Seattle Bubble Fundraising Drive

Please Support Seattle Bubble

As you may or may not know, Seattle Bubble is one of a handful of projects that now make up my full-time job. Since dedicating a larger amount of time to improve and expand Seattle Bubble, I have been able to greatly improve the aesthetics, add useful widgets like “recent forum posts” on the sidebar, and create more in-depth and interesting posts.

However, as the housing market returns to sanity, my work here is only just beginning.

So, I’m taking a page out of the public TV playbook, and running a donation drive this week. The goal is pretty modest: $2,500. Considering that a popular local political blog was recently able to raise $6,000 in a week, I think this is a wholly realistic goal.

I would like Seattle Bubble to become so much more than just real estate news and discussion. We’ve already got a lot of useful resources here for anyone that wants to research the local housing market, but I want to give you more. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve got cooking for Seattle Bubble:

  • Comprehensive checklists for home buyers and sellers
  • Simple to use and easy to interpret market statistics (i.e. – not just the usual static graphs and charts)
  • Interactive maps (in-progress sneak preview)
  • Succinct quarterly market newsletters

In order to do all these things, I need to keep growing the income generated by Seattle Bubble. So I’m coming to you, the readers with a request for a few bucks. If you would like to support what we’re doing here, there are a number of ways you can donate.

If you’d like to donate up to $25, I recommend the under-utilized Bulls, Bears, and Ponies gimmick.

Alternatively, for donations of $10 to $250 (in round increments), you can use this handy-dandy button here:




































For anyone generous/crazy enough to want to give more than that, you can enter any amount you like through PayPal here.

If you want something more tangible in return for your money, consider buying some advertising on Seattle Bubble. Our rates range from $65 to $200 a month, and we are fairly flexible in how we display the ads. Please read through the advertising page and contact us through the link there for more information.

Please consider donating to Seattle Bubble to help this become an even better resource to educate and empower regular people that just want to make the most out of buying or selling a home.

As is the custom with donation drives, I’ll be popping in throughout the week with updates and a renewed request for your support. Rest assured, this will not mean a reduction in the number of quality on-topic posts you get in the mean time. I’ll keep bringing you the latest news on Seattle’s housing market whether you choose to support me financially or not.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and generosity.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

76 comments:

  1. 1

    Tim,

    If you aren’t already heavily invested in Google Maps, you might want to consider Microsoft’s Virtual Earth (aka Live Maps) for your Interactive Maps stuff.

    It offers a number of advantages over Google like more professional looking map tiles and the stunning Bird’s Eye View. A lot of the local real estates use it, including John L. Scott and Redfin.

    Visit: http://dev.virtualearth.net for resources.

    Another good resource: http://blogs.msdn.com/virtualearth/archive/2008/04/11/new-virtual-earth-api-release-virtual-earth-6-1.aspx

    Regards,
    -Steve

  2. 2
    Moe Ronn - Realitor® says:

    Hi Tim,

    Yes, I do agree that you’re intitled to some compensation for your valuable work here. However, the $50 minimum contribution is a bit steep. If you could include a $25 level, I think more people would be willing to make a contribution. Heck, even a $10 level wouldn’t hurt.

    Moe

  3. 3
    The Tim says:

    Moe, I did include lower levels, all the way down to $5 via the Bulls, Bears, Ponies gimmick. It’s not as visible in the post as the Google Checkout button, but I did include it there :^)

    P.S. – Just to make it easier, I added $10 and $25 amounts to the Google Checkout button in the post. Thanks for the feedback!

  4. 4
    magnolia44 says:

    Did someone say “Seattle Bubble” bubble? Lol… good luck. All the savers who come here boasting about how much they saved should be able to cover you more than enough on your $2,500 drive. Home owners however cant donate because after all (according to the site) the world is ending and the sky is falling and we should save every penny since we will all be upside down by 30 – 40% in a few years time.

    Good luck with that, I do enjoy the site just thought I would throw a little harassment out there and no I wont be donating.

  5. 5
    The Tim says:

    …after all (according to the site) the world is ending and the sky is falling and we should save every penny since we will all be upside down by 30 – 40% in a few years time.

    Interesting assertion. Could you be so kind as to point to the specific posts in which this site has made such a claim?

    Thanks.

  6. 6
    magnolia44 says:

    I guess I shouldnt say site, but more of the threads and the general direction of posts. Not to say there is anything wrong with one view or the other just pointing out how I view the site. Again the people who come here and share the view and cheer on the downfall when a job loss thread is started should have more than enogh to satisfy the donation requirement.

    I do suggest posting in a few days or weeks pleading to home owners to join the pledge since all the big saving renters did not meet the pledge goal. That would be funny and at that point i would send a few bucks.

  7. 7
    The Tim says:

    To be honest with you magnoila44, I’m not sure why someone that’s a home “owner” and not currently interested in selling their home would be interested in this site at all.

    Seattle Bubble is news about the housing market. I would expect the audience to be composed of potential home buyers, home sellers, and people in the industry. Why someone that is currently happy in their existing home would be interested enough in the housing market to follow this site is beyond me.

  8. 8
    TJ_98370 says:

    Is it just me, or has there been more than the usual number of grumpy / defensive “home owners” visiting lately?

  9. 9
    patient says:

    TJ I noticed and I think that is just as expected. 1st wave of hostilities from industry folks who’s income is threatened, 2nd wave from home sellers who can’t get the price they want and 3rd wave from home owners who don’t like seeing their home values going down and feels the need of someone innocent to blame.

  10. 10
    b says:

    TJ – Its not just you, thats for sure. My favorite is the angry assumption that they, as home owners, are extremely wealthy compared to non-home owners (witness magnolia44 in this thread). I see it as kind of a psychological projection, they are pissed at losing paper profits and therefore must believe that people who are not losing money have a worse off position somehow.

  11. 11
    brettro says:

    donated! Thanks for all that you do

  12. 12
    Garth says:

    Tim,

    Part of having a community site is that the people who comment a lot start to represent the tone of the blog. You often jump in and provide opinions in the comments to bullish posters who go to far, but from what I have seen you never correct the bears (I remember one super long extra rambling post by softwareengineer that you moved). Sniglet and others have been wrongly projecting immediate 20% declines and 50% off the entire time I have read this blog (well over a year) . Those predictions are way worse than anything you ever personally posted, but I bet if you did a survey many readers would attribute those opinions to you.

  13. 13
    Madrona says:

    patient: “1st wave of hostilities from industry folks who’s income is threatened, 2nd wave from home sellers who can’t get the price they want and 3rd wave from home owners who don’t like seeing their home values going down and feels the need of someone innocent to blame.”

    I suppose I would fall into the 3rd category. I am a home owner, and any home owner wouldn’t like to see their home value go down. But, that’s not why I check out the site. I enjoy politics and debate, so I think that may be a partial reason why some homeowners visit the site. The housing market pretty well affects everyone in the area either directly or indirectly. That’s just my two cents.

  14. 14
    deejayoh says:

    Garth – FWIW – I have a open-ended bet with Sniglet that Seattle prices won’t go down 50% – ever…

    There are super bulls and super bears on the site. I think the bulk of participants are looking for an unbiased source of info that is consumer friendly. Even though the site is named “Seattle Bubble”, I think the case can be made that Tim has far less skin in the game as far as the market going up or down than anyone in the real estate business or local media outlets – so why would he be biased?

    Agree that the tone in the comments can get a hysterical, but at least no one gets banned…

  15. 15
    Joel says:

    What’s so crazy about 50% off?

  16. 16
    Mikal says:

    Madrona, I agree.

  17. 17
    MacAttack says:

    To be honest with you magnoila44, I’m not sure why someone that’s a home “owner” and not currently interested in selling their home would be interested in this site at all.

    Seattle Bubble is news about the housing market. I would expect the audience to be composed of potential home buyers, home sellers, and people in the industry. Why someone that is currently happy in their existing home would be interested enough in the housing market to follow this site is beyond me.

    Well, I am happy in the home that I (1/3) own (the bank owns the rest, for now). But I had lots of people pooh-pooh the idea that RE would ever go down here in PDX. And I work in the finance/manufacturing industry, so I follow along for the fun of it.

    It might also be that I was priced out of the Bay Area market years ago, and had friends who said I should buy the biggest house I could, for maximum gain. I disagreed with that 15 years ago, and still disagree today. Once you figure in the taxes, maintenance, insurance, etc. how big is that profit, really?

    I personally live in a manufactured home (trailer :) on a few acres outside town. That was a concious choice too, since we were getting quotes to replace the original trailer of $200 a square foot.

  18. 18
    Garth says:

    deejayoh,

    I think the perception issue is mostly related to the fact that super bearish comments are often followed by a long string of comments in agreement, while a bullish comment often leads to insults about the person’s intelligence uninformed statements about the person’s profession. (not being a bubble head does not mean you are a real estate agent, not wanting to post personal addresses or MLS numbers on the site does not mean you are automatically wrong. )

    The tone here at times has definitely changed on both sides since about august, as the Bubbleheads are not down nearly as much as they hoped, and many homeowners are probably down more than they had expected.

    Joel,

    If San Diego peaked in fall of 2005 and is down 20-30% since, how do you see Seattle going down twice as far with less building, better jobs and foreclosures many times lower. 50% drops just does not pencil with any of the available data.

  19. 19
    Angie says:

    To be honest with you magnoila44, I’m not sure why someone that’s a home “owner” and not currently interested in selling their home would be interested in this site at all.

    It all really boils down to a cult of personality, Tim. I mean, THE Tim.

    I’m an owner with no intention of selilng, and I’m here and still reading along with interest, as time permits. Why? It’s a good front-row seat for rubbernecking as the crash progresses, and I’m rooting for prices to fall, too. As I’ve written before, in the not too distant future we’re hoping to buy our next house and turn the current one into a rental, too. Being in debt stings a lot less when you can pay it off with other peoples’ money.

  20. 20
    MrRational says:

    With all the money you are saving in rent you sure are a bunch of cheap bastards. Only $225 has been donated so far??? I know everyone is diligently saving up their down payments for when we have our 50% off sale but come on…I think The Tim deserves better than this!

  21. 21
    magnolia44 says:

    Mr Rational,

    My point exactly…. the renters should support the site its the mantra and will save them $$ by the continued mantra of the downturn. Remember renters if this site scares one person or makes them think twice you win so why not donate.

  22. 22
    Mikal says:

    Angie, Amen.

  23. 23
    The Tim says:

    magnolia44, I really have no idea what you’re talking about. “mantra of the downturn”? “scaring people”? Those have nothing to do with the purpose or the content of this site.

  24. 24
    Joel says:

    If San Diego peaked in fall of 2005 and is down 20-30% since, how do you see Seattle going down twice as far with less building, better jobs and foreclosures many times lower.

    Why do you assume that San Diego has already hit bottom? And what makes you think that foreclosures here won’t increase?

    50% drops just does not pencil with any of the available data.

    And what data might that be?

  25. 25
    Mikal says:

    Joel, San Diego has alot of subprime loans. Seattle does not.

  26. 26
    Joel says:

    Sniglet and others have been wrongly projecting immediate 20% declines

    the Bubbleheads are not down nearly as much as they hoped

    I’ve only visited this site for about a year now, but I don’t think this is even true. Sniglet, have you been wrongly predicting immediate 20% declines?

  27. 27
    george says:

    Magnolia44, you have it backwards.

    Don’t blame the realists who warned that this disaster was coming. Blame any job losses that result from the bubble crash on the cheerleaders in the real estate industry, the press, and policy makers.

    If the press had reported on the bubble earlier and if lawmakers took the risk of the credit bubble seriously, we would be much better off today.

    Even a fool could see the bubble forming, but the Tim deserves our support for providing tons of useful information on this site you can’t get anywhere else.

  28. 28
    Rentersarelosers says:

    The tone here at times has definitely changed on both sides since about august, as the Bubbleheads are not down nearly as much as they hoped, and many homeowners are probably down more than they had expected.
    …………………..

    Bubbleheads are upset that their lowball offers are not being accepted = closings down 20-30%.
    Not one Bubblehead answered my question on another blog when I asked how many offers have you submitted that have been turned down (I wonder If any of your bubbleheads can actually get a mortgage)

    Sellers are upset that Buyers are unwilling to negotiate.

    Gross Result = Standoff

    Net Result = Sellers stay in their wonderful homes :-) and buyers stay in their sweet rental digs (yeah really).

    I am a seller and am done cutting my ask.

    Good luck with your fund raising campaign Tim, and don’t accept any lowball contributions, after all, your followers are feeling quite flush with dough living the wonderful carefree low cost rental life.

    There, that wasn’t so bad………..

  29. 29
    Joel says:

    Joel, San Diego has alot of subprime loans. Seattle does not.

    So? If I assume your argument is the same as Garth’s (we aren’t as bad as San Diego and San Diego has only gone down 20% therefore we cannot ever go down more than that) please explain to me why you think San Diego prices have hit bottom.

    Also your statement about subprime mortgages may not even be true. Take a look at this subprime mortgage map done up by the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2007/11/03/weekinreview/20071103_SUBPRIME_GRAPHIC.html#

    And finally, if you’ve been following the mortgage mess at all within the past several months you would’ve noticed that the problem extends far beyond just subprime mortgages.

  30. 30
    Garth says:

    Joel,

    There is zero data (MLS, Case Shiller, Census, OFHEO) that shows a 50% decline is likely here. Seattle zip codes specificly (which is all I really care about), even less of a chance.

    Just looking at foreclosure data for San Diego, I don’t see any periods, even using tim’s time shift (which I think is worthless anyways considering that SD started down in 2005 and had 18 months more lax lending and seattle “peaked” at the same moment the credit crisis started) that indicate similar building and mortgage activity took place here on remotely the same scale.

    Most of the most bearish predictions I have read project the worst markets will decline 50%, so worst case we are going to be under that.

    You just can’t fall from heights you never reached.

  31. 31
    Alan says:

    Not one Bubblehead answered my question on another blog when I asked how many offers have you submitted that have been turned down

    I’ll answer that. None.

    I’m not looking for a “deal” or something “below market value”. I am not a full time RE person nor do I want to be. I suspect that any “deal” I get will fall into the category of “you get what you pay for”. I want a standard, run of the mill, average transaction. Low balling doesn’t get me that. I suspect low balling would get me a house that a seller is eager to unload because it has mold or termite damage that has been covered up. No thank you.

    I’ll start making offers when I see properties I would be happy in long term that I can afford. Maybe that means prices will drop. Maybe it means I’ll earn more. Maybe it means I’ll keep renting. I’m not going to rent forever though. I’ll move to a part of the country where I can afford to purchase a home if that is what it takes.

    I am a seller and am done cutting my ask.

    You know, buyers aren’t conspiring against you. We aren’t some big nefarious organization out to show sellers who is boss by making them cut their prices. At price X there is Y% of the population that is willing to buy at that price. Lower X and Y goes up. You have two options:

    1. Wait until someone in that Y% shows up (Y could be 1% — if you get five showings a week, you’ll sell in 20 weeks on average).
    2. Lower your price.

    Time or money. Of course, since you have holdings costs time equals money so your options are really between money and money. Figure out which one costs less and do that.

    Seriously, whining about it here isn’t doing you any good.

  32. 32
    The Tim says:

    I somehow hadn’t seen that NYT map, thanks Joel. However, we did actually cover the San Diego vs. Seattle subprime thing on here back in October. The gist of it is that King County and San Diego County had very similar rates of dangerous financing.

  33. 33
    Joel says:

    I wonder If any of your bubbleheads can actually get a mortgage

    I haven’t made any offers or applied for any mortgages (why would I want to take out an enormous loan on an asset that is going to greatly depreciate over the next few years?), but you’re probably right. I probably couldn’t get a mortgage for something I would actually want to live in. And that’s precisely why house prices will continue to fall.

    Net Result = Sellers stay in their wonderful homes

    Yes, if they are so wonderful then why are they trying to sell it? And what about the people that can’t stay in their homes?

  34. 34
    TheHulk says:

    RAL, have you heard about the 5 stages of grief? If not look it up. It seems like you are transitioning from #1 (denial) to #2 (anger). Since you are not able to sell your house at your grossly inflated price, you are raving and ranting out on this board.

    I think a number of people here including myself have more than enough money to put down for a house (10-20%). If you look back at most of us after 5 years I can assure you more than 50% of the people on this site will have bought houses. However “At Present” all these rational people see no sense buying into a depreciating asset. Sellers can stay in their “wonderful homes” with their wonderful “depreciating paper values”.

    IF you are truly a seller and a desperate one at that (someone who purchased within the last 2 years) you will soon move to bargaining (Some please just buy my house even if it is a loser renter!!).

    Lol

    A happy renter paying less than 1200 a month to stay in a wonderful house!

  35. 35
    Mikal says:

    Tim, correct me if I’m wrong, most subprime resets in two years which means most of that has been either refinanced or the homeowner took the hit from the ARM. If the credit crash hit everyone at the same time why would it take longer here than elsewhere? Just because our appreciation started later shouldn’t do it as banks stopped lending everywhere at the same time.

  36. 36
    Rentersarelosers says:

    Joel,
    ………………
    I haven’t made any offers or applied for any mortgages (why would I want to take out an enormous loan on an asset that is going to greatly depreciate over the next few years?), but you’re probably right. I probably couldn’t get a mortgage for something I would actually want to live in. And that’s precisely why house prices will continue to fall.
    …………………….

    That’s why house prices will continue to fall? Dude, there is always someone that makes more dough than you. Maybe you will never be able to afford a Seattle home. Maybe Tacoma is more affordable for you. In the meantime, why are you here if you are not actively buying or selling a home? Are you cheerleading hoping your comments will drive prices down further? You are my handle dude.

    ……………….
    Yes, if they are so wonderful then why are they trying to sell it? And what about the people that can’t stay in their homes?
    ………………..

    Some people want to sell to move up to bigger and better, some want to retire to smaller, some have job relocation plans and a very small MINORITY in Seattle have financial problems. Documented in all the papers, Seattle foreclosures are among the lowest in the Nation.

    So, that said…YOU in my opinion personify the typical Bubblehead here. You can’t afford Seattle so lets bash the crap out of it, get media attention, and hopefully we will get our 3 BR homes for 150-200k.

    Ha Ha Ha………….

  37. 37
    Joel says:

    There is zero data (MLS, Case Shiller, Census, OFHEO) that shows a 50% decline is likely here. Seattle zip codes specificly (which is all I really care about), even less of a chance.

    Garth, that simply isn’t true. Take a look at rents vs. monthly carryiyng cost of owning. There may be some places in Seattle proper (which I really don’t care at all about) where rents are greater than 50% of the cost of owning, but that’s not true about most of the county.

    Most of the most bearish predictions I have read project the worst markets will decline 50%, so worst case we are going to be under that.

    So you don’t really have a reason why we can’t fall 50% other than some other people said so. Do you know what their reasoning is? Also note that not 2 years ago the most bearish predictions weren’t predicting declines at all anywhere. You were considered bearish if you thought prices would just level off and not keep rocketing higher. So pardon me if I don’t trust someone’s prediction outright without actually seeing their reasoning.

  38. 38
    jg says:

    Magnolia44,

    “(according to the site) the world is ending and the sky is falling and we should save every penny since we will all be upside down by 30 – 40% in a few years time.”

    I seriously don’t think anyone said the world is ending or the sky is falling, but it would be prudent to cut back on spending during an economic slowdown. Don’t you think?

    JEEEZZZZ!!!

    As far as being underwater by 30-40% in a few years time, it all depends if you bought at the top, for way inflated price, and have to sell. I have been house hunting for the past month and EVERY single house I looked at was reduces by at least 10%. This includes new construction, condos, and older SFH. Let’s not even get started with the half finished housing projects that have a few completed homes next to shells that have obviously been sitting that way for many months (broken windows and just crap everywhere). The realtors I met were bored out of their minds as the traffic was zero and most said the seller was very motivated or worse.

    Downturns usually take years if history is a good indicator, and we are less than a year into our downturn here.

    I don’t know if the median will get 30-40% off here in the Seattle area, but individual houses in my price range (300-350K) are falling fast. Seattle proper will probably see better price preservation.

    Yes, I have friends who do not share my outlook on the housing market or the economy, but I do not blast them for having those views. I offer DATA and my way of interpreting the data. They either agree or they don’t. I still consider them to be friends (my fiance is one of them but luckily I have the final decision on any large purchase).

    Do you have any data to offer or is your only reason for being here to spray ad hominem arguments?

    jg

  39. 39
    Garth says:

    This map shows both subprime and alt A

    http://www.newyorkfed.org/mortgagemaps/

    Zillow is showing little correlation between SD and Seattle

    http://www.zillow.com/quarterlies/QuarterlyThumbs.htm?msa=San+Diego+Carlsbad+San+Marcos+CA

    http://www.zillow.com/quarterlies/QuarterlyThumbs.htm?msa=Seattle+Tacoma+Bellevue+WA

    So far if you want big declines you need toxic financing, lots of new housing developments concentrating those with toxic financing and the most overpriced properties in one area. You have to go pretty deep to find that here.

  40. 40
    Rentersarelosers says:

    I don’t see the sellers panicking:

    http://www.zillow.com/real-estate/WA-Seattle-affordability

    Click on the 10 year chart.

    Cheers!

  41. 41
    jg says:

    Garth,

    Great maps!!!

  42. 42
    Garth says:

    Joel,

    I will use robert shiller to demonstrate how silly 50% predictions in seattle are:

    Yale University economist Robert Shiller, pioneer of the Case-Shiller home price index, predicted in a recent speech that housing prices could be headed for a worse fall than the 30% drop of the Great Depression.
    http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=480581

    So you think we are headed for a 20% greater drop than the great depression?

  43. 43
    Joel says:

    Dude, there is always someone that makes more dough than you.

    Um, most of those people already own houses?.

    Maybe you will never be able to afford a Seattle home

    Again, another reason why house prices will have to continue to fall. How can MS employees prop up house prices in the entire region if, like you say, the may never be able to afford a house?

    Maybe Tacoma is more affordable for you.

    Probably, but I don’t want to live there.

    In the meantime, why are you here if you are not actively buying or selling a home?

    Other than to aggravate you, I’m here to learn about real estate because someday I might want to stop being a poor, stupid, dirty renter and buy a house. When that time comes I want to be able to make an informed decision rather than just trust my realtor.

    Are you cheerleading hoping your comments will drive prices down further?

    No, I don’t have to.

    You are my handle dude.

    Dude, I don’t know what that means dude, but dude, it sounds dirty dude.

    Documented in all the papers, Seattle foreclosures are among the lowest in the Nation.

    Oh I see, foreclosures can never increase. Kind of like how they never increased from last year’s even lower levels.

    So, that said…YOU in my opinion personify the typical Bubblehead here. You can’t afford Seattle so lets bash the crap out of it, get media attention, and hopefully we will get our 3 BR homes for 150-200k.

    Thank you for telling me who I am. I forgot that I have bashed the crap out of Seattle, gotten media attention and am hoping for 3 BR houses for 150-200k. What else do you know about me that I don’t know about myself?

  44. 44
    Rentersarelosers says:

    >Dude, there is always someone that makes more dough than you.

    Um, most of those people already own houses?.
    ………………….

    Ummm DUDE, how about relo’s?

    >Maybe you will never be able to afford a Seattle home

    Again, another reason why house prices will have to continue to fall. How can MS employees prop up house prices in the entire region if, like you say, the may never be able to afford a house?
    …………….
    Like I said, there will always be someone that makes more dough and will jump in before you.

    >Maybe Tacoma is more affordable for you.

    Probably, but I don’t want to live there.
    ……………

    You might just have to get used to the Tacoma Aroma, you obviously cant afford Seattle.

    >In the meantime, why are you here if you are not actively buying or selling a home?

    Other than to aggravate you, I’m here to learn about real estate because someday I might want to stop being a poor, stupid, dirty renter and buy a house. When that time comes I want to be able to make an informed decision rather than just trust my realtor.
    …..

    Aaaah, so you come to the Bash Seattle Real estate blog. Good luck…….You Bubbleheads have watched the dip and will moan and groan on the rise. And you will still be renters.
    ………..

    >Are you cheerleading hoping your comments will drive prices down further?

    No, I don’t have to.

    You are my handle dude.

    Dude, I don’t know what that means dude, but dude, it sounds dirty dude.
    …………..

    Its not dirty, handle is “rentersarelosers”
    ………….

    Documented in all the papers, Seattle foreclosures are among the lowest in the Nation.

    Oh I see, foreclosures can never increase. Kind of like how they never increased from last year’s even lower levels.
    ……………

    For sure they can increase, are you astute/connected enough to get in front of multiple offers on a foreclosure or a short sale? Do you even know how it works? I do. It’s not easy, Good luck.

    >So, that said…YOU in my opinion personify the typical Bubblehead here. You can’t afford Seattle so lets bash the crap out of it, get media attention, and hopefully we will get our 3 BR homes for 150-200k.

    Thank you for telling me who I am. I forgot that I have bashed the crap out of Seattle, gotten media attention and am hoping for 3 BR houses for 150-200k. What else do you know about me that I don’t know about myself?
    …………………………

    The only think I would take a guess at is that you will never be able to purchase a home in Seattle at the price YOU want.

  45. 45
    Joel says:

    Zillow is showing little correlation between SD and Seattle

    Prices declines started much later here. Do you read this blog? Here, I’ll say it so you can stop talking about San Diego. We aren’t as bad as San Diego. But since we don’t know how bad San Diego is going to get, how does that give us any information about how bad it’s going to get here.

    So far if you want big declines you need toxic financing, lots of new housing developments concentrating those with toxic financing and the most overpriced properties in one area. You have to go pretty deep to find that here.

    No, not really. Just look at what rents are compared to prices.

    I will use robert shiller to demonstrate how silly 50% predictions in seattle are:

    Yale University economist Robert Shiller, pioneer of the Case-Shiller home price index, predicted in a recent speech that housing prices could be headed for a worse fall than the 30% drop of the Great Depression.
    http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=480581

    So you think we are headed for a 20% greater drop than the great depression?

    Read the article next time. The 30% drop he speaks of is nationwide average, not the Seattle area.

  46. 46
    The Tim says:

    We aren’t as bad as San Diego. But since we don’t know how bad San Diego is going to get, how does that give us any information about how bad it’s going to get here.

    I think Joel sums up the Sea-vs-SD argument quite nicely with this quote.

  47. 47
    Mikal says:

    Joel you are REACHING. I am curious as to Tim’s response about the credit crunch. All banks stopped loaning at the same time. Was our market still considered safe and that is why the crash has happened here later? Until it hits more than a solid 10 percent in city we haven’t had a crash. It is still just a correction.

  48. 48
    The Tim says:

    Mikal, could you be more specific about what you’re asking for my response on? My personal belief is that prices in other parts of the country started falling sooner than they did here because they started skyrocketing sooner.

    As far as foreclosures go, it seems pretty reasonable to me that foreclosures won’t start to really pile up until you’ve had declining prices for a while. As long as prices are rising, most people can just sell, rather than go into foreclosure. Once prices start to drop, people with zero or negative equity can’t sell or refinance, so they go into foreclosure. Then it becomes a negative feedback loop, with foreclosures driving down prices, which leads to more foreclosures.

    At some point it reaches equilibrium.

  49. 49
    Joel says:

    Ummm DUDE, how about relo’s?

    Ummm DUDE, not enough of them to prop up prices dude. And dude, not all of them can afford houses at these prices dude.

    Like I said, there will always be someone that makes more dough and will jump in before you.

    Like I said, there’s not enough people with enough money that don’t already own a house to prop up prices at their current level. Just because there exists someone that can afford something doesn’t mean they will buy it.

    Aaaah, so you come to the Bash Seattle Real estate blog.

    Huh?

    For sure they can increase, are you astute/connected enough to get in front of multiple offers on a foreclosure or a short sale? Do you even know how it works? I do. It’s not easy, Good luck.

    What does my ability to make offers on a foreclosure have to do with prices coming down?

    The only think I would take a guess at is that you will never be able to purchase a home in Seattle at the price YOU want.

    I give up. Can anybody tell what he’s trying to say here?

  50. 50
    Joel says:

    Joel you are REACHING.

    Why? Do you have a reason?

  51. 51
    Alan says:

    I give up. Can anybody tell what he’s trying to say here?

    Isn’t it obvious? He is trying to goad us into making an offer on his house.

    RAL, maybe you could post your listing here so that one of us can low-ball you.

  52. 52
    Mikal says:

    Agreed, but didn’t banks stop loaning at about the same time? I mean all over the U.S. , or were we spared. The price drops seem to be all about financing here as it is harder to get money whether subprime or not. Why has the price drop waited here? The other markets started skyrockeying sooner, but we all lost funding at the same time, or did we? The basic economy here seems sound other than the hiccup of WAMU. I’m not arguing that there has been a bubble.

  53. 53
    Lukasz says:

    Thanks for all the work Tim! The blog was very valuable when making a house buying decision in late 2006. Hmmm… I think your blog saved me more money than I contributed… let me fix that – I’ll be right back :-)

  54. 54
    Alan says:

    Mikal,

    Didn’t prices start dropping in other parts of the country before the financial shoe dropped? In fact, I think that the prices falling is what exposed a lot of this mess. Then financing problems reduced demand and made prices fall further.

    Prices in Seattle were still climbing when loan requirements tightened. The reduced demand did not create the same immediate pressure here that it did in places with a larger percentage of underwater properties.

    But demand was reduced here. That will reflect in prices in time.

    I’m not sure I buy Tim’s argument that we were later to appreciate so we are later to fall. There must be some other underlying reason. Maybe human psychology issimilar everywhere and the ‘lag’ is the average time it takes for people to switch their belief in the value of housing. That model would let you make predictions like and 18-month lag, but I’m still not convinced.

  55. 55
    b says:

    Where Cali leads, Seattle and Portland follow. Prices shot up later in Seattle because California equity locusts pushed them up, just like in the early 90’s. The Fed has repeatedly stated that analysis shows that foreclosures are caused by price declines, and not the other way around. This causes a vicious cycle of depreciation once it kicks in, witness what is currently occurring in California. It is a bloodbath to say the least. Now that Seattle is seeing price declines you can only expect they will accelerate, especially since it appears we are headed into a recession. If you think our economy will save us, then I ask why many other places in the country have experienced serious depreciation starting before our current recession began. San Diego, silicon valley and Boston are not shitty regions for jobs despite what people here might claim. I can get more work in SV right now, while we have a recession and price declines in housing, than I ever could in Seattle.

  56. 56
    Joel says:

    Didn’t prices start dropping in other parts of the country before the financial shoe dropped?

    I think so. The real financial blowups didn’t hit until just last year. Prices began to fall in some areas before then. Why? Classic pyramid scheme. Even with subprime, Alt-A, no-doc, neg-am loans there weren’t enough people that could afford to buy to get in at the bottom of the pyramid. Now this would normally only cause prices to level out except that a lot people bought way more than they could afford with the expectation that continually rising prices would bail them out. When prices leveled out those people that needed prices to increase got into trouble. Which eventually got the lenders into trouble. Who then tightened loan requirements a bit. Which removed more buyers from the buyer pool. Which caused prices to come down more which caused more defaults, more tightening etc. until we finally arrive at some equilibrium point.

  57. 57
    b says:

    Mikal –

    The problem with your reasoning is that the banks stopped financing _because_ price declines started accelerating in parts of the country and caused the charade to end eventually. Why did price declines occur first in those places? Because they had reached the “point of no return” before Seattle did, their appreciation started earlier and therefore they reached their apex of no more buyers sooner. Contrary to popular belief at the NAR, there is a limited supply of people who can afford insane housing prices even with bullshit loans. San Diego and other parts of the country, the bubble starters, hit that limit before later areas or areas with slower appreciation. Seattle would have eventually hit it as well, if the money kept flowing. All the financing did was bring that limit down further since the lenders were no longer willing to finance all the way up.

  58. 58
    Garth says:

    Tim,

    You said:

    As far as foreclosures go, it seems pretty reasonable to me that foreclosures won’t start to really pile up until you’ve had declining prices for a while.

    I agree with your premise, but thus far the key piece for big declines seems to be concentration of distress. A foreclosure here or there has little impact on prices, a bunch in one area along with nearby homeowners near the edge creates the spiral downward. Here in seattle, there a few big developments concentrating foreclosures. Maybe the upcoming neighborhoods are the closest thing here as far as turning over stable homeowners into those with toxic loans.

    Overall it is really hard to calculate how much damage was done here as such a high percentage of the problems so far in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona. I thought maybe you were onto something with the San Diego comparison a year ago, but now that 40% or more of the real estate sales there have been foreclosure or short sales for the last few months, San Diego seems more like the rest of California than Seattle.

    This financing bonanza supposedly created 5 million new homeowners, 2 million of them are no longer or soon no longer be homeowners already 50% or more of the crap is concentrated in 4 or 5 states. That leaves at most 1.5 million homeowners to get worked out of all of the markets in the entire rest of the country, assuming the number of homeowners nationwide returns to 2004-2005 levels.

  59. 59
    Mikal says:

    Yes, but didn’t alot of that money come from overseas. It doesn’t differentiate markets.

  60. 60
    Mikal says:

    Banks didn’t have the money to lend as their financing dried up.

  61. 61
    Joel says:

    Seattle would have eventually hit it as well, if the money kept flowing.

    I think we might have actually hit that point (or got very close to it) right at the time that the financial crisis started. Which is maybe why our first few months of declines were bigger than the first few months of declines notable areas such as Phoenix and Las Vegas.

  62. 62
    EconE says:

    Rentersarelosers….

    hmmm…should be more like…

    Peoplewhoboughtanextrahomeandarenowtryingtoselltheirtermiteinfestedrattrapsbutareunabletoarelosers.

  63. 63
    Garth says:

    The case shiller index (with data 2-5 months behind) peaked in august, the credit crunch started june 13th, so the peak in Seattle tracks almost exactly with the credit crunch.

  64. 64
    Mikal says:

    Garth , that makes sense.

  65. 65
    Herman says:

    For the record, I have made offers on several homes that were declined by the owner in the past year.

    * N. of Greenlake, offered 6% under. 70 days later, sold for 4% under.
    * Queen Anne, offered 7% under, then countered again at 5% under. 180 days later, sold for 15% under.
    * W. Seattle, offered 12% under. 340 days later still for sale.

  66. 66
    deejayoh says:

    Credit crunch started June 13th? What do you have as the triggering event? I’m guessing you are attributing to the BS hedge fund collapse?

    I think most people would say August was when actual changes in the mortgage business were put in place, but fair to say it was building.

    Interesting to check Google Trends. The term did not hit public conciousness at all until august

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=credit+crunch

  67. 67
    Garth says:

    deejayoh,

    Not sure the exact date, but June 13th is very close to the date of the second set of BS margin calls. I imagine the repricing of risk on their subprime bonds is what got them.

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/04/18/news/companies/partys_over.fortune/

    Sort of a peak point for toxic financing. Given the delayed nature of the CS data, and the fact that it does not include new housing it seems to track really close to the credit crunch. Like the google trends points out consumers didn’t know about it until august.

    To me the timing of the two events is too close together to try and say the local market naturally peaked independently at the moment that the credit crunch began.

  68. 68
    cheapseats says:

    RAL,

    I have been in Seattle for about a year and have been waiting to buy. I have the 20% downpayment and pre-approval to purchase. I have put zero low ball offers in. I am in no hurry and have no desire to antagonize sellers. I assume they will price in accordance with their need to sell.

    I have several homes in my “queue” that I had come close to putting an offer on, but the prices have come down enough that I am now comfortable to wait even longer without fear of being priced out. I am in no hurry.

    There are houses for rent on Mercer Island (my present rented home) for well under 2k a month. In my situation, there is almost zero fiscal upside to buying at the moment, and I see no factor that would cause an upward spike in the near term. The wife pressure is the only variable.

  69. 69
    george says:

    Smart sellers are not seeing offers below their asking price. The smart ones are pricing them right to begin with.

    If a seller lists now for around 10 percent below where it would have listed last year you may avoid chasing the market down another 10 percent. If it doesn’t sell by the summer, look out below.

  70. 70
    NotaBull says:

    “Mikal –

    The problem with your reasoning is that the banks stopped financing _because_ price declines started accelerating in parts of the country and caused the charade to end eventually. Why did price declines occur first in those places? Because they had reached the “point of no return” before Seattle did, their appreciation started earlier and therefore they reached their apex of no more buyers sooner. Contrary to popular belief at the NAR, there is a limited supply of people who can afford insane housing prices even with bullshit loans. San Diego and other parts of the country, the bubble starters, hit that limit before later areas or areas with slower appreciation. Seattle would have eventually hit it as well, if the money kept flowing. All the financing did was bring that limit down further since the lenders were no longer willing to finance all the way up.”

    b, you hit the nail right on the head.

    A lot of the bulls on the site think that *because* the credit crunch occurred at about the same time as the decline in Seattle, that Seattle would have been fine if the credit crunch had not occurred, and therefore will recover nicely once the money starts to flow again. That argument is simplistic, and wishful thinking.

    IMO, the credit crunch did cause Seattle to start its decline, but I strongly believe it would have declined anyway. Either the funny money dries up, or the prices get too high for the funny money to support them. In other cities the funny money was still flowing and prices peaked because even neg-am, stated, teaser loans could not help those still buying get into houses. In Seattle, we peaked a little earlier (therefore LOWER too!) than we would have if the funny money was still flowing. Because we peaked lower, I think this will temper the decline when compared to other cities.

    The net result of the bull’s argument is that when credit returns to how it was before, Seattle will be fine. I agree with that. HOWEVER, it will not return to how it was. Today, people can still buy houses. You can even do it with 5% down and an FHA loan up to almost $600K! You know what the problem is? You actually have to QUALIFY for that loan with silly old-fashioned things like income, and cash reserves. Yes, there are people out there with these things, but there are LESS of them. Therefore, the inventory went up, price competition came back, and prices started to go down to meet the point at which people can qualify for sane loans.

    It’s quite simple when you don’t look at things one-dimensionally:

    “Seattle gud. Financing go bad. Seattle go bad. Financing go gud again and Seattle go gud!!! Ugga ugga”.

  71. 71
  72. 72

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  73. 73

    […] the goal of where I’d like to bring the site over the next few years (which I described in the initial fundraising post).  If you have any good name ideas, feel free to list them here as well.  […]

  74. 74

    […] thanks to fundraising drive at Seattle Bubble (which I admit is a bit of a cheat), I was still able to meet and even exceed the raw revenue […]

  75. 75
    AMS says:

    Tim-

    I’d suggest talking to someone who has a background in advertising to boost up your potential advertising revenue. It’s really not enough to say “Excellent choice. Seattle Bubble is the Puget Sound’s most popular online resource for real estate news, discussion, and analysis, and is visited daily by thousands of intelligent, local individuals that are well-qualified for the products and services you sell…”

    What products or services might sell best, and what marketing data do you have to support the claim? In other words what products are sought by the readership? Other than as a donation, how can I justify spending advertising dollars here? By the way, other than your own advertising, I am not questioning the quality of your website.

  76. 76
    The Tim says:

    Thanks for the feedback, AMS. I’d be interested to know if you have any other specific suggestions. Feel free to email me if you would like to discuss this further.

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