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
    christiangustafson says:

    Allentown, Seattle, 2010?

    Three days a week I walk 7 miles to work downtown, with a nice stroll down Westlake. As the next leg of the credit crunch kicks in — Alt-A, and yes, “prime” — I wonder which of these mondo condo projects will be cancelled. What is considered the point of no return for a building project? When you put up the first floor?

    I can see the Olive8 site from my office. They’re working on the lower-level parking garage now. Will they really finish this and stick with the “Condo-Tel” plan? Will Veer, Rollin Street Flats, and the rest ever open?

    Or … will we end up with a few spectacular holes in the ground, with standing water and rusting rebar? I’ve seen truly prime real estate sit unused for 20 years. It can certainly happen here.

    Also, I can’t help posting this gleeful Microsoft link this morning.

  2. 2
    Alan says:

    Ironically, Microsoft unintentionally helped create Ajax. … XMLHttpRequest was created by Microsoft in the late 90s because they needed it for Outlook.

    Microsoft intentionally created XMLHttpRequest to enable AJAX for their web version of Outlook that had Gmail’s web interaction features years before Gmail. You can’t say Microsoft accidently enabled other to use AJAX when they invented AJAX on purpose.

    What they didn’t realize was that it would be useful to a lot of other people too

    Everything done at Microsoft is intended to be useful for customers. That is how anyone makes money. You do things that others find useful and you get money in return.

  3. 3
    Tom says:

    Zillow’s Q&A (www.zillo.com) is a wonderful thing. we should use that tool to ask meaningful and intriguing questions to sellers who think that there houses should appreciate 20% every year.

    By doing this, we will also educate the newbie buyers to be aware of flippers.

  4. 4
    EconE says:

    Christian…Hooverville looks sweet. I think that the builders should capitalize on that Idea. They could sell “shacks” at the bargain basement price of $200/sf. Get your reservations in early!

    tongue in cheek.

  5. 5
    Lionel says:

    “Foreclosures sold at auction now account for 15% of all home sales in California and continue to rise,” said Sean O’Toole, CEO and Founder of Foreclosure Radar. “This isn’t just a story about failing subprime lenders and their customers. At the current pace, foreclosures will be a significant part of the real estate economy. A fact which bears close scrutiny even in areas that are not yet affected.”

    No worries, Seattle, because Washington is much, much more special than California.

  6. 6
    MisterBubble says:

    “No worries, Seattle, because Washington is much, much more special than California.”

    Sunlight and blue skies are totally overrated, when you have Pretty Pink Ponies roaming the streets. Sheesh.

  7. 7
    Shrewd Investor says:

    I don’t get this housing market. The average house in Seattle is somewhere between 400K to 500K. But I was reading in the Seattletimes this week about the School Superitendent search.

    38% Of Seattle School Children qualify for Reduced or Free lunches!

    How could so many kids qualify for free lunch and the houses are still that expensive? Where are people living, if they can’t even afford to feed their own children?

  8. 8
    FinanceGuru says:

    I kid you not, a little girl that visits her dad in my condo building left one of her My Little Ponies (or a brand like it along with a few other animals) in the lobby near the mail boxes this morning…and it was pink! Coincidence, I think not!

    I couldnt stop laughing when I was with my friends (as they didnt get it) and told them it was an inside joke, lol.

    Does that mean my building is “special” since it has been blessed with a sighting???

  9. 9
    FinanceGuru says:

    A new condo in my building just went up for sale for $239,900 (what I paid last summer) and is 36 sqr ft less than my unit (which is a corner unit). I have a “partial view” of the city from my windows, while they have a nice view of the brick building 8 ft outside their window.

  10. 10
    rentalbliss says:

    Anybody see this on Pacific NW mag in seattle times, funny but oh so true;



    Seattle unaffordable? Au contraire, amigo. If you ever scanned the want-ads in an ink-on-your-hands newspaper (spend four bits and hug a tree!), you might have spotted these real-estate jewels:

    South King County bungalow! Why watch TV when there’s better action out your picture window? Clean up that meth residue and you’ll have home, sweet home! Pit bull has already prepared the ground for seeding. All reasonable offers.

    Belltown closet! What do you need a home for? Stuff. So stop getting hung up on square footage and invest in the part that counts. Shelving, working lightbulb. A steal at $300,000!

    Green Lake view! Why be near Green Lake when you could be on Green Lake? Cedar bench on weathered dock, complete with blue tarp for inclement evenings. May have crew noise at 5 a.m. $250,000 makes you trendy.

    Union Bay houseboat! Yachtie charm on this 1978 Bayliner, safely aground in the Arboretum marshes. Lovely green fiberglass patina. Potential, with a pump. Sleepless in Seattle for only $579,000!

    Duvall back-to-nature! Who wants to commute two hours only to be creeped out by living alone in the woods? Get cozy! Charming four-level townhome with 200 neighbors, basement in Snoqualmie flood plain. Condo association meetings are a laff riot! Income potential by babysitting next-door infants. $482,000.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    Eagle Eye says:


    We are laughing out loud on the eastside in our deluxe rental on a hill.

  13. 13
  14. 14
  15. 15
    seattlehotty says:

    “Foreclosures sold at auction now account for 15% of all home sales in California and continue to rise,” said Sean O’Toole, CEO and Founder of Foreclosure Radar.

    Is the CEO of a service for foreclosure investors really the best person to trust foreclosure percentages from? Seems a little like asking a realtor if today is a good day to buy real estate.

  16. 16
    Puget Sounder says:


    Yes folks, we’ve hit nearly $600/sq ft. What neighborhood? 65th & Roosevelt!


  17. 17
    Alan says:

    $610 sqft in Bellevue

    Foreclosure sales percentage is a verifiable piece of information not subject to opinion or interpretation. The CEO of a foreclosure company may be lying, but you can check the data youself if you can find it. You do not have to take his word for it.

    “Good time to buy” does not have the same level of rigor.

  18. 18
    Shrewd Investor says:

    According to the Seattletimes,
    38% Of Seattle School Children qualify for Reduced or Free lunches!

    1/3 of the Kids in Seattle are born into poverty. People can’t even feed their own children let alone afford a 1/2 million dollar house.

    So how could RE prices be so high?

    **Can somebody answer me that?**

  19. 19
    Mikhail says:

    Anecdotally, I still don’t see any evidence of any downturn in east Bellevue. I rode my bike around Lake Sammamish today, and was struck by the number of “sold” signs everywhere (there’s also an incredible amount of construction going on at individual lots all around the lake). ZipRealty is still reporting very low inventory for 98008, with 55 properties versus the 95 listings in October.

    Also, my wife told me how her hair dresser informed her she is cutting back her hours substantially because she just started working as a mortgage broker, and is doing very well. Her husband apparently recently started as a realtor when he lost his manufacturing job.

    I am sure the crash will come eventually, the signs of the mania are all around me. However, there just isn’t even the slight inkling of a crack in the Bellevue bubble just yet. I am beginning to think that we might not see any real appreciable crack-up in Bellevue until something super-dramatic occurs on the national level, with a stock market crash, major bank failure, or such like.

    Bellevue is the exact opposite of the canary in the coal-mine: Bellevue won’t suffer till everyone else has already keeled over dead.

  20. 20
    Alan says:

    I am in complete agreement regarding Bellevue, Mikhail.

    Although we drove by a house today that we toured back in November. It went off the market for a while and now the sellers are asking $100k more than before.

  21. 21
    Tai says:

    Mortgage and real estate industry is going down the drain…It is stupid to go in when hundreds are looking for exit.

  22. 22
    Tai says:

    I been saying Bellevue is safe for over a year…

  23. 23
    navygator says:

    My SIL is a closer for a mortgage co in Seattle. I asked her yesterday if business was slowing for her. She said 80/20’s are completely gone and a lot of deals fell through for them in the past few weeks. She also said in the last week they have been slammed with “investors” buying foreclosures. She has been seeing a lot of banks accept short sales instead of sending the property to an auction.

  24. 24
    SLTO Troll says:

    I agree, Bellevue will likely be the last to drop… but it eventually will, Microsoft Techs can only make so much even when married to each other…

    at current bellevue prices, even a 200K/year household won’t be able to afford anything soon.

    interesting… first there was no national bubble, then not in washington, then not in seattle, now it’s just not in bellevue… accurate, but interestin

  25. 25
    T,V & Mr.B says:

    Mikhail, No signs of decreases????????
    MLS 27056575 look how it starts off….

    “Incredible $105,000 price reduction on this BRAND NEW (completely refurbished) home 1 miles from Microsoft! “

    $105,000 PRICE REDUCTION????? Obviously, someone is re-thinking their opinion on the market.

  26. 26
    T,V & Mr.B says:

    Also, NPR stated the 25% of the buying that took place in the last few years have been speculators, which seems to hold true since furniture manufactures have not seen great times with this housing boom. The speculators have not been furnishing the houses as they flip them. 25%…take that out of the market soon and you will see some substantial declines.

    If my business had 25% less buyers, we’d be hurtin’ fer certain!!!

  27. 27
    T,V & Mr.B says:

    BTW….mls 27056575 is still overpirced IMHO

  28. 28
    T,V & Mr.B says:

    Have y’all see what Trilogy is asking for homes? WOW, for the same price, you can have a great home with a yard and a view a hell of a lot closer to Seattle…AND no $150/mo maintenace fees.

  29. 29
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Homebuyer reassurance peice on About The Money on KCTS this afternoon. The CEO of Coldwell Banker says “There is no bubble in Seattle”, so it must be so.

    Just another instance of asking a salesman if people should buy. When is the CEO of a real estate company every going to say it’s a bad time to buy?

  30. 30
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Some chice quotes from the link I posted above from Bill Riss, CEO of Coldwell Banker Bain for the Puget Sound Region:

    There is no bubble in Seattle. There are areas of the country where there have been, quote, bursting of bubbles, but that’s primarily a media event.

    …anywhere from 4 to 14% appreciation rate depending on the location for the next year.

    It is a seller’s market and it will continue to be a seller’s market. For how long? As long as you can forecast.

    Having a great agent on your side just allows you to have an advocate to protect you.

    Sheesh. Why didn’t they just play a Coldwell Banker commercial instead?

  31. 31
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Looks like HBB has one of its rare PNW posts: Downward Pressure On Prices Is Apparent

  32. 32
    T,V & Mr.B says:

    Se my post yesterday where I said, “Never Beleive NAR nor CEO’s of Coldwell Banker et al….Anybody up for buying a Yugo?

  33. 33
    Christina says:

    shrewd investor asked:
    **According to the Seattle Times, 38% Of Seattle School Children qualify for Reduced or Free lunches!

    1/3 of the Kids in Seattle are born into poverty. People can’t even feed their own children let alone afford a 1/2 million dollar house.

    So how could RE prices be so high?

    **Can somebody answer me that?**

    Childfree people are the ones who can afford this house market. Parents either rent, or they initially bought eight – twelve years ago, when many more houses were valued at less than 3x a household’s income.

    Did you know it’s possible to have bought a house for $160K – $200K and have it appreciate to $350K or higher over the past ten years? People living in houses currently “valued” on the market at $400K might be paying taxes on property valued at $280K, and paying a 4.75% fixed mortgage on $150K for 15 years. 62% of the households who send their children to public school could very well be doing that. They might also be fed up with paying $900 – $1700 a month for daycare and preschool for their child for five years and would like a slight return to the DINK disposable income days.

    I hope no parents of school-age children are foolish enough to buy more house than they can afford. That’s a very expensive education for them and their children, private school aside.

  34. 34
    Mike says:

    What neighborhood? 65th & Roosevelt!

    But there’s a Whole Foods right across the street. That alone makes even $800/sq/ft a bargain.

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