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Now is a good time to sell… NOT!

I’ve noticed a few posts in the comments and over in forums regarding inventory levels – which appear to be flat to down over the last couple of weeks. Given these I thought it was worth laying out a historical perspective on inventory levels.
If you’ve delved into the Seattle Bubble spreadsheet, you know that The Tim has collected NWMLS stats for KingCo SFH back to January 2000. Based on this data, you can get a pretty good feel for how inventory levels rise and fall over time, and what today’s market looks like compared to previous years.

First, lets have a look at seasonality. The chart below compares normalized inventory levels for each year – relative to inventory at the beginning of the year (or, more precisely – versus December 31 of the prior year). As you can see, fluctuations by month are fairly predictable across the years – lowest at the beginning of the year, growing steadily through fall, and then dropping off in Oct-Dec. For the 69 months of data charted below, the standard deviation from the BoY inventory is +/- 23% of the average change of 130% of BoY inventory. So if my recollection from stats class is correct – 68% of the time inventory change falls within one standard deviation of the average change (red dashed line), and 95% of the time inventory changes fall within 2 standard deviations of the average change (blue dashed line)

normalized-inventory.png

What is atypical about the market in 2007 is that since July of this year, the inventory growth has been more than 2 standard deviations higher (<3% probability) than the 2006 year ending inventory – and the September change was 3.2 standard deviations outside the norm – an event which I think has about a 0.1% probability of occuring! So while inventory is following a typical pattern – the swings in inventory have clearly been far outside the norm, and only to the upside.

The next chart shows the absolute inventory levels, and compares them to sales. On this chart, you seen the same seasonal fluctuations as above, but in context of the yearly swings of the market. You can also cleary see that it’s not just the relative inventory level that is an issue – the number of homes currently on the market is almost 3 standard deviations above the average for 2000-2007; an event which again, has about a 0.1% probability of occuring. The dashed black line shows the rate of absorption – calculated as pending sales/active listings for each month. As you can see, the growth in inventory is not in any way being met by an increase in sales. The level of inventory absorption has dropped to its lowest level in seven years.

now-is-a-good-time-to-sell.png

So, while some may argue about how much impact all this inventory will have on prices, it seems pretty clear that any arguments that the market is just returning to “normal” levels of inventory are coming from sources that either haven’t looked at the data, or that are just plain bad at math…

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136 comments:

  1. 1
    professional says:

    you crazy bubbleheads and your mystical voodoo “mathematics”!

    Less math, more GUT!

  2. 2
    Dave0 says:

    I’m a bit confused by the absorption rate. Did you mean to say that it’s pending sales/active listings? That is the only way that it would make sense to have listings go up and sales go down and absorption rate go down as a result.

  3. 3

    So you guys are at a screeching halt as well huh? Myrtle Beach has taken a dive in sales over the past few months as well. Hopefully things will pick back up in the Spring…

  4. 4
    deejayoh says:

    I’m a bit confused by the absorption rate. Did you mean to say that it’s pending sales/active listings? That is the only way that it would make sense to have listings go up and sales go down and absorption rate go down as a result.
    Oops! Let me just fix that…. it was a late night post

  5. 5
    notabull says:

    Great analysis. I’d like to suggest another statistic that would be an interesting to measure for this season, and to compare against previous years.

    Every year has a peak and trough for inventory. I’m guessing this year will be no exception. However, I suspect that the ratio of must-sells to like-to-sells is going to be different for this season. The theory would be that if you are experiencing a market with more must-sells, then the inventory *reduction* we normally see (in %) on a seasonal basis, would be less than the inventory reduction (in %) we saw in previous years.

    My general hypotheses for this year is that a number of sellers just could not sell towards the end of summer, and some of these will leave the market (as is happening) and some will stay on. The ones that stay are much more likely to be must-sells, and are likely the ones that will continue the price pressure in the Spring when the like-to-sells come back.

    I’m not sure how to graph this, but it would be nice to somehow plot it alongside the absorption rate.

  6. 6
    Alan says:

    an event which I think has about a 0.1% probability of occuring due to random fluctuations.

    Inferring event probability from Gaussian models only makes sense when you are dealing with random fluctuations. Imagine a tank of water filling up. You measure the water level, but waves created by the water pouring into the tank prevent you from getting an exact measurement. Still, you can measure the trend line and model the error with a Gaussian. This model works great until the tank fills up. Then the system changes. It doesn’t make sense to say that after the tank fills up (and either bursts or starts overflowing) to say that your readings indicate events occuring that only happen once in ten thousand years. The system is operating in a new region of dynamical behavior.

    You can however say that we are observing events so rare that the system is probably operating under new rules. That is what the stats in this post suggest. This market is not the same as the market of the past seven years. If you try to treat it the same you will make the same mistake that the good people at Bear Stearns did.

  7. 7
    Chuck Ponzi says:

    Sorry,

    Still have to disagree. Just like selling the NASCRASH when it was 3000. It’s still a great time to sell a house. It’s only going to get worse.

    Chuck Ponzi

  8. 8
    notabull says:

    “Still have to disagree. Just like selling the NASCRASH when it was 3000. It’s still a great time to sell a house. It’s only going to get worse.”

    Agree. It’s a terrible time to try and sell a house for what the comps from 6 months ago suggest that you to sell for. However, houses are still selling (at dramatically reduced rate) and if you price near the bottom of the current inventory, your house will sell and you’ll make a ton of money. The question is: where ya gonna go? Alabama?

  9. 9
    biliruben says:

    Sweet graphs as usual, DJO.

  10. 10
    rose-colored-ghoulaid says:

    I’d say this is a great time to sell a house, and a lousy time to try to sell a house. If you actually sell, you’ve made out like a bandit and passed the bag. Wahoo!

  11. 11

    THE COLD WET WINTER MONTHS ARE A BAD TIME TO SELL ANYTHING

    Automobiles are another big ticket item that sells cheaper in the Winter, likely less buyers out and/or Christmas and winter power bills drains us dry?

  12. 12
    Bubbleicious says:

    Wow – I stumbled upon this site through Seattle PI – you guys are depressive! Yeah – sales are off 30% or what not from last year this time, but I suppose it was ‘inevitable’. I don’t have a crystal ball so I won’t pretend I knew the future (like Conan o’Brien and his “In the year 2000” sketch :)… though one thing I don’t understand is that people are either holding or dropping them , but not by a whole lot…

    I sold a townhome in San Diego, CA nearly 4 years ago – price of it today versus then hasn’t changed much – so my _opinion_ (and that’s all this is – an _opinion_, like an ass***e, everyone’s got one :) is that prices will probably drop slightly, but will hold for the most part.

    Don’t hold your breath for 20-30% drops in Seattle. It _ain’t_ happening, especially not on already reasonably priced properties. I suppose you could inflate the price to any level and then call it a “drop” but the medians aren’t going to go down by more than 5-10% (at _most_).

    3 million people in this area, and I know of no one that is currently renting that isn’t planning on buying either a condo or townhome or a house…. renting, at any rate, is a complete waste of money…. (unless it ‘fits your lifestyle’ or whatever that means)

  13. 13
    notabull says:

    “Don’t hold your breath for 20-30% drops in Seattle. It _ain’t_ happening, especially not on already reasonably priced properties. I suppose you could inflate the price to any level and then call it a “drop” but the medians aren’t going to go down by more than 5-10% (at _most_).

    3 million people in this area, and I know of no one that is currently renting that isn’t planning on buying either a condo or townhome or a house…. renting, at any rate, is a complete waste of money…. (unless it ‘fits your lifestyle’ or whatever that means)”

    Sigh. Same old arguments… Renting is not a waste of money when buying a house/condo (the alternative to renting) is *more* of a waste of money, as it is right now. Please try and realize that conventional wisdom only applies in conventional times. We are not in conventional times and the conventional wisdom does not apply.

    So if you think the median is going to go down 5-10%, why would anyone buy RIGHT NOW? If I put down 100K on a 500K house and that house goes down 10%, then it’s now worth 450K. Leverage is a bitch, and works both ways: I would lose 50% of my 100K down payment. Please explain how that is a sensible decision?

    I like how you say that yours is nothing more than an *opinion* and then state absolute *facts* about the direction of the market. You’ve taken your opinions and converted them into truths.

  14. 14
    notabull says:

    “Wow – I stumbled upon this site through Seattle PI – you guys are depressive!”

    Also, I’d like to add that we’re not depressive, or depressing for that matter. It may sound like depressing news to someone who bought a home very recently, but to everyone else it’s no big deal ot it’s actually GOOD news.

    Imagine that you’re 21 right now and about to get out of school. Would you rather hear that the high home prices are going even higher, or that prices are coming back to historically normal levels? It’s good news to first time home buyers that prices come down to levels they can afford. Similarly, if prices continue to go higher then we won’t be able to attract good quality teachers/police/IT-people/whatever from out of state. This is what happened in CA. High home prices are not good for anyone but the granite industry and the local BMW dealer.

  15. 15
    Alan says:

    THE COLD WET WINTER MONTHS ARE A BAD TIME TO SELL ANYTHING

    My wife wants to buy only during the wet months. That way she can detect leak and mold problems more easily. It is a lot easier to hide problems during the dry warm months.

  16. 16
    melonleftcoast says:

    Bubbleicious,

    “Don’t hold your breath for 20-30% drops in Seattle. It _ain’t_ happening, especially not on already reasonably priced properties.”

    OK, why do you (and so many “mainstream thinker types”) think Seattle is so special? Why is it more special than Boston? Or SF? Or San Diego?

    In the handful of places I’ve lived in the US (North Idaho, SF, Philly, Boston), there are pluses and minuses to all of them. These are places where people love living there (well, except Philly) and have already seen price declines or have really slowed down this year.

    The list of reasons why my husband and I are concerned about moving to Seattle is:

    -6 months of clouds and rain

    -good and OK, but not excellent, schools

    -lack of public transportation and the likely need of two cars

    -not enough diversity/opportunity for high tech jobs
    -lack of world-class culture (relative to other places we’ve lived)

    Reason why we would move to Seattle:
    -closest US city to both our families

    So sell me on Seattle! Why is it so special?! Is it because everyone born there wants to live there (like Boston)? Or is it because so many people have emigrated from other locales and want to stay, if they can afford it (like most of CA)?

    I think The Tim has done a post (or ten) on Seattle’s specialness, but maybe you could do a poll on the reasons why Seattle is so special? Seriously! I’ve never lived there and I’m very curious! Maybe the results will shed some light and convince us to move there afterall.

  17. 17
    Angie says:

    I’m with biliruben on this (hey! when did I ever think I’d say that??)–but yeah, sweet graphs, DJO.

    I still don’t think it’s all worth freaking out about. Look at that absolute numbers graph…listings were chugging along in 01-03, numbers dropped in 04 and 05, now the pendulum is swinging the other way. Eventually it’ll get back in the other direction.

    Alan, you’ve got a smart wife!

  18. 18
    notabull says:

    “So sell me on Seattle! Why is it so special?! Is it because everyone born there wants to live there (like Boston)? Or is it because so many people have emigrated from other locales and want to stay, if they can afford it (like most of CA)?”

    Responses from perma-bulls will be something like:

    -Boeing
    -Microsoft
    -Jobs
    -Mountains
    -Water

    On a serious note, I’ve lived in a number of different places in my life and in a couple of countries. Seattle is indeed a great place to live IF you can tolerate the many months of gray skies and rain, for a number of months of the year. Personally, I’m fine with that and IMO it beats a lot of the country with the humidity and the freezing/hot temperatures.

    What the permabulls and ill-informed never appreciate is that other areas of the country are nice too, and their prices went down.

    -Jobs? SoCal has plenty. I hear you can get a job in LA if you want to!!!
    -Mountains? Montana has them too!
    -Water? How are those “Great Lakes” this time of year?
    -Boeing? Yeah… Chicago HQ, and something like 30% less jobs right now than at their peak employment. They’re not doing BADLY, but are they doing BETTER than before when prices were sane? No, they are not.
    -Microsoft? I hear Qualcomm hires a couple of people too. Maybe there is mass unemployment in Boston these days? Must be, otherwise prices wouldn’t be going down!!! Inconceivable!

  19. 19
    Angie says:

    Melonleftcoast, Seattle is largely a city of immigrants. Lots of people come here, like it and decide to stay. Here are some things that make Seattle special:

    Yes, we get 6 months (or more!) of clouds/rain–but generally temperatures are very mild. No super-hot summer, and no HUMIDITY! Very little snow or ice in the winter. The landscape is lush and green all year round. Roses bloom into *December* here.

    Public school quality does vary widely within the city school district and across the metro region. I can’t imagine that any other urban area is excellent across the board, either. Involved parents can find great educational opportunities anywhere. I live in a part of town that has a reputation for having crappy schools (SE Seattle) and my kid goes to a totally terrific elementary with dedicated teachers, lots of parental support, and great outcomes.

    Within the city limits, especially close to downtown, it is certainly possible to have a family and only one car. My family of four does. We also walk, bike commute, bus commute and carshare (flexcar.com) as needed.

    Tech jobs: this is a biotech and computer technology hub–not to mention that little aerospace company down the road. There are some kinds of high-tech jobs that don’t have a big presence here, but there is quite a bit of diversity represented by the umbrella terms “biotech” and “computer technology”–may not fit your particular strengths/training, though.

    Seattle certainly doesn’t stand up to NYC, LA, Chicago in terms of outstanding museums and performing arts, but we do have respectable institutions, definitely best in this quadrant of the country!

    Other good things–a totally beautiful area, low crime relative to other cities, close to a wide variety of outdoor environments (mountains and water) for lots of great outdoor activities, more laid-back/low-key/casual that most other cities, well-educated population and (not coincidentally) a strong progressive streak in politics, excellent local food, and of course a great love of coffee.

    Today it’s well into fall, there’s been a break in the clouds and showers and it’s beautiful and sunny outside. They say “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”–well, when you get a break from the typical gray, a little sunshine feels like heaven!

    Come on over and check us out. I’ll bet you’ll like it here!

  20. 20
    Mama says:

    melonleftcoast,

    Seattle has great schools but they’re in areas where two bedroom condos are upwards of 450K and houses at 650K+. In areas where housing is more affordable (300-350K) schools are actually really bad. I work at Microsoft and we’re seriously considering moving away — I earn well but not well enough to afford a home in a good neighborhood. Even Boston, with the recent price drops, seems more affordable (at least in the first home/condo market). I would NOT move here unless you have a job offer for 110K+ or you’re independently wealthy :)

  21. 21
    Mama says:

    Angie, do you mind sharing what school that is — we passed on a few homes in SE Seattle after looking at WASL scores of the elementary schools in the area — they seemed horrible across the board…Did I miss a public school?

  22. 22
    on topic says:

    what’s nice about Seattle?

    it is pretty much the only game in town. if you want to live in a big city in the PNW, there is only one choice.

    being mildly allergic to sunlight, I appreciate the clouds

    the consensus on this blog in terms of real estate is that Seattle is perfectly average, just behind the curve by about 18 months. any claim otherwise must be based on pink ponies, mystical creatures that ensure perpetual double-digit appreciation.

  23. 23
    Bubbleicious says:

    > You’ve taken your opinions and converted them into truths.

    What is your metric for rationalizing that we are in ‘unconventional’ times? Are you 90 years old and an expert in economics? So you’ve seen several cycles like this?

    I _know_ what’s going on – but claiming to have a “better” truth based on what _YOU_ (as well as I or anyone else) thinks about the truth, is just plain hubris…

    When you rent – your money goes down the drain irreversably, despite fluctuations in your home price that you’d be buying for right now for less (or more, or whatever). If you are to stay in your home for a while (e.g. > 5 years), I can not see how you end up losing.

    When the market does recover – will you still be here?

    Again, I’m not going to argue with you – but at least have the decency to admit that you are doing the exact same thing – turning your opinions into truths – except the context in which you are doing it right now (a down market) serves you to “prove” you are right and I (or anyone like me) is not..

    That’s all bro… Now go ahead and rip me a new one – you’d be right all along.

  24. 24
    johnnybigspenda says:

    RE: % change vs. previous September… this measure could be quite mis-leading. Example: if September 2006 was one of the lowest September inventory levels ever then lets say inventories returned to ‘historically normal’ levels, as a % change, it would appear to be a HUGE increase although that increase would really only be a return to the norm. (caused by the small denominator)

    In our case, its likely that the pendulum swung from one extreme and now is on the way to the other… eventually the pendulum will return to the middle. (I admit that it will swing with a Newtonion consistency of equal and opposite amplitude to the ‘high inventory’ levels before we see normalcy)

    DJ: Can you post ‘absolute’ values instead of relative year over year?

  25. 25

    melonleftcoast…

    6 months? try 9+. many years the infamous summer never arrives. this town absolutely sucks. no one is mainstream. seattle urbanites hate sports and apple pie. its full of introverted, passive aggressive, pinheads who can’t drive. compared to the other “great” cities you mentioned, culture is non-existent. indie plays are NOT the the-a-ter. local music never recovered from grunge. try eating salmon, mussels, greens, shrooms, and berries almost all year long… NW wine is nice and one dimensional. europe is sooo far away. god, if I could do it all over again, I would have never moved here from the East Coast. what a mistake. folks who try to sell Seattle to outsiders are completely disingenuous and want nothing more than for others to share in their misery. no one wants to stay here. they’re stuck b/c they can’t sell their houses. please, stay where you are and visit the fam in late August when they’ll finally be in a decent mood:)

  26. 26
    Alan says:

    If you are to stay in your home for a while (e.g. > 5 years), I can not see how you end up losing.

    Very easy. I know people who have done it. It very nearly happened to me (and actually did if you take agent fees into account).

    Statements like that, which are verifiably incorrect, tend to lower the confidence one can put in your other opinions. Your lack of understanding how someone can lose money by owning RE for more than five years may be similar to your lack of belief in prices falling over the next few years.

    If you have a strong argument how current prices can be supported long term it would be welcomed and applauded here.

  27. 27
    Mike2 says:

    Tech jobs: this is a biotech and computer technology hub–

    We had a meeting this afternoon at work where the VP in my department said “this area has full employment in tech, the unemployment rate for programmers is basically 0, we can’t find anyone else to hire though we need more staff”.

    And it hasn’t rained here in a month. It was 85 degrees at lunch time. The leaves are turning and it is beautiful. You want cultural activities? DC is a few miles away.

    Yet just down the road, hundreds of homes are sitting on the market, vacant, with prices slashed to 2005 levels.

  28. 28
    notabull says:

    “What is your metric for rationalizing that we are in ‘unconventional’ times? Are you 90 years old and an expert in economics? So you’ve seen several cycles like this?”

    All you have to do is research the topic. Simply take a look at the Case Shiller home price charts over the past 50 or 60 years and take a look at prices since 2000. They have gone well beyond established (not by me) ratios of price:rental-income or price:wages values and are indeed in unchartered territory. You don’t need to take my word for it, just get out there the research the topic. You don’t have to be 90 years old to be able to look a subject and create your own conclusions.

    Anyway, most of the “experts” and economists have be wrong regarding the local and national real-estate bubble. They also missed how the subprime mortgage mess was about to spread across non-housing credit markets. Also, nine out of ten economists said the country wasn’t going into recession after the dot-com collapse. Too bad the statistics (GDP) later showed the economy was already in recession at the same moment they predicted we wouldn’t have one. In short, economists suck. If they were any good they wouldn’t be writing columns on MSN, they’d be out there running businesses and keeping their opinions to themselves. After all, if you tell people how the situation truly is (good, or bad) you lose the ability to gain an advantage over others.

    In addition, “creative financing” is WAY beyond conventional. Talk to anyone older than 40 about mortgages and what it used to be like. You had to have down-payment and you had to actually pay back the loan over the term of the loan (horror!). No interest only, negative amortization, stated income, or various combinations that layered those risks AND made them freely available to anyone with a pulse.

    “When you rent – your money goes down the drain irreversably, despite fluctuations in your home price that you’d be buying for right now for less (or more, or whatever). If you are to stay in your home for a while (e.g. > 5 years), I can not see how you end up losing.”

    During conventional times, I 100% agree with you. Hell, I used to own a house for many years. I’m not *against* home ownership or anything. The only reason I’m looking to buy right now is that I moved back to the Seattle area after being out of state for a while. If I hadn’t left, I would be one of those in the “don’t care what happens” camp sitting on my equity. As it happens, I’m sitting on a big bank balance instead, waiting for the right time to buy.

    However, during times in which house prices are going down (even a little) and when the prices are high, it just not make financial sense to buy if you’re possibly going to sell in 5 years. Think about the return on the down-payment that I’d be giving up. Instead of paying interest to bank, I’m getting paid interest FROM the bank! When home prices are stagnating, I’m winning, no question about it.

    Finally, I’m *not* doing the same as you. I’m actually looking at the data and forming my own opinions, and I’m not pretending they are fact. In my *opinion* (based on research) house prices in Seattle are likely to drop 10-20% over a few years, in real-terms (inflation adjusted). This is more like a 5-15% decrease in nominal terms. This is my opinion.

    When you come onto a blog and make statements of fact like “prices will not go down more then x%” you have to be expected to be challenged.

  29. 29
    Angie says:

    Mama—I’m sure you can understand if I’m being a little veiled, since the internets can be a little weird at times and we’re talking about my kids. Suffice to say there’s a school down here that is something of a magnet. The scores look just as bad as the “regular” schools—but what you can’t tell by a cursory glance is that a significant number of the student body are kept out of WASL testing altogether because the parents think standardized testing is BS. The state records those as scores of zeros and they are not dis-aggregated from the rest of the school scores, hence the overall scores are brought down.

    Only one school in the district actually came out of the recent school-closure debacle with a better building for an expanded program, and it’s in the south end…

  30. 30
    Dave says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Seattle is NOT a biotech hub. Last year we lost 3 of the 4 largest biotech employers in the city and AMGEN (the biggest) is laying off 10% of their workforce. We are a Biotech hub like Baltimore is Biotech hub – we aren’t.

    I will debate the point as you wish.

    Dave

  31. 31
    The Bruce says:

    Apparently realism can be depressive.

    Hooray for playing make believe! Its a natural anti-depressant!

  32. 32
    Erik S says:

    Melonleftcoast,

    Back in the the “golden age” (in my personal opinion, roughly the time following the “turn out the lights” of ’71 up until the mid-’90s) Seattle had a really nice mix of livability (modest traffic congestion, affordable housing, jobs that didn’t require PhDs, wonderful natural surroundings if you could stand the rain) and big, or at least medium city amenities (in the ’70s Seattle gained the Mariners, Seahawks, Sonics, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and a tons of theater companies to add to the Opera, Symphony, and UW). It was a nice mix.

    These days, there are plenty of developments to please the status-conscious “World Class City”, but the city feels expensive, crowded, and soulless. To be fair, Lake Washington is cleaner now and so is downtown, but the livability has gone out the window. I am not surprised anymore when I hear that someone is moving to Portland.

  33. 33
    Erik S says:

    …and, in today’s Seattle, you get to listen to east coasters that moved here complain about the fact that Seattle isn’t on the place they left.

  34. 34
    The Bruce says:

    melonleftcoast –

    I’ve lived in Vegas, Phoenix, Orange County, CA – Central Valley, and CA – Bay Area..

    Have absolutely loved living in Woodinville since Feb. Favorite place we’ve loved. Love the rain, loved the mountains, the water, access to health food, outdoor activities galore… Trails abound.. And to me, 50* and misty is a positive, not a negative. Can’t really beat CA coastal weather, but who can? Don’t get the amazing scenery up here, and drawing in breaths of crisp, clean, evergreen-scented air is worth the extra cake I pay to rent here vs Phoenix (where we sold our home a year ago, but would be renting if we still lived there because I *hate* losing money). But I’m willing to rent here. Demand for Seattle is higher than on the immediate suburbs, but I have three daughters and we have been happy with Northshore school district so far (although class sizes are worrisome), but in my opinion education starts at home, with active parenting, regardless of a school’s pedigree. Give my kids a good pool of kids to choose friends from, and a responsible teacher, and we can make do by making sure our kids are progressing.

    If you’re thinking of moving to the Northwest, and have similar priorities, there is no place like it.

  35. 35
    Bubbleicious says:

    notabull – I see your reasoning, it is well thought out but on the condition that your prediction based on your observations about where the market is headed.

    It’s cool that you’re sitting on a lump sum of cash – even if it’s in a 5% CD, you aren’t losing … I hope you ‘nail’ the right time to buy then.

    I wasn’t arguing about my ‘rightness’ – it just really pisses me off when people think they “knew” or “saw it coming”. What you “knew” is that what goes up must come down eventually, or round and round we go, or however you want to ‘philosophically’ put it – everthing is cyclical, even the nature of the universe (according to the ‘big bang’ theory) – so from that aspect, I can see how you’re better off not buying… You’re prolly single/no family, I’m guessing? Best of luck with timing the tipping point.

  36. 36
    The Bruce says:

    Jeeps, I have got to get new batteries for the wireless keyboard.. excuse the pununkiation / grabamatical issues..

  37. 37
    Chris says:

    Dave,

    I’m interested in your point. Which three companies did we lose last year? I’m seeing the biotech hub (or rather hype) of SLU is becoming more of a corporate retailing hub

  38. 38
    notabull says:

    “I wasn’t arguing about my ‘rightness’ – it just really pisses me off when people think they “knew” or “saw it coming”.”

    Bubbleicious, that pisses me off too. Every person out there can only operate on their own assumptions and conclusions, and I’m operating under my conclusion that prices are going to go down. Recent history is supporting my conclusion (even in Seattle) and I’m hoping that things continue this way. If they don’t then I’ll buy anyway. :)

    Married, but no kids (yet) unless you count my needy dog – basically a permababy with fur and big teeth.

    All the best….

  39. 39
    Bubbleicious says:

    notabull – I’m glad you limit your ‘truthiness’ to just your own interpretation of what is available at hand, at the current moment (and that’s as far as I’d go too). I’ve read around this blog – and this is not the current M.O. of a lot of people who blog on here. Especially not some that think that there’s going to be an 80% reduction in price in “certain areas of the Seattle metro area”… Yeah – that could be, if Iraqis or Iranians invaded the U.S. mainland, starting with Seattle… Sure, I could see property values go down 95% then…

    Anyway – hope you buy something you like, regardless of price.

    Take care.

  40. 40
    deejayoh says:

    DJ: Can you post ‘absolute’ values instead of relative year over year?

    Johnny – the lower chart shows absolute values for inventory and pending sales (right hand axis). Only the “absorption ratio” is an index/percentage (left hand axis)

  41. 41
    LeftOverpricedSeattle says:

    I came to Seattle in 1975, when the Evergreen Point bridge cost a dime to cross in a carpool and a quarter if you weren’t in one. I finally left for the first time in 1996. I came back in 2001 and have now left again, leaving someone else to hold the bag on my last home.

    Seattle isn’t worth, to me, the skyrocketing prices, the congestion, the crooked politics, the KC Executive’s budget proposals, etc.

    There are a LOT of places in the US where the trees are green, culture is better, it rains enough, jobs (in my field) are available, commutes are easier, and prices are much more in line with incomes.

    As I see it, Seattleites are somewhat sheltered in their view of the rest of the US, believing that what you get in Seattle, you cannot get anywhere else.

    They are wrong, IMHO, but hey, I took the money and ran!

  42. 42

    Since most of us here tend to be trend-watchers and possible pessimists, here’s one big fat reason my wife and I are planning to move to Seattle (from the SF bay area) sooner or later: WATER.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/21/magazine/21water-t.html

    California and the entire Southwest (from Colorado on down to Mexico) are probably going to be REALLY hard up for water in the 21st century. I’ve got a two-year-old and a two-month-old. I want to raise them somewhere that isn’t a desert in disguise. 6+ months of clouds and rain? Sounds fantastic! Especially compared to 6+ months of NO RAIN WHATSOEVER! (Just look at Southern California, burning like a bonfire in a wind tunnel as we speak.) Combine that with the liberal politics and the high tech, and PacNW is looking like a winner to us.

    Of course, our neighborhood has already seen 10% – 20% actual price drops (e.g. the houses that sell are $100K off their $550K price levels previously), so we’re probably somewhat screwed since there’s no way Seattle prices will drop as much as coastal California. But hey, we bought our three-bedroom in Nov. 2002 for $380K, 30-year fixed with $40K down, and we paid off another $20K of equity line and $20K of principal on the jumbo (no “home ATM” for us!)… so now our house would have to drop to under $300K for us to actually be underwater on our mortgage.

    Assuming the current inflated market price for us is $500K (e.g. comps actually selling for $450K but no one wants to admit that’s the real market yet), that means we could handle a 40% drop from current levels before we’d get seriously screwed. And if we wind up having to move way out in the sticks (e.g. distant, distant Woodinville or something), so be it!

  43. 43
    Ira Sacharoff says:

    meonleftcoast,
    For a big city, Seattle is awfully pretty. It has montains nearby and water and lots of trees, and is very green and cool most of the time. Unemployment is low, and there are a lot of educated people here, and a big arts scene. Good film festival, good bookstores, good restaurants. A center of left wing politics ( good or bad, depending on your point of view).
    There are lots of things that are special about Seattle, but really nothing so special about it that will make it immune to real estate downturns. Some of the RE boosters here make it sound as if we’re not only special, but actually another world entirely, completely disconnected to the national or global economy.
    Seattle is special, but people are no less greedy, and have made the place that much less special by building like crazy, building houses with zero lot lines, building on slopes, converting tacky old apartment buildings into overpriced condos and filling in every conceivable spot with housing.

  44. 44
    jdog says:

    The NWMLS does not include much of that downtown condo inventory. The marketing companies typically list just a representative sample of thier inventory, may 10% or less.

  45. 45
    James D. says:

    Your interesting analysis is somewhat skewed for going back no further than 2000; arguably most of that period represents something of an anomaly. The historical context looks rather different if you look back as far as the 1980s (admittedly, it would be more work to dig up statistical data from that period). Most likely today’s market would look somewhat less bizarre against a fuller historical picture of what’s “typical.”

  46. 46
    MacAttack says:

    Hey Bub,
    We DO see it coming. I’m a homeowner, outside Portland. It’s starting to happen here. It will get you next quarter. P.S. winter is a great time to buy a house in the PNW because you can see if there’s water in the crawl space.

  47. 47
    rose-colored-ghoulaid says:

    “I’ve read around this blog – and this is not the current M.O. of a lot of people who blog on here. Especially not some that think that there’s going to be an 80% reduction in price in “certain areas of the Seattle metro area”… Yeah – that could be, if Iraqis or Iranians invaded the U.S. mainland, starting with Seattle… Sure, I could see property values go down 95% then…”

    I think you refer to one guy on this blog. So apologies from the rest of us who don’t believe in the 100% decline boogeyman.

    That said, I can’t believe we’re even having a debate regarding whether or not housing affordability is at a historic low in this region. It is. It’s a fact, and agreed upon by … everyone. Even the NAR has released announcements that they think affordability is a major concern for their members trying to earn a living.

    Finally, Seattle is special only in the way that every snowflake is special and every special child might grow up to be the next president. Can’t we get over this mindset?

    Hasn’t anyone else noticed that all popular references to Seattle (sports events, Fraiser, and ???) always play the same Pike’s Place fish throwing footage and then show the Space Needle?

    Let me be very clear. The only features of Seattle that are interesting to people not living here are a tallish 50 year old tower and guys throwing fish. Well, people like Starbucks Coffee. It’s not just those in London or New York City who aren’t interested, it’s people in San Diego, and Portland, OR. Heck, go to Bellingham, Yakima, Olympia, or Port Townsend and see who cares about Seattle.

    Yep, Seattle is a precious snowflake.

  48. 48
    MacAttack says:

    Bubbleicious: Go to p.25 of this to see Seattle’s market as of 10/4.

    http://www.realtownblogs.com/uploads/CentralFloridaRealEstate_BofA_Agent_9-07_Survey.pdf?ref=patrick.net

  49. 49
    Garth says:

    I am not a housing bull, or a bubblehead, but I still don’t understand how some of the commenters here think the same cascading foreclosure problems that are hitting Ohio, Michigan and parts of California are going to happen here.

    So far from everything I have read the places affected most by foreclosures and the ensuing large price drops seem to have similar issues leading to a sudden drastic decline (Stockton being the exception, as it seems to be more like cities surrounding Tokyo in the Japanese crash than Cleveland or Detroit today.)

    Most are frequently included in “Poorest Cities in America Lists”
    Large neighborhood developments were built, and now many homeowners in the same neighborhood are simultaneously experiencing financial difficulties.
    Median prices closer to $200,000 – 300,000 than the $500,000 we see here
    Substantial racial diversity

    Where in Washington has there been activity like that?

  50. 50
    rose-colored-ghoulaid says:

    Gah! I had an image in my last post. Tim, does the comment section not allow images? I saw it in my preview, but now it’s gone.

    Thanks.

  51. 51
    rose-colored-ghoulaid says:

    Garth, I doubt many are insisting Seattle will play out like the rust belt. But there are such a diversity of places in decline. Can we compare to the Rust Belt? Inland Empire? San Diego? Las Vegas? Phoenix? Florida? Washington DC? Dallas? San Francisco?

    What does it mean when all real estate is local and all locals are in decline? It means Seattle is a local too, and we are on the precipice now.

  52. 52
    rose-colored-ghoulaid says:

    oops (‘locals’ should be ‘locales’ and add an e to the second ‘local’ as well).

  53. 53
    on topic says:

    Garth, have you heard of quadrant homes?

    the main claim here, though, is that prices here went up b/c of speculation and now they will correct back to the prices suggested by the fundamentals of the area b/c there is no money to be made speculating anymore, so there is no justification for a speculative premium.

  54. 54
    Obsessed/In Exile says:

    I am struggling with the urge to rush back there to buy a house at the moment!

    It’s because we’ve been babysitting this bubble since May of 2003, shortly after reading an article in the Economist that explained what we intuited. And so we rented. For us, mixed race couple, older, that has been difficult. We never fit the norm of renters–me unemployed, husband retired–a dog and two young children.

    I want to get into a house while the rates are down, and I guess I’m thinking that even if the prices go down, if we have a 30 yr fixed, and we can afford the payments–then it is better than renting.

    We first came to seattle in ’89, Seattle’s halycon days. It was cool and provincial, now it’s slick and soulless as someone said.

    So why do I want to return? Community and because of our racial make up, and the mountains. And I like that I can have chickens and goats in the city.

    Worried about the schools, however. They all seem not good. Seattle has low property taxes, which reflects the state’s unwillingness to commit to public education. In NY, ME, NH–where property taxes are much higher, the schools seem to be better. Someone told me that the problem with Seattle is that it’s a libertarian town. This could explain the absnce of support for schools and public transportation–they voted down a referendum in 1919 to put in a subway–soo Seattle.

    The suburban schools, I noted, have classes that are too large, and I suspect that the same is true of the city because they spend so much money bussing the kids to their chosen school that they can’t afford to pay staff.

    I started thinking I needed to return to Seattle when I found the comparable prices here and considered that there is only a touristic economy here. And when you add on 5,000 to 6,000 in property taxes vs. 2,500–it makes a big difference in affordability–along with the high heating bills in the NE. You don’t need much heat in Seattle in winter. Just put on one of your fleece jackets!

    Regarding the city’s water supply, I am concerned that Seattle will run out of water. Its water comes from a dwindling snow pack. And during the dry season, Seattle is dry–note the brown lawns.

    What I like about Seattle is the culture–theater, ballet, early music, books and film–and the mountains.

    But you know–we almost bought about 10 houses from 03-05–we were the buyers from hell. We would make an offer, lie awake all night, and then find a way out. And to be quite honest, we were very hard pressed to find one suitable neighborhood, and the houses were disgusting–the ones we felt were in our conservative price range. Seattle does not have good housing stock.

    Yeah, maybe we can’t afford Seattle….And when I read the very valid criticisms of the city above, I remember why the bloom was off the rose for us and we packed out. (We left in ’98 and returned in ’03 and left again in ’06.)

    Still, I may fly out in a day or two, go to the dentist, get my glasses repaired, get a med check up, and look at a house or two, and then, being reminded why we left, fly back here to the peace and quiet of the NE. Or find a job and buy one of those over-priced houses—at least they’ve been fixed up!

    It’s only paper and we can’t take it with us. Furthermore, I figure if the housing drops as much as some have suggested, there won’t be anything safe, except gold.

  55. 55
    CliveL says:

    on topic, I am not following the reference to quadrant homes here. They, I think, are the largest builders in this area.

  56. 56
    jon says:

    To: Rob Jellinghaus

    Consider renting for a while before buying. I think that’s good advice even in an up market. You never know how the job situation will work out, and it will give you time to hunt for the best house. The money you would have to pay to buy your way out of a lease is smaller than what you can save through a more careful house/condo search.

  57. 57
    Garth says:

    on topic,

    Yes I have heard of Quadrant homes, in fact I have commented on them on this blog and forum several times. Quadrant is owned by Weyerhaueser Real Estate, which is owned by Weyerhaeuser.

    http://www.weyerhaeuser.com/aboutus/facts/5.1_Wreco.pdf

    I am pretty sure they are the largest homebuilder in this area, and they did not go Dr Horton, Hovnanian’s or Lennar crazy here. Quadrant and the other home builders owned by Weyerhaueser provide almost 4 billion a year in revenue to several Weyerhaeuser divisions.

    I imagine they are tough to compete with as they probably bought the land 100 years ago, and build the house with wood and building materials from Weyerhaeuser.

  58. 58
    Plissken says:

    Anybody who doesn’t believe Seattle is an extremely desirable city needs a brain check.

    I lived in Europe for 20 years and I wouldn’t go back there if I was offered twice my current salary. Incompetent politicians (yes even compared to ours), high taxes, low quality of life, pollution, … and the list goes on. My dog wouldn’t even live in what I’ve seen referred to here as “world class cities”. Unfortunately I had to.

    I lived in the rural southeast for a while. It was nice enough. The weather was pleasant (save for 2 months in the summer when the heat and humidity will kill you if you spend more than 10 minutes outside). The locals are generally friendly provided you pretend to agree with the crap some of them spew out of their mouths. Underneath all that there’s a lot of ugliness and a lack of knowledge of the rest of the world that makes even the Europeans look smart. I don’t know if anybody knows that British show Top Gear. It’s a car show on the BBC. Recently they did an episode where the hosts bought sub $1000 used cars in Miami and drove to NOLA. One of their self-imposed “challenges” was to paint slogans that would be considered offensive to southerners on their cars and drive across Alabama (Hillary for President, Man Love Rocks, or Nascar Sucks). It started out as a joke but they were actually assaulted at a gas station. I don’t believe that would’ve happened in Seattle. People here would actually get the joke.

    Sure we have the occasional retarded-Italian-American-named-after-a-cartoon-character running for governor but hey, you gotta give those chimps who live east of the mountains the illusion that maybe they have a shot at running things around here. It’s either that or a full on remake of “Conquest of the Planets of the Apes”.

  59. 59
    LeftOverpricedSeattle says:

    Well, I am not saying Seattle is undesirable, but I think it IS overpriced for what it is and what it offers when you compare the cost of living to other, cheaper places.

    If someone else is willing to pay, more power to them (I cannot fault them, otherwise how would I have made a bundle selling my place last year?)

    I just decided life was too short to spend all that time commuting, dealing with traffic, taxes, etc. for a view of Mt Rainier on a clear day.

    It just wasn’t worth it to me, but each person has to put a value on what something is worth to them, be it time, cars, homes, etc.

    I considered my loss of time at home with the wife and kids more valuable than be able to say “I live in Seattle”, but that’s me.

  60. 60
    Affluent Bitter Renter says:

    “Sure we have the occasional retarded-Italian-American-named-after-a-cartoon-character running for governor but hey, you gotta give those chimps who live east of the mountains the illusion that maybe they have a shot at running things around here. It’s either that or a full on remake of “Conquest of the Planets of the Apes”.”

    Ahhhh… Seattle liberalism and inclusiveness….

  61. 61
    Nolaguy says:

    PIissken,

    Very nice how you comment on the lack of tolerance and acceptance for diversity in the SouthEast, but in the next paragraph you’re able to spit the same venom you’re criticizing when it comes to retards, italian americans, republicans and the entire eastern half of Washington State. Well done.

    See how many grins you’ll get in Seattle with a “Bush, Nascar and Hetero Love ROCK!” bumper sticker.

    Back on Topic:

    IMO, the dissapearance of subprime loans will only increase the inventory. And unless they raise the limit for jumbo loans, it will continue. Eventually, people who have to sell, will be setting the prices at the margin.

  62. 62
    Plissken says:

    Ahhhh… Seattle liberalism and inclusiveness….

    Actually, having lived in uber-conservative parts of the country I can say you’re better off being a republican in Seattle than you are being a democrat in the south. I’ve never heard of any seattlite being beaten up or losing their job for having a “W” sticker on their vehicle.

    We’re nice to retards here. We even let them have an AM radio station. Another great thing about Seattle!

  63. 63
    Dave says:

    Chris

    Okay – on the subject of Biotech.

    Icos laid off 550 (bought by Eli Lily for patent value only).

    Glaxo Smithcline has laid off about 200 over the last two years (Bothell company ID Biomedical).

    Amgen is laying off 50 – but has also stopped hiring and stopped construction on Elliot Bay.

    You might think small numbers, but these are the big players in Biotech in Seattle. Where are thsoe employees going to go? We don’t have the industry to absorb them.

    Many biotechs have gone to a “contractors only” model – as have alot of other companies. It isn’t too stimualting to job growth when employees are limited to being temps with limited contracts. Hard to be home owners when you don’t have health insurance or sick days either. Trust me, I’ve been there (never again).

    Zymogenetics is doing well as far as I know.

    So we have alot of biotechs under 10 people, and a few with some VC money that are praying that their one product gets to production so the owners can cash in. No, they don’t have any other products in the pipeline. As soon as clinical trials are done say good bye to the R&D people (those well paid people who can actaully afford houses). Neither of these groups can really stimulate anything like the housing market.

    Anytime a politician comes out and says that their city is going to be a biotech hub and brign in all this money to the city – they are lying. The cities that are biotech hubs are already biotech hubs. San Fran., San Diego, Boston, New Jersey etc.
    Dave

  64. 64
  65. 65
    matthew says:

    King county is caught up in the SUV turmoil. But I thought Seattle is special??

    Thx for the link crashcadia.

  66. 66
    EconE says:

    ditto on the thanks Crashcadia…

    I found this quote from the article to be interesting when they refer to SIV “lites”…

    “King County also invested in a risky form of SIVs known as SIV-lites that typically invest more than SIVs in securities tied to residential-mortgage securities, including subprime loans.”

    Who isn’t holding the bag? Be it an overpriced house, 401k’s and pension plans holding overvalued securities… there seem to be so many holes in this dike we’ll have to find an inconceivable amount of dutch boys to try to plug it.

  67. 67
    B&W Nikes says:

    Will condo wave swamp the market?
    “83 percent of the more than 1,200 new downtown condo units that came on line in 2007 sold. All of the more than 1,400 downtown units built from 2000 through 2006 have sold, according to market research firm Realogics.”

    Does that mean that almost as many condos were built in 2007 as were in all of 2000-2006? Am I misreading bigtime or is the story bogus? Weird.

  68. 68
    Crashcadia says:

    EconE
    One might say it leaks like a siv.

  69. 69
    Economic Crisis says:

    The amount of impressionistic crapola in this thread is, um, depressive. Look, children, whether it’s a house or a stick of gum, people make two decisions about every single thing they buy: What they like, and what they will pay. It’s obvious that the Seattle area is desirable as a place to live. But that doesn’t mean people will pay stupid prices.

    Now, back to inventory and sales number. I’m on vacation out of town right now, but when I get back I’m going to post the numbers from Magnolia that a realtor publishes every month. Inventory has gone way up since early summer and sales have gone down.

    Interestingly enough, that seems to be the same in one of my old neighborhoods in the Boston area. I drove through it today and was struck by the proliferation of For Sale signs everywhere. People who were on the fence are running for the exits, but mortgage money is drying up and foreclosures are rising.

    It’s not just a California phenomenon. It’s everywhere. In a different of my old neighborhoods, this one in Boston itself, a condo is being auctioned off. Not one single unit sold. Not a one. And we’re talking about a luxury building in a pretty desirable area. This stuff is spreading, whether you like it or not!

  70. 70
    Economic Crisis says:

    One other thing: In the one Boston-area neighborhood where I noticed all the signs, I stopped by a realty office. There were a couple dozen ads posted in the front window. About half of them had notations that the prices had been reduced. Prices are still too high in Boston just as they are in Seattle. We are only in the early stages of the crash.

  71. 71
    what goes up comes down says:

    Economic Crisis is right on, for all those people who keep “selling” the same old, tired crap of “if you hold it for >5 years it won’t matter” get a clue. Why would any person with half a clue not want to wait now when the odds and I stress odds are you can buy next year for 10% less.

    Pretty simple buy later at a reduced price than stay in the house for more than five years and have greater equity.

    Btw, I sold about 2 years ago, made a great return, moved to Europe and guess what Europe is pretty nice too, will I return to Seattle — someday for sure, Seattle is nice no doubt. But I won’t make a stupid financial decision based on “nice”.

    After all it is a market and right now supply is up, demand is down and that means one thing for prices — period.

  72. 72
    johnnybigspenda says:

    I think there is a significant amount of pent up demand. People are in ‘wait and see’ mode. Why would I upgrade my condo to a bigger house right now when I know prices are coming down? Most of the demand in the housing market comes from people moving from city to city and even moreso from people upgrading in the same city. (first time home buyers are a much smaller % of the market and only drive a certain price point). Some would call these same city buyers ‘discretionary’ since they don’t ‘have to’ move, they just ‘want to’. At this point I would be taking on more risk since the same % drop on a bigger mortgage means a bigger absolute drop. Plus, everyone is waiting for a ‘deal’.

    I would bet that almost all of the ‘discretionary buyers’ are going to sit it out for the next few months. In my opinion, they will become less discretionary as time goes on (more kids, wife, access to schools, ect will drive them to buy a house somewhere).

    What % of buyers do you think MUST buy now vs. WANT to buy at some point? Anyone who only WANTS to buy is going to wait it out… I think that is a significant portion of demand.

  73. 73
    Angie says:

    Dave—you’re probably one of those people who thought that the dot-com bust meant that all that silly World Wide Web stuff was all washed up, too.

    Businesses rise and fall and reconstitute themselves. Happens all the time. Even as I type there’s a list of job openings as long as my arm over on the wabio web site. Someone (many someones) are still hiring.

    Seattle’s got a huge concentration of life sciences research expertise in stable, academic or at least nonprofit institutions (UW, Hutch, Children’s, Benaroya, SBMRI, Institute for Systems Biology). They’re the petri dish for business development and biotech companies rise and fall outside this domain. People move back and forth between private and public institutions, to the benefit of both. And, importantly, people come to Seattle to learn or work in science, and decide to stay even when their job or circumstances change, because it’s a great place to live! That generally doesn’t happen in, say, Richland.

    When people in general talk about “biotech”, they’re talking about both public and private institutions. Buildings that need lab space in lieu of office space. Seattle has been for years, and will continue to be for a long time to come, a magnet for well-educated and generally well-paid science workers.

  74. 74
    notabull says:

    “What % of buyers do you think MUST buy now vs. WANT to buy at some point? Anyone who only WANTS to buy is going to wait it out… I think that is a significant portion of demand.”

    But who “must” buy? I’m renting right now, and I want to buy. But I can’t imagine a situation in which I absolutely MUST buy. I have a dog and two cats, and even if the only rental I can get is crappy, in the middle of nowhere, and overpriced, I still don’t HAVE to buy.

    I think that’s the difference between sellers and buyers right now. Yes, there is pent-up demand. Not sure how big it is, to be honest. Regardless, I feel that pent-up demand is all very nice, but you’re going to need a down payment, and you’re not going to get that suicide loan that you could have got back in April.

    You can *want* to buy that 700K rambler all you like, but the bank’s not going to lend you the money any more. (unless you have money, income, and a good FICO, and don’t mind the Jumbo loan rate, etc etc. i.e. MUCH smaller buyer pool than before)

  75. 75
    SunTzu says:

    Angie,
    What’s this monomania about Seattle’s biotech? You seem to think biotech will be Seattle’s next big thing just like grunge rock or starbucks once were. To become a center of excellence a city must attract enough intellectual capital plus there must be a sustaining business “eco” system. Look at SF. The 2 great univ. there Stanford and Berkeley alone attracts international intellectual capital. There are Nobel winners in their faculties. They produce comp sci, elec eng, and comp eng. students who are first caliber from high SAT, GRE scores. They either start new companies or become workers for cutting edge established companies. They have venture capital firms to support new companies. And the companies feeds off of each other meaning Google will probably but hardware from Sun and Intel. In essence, it’s a self sustaining business eco system.
    I hate to tell you this the best and cutting edge bio research environment is not here in the US because there are certain people against stem cell research. The best bio research (and bio entrepreneur) environment are in Singapore, S. Korea, and Europe.

    How does a frog in a well looks at the world? Only thorugh a small opening.

  76. 76
    matthew says:

    angie,

    I would argue that the tri-cities area is growing faster than Seattle. Nice jab at Richland though.

  77. 77
    Dave says:

    Hi Angie;

    Since you started with an insult I will follow your example: You are a clueless dimwit when it comes to commenting about the biotech industry in Seattle.

    I’ve been in the industry more than 10 years at this point and have worked for several different employers in both the for profit and non-profit worlds. Try to pay attention and keep up.

    The Seattle Biotech communtiy (indeed the entire PNW) is NOT doing well. We are not a Biotech Hub. San Francisco is a Biotech hub – in the city alone there are over 300 jobs in Biotech. The website you referenced is a good indicator for the PNW – almost all jobs in Biotech in WA (and many in ORE and some in CA) are ususally listed. We have at most 125 in the entire state. Now I didn’t see Wazoo in the listings so unless you are making the argument that Pullman is a secret biotech hub, it simply isn’t true.

    Okay – so we certainly don’t have near the number of listings city to city. Check out Biotech in California – there are jobs listed in the thousands.

    Sooo….. keeping up so far? We are a small player in the biotech market.

    Now we work in the quality of the jobs that are available. Did you know most of theindustry is moving to the Microsoft contractor model? 1 or 2 one year contracts and you are out. How great a motivator do you think that is for peopel to move here? Oh yeah – no benefits either.

    Ask anyone in Biotech how easy it is to get a job in Biotech in Seattle. Odds are if they have ajob they will get a worried look in their eye and say it isn’t too easy.

    The Universities you say? Yes, absolutely they hire people. for usually starting between 30-35,000.00/year for experienced people. People with no experience? Wecloem to be ing within spitting distance of the poverty rate. Univeristy employees are usually desperate to get into industry simply because they are not paid enough to be able to live here.

    And lastly? i ahev travelled alot in the uS and abroad going to differnet Biotech companies and regions. Every single city large enough to have an office park is pitching the idea that Biotech will come along and generate all this new business. But we have U Dub and Fred Hutch – you might say. Not to insult those institutions but there are alot of top notch instituions in the US and abroad. The Harvards, Yales, Johsn Hopkins, the Baylors, UC system, the Northwests, the Stanfords, the Berkleys.

    So what does this mean? Biotech is not going to come along and save all those high end condo comlexes. Heck, the industry itself is having a really hard time growing in this city – at this point I would say we are negative
    territory and I don’t see an upswing anywhere on the horizion.

    Are hosptials hiring? Yes, but how many new jobs do you think are ocming in due to healthcare? I won’t comment to hospitals since I don’t have any experience with that industry. You could take a lesson in that.

    Of course clueless real estate people will still use Biotech to try and pump up the economy. How many ponies do you see in Biotech, Angie?

    Next time don’t start a debate with an insult.

    Dave

  78. 78
    matthew says:

    dave,

    can I call you the bus driver? Because you just took someone to school!

  79. 79
    matthew says:

    BTW,

    my kid sis graduated with honors from an ivy league school and after 2 years of cancer research at NYU wanted to move to Seattle. However after finding the opportunities limited, she ended up in San fransico with genentech.

  80. 80
    Economic Crisis says:

    The idea that biotech is going to rescue Seattle’s residential real estate market is too stupid to even discuss, so you can call this post a passing fart in that general direction. Folks, put down the crack pipe and look around.

  81. 81
    John says:

    So true. Biotech is a niche industry with few workers and even unsteadier income. If the housing market here needs to rely on them, it is already dead.

  82. 82
    Economic Crisis says:

    Well, look on the bright side: At least it’s not as stupid as thinking that the San Diego fires will be good for the real estate market because they will absorb excess supply. Yeah, some realtwhores have actually been posting to that effect in some places!

  83. 83
    johnnybigspenda says:

    i’ll bet there are a few californians who are happy that they their insurance money is going to pay off their mortgage…

  84. 84
    Affluent Bitter Renter says:

    I’ve had a house burn in California. Nothing about it is pleasant or happy.

  85. 85
    EconE says:

    JohhnyBigSpenda…

    I was wondering that myself last night…however…wouldn’t the insurance company only pay for the structure? I would figure that the mortgage covers the land value also which many argue is where the $’s are in RE. Plus there is the deductible that has to be dealt with. Some HO policies have a 10% deductible also…leaving the homeowner with the responsibility of coming up with the extra. I guess it would be a case by case basis but the homeowner is still going to be stuck with a bunch of charred land that they still either own…or owe on.

  86. 86
    melonleftcoast says:

    Well, it is good to get a *rounded* opinion about Seattle, thank you :)!

    These are my interpretations of your answers so far:

    Why Seattle is special (or pros):
    -laid back
    -biggest city in PNW
    -variety of professional jobs
    -moderate temps
    -access to the great outdoors
    -good scenery
    -good locals arts scene

    And why it is not special (or cons):

    -rain/clouds much of year
    -lackluster schools unless in very expensive neighborhoods
    -lack of good public transportation
    -low paying jobs
    -dislike of transplants
    -less world culture
    -small-world view

    From what I’ve experienced, there are pros and cons to every city/region, and I guess the trick is to find the best match with one’s likes/dislikes and career needs. Boston was it for us, but we spent all our vacation time visiting family on the West Coast. We’ll probably end up trying Seattle (as renters) for a few years and see how we like it. We can always move back to Boston (and family be damned) if we decide Seattle just doesn’t work for us.

    As for staying in the SF Bay Area… I love the sun, but I just cannot stomach the thought of raising children in this overly narcisistic, money-centered, self-absorbed and materialistic society. That’s probably my Idaho upbringing coming out :).

    Thanks again!

  87. 87
    Angie says:

    Matthew, he’s on the bus all right, but he’s on the short one and way there in the back.

    Every two bit burg with an office park doesn’t have several major research institutions incubating new technologies right and left. You are smoking crack if you think there are only 125 biotech jobs in this city, and I mean private sector research positions. Bumpt that up by a few orders of magnitude for the number of lab jobs in the city, and don’t forget all the business and admin jobs that come along with ’em.

    Sun Tzu, I am not fixated on biotech. I’m pointing out that no small number of people are drawn to Seattle because of the scientific educational and employment opportunities, and many of them like it here and decide to stay.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all those folks landed six figure salaries and a pink pony besides? Sad to say that ain’t the way it goes–but that doesn’t mean that people still won’t be drawn here for the science. No other city in the state has anything like it, nothing like it anywhere in this quadrant of the country.

  88. 88
    jon says:

    “my kid sis graduated with honors from an ivy league school”

    Up through 2004 at least, 90% of Harvard graduates graduated with honors.
    http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=502775

  89. 89
    Dave says:

    Angie;

    Nice to see that your vapid arguments don’t even address the points I brought up. ShouId I really expect more?

    I am going to ask you one question: Do you work the field? Have you ever held a job in the field? Are you employed in any way whatsoever in the Biotech field? I state right here that you are talking out your a$$.

    So a few orders of magnitude more jobs than YOU listed are readily available. There are thousands? After the AMGEN hiring freeze and losing two of three biggest private Biotech employers in the city? Please show me where they are – link them here for all too see. I would be mightily impressed if you could. I challenge you to prove me wrong. You know what though you can’t, and you know you can’t.

    You want to bet money that every medium to large city isn’t trying to bring in Biotech? I can link to 10 cities trying to sell themselves as Biotech friendly future hubs. Cities alot more business friendly than Seattle. Texas, New England, California, The East Coast in general.

    I don’t deny there are people drawn here for the science. You are very well right – in the PNW there is nothing bigger. The problem is that the comparison stops at the PNW.

    I am saying Seattle itself n terms of Biotech is VERY SMALL POTATOES. We aren’t a hub.

    I’ll make the offer again – please expound on the proliferation of great employment opportunities that your great experience in Biotech can show us. Regale to us at length about your years in laboratory environments and how Seattle really is a player the same size as an actual hub – San Francisco. You may even tell us of all the jobs and positions you have held. Let us know the company names so we see your glory.

    Or you can return to reality and realize that you really don’t know what you are talking about.

    Dave

  90. 90
    disbelief says:

    I really don’t think that the biotech industry is large enough to have an measurable impact on the real estate market in Seattle. Possibly in the future, but not here and now. This is not a factor for preventing a downturn in real estate, and that’s what this blog is about: impact on the real estate market.

  91. 91
    what goes up comes down says:

    Angie you need to go back to school and get an education because your words show how you lack one now.

  92. 92
    Dave says:

    Hi! Funny my last post (which was quite angry) didn’t make. Probably for the best.

    I have seen people like Angie before. She is entirely vested in the Seattle Biotech delusion. I am 99% she has never had a job in Biotech, but is emotionally and financially vested in the idea that we are a hub. I figure she is either a recruiter or a real estate agent, or she is massively over leveraged in pricely SLU condos. Either way her posts above show she is uable to relaistically look at the industry in Seattle and as such her comments are entirely suspect and unreliable.

    Angie – why don’t you fill us in on your massive amounts of Biotech experience, or are you only able to parrot realty brochure lines back at us. Heck, if you are in the industry we may have already met, Seattle has a very small industry.

    Dave

  93. 93
    notabull says:

    Angie said: “You are smoking crack if you think there are only 125 biotech jobs in this city, and I mean private sector research positions.”

    Angie, the poster you are battling was referencing job openings and referenced the website that you originally referenced above. Dave should have said “job openings” and not “jobs”, and I’m sure he’d be willing to correct the relatively minor error in wording. Regardless, it was pretty easy to figure out what this meant from the sidelines, so I think you probably jumped the gun with your “smoking crack” reference.

    As an aside, are you in the biotech industry in Seattle? I’m not, and neither are most people I know. But then again, I don’t hang out with people who torture mice. ;) (just kidding – don’t flame me)

    If you are in the biotech industry, then it would be nice to know. I personally don’t feel qualified to comment on the local biotech “scene” as I’m not in it. I am, however, in the software scene and can confirm that we’re somewhat of a hub in that area. Microsoft is a big part of that but by no means the bulk. There are a lot of tech s/w tech jobs out there, and for the size of the city it has a pretty good amount of s/w jobs. We’re not alone, however.

  94. 94
    SunTzu says:

    The South Lake Union (SLU) related bio corridor development is, of course, spearheaded by Vulcan Capital owned by Paul Allen.

    Most of his ventures aren’t very rewarding…If you owned shares in his Charter Comm. cable company you would have lost money. If you bought into his SpaceShipOne venture you’d be making no money. So I wouldn’t put too much faith in running with Mr. Allen.

    The rich are very different from you and me–they have more money to burn and more tax incentives to get even if it means losing money (for them)superficially.

  95. 95
    Dave says:

    Hi!

    Notabull was completely right – I was using job openings as an example of the size of the market here in Seattle. At no time was I sayign that there were only 125 actual jobs. I would have thought the statement was pretty clear on that.

    That being said what Angie did was reference a very good website (props to her on finding it on her own) for finsing Biotech jobs in WA. It probabkly is the best site for that – and it lists around 125 for the state. Please note – that is proabably an over estimate – there are several lisitngs from other states.

    Taking that into account you can go to http://www.biospace.com – which is a really good website for Bitoech jobs in California. That site lists 300 Biotech jobs in San Francisco alone – and over a thousand in CA in total. Actually you can’t tell the exact amount in CA – the numbers imply don’t go that high on their counter (it says “over 1,000”).

    My point – SF is a hub, Seattle is not. San Diego is also a hub.

    If you were to move to a city on the West Coast from away and your plan was to find a job – why would you move here?

    Hey – a fun little fact that will also drive down the number of emplyment imports in Biotech. Do you know how many positions list “Will not assist with moingg expenses”? Guess what – most of them.

    Dave

  96. 96
    Angie says:

    Funny that anyone who bucks the trend on this blog is instantly suspected of being, gasp, a real estate agent or a speculator! Suffice to say I’ve got more than a passing interest in the state of science employment in the city and more than a little experience in the field as well. (Props to Bilirubi/en who guessed that a few weeks ago.)

    If you were to move to a city on the West Coast from away and your plan was to find a job – why would you move here?

    If you’re looking for a science job? Because the only places on the west coast even more outlandishly expensive than Seattle are the SF Bay area and San Diego. Jesus pete, could it be more obvious?

    Also, we are somewhat less likely to end up falling into the sea thanks to an earthquake, and/or burning to a crisp due to wildfires.

  97. 97
    Dave says:

    Oh yeah – that’s right – I remember reading that. Am I wrong to think you are an M.D.? I don’t remember the specifics, though I do remember (I think) either a direct healthcare or a healthcare/research position.

    Please confirm.

    Dave

  98. 98
    Angie says:

    Wrong on both counts, and immaterial to the discussion at hand, really.

    You think Seattle prices are insane, go look at prices within commuting distance of Genentech in South San Francisco. We’re a bargain in comparison, my friend.

  99. 99
    Dave says:

    Well I did fond out (using the search engine) that you own multiple houses in city and (I didn’t know this) you were a major poster – enough of one to warrent their own article on your opinions.

    Soooo… what does that mean? You may be a low level speculator (real estate owner) financially invested in keeping those properties as valuable as possible and thus acting as a booster (though a booster on a bubble website would be silly).

    Until you show you science experience I am offically signing off on this topic.

    Me personally? I have held 5 jobs in the past 7 years in and around the area. Three non-profit two for profit, two small company, one medium, two very large (non-profit and for profit). I am good at what I do and qualified, I got every job I interviewed for, and have managed to move up to low-mid level management without a PhD. In seven years (10 if you include grad school for the MSc).

    And you?

    Dave

  100. 100
    notabull says:

    “Soooo… what does that mean? You may be a low level speculator (real estate owner) financially invested in keeping those properties as valuable as possible and thus acting as a booster (though a booster on a bubble website would be silly).”

    While it may be true that Angie owns several properties (I don’t feel like checking) it’s not always the case that people are deliberately acting to boost their situation.

    From a personal perspective, it’s just easier to believe that things are “ok” than to believe things are going to hell. You start to look for the silver lining in every news story, you can fall prey to confirmation bias and other features of our lovely and complex brains.

    On the other side of the coin, I find these darn “bubble bloggers” way more likely to take seriously news of impending collapse than to take every article (plus and minus) with equal weight. It’s hard to be completely objective when your personal situation depends on one particular outcome coming true. Tim does a good job at being relatively balanced, but it must be hard. :) He must be a robot or something.

  101. 101
    Alan says:

    Also, we are somewhat less likely to end up falling into the sea thanks to an earthquake, and/or burning to a crisp due to wildfires.

    But we do have volcanos.

  102. 102
    Dave says:

    Angie;

    What point are we discussing? That Seattle is Biotech hub or that it isn’t as expensive as SF?

    I totally agree with you on the second point – the Bay area is much more expensive. Our debate though was about Seattle Biotech and its status comparatively to the rest of the country. Do you have a reply to the points I have made? Do you have so little strength and depth to your argument?

    Have you got anything to back up your agrument? Experience? Anything?

    Dave

  103. 103
    LiquidCrash says:

    Bubbleicious – we sold two houses (our house and a rental) two years ago and are renting. We do not plan to buy.

  104. 104
    The Pat says:

    About 2002 I saw a piece on Bloomberg about two wall street sharpies who sold their Manhattan apartments with the idea of buying back on the cheap after the crash.

    oops.

  105. 105
    melonleftcoast says:

    Dave and Angie,

    “No other city in the state has anything like it, nothing like it anywhere in this quadrant of the country.”

    Maybe Angie means that Seattle is the biotech hub of the PNW. Even I’d believe that.

  106. 106
    what goes up comes down says:

    It would be nice of Angie to answer Dave’s point specifically — Is Seattle a national biotech hub — yes or no? Seems a simple question, especially since Angie suggested Dave rode on the short bus — Well, Angie?

  107. 107
    EconE says:

    I don’t know diddly about bio-tech but it seems as if that is the tout-de-jour with regards to an industry that is destined to prop up the SLU luxury condos…which…by the way…have seen serious price declines from many of the flippers. From the arguments I am hearing, Paul Allen will be starting up slews of research labs in the area. OK…so…let’s just say that there are slews of highly paid scientists that will rush up here…how many will there be? Enough to fill the empty condos in my complex? Are they the ones that will be buying at Escala, One, 5th & Madison, Olive 8, Cosmopolitan…or will Paul Allen throw in an Enso 1BR as a signing bonus? Or…could it be remotely possible that (gasp)….they might want a house? They might want to live in the part of the PNW that has some trees and not right in the Urban Jungle? Sure…some might…but for some reason…I doubt that they’d be willing to spend double to triple the $’s per sf to live downtown than to live in a house. Hopefully these scientists don’t have families too because it’s not very family friendly downtown and no…Denny Park isn’t an exceptionally family friendly park. I’d be willing that these high paid scientists with families (and maybe some without) would much rather live in Greenlake and hop on 99 to get downtown to their research lab.

    Who wants to leave a sterile lab and go home to a sterile hi-rise condo anyways?

  108. 108
    what goes up comes down says:

    Very interesting article, hmmm, over building — glut of inventory — maybe this is why it appears that the inventory levels aren’t dropping this year.

    http://money.cnn.com/2007/10/24/news/economy/builders_forecast/index.htm?cnn=yes

  109. 109
    Dave says:

    I would totally agree that Seattle is a Biotech hub compared to Pullman, Portland, Salem, and Bellingham. No argument there.

    Dave

  110. 110
    notabull says:

    “I would totally agree that Seattle is a Biotech hub compared to Pullman, Portland, Salem, and Bellingham. No argument there.”

    Preston, also. Don’t forget Preston.

  111. 111
    Angie says:

    And compared to Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, North and South Dakota, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, and possible Illinois and Minnesota as well. Among others states as well.

    Look, there are other places in the US that are biotech hubs, too. I fully acknowledge that.

    Seattle (and its metro area) is one of the cities in the nation where there is a big, dynamic, scientific research community, public and private. It’s one of the aspects of our city that draws people here, for scientific training and for job opportunities. Why this is in dispute is a mystery to me.

    How does this relate to the focus of this blog? Well, the other places that incubate new science technologies and the businesses that grow up around them are, generally, *even more expensive* than Seattle. Young people starting out in these fields find housing prices daunting here, but completely and totally impossible in any way in SoCal or the Bay Area. Dave asked why anyone would come here for a science job on the west coast? That’s a damn good reason.

    It’s way cheaper yet to live in Aberdeen, Twisp, or Moscow, Idaho. Good luck finding a biotech job in those places.

    Finally, confidential to Dave: I have little interest in getting into a professional pissing contest with some random guy on a blog who gets awfully bent out of shape over a little ribbing and seems way too interested in finding out who I am. Suffice to say I’ve got rather more experience under my belt than you do. Speculate all you wish.

    Finally, I wanted to say that I hope you aren’t so bullish about biotech because you’ve been bitten by the recent layoffs. If so, I hope another position comes along soon. Layoffs are nasty and it sucks to have life shaken up like that.

  112. 112
    Angie says:

    Gack–make that bearish about biotech.

    Obviously I’m not a financial services professional. ;)

  113. 113
    notabull says:

    “Seattle (and its metro area) is one of the cities in the nation where there is a big, dynamic, scientific research community, public and private. It’s one of the aspects of our city that draws people here, for scientific training and for job opportunities. Why this is in dispute is a mystery to me.”

    Angie, continuing to repeat something doesn’t make it true. I think that some dispute this because they either:

    a) Think it’s not true
    b) Have evidence that it’s not true

    Look, I’m not in the biotech industry and really don’t have a clue either way from personal experience. However, I’m decently intelligent and able to absorb facts and information. So, give me some facts about Biotech in Seattle. Stats. Jobs, increases in jobs. BioJobs, per capita. I dunno, *something* to help your case.

    I’m open to being convinced in either direction. Honestly, I’d *love* to hear that Seattle is in fact a Biotech hub – that would be great for the future of the town. But don’t just *tell* me it is. Give me information, statistics and knowledge so that I can judge for myself.

  114. 114
    notabull says:

    “Suffice to say I’ve got rather more experience under my belt than you do. Speculate all you wish.”

    Angie, this sounds exactly like the “professional pissing contest” that you allegedly have little interest in getting involved in. If you’re going to attempt to take the high ground, at least try and maintain that stance for one paragraph.

  115. 115
    Angie says:

    Good grief.

    Since I, too, have a job that I need to devote time and energy toward, I did a bit of the research that notabull appears incapable of performing him- or herself. The first decent thing I found on the subject is a Brookings Institute report from 2002 about development of biotech centers in the US. Seattle is one of the nine geographic centers across the country where there is enough knowledge base and “capitalization” to create a local industry.

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2002/06labormarkets_joseph-cortright-and-heike-mayer.aspx

    Knock yourself our, and please do your own homework from now on. Thanks.

  116. 116
    Dave says:

    Hi Everyone;

    I wanted update everyone on the status of the companies int he Brooking report on Seattle that Angie so helpfully provided. Here is a list of the 10 ten employers in Biotech in Seattle in 2002.

    Pleasenote – in the industry this info is extremely old. 5 years is an eternity.

    Okay lets start:

    Immunex – bought by Amgen – layoffs and hiring freeze.
    Zymogenetics – still doing well as far as I know.
    Corixa – Gone
    Icos – Gone
    Cell Therapeutics, Inc. – Layoffs of 50% of the company in 2005,
    Neutraceutix Inc. – Haven’t heard anything about them.
    Rosetta Inpharmatics, Inc. – Layoffs of 10% last year.
    Targeted Genetics, Corp. – seems to be doing well.
    NeoRx corp. – Gone
    Molecumetrics – Gone

    Yep – we are dong great – only 3 of the ten as far as I know are still in existence and not laying off.

    What I can onyl deduce from this experience is that Angie is abotu a 15 year verteran lab manager at the U Dub or the Hutch. Places liek that breed insularity and unrealistic world views because 1) you literally can do those jobs for 40 years and retire an b) you don’t actaully have to make any money, just keep getting grants.

    I figure Angie is a lab manager, been doing it long enough to maybe have broken 50,000.00 a year in her career (possibly) and is feeling confident of future job security. I don’t think she is a Principle Investigator – literally that is a very difficult career path and the time she put into upgradin her house simply not be there early in her career. So she has the nice stable 40-50 hour work week – not the 70-80 hour work week of junior faculty. Little does she know what is coming – there is going to be a huge glut of 25 year lab managers in academics, indeed there already is. As smaller labs close those people are laid off and the fact is there are fewer labs and fewer grants every year. Ask any faculty member if it is easier or mcuh harder getting grants. Those people who never leave the lab manager position end up turned out on the street- competeing with their juniors for jobs.

    Angie, when that layoff comes (and they are coming) please remind yourself when you are on your 15th job interview and lookign at a 40% paycut (firends with personal experience) think this “But wait – Seattle is a hub!”

    PS – I was laid off in 2003, in Biotech that is pretty normal. It is actaulyl a badge that says – yep, I’ve been around.

    Dave

  117. 117
    SunTzu says:

    I don’t bank on biotech just like I don’t bank on the pharmaceuticals because as far as I’m concerned they’re two peas in a pod.

    They both take a lot of initial investment to come up with viable products, you’d be lucky if one or two go from lab to shelf and give you a decent ROI. That’s why in drug industry there has been consolidation towards larger companies because small companies can go bust in an instant if they bank on one magic product and it falters. The way I see it that’s why Seattle’s smaller biotech companies were bought up. You need to look at where the large cap biotech companies are because that’s where biotech will be viable.

    It also explains why drug prices in the US is so much higher because that’s how the pharmas recoup their investments. These companies know they can get away with charging out of whack prices in the US because the gov’t does not negotiate drug prices with them. So until these biotechs have price leverage I’d not bank on them.

    The pharmas and biotech are also very dependent on IP protection but that means as a company you’re under constant pressure of litigation while your patent is good but after your patent expires, you’re looking at even more pressure.

  118. 118
    Dave says:

    Sun Tzu has it exactly. It is almost like in the software world – the only goal of the company is to be attractive enough to get bought out and make the owners a lot of money. Very few smll biotechs have long range plans.

    Dave

  119. 119
    wreckingbull says:

    Personally, I don’t think Paul Allen really gives a rats arse about biotech. He is more concerned with filling his residential and commercial real estate holdings. That is where the money is, not in high-risk biotech.

    Touting SLU as a biotech hub is merely just a means to that end, not unlike his sick little affair with King Nickels that gave birth to the S.L.U.T. Seattle politics are really starting to emit a rancid stench.

  120. 120
    NotaBull says:

    Angie said: “I did a bit of the research that notabull appears incapable of performing him- or herself.”

    OK, Angie, I’ve remained as nice as I can in this conversation, but that’s over with. YOU ARE A MORON!

    Here’s why: I don’t HAVE to do the f**king research. YOU’RE the one making the claim that Seattle is a biotech hub so YOU’RE the one that has to support that claim. NOT ME!

    GET IT? (I’ll stay in bold to see if that helps get these concepts into your head)

    IF YOU STATE A FACT, YOU ARE THE ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR SUPPORTING THAT FACT WITH EVIDENCE, STATISTICS AND DATA. YOU DON’T GET TO WHINE AT OTHERS THAT ASK FOR SUPPORTING DATA AND COMPLAIN THAT THEY ARE NOT RESEARCHING THE FACTS THAT *YOU* ARE STATING.

    I don’t know why this is so hard for you.

    Besides, Dave (the actual knowledgeable person in this area, as far as I can see based on his facts and data he provides) has just taken your old report and slashed it to pieces.

    Pathetic. You are truly pathetic.

    Oh, and BTW, did I say you’re an idiot? Not sure if I mentioned that.

  121. 121
    Angie says:

    Dave, keep on guessing. Have fun. Thanks for the career advice, but I’d probably put more stock in what you had to say if your average length of employment were greater than 15 months per job (5 in 7 years? damn!)

    And you’re right about that turnover. Just like I said up thread, businesses come and go. And there are a bunch of new companies that are up and running now that didn’t exist when the research for that report was being done. What’s your point?

    Notabull, your opinion of me is worth the paper it’s printed on, and in an electronic format, that’s saying something.

    You’re the one who’s ignorant of the situation (here, biotech in Seattle) and you want to know the facts. It would seem then incumbent on you to, um, do a little investigation. I’ve already got the facts, I don’t need to go find ’em out again and present them for your entertainment and education. Fortunately for you, I’m both friendly and helpful. ;)

  122. 122
    Dave says:

    Hi Angie;

    Yep – 5 jobs in seven years. Proud of the fact, really. You see that time my salary has gone 4X or 400% over what it was starting.

    You see, in Biotech for everyone listening, you advance faster by changing companies and promoting yourself, not waiting for others to promote you. 400% in 7 years sounds pretty good to me. Enjoying that 4% COLA increase every year Angie?

    Angie, not presenting the facts you have, in a debate, really is…..silly.

    So most of the major players from 5 years ago are in trouble. Please list the new major players. Names?

    Dave

  123. 123
    deejayoh says:

    well, I’m not a math major or anything, but technically speaking, 4x your original salary is only 300% over what it was starting.

    slacker

  124. 124
    Dave says:

    Oops – yep – you are right.

    300% increase.

    Thanks!

    Dave

  125. 125
    what goes up comes down says:

    Angie, quick question:

    Do you actually think before you talk?

  126. 126
    In Exile/Obsessed says:

    I thought that this blog was moderated? Why the name calling? “Moron’?

    These blogs strike me as something like a high school boys’ room, or jock room or whatever those are called. Most everyone here speaks with one voice, has the same axe to grind, and when anyone expresses an opposing opinion, out come the axes. It’s a sort of gang mentality. Weird phenomenon–I see it also on rgemonitor and sometimes calculatedrisk. But to a lesser extent.

    Might I propose that there be more tolerance for opposing viewpoints and no ad hominem attacks, which are fundamental rules of civil discourse.

  127. 127
    what goes up comes down says:

    In Exile/Obsessed I agree with you in theory, I think the problem occurs when someone with a different view doesn’t want to represent that they have a different view based on their own vested interests. For instance I have seen plenty of people who after presenting why they think housing prices will sink admit that they are renters now so that can be figured into their statements. However, with someone like Angie she pretends that she doesn’t have a vested interest in prices going up. Now we all know that is not true but I think it infuriates people when she pretends we are so stupid that we can’t figure it out.

    I mean she makes statements and then tells other people to prove them ala notabull. No wonder he got pissed and called her a moron.

  128. 128
    Matthew says:

    She doesn’t back any of her points up with data. At least Meshugy used to attempt to defend his point of view with some sort of statistics.

  129. 129
    notabull says:

    “I mean she makes statements and then tells other people to prove them ala notabull. No wonder he got pissed and called her a moron.”

    Exactly. I regret getting that annoyed and calling names, but I don’t really regret it that much if I’m honest. :)

    All I asked was for some data to back up her statements. I don’t see why I’m supposed to provide that data… I was not the one making the statement or claims in the first place.

    Making baseless claims, refusing to supply data (that’s of any use and accuracy) and then accusing others of being too lazy to find the data themselves is a very poor way to debate your point.

  130. 130
    notabull says:

    “You’re the one who’s ignorant of the situation (here, biotech in Seattle) and you want to know the facts. It would seem then incumbent on you to, um, do a little investigation. I’ve already got the facts, I don’t need to go find ‘em out again and present them for your entertainment and education.”

    Correct, I am ignorant regarding Biotech in Seattle. I already told you that. I’m not in Biotech. I have never been in biotech. I will never be in biotech.

    So, in order to support YOUR statement that Seattle is a biotech hub, please provide some current (and correct) information that will prove your point.

    Again, I am not making a point of my own here. I AM NOT SAYING THAT SEATTLE IS NOT A BIOTECH HUB. I am not saying ANYTHING. Therefore, I do not have to provide any supporting evidence and it is not incumbent on me to do anything. I am simply asking you for some information to support YOUR claim. If you cannot provide current and accurate information, then I’ll put your statements where they belong – in the garbage.

    You say you already have the facts. Why, that’s excellent news! I look forward to you posting them on this blog. As I said above, I’d be very happy if your statement was correct as this would be great news for Seattle.

    It’s pretty obvious you’ve dug yourself into a hole with this whole “biotech hub” thing and are just not able to admit that you:

    a) Don’t know anything about biotech (like me!)
    b) Know about biotech, just can’t seem to find any evidence that supports your claims that you recently extracted from your ass.

  131. 131
    SunTzu says:

    Zymogenetics(ZGEN):

    Gross Margin (TTM) -551.14
    Gross Margin – 5 Yr. Avg. -144.95

    EBITD Margin (TTM) -706.88
    EBITD – 5 Yr. Avg. -202.71

    Operating Margin (TTM) -742.11
    Operating Margin – 5 Yr. Avg. -219.04
    Pre-Tax Margin (TTM) -718.35
    Pre-Tax Margin – 5 Yr. Avg. -211.64

    Net Profit Margin (TTM) -718.35
    Net Profit Margin – 5 Yr. Avg. -211.64

  132. 132
    SunTzu says:

    Cell Therapeutics(CTIC):
    Gross Margin (TTM) NM

    EBITD Margin (TTM) -112,743.80
    EBITD – 5 Yr. Avg. -580.55

    Operating Margin (TTM) -120,578.80
    Operating Margin – 5 Yr. Avg. -627.94

    Pre-Tax Margin (TTM) -144,383.80
    Pre-Tax Margin – 5 Yr. Avg. -766.99

    Net Profit Margin (TTM) -144,383.80
    Net Profit Margin – 5 Yr. Avg. -766.99

  133. 133
    SunTzu says:

    I encourage those who bet on Seattle’s biotech to buy up shares of CTIC and ZGEN since they’re at a bargain for the eventual upsurge…..

    I have no position in those companies nor am affiliated…

  134. 134
    Dave says:

    Coudl you explain to me thos enumbers? and are those negative numbers? I am a little confused.

    Dave

  135. 135
    deejayoh says:

    Local biotech employment data is readily available with 2 minutes of effort on Mr. Google.

    Biotech Firm and Labor Stats by Region

    2005 biotech employment in seattle was 11.6k according to BLS, vs 68k in the bay area, 22k in San Diego, 16k in boston, 61k in LA, and 18k in RTP.

    Seatte is firmly in the second tier and probably destined to stay that way given the sale of Immunex and the relative paucity of candidates in the pipeline for remaining local independents.

    and FWIW I have worked in biotech (as a strategy consultant) and while it has been a few years it doesn’t look like much has changed.

    That said, let’s try to keep the conversation civil.

  136. 136
    SunTzu says:

    Dave,
    All the numbers are in % and they all relate to the financial health of a company. The gist of those margins means what is left over to the company and sharholders after costs and expeditures, just different ways of slicing revenue numbers. Obviously, the higher (positive numbers) the better.

    A better explanation:
    http://www.investor.reuters.com/learn.aspx?ticker=ZGEN.O&target=%2fstocks%2ffinancialinfo%2fratios%2fprofitmargin&page=learn

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