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
    Matthew says:

    A couple of thoughts:

    Are median house prices skewed due to the fact that more and more first time buyers are priced out and lower end houses are harder to find on the market? When lower priced houses do appear, they sell very quickly. The mid-high end homes still seem to be selling, therefore keeping median price steady.

    Another thought: On Calculated Risk the other day they were discussing the fact that New Home Sales have never taken a hit like they currently have, without the US economy falling into recession.

    I believe we are just a few months away from a recession becoming more and more clear to even the most bullish people on the street. With the economy in recession, Seattle will not be immune. The “we are different here” psychology will be altered. Once that psychology enters the fray, along with tightened lending, LOOK OUT BELOW!

  2. 2
    Richard says:

    Regarding the recession, it appears that consumer spending is still being propped up by home equity. Withdrawls have slowed some, but there hasn’t been any event yet that cuts off the supply of funds for the majority of borrowers.

    My assumption is that as long as consumers can spend equity, they will. This will be a major force keeping the economy from slipping into recession too quickly.

    That said, it looks like the recession that AG headed off a few years ago is still scratching at the door.

  3. 3
    matthew says:


    Buyers will be less likely to take out HELOCs and spend equity when their ARM just reset and they are now having trouble making the minimum payment.

    Of course they could take out a HELOC to help try and make the payments, but that won’t boost consumer spending.

    The bulk of ARMs are still set to reset. Stay tuned.

  4. 4
    meshugy says:

    On Calculated Risk the other day they were discussing the fact that New Home Sales have never taken a hit like they currently have, without the US economy falling into recession.

    As mentioned yesterday, King County had a YOY 45% increase in New Home Sales in Feb. If New home sales are an accurate barometer, it’s safe to say that a 45% increase in New Home sales means the Spring season should be pretty hot for Seattle. Residential New Construction is up a whopping 57%! Wow….

    New constriction Pending Sales for King County

    New Res Feb 2006: 342

    New Res Feb 2007: 538

    57% increase

    New Con Feb 2006: 115

    New Con Feb 2007: 125

    8% increase

    Combined Feb 2006: 457

    Combined Feb 2007: 663

    45% increase

  5. 5
    Tony1790 says:

    I had my pre-move review done by the moving company rep yesterday, when I mentioned that it was just too expensive for me to stay here, he immediately piped up that from his experience prices are dropping fast here in Kitsap county. He also said business is slow, makes sense, if people are having a harder time selling, then not as many people are moving.

    Movers will be here monday, my house was supposed to have closed at the end of Feb, now it’s almost April and we still havent closed due to the credit crunch that is well underway. At this point if it doesn’t close I’m toast, I have a ready buyer with good credit, at a fair price. If I have to put it back on the market, it will be for less as prices are still falling.

    Tony in Kitsap

  6. 6
    refractedthought says:

    Assuming those numbers are accurate, it looks like condo speculation.

    Keep cheering, shug.

    Again though, links? You could be pulling those numbers directly out of your ass for all we know.

  7. 7
    meshugy says:

    Again though, links?

    Those are right from the NWMLS report for Feb.

  8. 8
    ron says:

    Residential New Construction is up a whopping 57%! Wow….

    Thats Great Meshugy– now increase that inventory~@@ thats what we want to see.. hahahaa

    Great News brought by meshugy.

  9. 9
    meshugy says:

    Thats Great Meshugy– now increase that inventory~@@ thats what we want to see.. hahahaa

    Inventory for New Res is only up 46%. So sales are out pacing inventory.

    New Res Listings Feb 2006: 349
    New Res Listings Feb 2007: 510

    Buyers are coming out in droves and the construction industry seems to be struggling to meet the demand. That can mean only one thing…higher prices.

  10. 10
    Chris says:

    Bernanke had this to say today:

    This forecast is subject to a number of risks. To the downside, the correction in the housing market could turn out to be more severe than we currently expect, perhaps exacerbated by problems in the subprime sector. Moreover, we could yet see greater spillover from the weakness in housing to employment and consumer spending than has occurred thus far. The possibility that the recent weakness in business investment will persist is an additional downside risk.

    And he’s supposed to be the Govt’s head cheerleader. CLAP HARDER, DAMN IT!!!

    Remember, if there is a downturn in the nation’s economy, it will not affect Seattle. This is because Seattle is special, a magical place where all homeowners ride pretty pink ponies on streets made of crystal, and gumdrops fall from the sky…

  11. 11
    ron says:

    mushugy- you should go to someplace like Finacial Common Sense website and actually get some finacial education.

    It would really help you understand things a little clearer. Were not here trying to hold your hand however you really need some help. If you havent noticed the people here have various reasons for being here. Im into the finacial aspects of whats going to happen and this site keeps me in tune with what the general publics pulse is.

    example your now getting 80 posts on certain topics a year ago this wouldnt of been the case. I think you have been increasingly more desperate over time as well.

    There is so many reasons that this housing market is much different than paste cycles. If you just studyied the finacial aspects of money and credit you would come to the reality this is very risky going forward.

    We don’t know what the Outcome will be? I would bet that its not going to be pretty in the next couple of years. The fed is simply posturing to keep things together in the beginning. Deep down inside he knows that the USA Can Not have a Recession..

    Why the USA Can Not Have A Recession? Because WE CANT AFFORD IT.

  12. 12
    ron says:

    I type and FINANCIAL Comes up Finacial- maybe I should go to spelling school or Typing?

  13. 13
    Alan says:

    What is the difference between “new res” and “new con”?

    Why didn’t you list inventory for “new con”?

  14. 14
    Richard says:

    Buyers will be less likely to take out HELOCs and spend equity when their ARM just reset and they are now having trouble making the minimum payment.

    I think it will have the opposite effect, and will continue until the equity is depleted.

  15. 15
    ron says:

    Meshugy- Hopefully those Renters FROM the Bank loans are Loading up on Arms and Teaser Loans.

  16. 16
    MisterBubble says:

    The Reality:

    KC Active listings:

    2/06 – 6,200
    2/07 – 7,908

    That’s a 28% increase, for those of you keeping track at home.

    Pending sales:

    2/06 – 2,999
    2/07 – 3,272

    AKA, a 9% increase (of a smaller number).

    Closed sales:

    2/06 – 2,116
    2/07 – 2,281

    That’s a 7% YOY drop in closed sales! Oy gevalt!

    Bottom line? Ignore Meshugy.

  17. 17
    MisterBubble says:

    Err…crap. Swap the closed sales numbers. The 7% drop is right — I just accidentally swapped the rows.

  18. 18
    ron says:

    Problem is the Bank is going to have to become a CAR LOT in the Real Estate Business.. Banks are NOT in the Business of Selling Houses.. They make terrible house sellers.

  19. 19
    Richard says:

    [Tony]my house was supposed to have closed at the end of Feb, now it’s almost April and we still havent closed

    Seriously? Damn. Looks like pending sales numbers will continue to skyrocket.

  20. 20
    Eleua says:

    I’ve never been to the killing floor of a slaughter house. I would imagine that it is a pretty gruesome sight.

    It is a good thing for us large-carbon-footprint carnivores that sheep, cattle, and hogs are pretty dumb. If they were aware of what is going on around them, they probably wouldn’t be as docile as they go off to the slaughter.

    Imagine how dumb you would have to be to see your peers get their necks slit, and think that it won’t happen to you.

    In the big real estate conga line, we have already seen what has happened to Boston, San Diego, Orlando, Phoenix, Vegas….

    The last three beasts in line are Charlotte, Miami, and Seattle.

    I can understand why Boston and San Diego didn’t see it coming, but how dumb do you have to be to live in Seattle and think that you are immune?

    Just because we are the most educated city, does not mean we are the smartest.

    Arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned…

  21. 21
    Deejayoh says:

    Interesting stats at this site, which ranks MSA’s by “economic strength” according to income, jobs, etc.

    Bottom line is that they rank the Charlotte Region as #1. Been 1/3/1 over the past 3 years. Good for them

    Seattle is #51. Down from #11 two years ago.

    The ful results are here and their methodology here

  22. 22
    Chris says:

    Seattle is #51.

    But Seattle is #1 for pony trainers.

    Every time a Seattle house is purchased, a pony gets it’s wings. Or, something like that…

  23. 23
    Alan says:

    Will March pending sales numbers carry over pending sales from February?

    Why do we not see cancelled pending sales numbers?

  24. 24
    confused says:

    I am sure most have seen this but it has me more concerned than the lnding debacle.


    If this starts a precedent it could BK all builders. I am sure BZH is not the only builder that was making it so easy to buy a home that people got in over their head. If it is an isloated case of fraud, fine. But if regulators use it as an excuse to “help” out the FB’s all the builders are screwed. I have no idea how badly that would exacerbate the housing issue.

    Oh, and based on new home specs there is a 5.2 month of supply for King County which is buyer neutral.

  25. 25
    Matthew says:

    Hi Shug,

    Would you please post a link to your NWMLS data? Thanks!

    BTW, new home sales nationally being down = national recession = less airplanes, copies of vista, products ordered on Amazon.com, etc. = less jobs for Seattle = less houses sold in King County.

  26. 26
    confused says:

    LENDING debacle and SF building permits are down 18%.

  27. 27
    Matthew says:

    loss jobs = less houses


    You are follow Shuggy logic.

    Shuggy logic = more jobs = more houses = fundamentals

  28. 28
    Matthew says:


    You could be right. Higher resets could force ARM owners to use HELOC to continue their spending. Hadn’t thought about that, but it makes sense.

  29. 29
    confused says:

    HELOCs won’t do anything but insure someone’s demise. The market has a funny way of finding the point at which it hurts the most people (not my saying).

  30. 30
    refractedthought says:

    Those are right from the NWMLS report for Feb.

    Then you should have no problem providing a link.

  31. 31
    Mikhail says:

    A question for Meshugy:

    What, if any, impact do you think there would be on Seattle area real-estate if there was a recession, and housing prices nation-wide declined an average 10%? Would Seattle area real-estate actually boom even more because people would want to flee the depressed regions of the country?

    Would there be any kind of a negative impact on the Puget Sound market if homes in California, and elsewhere, were dropping in value?

    Would most of Seattle’s major employers benefit from US recession, and actually increase hiring (maybe airlines would want to cut costs more by moving to new efficient jets at a faster pace)?

    In short, I am just wondering if you feel the Seattle area real-estate market would feel any effects from a recession, or if somehow that would only have a positive impact on us.

  32. 32
    confused says:

    Resales are down over 13% for the tri-county area at 55,571.

    Days on the Market(DOM):


  33. 33
    darth_s says:

    refractedthought said…
    Those are right from the NWMLS report for Feb.

    Then you should have no problem providing a link.”

    You have been asking ShugInfo this question quite a few times and he continues to evade it. Now, I believe that he must PULL OUT these numbers out of thin air, like MAGIC. This reminds me of a topic that Tim posted on this site last year, something like this: “Housing in this area is elevated by MAGIC!”

  34. 34
    Matthew says:

    Hi Shug!

    Please start posting links to your data. Thanks!

  35. 35
    confused says:

    Shugy’s stats haev been accurate however naive. You can’t just throw out the 2nd and 3rd largest markets in the Puget Sound becasue it doesn’t support your argument. Things ALWAYS unravel at the ends. Pierce and Snohomish are no different.

    I have had conversations with people who live around Montlake, Viewridge, Windermere and the U that tink they are impervious to a drop. Mind you they are highschool teachers and car salesmen but thought that I was a complete idiot for syaing anything different.

    I commend Shugy, atleast he challenges his thoughts everyday. I still think he is wrong. Time will tell. I still think June will be the month. But things do look pretty rosey around here compared to other places.

  36. 36
    meshugy says:

    Hi Guys…the data is from the NWMLS site. If you don’t know how to access then Tim can help you.

  37. 37
    refractedthought says:

    Hi Guys…the data is from the NWMLS site. If you don’t know how to access then Tim can help you.

    I looked at the site, but I didn’t see this data. Granted, I didn’t spend a lot of time there, but I really shouldn’t have to.

    If the Tim has a link to this data, that would work just as well, but he isn’t the one who posted it. I was able to find this data, but that’s not what you posted (and as a side note, I think it’s cute that they’re not listing % change in closed sales there).

    So please, Shug, a simple link.

  38. 38
    Matthew says:

    Hi Shug,

    Posting a link to your data helps add CREDIBILITY to your posts.

  39. 39
    Deejayoh says:

    Confused –
    Depends on your definition of “rosey”

    Seattle is
    – 86th MSA in job growth for 2006
    – one of the 10 lowest MSAS in income per capita growth in 2005 (slipped to 15th from 10th in 2004)
    – 11% per year appreciation on Case-Shiller – but 0% in each of the last two months

    Depends on which roses you cherry pick.
    As you say, time will tell.

  40. 40
    The Bruce says:


    Will Bernanke just divert the economy to a new forming bubble, to replace the RE bubble, a la Greenspan allowing the .bomb/stock bubble to be replaced with the RE bubble?

  41. 41
    refractedthought says:

    And perhaps I should get some clarification. Which site are you talking about. Are you using this one? In which case, yes, I would like to know how to gain access.

  42. 42
    meshugy says:

    Are you using this one? In which case, yes, I would like to know how to gain access.

    Funny how everyone is nice to me when they want something. Since you guys are all economic geniuses who are infinitely smarter then I, it should be no problem whatsoever for you to find New Construction Data going back over the last 10 years. It’s really quite simple…

    Although, I don’t know why you need to see it anyway. You’ve so clearly “debunked” that data anyway. It couldn’t possibly tell you anything new anyway.

    Same old nonsense on this blog:

    “If Meshugy doesn’t post data he’s lying.”

    “If Meshugy does post data he’s lying.”

  43. 43
    synthetik says:


    In coffee shop this morning waiting for Worst Buy to open, overheard two conversations about subprime lending and associated fear.

    Anyone do those pollingpoint.com surveys? Check out this question I just got:

    How confident are you that big companies are ACCURATELY REPORTING their accounting information?

    My response: not at all confident.

    Can’t wait for DELL to report, when/if they ever do.

  44. 44
    refractedthought says:

    Since you refuse to provide any specific information about where this data came from, I have no choice but to conclude that it is completely fabricated.

  45. 45
    synthetik says:

    As far as Meshugy, I my suggestion is that everyone put him on /ignore mode from here on out.

    I’ve been guilty of feeding the troll and am stopping from here on out.

  46. 46
    Matthew says:

    Hi Shug,

    I know how to access NWMLS data, I just want you to admit that you are a member of the RE industry.

    When are you going to come clean?

  47. 47
    meshugy says:

    I have no choice but to conclude that it is completely fabricated.

    That’s your choice….but you can go look the #s up yourself. Whatever you believe isn’t going to change what’s in the MLS records. Gives me a head up on our bet anyway…with the detailed MLS data I’ll see the signs far before you do.

  48. 48
    meshugy says:

    I know how to access NWMLS data, I just want you to admit that you are a member of the RE industry.

    When are you going to come clean?

    ha ha…i love when these conspiracy theories start. I’m the “Cleanest” one here. No anonymous identity…you can search every realtor list on the web and you won’t find me on any of them. I’m a musician….you know that. Or do you think I spent years gigging and writing music books as a cover? ha ha….so funny.

    Quite frankly, since you maintain an anonymous identity you’re much more likely to be a Realtor then I.

    So, if you can access the data show me some #s. What were pending new condo sales in Feb 2004?

  49. 49
    refractedthought says:

    I know how to access NWMLS data, I just want you to admit that you are a member of the RE industry.

    Been wondering about that myself. So either he’s an amateur liar, or he’s a professional liar, but either way, he’s a liar.

    Good to know.

  50. 50
    Deejayoh says:

    Uh oh – WaMu coming under the microscope now

    “Washington Mutual Inc.’s subprime bonds are suffering from some of the worst rates of delinquency among securities in benchmark indexes, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. research.”

    “Delinquencies of 60 days or more on loans supporting WaMu’s Long Beach Mortgage LBMLT 2006-1 issue jumped 1.78 percentage points according to monthly reports published this week, to 19.44 percent, JPMorgan data shows.”


  51. 51
    Matthew says:

    Hi Shug,

    I don’t see new condo listing on the KC breakouts for feb 2004.


    Sorry, I’m not a RE pro, care to help me out? Or do I need a login and password like the one you have?

    Is musician your night job? My guess is that you have your RE license!

  52. 52
    Matthew says:

    Hi Shug,

    BTW my google profile is no more anonymous than yours. In fact, I use my real first name and not a handle!

    People have figured out who you are through a little online investigation and the use of google. Perhaps if you weren’t so eager to post so much info about your house online!

  53. 53
    Eleua says:

    “Washington Mutual Inc.’s subprime bonds are suffering from some of the worst rates of delinquency among securities in benchmark indexes, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. research.”

    Ahhh…come to papa.

    This is the king salmon I have been waiting for.

  54. 54
    matthew says:

    I have an idea!

    Maybe they can convert the WAMU building to condos!

  55. 55
    MisterBubble says:

    Eleua: you crack me up.

    Meshugy: you don’t get it, do you? It isn’t that people “want things” from you — it’s that they want you to stop being such a slimy little troll. Man up, post the sources of your data, and stop acting like a petulant child.

    Matthew: keep throwing those punches. So far, we know that the Hammer can dodge and weave, but can he land any of his own? This is fun to watch….

  56. 56
    matthew says:

    What I know about shug –

    He runs a music/book store from his house.

    Is a gypsy jazz musician.

    He lives in Ballard, his house is Zillowing for 536k.

    Somehow he browses the MLS and has access to all the data a Real Estate Agent has.

    I dunno about you, but I’m think that the store/musician gig ain’t that lucrative. Maybe I’m wrong, but something doesn’t add up.

    Either the Shug is a trust funder (which doesn’t seem to fit) or he has some sort of a day job. Not sure if he is a real estate agent, but perhaps somehow affiliated with the industry in another way.

    That would explain his need to dispute the bubble with such fervor. He strikes me as more than a passionate home owner.

    Shuggy this sound about right? Or am I off base?

  57. 57
    RocknRoad says:

    Meshugener: Yiddish for crazy person, lunatic, madman.

    Very fitting.

  58. 58
    darth_s says:

    Just as I told you – MeshInfo pulled those data OUT OF THIN AIR. In a similar manner, I just received some info from some “trusted inside source” for KC new home sales:

    – Cancellation rate is 20% (roughly the same as the nation)
    – YoY is 26% down ( the same for the West region)
    – Price stagnant for the last 12 months (in term of price per sqft)
    – A lot of “unadvertised” incentives. You just have to ask

    Another thing – the behavior of Mesh lately fits exactly the profile of a desperate Realtor.

  59. 59
    meshugy says:

    I dunno about you, but I’m think that the store/musician gig ain’t that lucrative. Maybe I’m wrong, but something doesn’t add up.

    Come on over sometime….if you really have to know I can show you the books. We make enough to comfortably support a family of 4. My only income is from music related activities. Sorry, no real estate license….but keep the conspiracy theories coming. Very entertaining. You have such a vivid imagination….you remind of the area 51 types.

    Considering the vast majority of posts on this blog are somehow related to me (where does meshugy live? what does meshugy do? where does meshugy get his data?etc, etc), I think it’d be best to remname it Meshugy’s Mishegas. The main topic ceased to be real estate a long time ago…it’s mostly about me now.

    Tim, maybe you should start a new blog so we can get back to real estate again?

  60. 60
    MisterBubble says:

    “Considering the vast majority of posts on this blog are somehow related to me”

    Oh, waaaaaaaah, Hammer. Does baby need a new diaper?

    Dude…lately, you’ve been posting more than almost everyone else on here, combined. And on top of that, your posts have gone round the bend, into lunatic-fervor-land.

    So, yeah. People are talking about you. Boo-freaking-hoo. If you want people to stop, then don’t make yourself such an obvious target! Be rational. Defend your arguments. Post sources.

    You know — be a human being, instead of a troll.

  61. 61
    matthew says:

    Decline in business spending raise alarms-
    Continued pullback in business spending hits orders for big ticket items and raises new fears of an economic slowdown.


    “A government report on demand for big-ticket items Wednesday came in weaker than expected, damaging the hopes of some economists that strong business spending would help the economy weather the current weakness in housing.”

  62. 62
    matthew says:

    Hi Shug!

    “This is your open thread for Wednesday, March 28, 2007. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here.”

    OFF-TOPIC/Random = Your personal life.

  63. 63
    darth_s says:


    where does meshugy live? what does meshugy do?
    Actually, I never care about this trivial info.

    where does meshugy get his data?etc, etc>
    Acutally, I do care because I don’t want to see ludicrous, fabricated data to DECEIVE people. This reminds me of the used car salesman or recently, the self serving Realtors who continue to push people to buy while deep down, they know that a lot of these people will end up in a world of pain.

    Tim, maybe you should start a new blog so we can get back to real estate again?
    This is exactly the purpose of this blog where people can come to exchange sensible questions, reliable data, reasonable arguments, etc. Not garbage in, garbage out.

  64. 64
    Ouch! says:

    Shug/Info is not a real estate agent. Since he’s provided the blog with his real name and address it’s easy to do a DOL search. Try it, I did. All you’ll get is his music book business, though you’ll also discover his middle name…

    I find it interesting to read his interpretation of things. It helps explain the mindset of people who only see the positive side of real estate in the Seattle market.

    Someone told my husband the other day that we are “only hurting ourselves by renting.” We have a different view of the economy than this guy and Shug, Guru, et al. Time will tell what happens, but we’ve placed our bets and our money is not in real estate now.

    BTW, we are renting a 4-bedroom 2.5-bath newly-constructed house at less than half what it would cost us to buy, whether Shug believes it or not. It is cheaper to rent than buy in this market. And Shug/Info, we don’t worry about eviction – we have a lease.

  65. 65
    Richard says:

    Either the Shug is a trust funder (which doesn’t seem to fit)

    I’m leaning towards trust funder. Most people in a non-science grad program are.

  66. 66
    J says:


    This is shug’s online website, bookstore. If you really care, why not call him up to see if it’s really him.

    Better yet, visit his online forum and start asking questions.

  67. 67
    matthew says:

    The question of the day on Yahoo! finance was basically:

    BB says that the subprime mortgage meltdown will not spillover into the economy. Do you agree?

    The poll results were about 50-50.

    Greater fools all around us.

  68. 68
    J says:

    Heck, here is a picture of shuggy. Quite a nice looking guy.

  69. 69
    matthew says:

    I guarantee that the Shugster is who he says he is.. for the most part. However, something doesn’t add up.

  70. 70
    Chris says:

    Shug said:

    with the detailed MLS data I’ll see the signs far before you do.

    Why does Shug have access to these data and I don’t? Can someone explain to me how one gets access to these data? I’d like to see them myself…

  71. 71
    rentalbliss says:

    Maybe his wife is the realtor, would make sense he said she is not working.

  72. 72
    Ouch! says:

    Chris poses an interesting question.

  73. 73
    deeplennon says:

    Everyone has access to the data through back door links in the MLS system.

    Tim posts the links to the monthly reports every month, they’re also named in such a way that any idiot can figure out what the link for the next months report will be.

    Are you all new here or what?

  74. 74
    Becky says:

    So I bought my first house in January using the Washington State Housing Finance Commission’s first-time homebuyer assistance program (a 1040 square foot 3bd 1.75ba in South Seattle for an even $300k): I didn’t do it for the fabulous ride on the equity escalator, or whatever crap. I did it mostly for the stability.

    In the past 3 years, I’ve had to move 3 times from apartment to apartment. A perfect renter, it has never been my fault–the roommate I had at the first place decided to move home to Marysville, and the rent was too much (at that time) for me to afford alone, so I had to scramble and find a new apartment. The second place was just a cash generator for the building owners, who never did a lick of maintenance on it, so after a year of dealing with that, I moved.

    The landlady at the third place was nice enough, allowing me to get a long-hoped-for dog, but at the end of a year she abruptly gave me a month to move out so her divorced brother-in-law could move in. Now I had a hundred-pound German Shepherd, I’d been moving almost once a year since 2003 (and we all know what a fun experience that is)–I was flat sick of it. I wanted to stop living at the whim of a landlord for a change.

    So I took the plunge and bought a house, knowing the risks, having followed this blog and other similar cautionary information sources for quite awhile–I did it anyway. I’m not looking for a cash cow, I just want a place to call MINE. I want to be able to offer a spare bedroom to a friend in need for a week or two without breaking a lease that says I can’t allow anyone to stay more than 10 days in a month without permission. I want to have a shedding German Shepherd and not be charged extra for it. I want to paint the walls and maybe do a tiny remodel in the kitchen–or not, if I don’t want to.

    I’ll be honest, I have a little credit card debt still, and I’m stretching a bit to afford the place right now (my partner being between jobs). Cutting back on extras like cable TV and eating out. But I thought about that possibility when I bought the place, and I’m in a stable job myself–and living on the bus line that goes straight to work. (And right on the coming light rail line, too.) My car’s paid off. The interest rate on my 30-year mortgage is fixed. The only way I lose my job (other than me suddenly starting to embezzle funds or something egregious) is if there is some mighty severe economic depression–in which case, only the rich are safe anyway, and I’ll have plenty of company on the street, right?

    I don’t know. It’s nice to know that only an economic crash of catastrophic proportions will get me to move again for many years. No more crazy landladies. No more neglect of the premises. I’m not looking for a cash cow, but for a home, and I plan to stay in this house until I am ready to leave this area, period. And at that point, I’m hoping to move back home to southern Oregon to be nearer the rest of my family.

    That’s me. Obviously “arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned.” I mean, the greed just drips out of every word I write, doesn’t it?

  75. 75
  76. 76
    Ouch! says:

    Deeplennon – It’s the “before you do” part that’s interesting. This implies knowledge from sources other than Tim’s Links.

  77. 77
    MisterBubble says:

    Becky, you’re precisely not the kind of person that we write about.

    Every bear I’ve known from this blog says the same thing: if you’re planning to live in your home, you finance sensibly, and you’re okay with the prospect that you might lose money in the short-term, it (probably) isn’t a mistake to buy.

    If you’re not okay with those caveats, or you’re buying multiple properties with risky loans, or you’re looking at your moldy craftsman and seeing a Scrooge McDuck-sized pile of cash, then you probably shouldn’t be buying.

    You’re planning to stay. You wanted a place to plant your mutt. You didn’t take out a “creative mortgage product”. You might still lose money, but that’s life. You can never completely eliminate risk.

  78. 78
    refractedthought says:


    Those breakouts do not hold the data Shug posted. He was specifically talking about new construction.

  79. 79
    Ouch! says:

    I agree with misterbubble. Becky makes a good case for purchasing her home at this time and appears to have done it correctly.

    However, we are in different circumstances than Becky. Therefore we think it’s wiser for us to take a wait and see attitude.

  80. 80
    Alan says:

    I’m curious if Becky considered the downside before her purchase. How will you be affected if prices drop 30% and you find yourself losing $100k over the next few years?

    There was another reader who posted about purchasing, but since the price of house he purchased was around his annual income he was not concerned about losing money on it.

  81. 81
    refractedthought says:

    Furthermore, if any shmoe can bypass authentication with a link, then even if Shug is looking at “protected” information, he can still provide corroborating evidence.

    In other words, he’s full of shit.

  82. 82
    wreckingbull says:

    Becky, you are fine as long as your mortgage is a reasonable percentage of your take-home pay and you plan to be there a long time. In fact, it is nice to see someone who views a home as a place to live, not a lottery ticket. Baby Blue should take a cue from you.

    We all have our personal reasons for what we do.

    For me, renting allows me to live in any neighborhood I wish while saving over 70% of my salary. In my book, it does not get any better than that.

    I never understood this hard-core nesting instinct that compels people to pursue their ‘dream home’ (Did I get the term right Shuggie Babe?) at any cost. I’d much rather spend my time on the water or in the mountains.

  83. 83
    darth_s says:

    Looks at 100Ks of people in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure today across the nation, none, I would say NONE of them foresaw this situation. They took the plunge for whatever reason, flipping, get on the equity gravy train, HELOC, or just want to have nice place to live, and now they are in trouble. Just ask people around here the reason WHY they bought recently, the majority would say to get on the equity train, or for fear of being priced out. The mass has been deeply brainwashed by the REI.

    I bought my first house 13 years ago and then traded up to another one 6 years ago. During the whole time, I never looked at my house as an investment tool – I did this because I wanted to have a nice place to live.

    Somehow, during the last 3-4 years, this bubble has completely changed the psyche of people in the bubbling areas. Now, every where you go, you look at the houses on the streets and ask yourself a question – how much these house cost? How much equity these “lucky” people have? How can our children afford to live here when they grow up? Etc. I think this kind of mentality is very detrimental to this nation as whole because instead of putting resources into productive areas that allow us to compete with the rest of the world, it turns it into a nation of “flippers” and “speculators” who want to get rich by doing nothing – just get on the equity train and relax…

    Remember the last stock bubble? It created a whole class of day traders who think that they can get rich by just flipping stocks? Now, nobody wants to do this any more.

    I think the Fed will not do anything to rescue those pitiful borrowers until the maximum pain threshold has been inflicted, so to change the psyche of people to back to normal – not looking at the house as your ATM or investment tool – So people can put resource into much more productive areas. This is for the survival of the nation as a whole.

    Just my 2C,

  84. 84
    confused says:


    Waht information are you looking for specifcally? I can get you the data and am not a realtor.

  85. 85
    refractedthought says:

    Waht information are you looking for specifcally?

    What Shugy posted:

    “New construction Pending Sales for King County” for the month of February.

    All I want to do is follow up on his claims — any and all claims for that matter.

  86. 86
  87. 87
    confused says:


    New Construction- SF Feb Pending Sales

    2006- 342
    2007- 538

  88. 88
    confused says:


    Thought on the swing in new construction: First, cancellation rates that I ahve seen have been higher than 20%. Second, most existing home sellers are holding out for ridiculous prices or the same price as New and can’t compete on the discounts and incentives.

    I would bet builder market share increase given teh fact that they ahve to sell. They will do whatever is necessary to sell. Individuals don’t have to. Well, not yet. At some point the masses will get the masses and the sellers will be more flexible. Right now they are not. Hope that helps.

    The MLS is a wierd about their data. I apologize but I cannot provide a direct link. It is their business and they charge for it. If people just gave it away it wouldn’t be worth much. On that note, if you ever want to know anything in particular I will try to get gfor you.

  89. 89
    refractedthought says:

    Thanks, confused.

    Still curious how Shug gets his access, but it certainly doesn’t change the quality of his arguments.

    Still anxious to see some March numbers, more for closed sales than anything else — though inventory should be worth seeing as well.

  90. 90
    Richard says:

    The new home sales aren’t that shocking since building permits for 2006 were up 48% over 2005.

    Haven’t seen any KC permit numbers published lately – anyone?

  91. 91
    confused says:

    You also have to realize that new construction only accounts for about 20% of our market. It could go up 30% and the overall market could still tank. Some people just prefer new. I still contest it is all the incentives. Competitors are offering buy-downs to 3.375% (5 yr ARM). How can Joe Sixpack compete. That would cost about 20k to buy down.

  92. 92
    confused says:

    Permits- King County

    SF down 18%
    MF up 26%
    Total down 8%.

  93. 93
    Matthew says:

    If Shug is not in RE, it must be Mrs. Shug that has the connections. That makes the most sense. It’s starting to come together!

  94. 94
  95. 95
    Puget Sounder says:

    A Wikipedia article that I think we should all review here.

    In Shug’s undergrad college town (Boston), prices are dropping year over year.

  96. 96
    meshugy says:

    If Shug is not in RE, it must be Mrs. Shug that has the connections. That makes the most sense. It’s starting to come together!

    Matthew…I’ll have to commend you on your excellent deductive reasoning! You’re so close, I may as well spill the beans: Tim is my wife and he’s a realtor. Seceret MLS data is common pillow talk for us….

    There, so now you have the truth so we can move on to more important things like housing.

  97. 97
    synthetik says:

    Maybe it’s just me but if Becky can afford a $300K home she can afford to rent a NICE place by herself, just about anywhere.

    Do the math.

  98. 98
    象象 says:

    It seems that the new home prices offered by builders on the outskirts of East Side are starting to drop recently

  99. 99
    S Crow says:

    I. R . S. season is upon us.

    Here come the refi proceeds earmarked for the IRS.

  100. 100
    Erik says:

    Synthetik said:

    Maybe it’s just me but if Becky can afford a $300K home she can afford to rent a NICE place by herself, just about anywhere.

    Do the math.

    I was wondering about that myself. Needed to move because she lost a roommate, but then bought a $300K house…sounds funny. Could be on the level though. Hard to say.

    Of course, I was also wondering why she didn’t move to Oregon right now if that’s where she wants to live. Personal choice, I guess. But it sounds like their bubble started deflating earlier than ours. If you don’t want to live in Seattle there’s certainly no point in paying ridiculous Seattle bubble prices.

  101. 101
    meshugy says:

    Hi everyone…since there were so many requests for the pending Res sales data, I posted it here:

    Pending Sales

    You’ll see that New Res Pending sales were up 57%.


  102. 102
    Jazen says:

    Don’t click on it, it’s a virus.

  103. 103
    Becky says:


    Thanks for clarifying that. I was charitably assuming the more caustic comments here are directed at the speculator / flipper crowd, so I’m somewhat relieved to hear someone else make that explicit.

    “Could be on the level”–could be. The year my roommate moved out and I couldn’t afford the rent alone was about four years ago. I’ve been at the same job the whole time since then with a raise every year. And now I have a partner who makes twice what I do (though the house is mine alone, he more than pulls his weight with expenses). Plus the car’s paid off…oh, dear, I already said all this, didn’t I? Sorry to have to be repetitive.

    As I mentioned in my first post, I went through the WSHFC’s first time homebuyer program. A program called House Key Plus provided a loan for the downpayment, which has deferred repayment for 8 years. So I’m paying on $240 until 2015. I think their website is wshfc.org if you need external verification.

    What else? Oh, risk–yes, I mentioned knowing the risk in my original comment, I believe. If my house loses 30% value in 10 years, well, that sucks but so what? As long as I can sell it for more than I owe on it, que bueno, in my book. And I don’t mind living in it in the meantime.

    It’s not an investment, it’s a home. I own a car. Nobody looks at a car as an investment–it’s a tool. You expect it to depreciate, in fact. Reasonable people don’t whine about “losing money” on their clothing purchases or their vehicles. Just because speculation has made people see houses as investments doesn’t make it a good idea–isn’t that the point of this website?

    I live in Seattle now because I went to SPU (hi, Tim) and stayed afterward. Been here ten years, have a lot of ties here by now. Always said I wanted to spend at least my 20’s in the city, but I readily admit I’m kind of a bumpkin at heart. Plus in 20 years my parents will be in their 70’s and I know many people tend to want to be closer to aging family members. I expect I’ll get sucked back down there eventually–but that’s just vile speculation.

    Also, my “dream house” =/= a McMansion. My god, I hear about houses with anything over 2,000 square feet and I just think…WHO wants to spend all their time keeping that much house clean??! When I was looking for a house, a friend of my partner’s persuaded us to drive…for an hour, out to BFE (err, I mean, Maple Valley) to look at the house he was trying to unload for something like 400 thousand, this ridiculous slapped together ten-year-old thing in a generic subdivision. A co-worker just bought a new one in Bothell–they have three living rooms. Oh, they call one the living room, and one’s the TV room, and one’s the “family room,” but come on. Three! Why on earth? It’s ridiculous.

    There’s an obsession with size and newness that I do not understand. My house is tiny and it’s 60 years old. It’s sturdy. What do I need more for? I don’t.

    Ehh, I’m rambling. Becky out.

  104. 104
    darth_s says:

    Now, under severe pressure, ShugInfo must cough out a single sheet of page out of the 18 page report.

    From the same page, I can see a not so rosy picture:
    – YOY rate is 57%, this is the only good indicator, but it may have some explanation – Some people may try to rush in before the lending standard begin to restrict and funding is cut off.
    – Cancellation is way above 20%, according to “confused”, who is supposed to have the same data
    – The kicker is the price. I assume that YOY pricing is flat for new houses. It really is much worse than I thought

    For the average, both YOY and Y-to-Date are already negative.
    For the median, the YOY is 2% and YtoDate is a mere 0.8% !
    Again, according to “confused”, a number of builders are providing very sweet discount, which is not reflected on the contract price, of up to 3.5%. if we take it into account, the price of new houses is already negative for both YoY and Y-to-date! If any of the buyers of these new houses did use exotic finance like 0 down, IO, or option ARM, they are already heavy under water. If they must sell for whatever reason and have to cough up 6% for commission cost, etc. I can see an easy 10 % hair cut for these recent buyers! And this is while housing is still HOT here. Wait until it catches up with the rest of nation… Man, I can see a lot of pain here.

  105. 105
    Chris says:

    Hey Becky,

    Since you said hi to Tim and went to SPU, I’m assuming you are the Becky I’m thinking of…

    So you could only take one year of living in Jerry’s building also, eh? As I recall you guys were moving in when we were moving out. Gotta love the Century Apartments.

    Congrats on getting a home. That sounds like a great program you went through. I hope all is well!


  106. 106
    Becky says:

    Chris–I don’t really know Tim, though I remember his name–just a fellow Falcon shout out. My email is radioactiveroommate at yahoo.com if you want to figure out whether we do know each other. Thanks! :)

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