & Mr.B says:

    Mikhail, I don’t know the percentage of FC Loans “F’ng Crazy”
    but in the WSJ online today,you can find it on Yahoo finance, There is a chart that says that Seattle will have a 32% increase in inventory, (San Diego 12%)and that 1.42 percent of the mortgage loans are overdue (San Diego 2.18) By the way, it also says job outlook for both areas is “strong”.

    Finance, I guess I’m just gonna come out and say it….You’re not a bright guy.

    MTF, Don’t panic and be patient. Things will get better for buyers. I have seen all this before in So. Cal….exact same statements from those who said it wouldn’t fall…hell I was one of them.

  16. 16
    Peckhammer says:

    I think you missed a gem in the urbnlivn blog about their “Meetup”:

    “Sort of reminiscent of the bohemian café society of the ’60s, but without the cigarettes (or the poets or the artists for that matter), it still felt avant-garde to get together with fellow aficionados of the evolution of Seattle into a more cosmopolitan and densely populated place.

    Some of us are married, some gay, of various ethnicities, a range of ages and incomes. But our commonality is that we place a premium on owning over renting and we have passion for much of what’s going on to make Seattle’s downtown neighborhoods more livable and vibrant.”

    This line was my favorite: “Our commonality is that we place a premium on owning over renting.”

    Yeah… sort of like arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    I place a premium on fundamentals, not on some alcohol-infused bohemian spin-party aimed at justifying risky financial decision-making.

  17. 17
    WTF says:

    Flipping should be outlawed. No real value is created with shoddy renovations and then a 20-40% markup. In what alternate Universe are granite counter-tops worth 80K?

  18. 18
    wreckingbull says:


    I think you just jumped the shark.

    I can assure you that Ebay sellers are not the ones driving house prices up in Seattle.

    This is what I don’t get about the you and baby blue. You guys really stretch your arguments sometimes and in the end it just makes you look bad.

    My guess is you are too young to have lived through a downturn. Once you do, you will look back at your comments with a little embarrassment.

  19. 19
    confused says:


    That is a great article. I missed that one. It used to eb hard for me to read those articles now I find them very amusing. I really can’t stand the liberal elitest hypocrosy in this city or any other for that matter.


    Your post made me laugh over the granite counter tops. My wife and I laugh evrytime we see stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops. Things will change and are changing. Builders are having a very tough time selling houses. They used to justify lot prices by charging more for their house through a higher spec level, ie. granite, now we can’t sell houses and will start building smaller houses with a lower spec level that maybe someone can afford.

  20. 20
    synthetik says:

    >”Our commonality is that we place a premium on owning over renting.”

    how sad to derive ones meaning and purpose through a meaningless form construct.

  21. 21
    shotsix says:

    I’m going to ralph the next time I see faux stainless steelish appliances and “I just did this black granite counter top after watching ‘this old house’ ” in what was once a theoretically affordable condo/house. There should be some sort of disincentive (tax or otherwise)regarding flipping. Maybe you should have to live in a place for a year before you sell it.

  22. 22
    Kaleetan says:


    I know where shot six is…If its the same shot six im thinking about its right above meister.

  23. 23
    shotsix says:

    Kaleetan – yep, right off exit 52. Heaven on a good day.

  24. 24
    disgruntledengineer says:

    alright, kaleetan. i disagree with just about every word you type, but i can respect a fellow who appreciates that which we all, as local northwesterners, have grown up to love and will fight to the death to keep our own. although, i’m partial to highway 2. schim’s baby!

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