Poll: If home prices never again become affordable around Seattle, when would you consider moving away?

Please vote in this poll using the sidebar.

If home prices never again become affordable around Seattle, when would you consider moving away?

  • 2 years or less. (28%, 66 Votes)
  • 3-5 years. (29%, 67 Votes)
  • 5-10 years. (11%, 26 Votes)
  • 11+ years. (5%, 11 Votes)
  • Never. (27%, 64 Votes)

Total Voters: 233


This poll will be active and displayed on the sidebar through 08.09.2008.

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

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.

79 comments:

  1. 1
    David McManus says:

    I picked 3 – 5 years only because that will probably be the age that our second or third child will need another bedroom. We’re already feeling a bit cramped in our 3 br home, but will outright refuse to pay silly prices up here for a larger place. I hear Texas is absolutely BOOMING right now with work (IT jobs that pay more than I make here) and California housing is getting more affordable by the day. ;-)

    I would say the only thing that is stopping us from moving now is that I don’t think we could sell our house right now even if we sold it at the price we paid for it 5 1/2 years ago, 300K. It must be all that media hype. ;-)

    I wish I could find the buyer’s agent I used when I originally bought who told me that this place would be worth high 800s in 5 years. Another one of those “real estate ALWAYS goes up” types.

  2. 2
    DLS says:

    I picked 5-10 years because I have ~8 years to go at the Lazy B if I want to keep my retirement, leaving now would lop 1/3 or more off of it, so I’m better off to tough it out. I currently rent and the NYT rent-buy calculator (linked elsewhere on this site) shows that it would take serious housing appreciation, 3-4% above inflation, for a purchase to break even when compared to rental costs, so being a lowly renter doesn’t look like all that bad a choice.

  3. 3
    Ben says:

    I answered 3 – 5 years, but there is a dependence here on the ability of me to make more money. If my salary is able to justify the prices, and there is a sound reason for prices to stay high, then I might stay to enjoy my job.

    If I keep making the money I do now, then eventually I will probably have to move to get a house + yard for my kid. He is -3 months old now, but eventually I want him to have a yard to play in.

  4. 4

    REAL ESTATE HASN’T BEEN AFFORDABLE IN SEATTLE SINCE 1977

    In 1978 it took one whole Middle Class household income to pay for a avg [dinky] house [sound familiar], before that, older baby boomers were buying avg [dinky] houses for about 50% of a household income. That’s when interest rates went up 50% [sound familiar].

    Since 1978 there’s been some bubble relief in 1990; but by then job deterioration shut down the market, i.e., the 82 Recession and S/L Crisis making home loans almost impossible to qualify for [around 1990 it took a maximum of 30% of your takehome pay after college/car/etc debt ate into it] a dinky avg home.

    Move out now if you’re waiting for a quick relief change [it ain’t gonna happen fast].

    But, a positive caveat to youth, if you wait long enough [several years] I see huge cash bargains in the future for bigger homes, compared to next year or the year after…..this assumes you can keep your job(s) the next few years, you can afford the utilities and banks don’t raise interest rates/qualification requirements into the Twilight Zone.

    Ohhhh….someone mentioned medical high tech jobs growth in Seattle. Did you know 50% of nurse, doctor, all medical, etc [teachers too] jobs are funded by the federal/state/local government? What happens when 95% of the jobs that support medical/teacher government funding tanks [as its already tanked]?

    I know, you have a magic wand to fund the government(s) for more deficits?

  5. 5
    Scotsman says:

    3-5 years, then my oldest is off to college, and there’s no real reason to stay here except momentum. We’d like to have more sun and more room to roam. Spokane? Western Montanna? Maybe a couple of simpler houses instead of one estate type property?

  6. 6
    Ray Pepper says:

    Move away because of home prices? I will be gone because of the traffic, taxes, and weather! But, not for a decade.

  7. 7
    mikemcc says:

    So 31% of you are fleeing because to you “never” means 2 years or less?

  8. 8
    The Power of Positive Thinking says:

    (shrug) I like it here. When I’m ready to buy a house, I’ll pay whatever the going rate is. If it turns out to be too much, I’m sure the government will ‘rescue’ me, or the banks will cut a deal.

    The lesson of this whole bubble is that there’s basically zero accountability for anyone in this country. There’s no downside to riding down the C-S curve like Slim Pickens on an H-bomb. Fortis fortuna, and all that stuff. The prudent always seem to be the ones who lose in the long run.

  9. 9
    AndyMiami says:

    From MarketOracle…with regard to Australia…

    “Prices in the property market – described by the International Monetary Fund in April as one of the world’s most ‘overvalued’ – will fall 30% by 2010, according to Gerard Minack, senior economist at Morgan Stanley in Sydney. Prices dropped in all of Australia’s major cities last month for the first time since just before the Great Depression.

    no one is insulated..unfortunately…

  10. 10
    BrianL says:

    http://www.ushousingmeltdown.org/default.asp

    Simple model, but may be worth a look. It assumes the house price to income ratio returns to whatever it was per zipcode in 1999.

  11. 11
    Mama says:

    To #7: I voted in the <2 years category. To my family Seattle ain’t worth the wait. It might fall in 3, but other areas of the country are so much more affordable…If CA or MA are cheaper to live in, have fun here. For anyone thinking Seattle jobs are special look at the Research triangle. I personally know a couple of MSFT folks who left Redmond in a heartbeat.

  12. 12
    Harley Lever says:

    The grass is always greener…

    So your answer to high prices is to run away to somewhere else?

    Yeah you can go to Detroit and get a house for $25,000 on 7 mile road, hopefully you can score that job at White Castle to help you pay the bills. Kansas has some bargains too. Are you good at topping corn?

    You can always become and ex-pat and move to Belize. I know of a lady making a pretty good living selling ice cream down there.

    Being nostalgic and looking back in the 70’s is not going to do a thing for you. If you can convince all women to throw away all of their gains from the women’s liberation movement, reverse direction, and go back home to being good “house wives” again, then perhaps the market forces will drive down prices to where one income will suffice. You might have better luck asking men to unanimously become good “house husbands” and assume the domestic roles.

    Here is a novel idea. How about working your butt off and make things happen for yourself. Yes, it will take sacrifice. You may not have the quality of life you want for a few years, but improving your income situation through starting your own business, working two jobs, or doing whatever it takes to get ahead does have benefits. Going back to school and getting specialized training can help get the income level you need to make it. Yeah, you might have to work your regular job while going to school, but no one says it will be easy.

    Yes, I know, the economy is looking bad. Let’s just sit there and be a victim of circumstance. At least you will be able to blame the economy for why you cannot get ahead.

    Has it ever occurred to anyone that the people living in expensive houses and actually making it might have worked harder, sacrificed more, were more innovative, and did what ever it took to get ahead?

    Next, you will be running away from the place where housing is cheap because they do not pay you enough.

  13. 13
    b says:

    harley –

    yeah, all those people suddenly worked much harder and sacrificed so much more in 2004-2007 which is what doubled their home price that they already lived in. give me a break. has it ever occurred to you that a worldwide credit bubble might be the cause of unaffordable housing prices?

  14. 14
    Joel says:

    Running away? I guess paying less to live in a much nicer place is looked down upon. We should all aspire to pay more and get less.

  15. 15
    Harley Lever says:

    Yeah B so run some place else. Where are you going to run to in a “Worldwide Credit Bubble”… perhaps Mars.

    I am not the one who suggested “moving away”.

  16. 16
    what goes up comes down says:

    Harley,

    Does it ever occur to you that other places might be nice? Nice that you pick Detroit in your example, why not some places in Cali, Mass, NY, etc…. You know Seattle is not the jewel of America. You know there are actually people who live in other parts of the US that would NOT move to Seattle — I bet that surprises you. Everything has plus and minuses if the cost to live in Seattle becomes to HIGH that becomes a MINUS. Man you are so blind.

  17. 17
    mikal says:

    Then quit whining and LEAVE.

  18. 18
    b says:

    Harley –

    My point is that you cannot run away from the credit bubble unless you go to the very few places (Texas or rural plains mainly) in the world that decided not to use cheap credit to charge $800k for a flipped shitbox. Getting out of America is not even good enough, home prices skyrocketed in Australia, Ireland, Spain, England and other euro countries at the same time. Just wait until next year, its the second decline season that has shown the huge drops we have seen in other locales. If you bought a house in pretty much any metro market after 2003, watch out.

  19. 19
    Harley Lever says:

    What Goes Up Must Come Down,

    So let me get this straight. You think California, New York, and Mass (Where I have lived for 24 Years) is going to be cheaper???? You are joking right?

    If you are whining about the prices here let me give you a little insight. When you see the prices in New York, California, and Boston your butt will pucker so tight you will be able to make diamonds from coal. The good news is then you might actually have a shot at affording homes in those places.

    Manhattan, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston are not cheaper than Seattle!!!

  20. 20
    Harley Lever says:

    Joel,

    You need to get rich slowly. I am sorry you want your Mc Mansion now, but guess what, it doesn’t work that way. You need to build wealth over time.

    Running from Seattle to that magic land where high incomes and low home prices are every where is laughable. Do you not think there would be a mass migration to your Wonderland?

  21. 21
    Harley Lever says:

    B,

    Thanks for proving my point. You can go to the plains of Texas and top your corn, milk your cows, and compete for the five jobs available to buy your affordable home. You could always manufacture crystal meth, but the competition is stiff out there.

    Yes I know, double-wide trailers are built more sturdy than traditional homes. The good news is that you will be able to roll it back to Seattle when you realize that running away from Seattle to the plains of Texas where there are few jobs in which most of them pay nothing was a silly idea to begin with.

  22. 22
    David McManus says:

    The good news is that you will be able to roll it back to Seattle when you realize that running away from Seattle to the plains of Texas where there are few jobs in which most of them pay nothing was a silly idea to begin with.

    That is total BS, but I think most people see that you are just trolling anyways. Speaking from experience, IT jobs, especially in Austin, pay about 10-20% HIGHER than they do here. The whole state doesn’t consist of plains either, especially Austin. Maybe you should visit somewhere before making comments and sweeping generalizations. It doesn’t make you look intelligent.

    The reason I haven’t left to go down there, as noted in my first comment, is that I am STUCK here because of my EFFING house! You know, the thing that you and your coworkers said would go up 25% a year and never have a problem selling? The thing that is going DOWN in value every month!

  23. 23
    Dave0 says:

    If you are whining about the prices here let me give you a little insight. When you see the prices in New York, California, and Boston your butt will pucker so tight you will be able to make diamonds from coal. The good news is then you might actually have a shot at affording homes in those places.

    Harvey, have you seen the post linked below? If not, you might be the one making diamonds as described above.

    https://seattlebubble.com/blog/2008/05/20/san-diego-county-now-cheaper-than-king/#more-1968

  24. 24
    The Tim says:

    Here’s an update to the chart in the post Dave0 linked to:

    As of June, San Diego County’s median sales price is $30,000 below King County.

  25. 25
    Joel says:

    You need to get rich slowly. I am sorry you want your Mc Mansion now, but guess what, it doesn’t work that way. You need to build wealth over time.

    You’re projecting. I never said I wanted a McMansion. Just because you want one doesn’t mean everyone wants one. And I am getting rich slowly thank you. One thing you can do to get rich slowly is to not overpay for goods and services. Sounds like you need a few basic lessons in finance.

    Do you not think there would be a mass migration to your Wonderland?

    And a mass migration away from here (hmmm, what would that do to prices). As we’ve been reminded over and over and over Wonderland is isanely overbuilt. Plenty of supply for every filthy stupid renter that can’t afford the paradise that is Seattle.

    Sorry that your condo conversion is dropping in value, but no amount of insults posted to housing blogs is going to bring it back up.

  26. 26
    WestSideBilly says:

    I picked never, even though there are plenty of reasons I would leave Seattle. Housing prices just isn’t one of them.

    Austin is a great city, but “affordable” it is not. The housing that keeps their average price down is a 10-20 mile commute from the job centers – sorta like Federal Way or Bothell, except it’s frequently 110° there.

    NYC, LA, SF/SJ, SD, even Chicago… they all have their pros and cons. Just like a small town in the midwest does. There are benefits. The snide White Castle comments are funny; you can actually afford to buy a small home working $8-10/hr jobs in some places, and a McMansion on a reasonable ($18-20/hr) wage. If I could have stomached staying in the midwest, I’d be economically much better off – but those are the tradeoffs.

  27. 27
    Harley Lever says:

    David McManus,

    So let me get this straight, IT jobs are the only jobs, and Seattle Bubble only has IT workers posting comments. Austin is not the only city in Texas and I was not the one who brought up “rural plains”, B was. Tell me about El Paso? They have cheap houses and pathetic jobs. Sounds like you are cherry picking.

    Sweeping Generalizations like “You know, the thing that you and your coworkers said would go up 25% a year and never have a problem selling”.

    I am self employed… I have no coworkers and guess what I work in IT. If you are referring to my real estate photography, that makes up a tiny fraction of my revenues. Moreover, I am only busy with real estate when the market is down and agents need good photography to market their listings better. Two years ago, I would rarely get calls.

  28. 28
    Harley Lever says:

    Dave O and the Tim,

    Here is your cost of living comparison… does that mean anything to you guys?

    Salary in Seattle WA:
    $80,000
    Comparable salary in San Diego CA:
    $91,809.65

  29. 29
    David McManus says:

    Sigh, ok, then maybe Austin was a bad example.

    http://a.abcnews.com/WN/story?id=5397007&page=1

  30. 30
    The Tim says:

    Harley,

    My question about those numbers is how much do housing costs factor into that calculation?

    Lots of the cost-of-living calculators use data that’s a year or two old for their functions. Given that home prices in San Diego have fallen over 25% in the last year, while in King County the decline was just 4%, using the absolute latest data is a must.

    Since you don’t provide a source for those numbers, I can’t help but be suspicious that they’re using outdated data.

  31. 31
    Harley Lever says:

    Joel,

    Tell me where your magical place is that you will run to? I will follow you!

  32. 32
    Everett_Tom says:

    Having moved up from California not so long ago, don’t forget income tax down there…

  33. 33
    Harley Lever says:

    The Tim,

    It was CNN’s calculator. If you have another calculator you would like to recommend then please pass it on.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but you are the one who is constantly comparing Seattle to San Diego, which I have consistently disagreed with.

    Even at $30,000 less in price, the salary difference would allow you to buy an extra $150,000 worth of home here assuming you made the same salary ($91k) in both places. Having no state income tax, paying less for gas, and not being nickeled and dimed around every corner has benefits. Not to mention the extra costs associated with living next to the Mexican border.. higher insurance premiums and more crime.

  34. 34
    Alan says:

    I moved from Raleigh to Austin to Seattle. Austin housing was about twice as expensive as Raleigh. The Puget Sound is about twice as expensive as Austin. They all have software jobs and they all pay around the same.

  35. 35
    Harley Lever says:

    David McManus,

    Nice example “Here, million-dollar homes are in high demand. “. So you cannot afford Seattle, but Houston is in your price range? Which is it?

    “Houston’s boom was set off, in part, by the skyrocketing prices for oil and gas, which are the city’s central commodities. ”

    I am glad there is no such thing as an oil bubble and obviously if the oil bubble bursts it will have no effect on the housing bubble right! Sounds like you should be a roughneck for Exxon.

  36. 36
    The Tim says:

    Harley,

    I’m not saying I would want to live in San Diego. In fact, Southern California is pretty much the last place I would want to live. I am just pointing out that prices are falling fast there, and if they really do just level off here, it won’t be long before it is clearly cheaper to live in San Diego than in Seattle.

    If I’m moving away, I’m much more likely to consider Raleigh / RTP or Denver. It’s not as if the economy in those cities is in the dump.

    My main point is that affordability is one factor that many people consider when determining the desirability of a place to live. If Seattle’s affordability permanently stays in the toilet, that will make us less desirable to some people, tipping the scales in favor of other, cheaper locales that have employment opportunities just as good as Seattle.

  37. 37
    David McManus says:

    You’re right. Seattle is the greatest.

  38. 38
    David McManus says:

    See what 500K gets you in Seattle versus Houston, Dallas or Austin.

    Do a simple search.

    http://www.realtor.com

  39. 39
    Harley Lever says:

    Hi The TIm,

    My point is Sand Diego’s housing cost are just one component of affordability.

    Income tax, gas, electricity costs, insurance costs all factor into affordability.

    Housing is only one component of affordability.

    It would be interesting to see housing data from the cities solely and not the counties. I have a suspicion if you isolate and compare the cities and not the counties San Diego may be more expensive than Seattle.

    Living in Arizona for 11 years it is well known that border towns tend to be extremely poor communites. I would think that San Diego county would have some towns along the border that would artificially way down prices

    I do not have any data to compare the cities by themselves do you?

  40. 40
    EconE says:

    David…didn’t you know.

    If it’s nicer than Seattle you’ll never be able to afford it.

    NEVER!

    And if it isn’t as nice as Seattle, you’ll be working at White Castle, dumpster diving for meals and selling plasma to support your new found meth habit.

    So get used to it and break out the checkbook! It’s Seattle or NOTHING!!!

  41. 41
    The Tim says:

    Housing is only one component of affordability.

    Yes, usually the biggest component.

    I do not have any data to compare the cities by themselves do you?

    According to DQNews, the median price for all homes in “Central San Diego” was $355,000 in June.

    According to the NWMLS, the median price for all homes in the city of Seattle was $425,000 in June.

    I don’t know if “Central San Diego” includes only the city of San Diego proper.

  42. 42
    Alan says:

    Austin search results (all listed at $500k)
    4 Bed, 4 Bath, 3,907 Sq Ft on 0.23 Acres
    5 Bed, 4 Bath, 3,618 Sq Ft on 0.26 Acres
    5 Bed, 3 Bath, 3,834 Sq Ft on 0.29 Acres
    4 Bed, 3.5 Bath, 3,248 Sq Ft on 0.25 Acres
    4 Bed, 3.5 Bath, 3,510 Sq Ft on 0.4 Acres

    If price dropped here to where I could find multiple houses in the $135/sqft price range, I would be ecstatic. If prices drop to $160/sqft I will probably stay.

  43. 43
    Harley Lever says:

    The Tim,

    For some reason the NWMLS link you provide only shows the counties and when I click on the “King County Breakdown” it won’t open up. Did you get the Seattle Data from the “King County breakdown”?

  44. 44
    The Tim says:

    Harley,

    Yes, the Seattle-only data comes from the “King County Breakouts” pdf, which is linked on that page. Don’t know why it isn’t working for you, as it pulls up just fine for me. Here, I uploaded a copy to a different server.

  45. 45
    Harley Lever says:

    Alan,

    A major difference between Seattle and Austin is the price of land and building costs. Seattle has almost no land left to develop and we pay much higher wages for construction as well as have more stringent building codes. In Austin you can sprawl as much as you want to. Just blade the land and keep on going. I watched the moronic builders in Arizona do the same thing.

    I wonder how much it would cost to cool that 3907 sqft. house during the summer? Trust me, they will have little to no insulation.

    I hear Austin is a great town though. Awesome nightlife and who could ever deny the appeal of those Southern Bells.

    I did a check on some “Downtown Zip Codes” and got these results:

    $469,700
    2 Bed, 2 Bath
    1,289 Sq. Ft.

    $469,900
    2 Bed, 2 Bath
    1,324 Sq. Ft.

    $474,900
    2 Bed, 2 Bath
    1,212 Sq. Ft.

    $475,000
    2 Bed, 2 Bath
    1,157 Sq. Ft.

    $475,000
    2 Bed, 2 Bath
    1,259 Sq. Ft.

    $479,900
    1 Bed, 1 Bath
    1,000 Sq. Ft.

    $484,900
    2 Bed, 2 Bath
    1,399 Sq. Ft.

    $485,000
    2 Bed, 2 Bath
    1,189 Sq. Ft.

    $485,000
    2 Bed, 2 Bath
    1,376 Sq. Ft.

  46. 46
    Alan says:

    Yep, central Austin is more expensive than not so central Austin. Central Austin is generally defined as north of Town Lake, south of Research Blvd, west of I-35 and east of Mo-Pac. The are just north of UT campus is especially expensive. You would be better off comparing that to the $700/sqft prices in Bellevue. Prices are still about half of what they are here.

    The difference is that prices drop off quickly. For a little extra distance you get a lot more house for the money. Round Rock is a popular subarb for the upwardly mobile middle class. Prices have been pretty flat across this area (although that has been changing in recent months.

    And they don’t pay less in Austin — at least for the highly specialized work I do that requires advanced education. The property tax is higher — 2% in Travis County and up to 4% in neighboring counties. I have relatives who build a $1.5M house there (moving from Florida) but did not consider their property tax bill was going to be in the neighborhood of $30k/year. They’ve had to budget a little more carefully.

    Then there is Raleigh, NC (against lising $500k):
    3 Bed, 4.5 Bath, 3,957 Sq Ft on 1.79 Acres
    4 Bed, 3 Bath, 3,663 Sq Ft on 1 Acres
    5 Bed, 3.5 Bath, 4,238 Sq Ft on 0.56 Acres
    4 Bed, 4 Bath, 3,860 Sq Ft on 0.31 Acres
    5 Bed, 4 Bath, 3,700 Sq Ft on 0.27 Acres
    3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1,890 Sq Ft on 0.19 Acres (this is a super prime location)
    5 Bed, 5 Bath, 5,228 Sq Ft on 0.2 Acres

    It looks like Raleigh may not be as far away from Austin as it was seven years ago. Property tax in Wake County was running around 1.2% when I lived there. I think the higher tax in TX keep prices from bubbling as much. Maybe NC saw more demand from speculation which took the price higher.

  47. 47
    Silver9 says:

    “A major difference between Seattle and Austin is the price of land and building costs. Seattle has almost no land left to develop”

    Whaaat? What exactly is your definition of “Seattle”?

    I get tired of people that only consider the city boundary of Seattle to be Seattle. Especially in generic arguments that compare city-centers with other city areas. When talking about housing in the Seattle area, Ballard and Green Lake are not the only people that matter. Doubly so if those folks dont even work in the city of Seattle.

    Every major city is an area. Draw a 10 mile or 20 mile circle centered on downtown Seattle and you will find plenty of places to build. This is an Emerald City because of all the trees that have not been chopped down yet to build property.

    For that matter, Seattle has tiny 4,000sqft lots but it is not terribly dense compared to cities like SF or NY.

    I have often wondered how a city like Seattle would ever make the transition to much more dense row-houses found in other cities. I fear the outrageous property values of this bubble have stunted the normal progression towards density. It seems too expensive to develop now.

  48. 48
    Harley Lever says:

    Silver9,

    “I get tired of people that only consider the city boundary of Seattle to be Seattle.”

    Sorry for being so… accurate.

    When I say Seattle, I mean Seattle. If you want to talk about the Puget Sound area then call it the Puget Sound area. I have stated before that this blog should be called the Puget Sound Bubble. The fact is Seattle is not Everett, nor Bellevue, nor Marysville.

    The Phoenix Metropolitan area is 80 miles wide and prices and performance vary widely based on location. Much of what you hear about with regard to Phoenix market crashing is actually the cities of Queen Creek, Gilbert, Maricopa, Tonopah, and other outlying communities. Downtown Tempe and Old Town Scottsdale are still holding their own.

    Real estate is hyper-local and changes from street to street, not zip code to zip code, not neighborhood to neighborhood, and certainly not metropolitan area to metropolitan area. I think way too many people get hung up in the over-generalization of this blog, others blogs, and news sources.

    Seattle the city has very little land left to develop. That is why houses are torn down and multi-level townhomes and condos are put in their place.

    I thought they called this the Emerald city because of the green color reflected off of the buildings from the water during sunset (that is what a Seattle Native told me)?

  49. 49
    whats my name says:

    “I would say the only thing that is stopping us from moving now is that I don’t think we could sell our house right now even if we sold it at the price we paid for it 5 1/2 years ago, 300K.”

    David M., You are a strong proponent of prices declining in the area. If you are right, won’t your selling situation be worse in 3-5 years? How will it be easier to move then? Shouldn’t you be trying to sell now? I’m not bagging on you today; this is a serious question.

  50. 50

    Surfs Up. San Diego, here we come.

  51. 51
    The Tim says:

    When I say Seattle, I mean Seattle. If you want to talk about the Puget Sound area then call it the Puget Sound area. I have stated before that this blog should be called the Puget Sound Bubble. The fact is Seattle is not Everett, nor Bellevue, nor Marysville.

    Good point, Harley.

    Also, the local papers should be called the Puget Sound Times and the Puget Sound P-I.

  52. 52
    David McManus says:

    David M., You are a strong proponent of prices declining in the area. If you are right, won’t your selling situation be worse in 3-5 years? How will it be easier to move then? Shouldn’t you be trying to sell now? I’m not bagging on you today;
    this is a serious question.

    It sure as hell ain’t easy now based on the fact that two neighbors on my street have had their homes on the market now for around 6 months to a year.

    I haven’t seriously thought about it actually. Why would I want to introduce all that stress into my life when I don’t NEED to move? Wanting to and needing to are 2 different things. It won’t break my heart if I take a loss on my home, although prices would have to drop very far for that to happen. We put 20% down when we bought our home, so it would need to drop to below 200K since we’ve been making additional payments towards the mortgage ever since we got it. Also, I didn’t do like my neighbors and get HELOCed out the a** spending like my last name was Hilton. At the end of the day, there are more important things in life. My home is a place to live and not a liquid investment. I don’t even think it’s an investment at all. There is no way I can control what someone will want to pay for my house in the future short of any maintenance or value adds (another bedroom, etc.)

    My real investments, on the other hand, are a different story. I’m constantly watching my stocks / mutual funds / savings rates since that directly effects me right now and there’s something I can do about it. Sell them, buy more, etc.

    Can you answer a question for me, in all seriousness? Why are lower house prices a bad thing? I’m no liberal, but when someone who makes a good income, say 60K, can’t even afford to make a down payment without overextending themselves, wouldn’t you say that something is seriously wrong with the system? Why do real estate “professionals” have a monopoly on the information? Does capitalism say that all parties in a transaction should have equal access to the same info for it to work?

  53. 53
    Harley Lever says:

    The Tim,

    I agree!

  54. 54
    what goes up comes down says:

    Harley let me ask you one question when did Seattle all of a sudden become THE place to live?

    See I work for a little Airplane manufacturer you may have heard of — maybe not because we are not located in SEATTLE PROPER but way outside of Seattle in the boonies — you probably don’t make it that far South or North, well anyway in the early 70’s there was quite a hiccup at our little company and employment was cut by more than half 80k to 30k and guess what PEOPLE LEFT.

    After awhile HOUSING became dirt cheap and soon people moved to Seattle, and our little company recovered see this is what is called an economic CYCLE.

    Again back to my original point — when did Seattle all of a sudden become THE place to live?

    See I like Seattle ( actually not real fond of downtown ) but am not delusional to the point to think it is the ONLY place to live.

  55. 55
    Harley Lever says:

    David McManus,

    I agree that lower housing prices are not an entirely a bad thing. This whole credit crisis and housing downturn will help teach a generation or two a valuable lesson on housing and what it is actually for. Like the day traders of the 90’s, house flippers got burnt. Those that actually bought houses they can afford will be fine. The stock market eventually recovered, and so will the housing market. I don’t think anyone will be looking for that 25% return on investment in one year.

    Like it or not, we are in a dual income society. Most homeowners have two incomes supporting their mortgage and in turn driving up prices. Our single income era has been dead for 30 years.

    What makes you feel entitled to a house where “your housing competitors” are willing to put two incomes into supporting a house or work hard to move up the income ladder? Some may have chosen not to have kids providing further investable/disposable incomes.

    You can buy a house with a 60k income without being over extended. It will be a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom condo in Renton. I know, this is preposterous to you, but there are trade-offs with every choice you make in your life. You may choose to buy 30 miles out where you can buy bigger with less money. Don’t go out to eat, don’t have cable TV, don’t buy new cars, make repairs yourself, and buy clothes at Goodwill. You have to make tough choices and often at the expense of your lifestyle and indulgences.

    On a side note. Have you considered renting your home and moving to Austin? With the cost of living savings, you should be able to easily cover the gap between what you pay for it and what you can rent it for. A person making $80k in Seattle only needs to make $61k in Austin. If what you say is true and you can actually make 10% – 20% more in Austin, it becomes a no-brainer providing that you can rent out your home.

  56. 56
    Harley Lever says:

    What Goes Up Must Come Down,

    “After awhile HOUSING became dirt cheap and soon people moved to Seattle, and our little company recovered see this is what is called an economic CYCLE.”

    So Boeing’s performance is tied to the cost of housing and people moved here for the cheap houses… and not jobs????? Thanks for the lesson Genius!

    I never said Seattle was the “place to live”. The Tim posted this post saying Seattle was “not the place to live” and asked when everyone is leaving. Not that I would expect you to comprehend that after your previous statement. Just for the record, Hana, on Maui’s north shore IS THE PLACE TO LIVE!!!

    Just a little update this is not the 70’s and Boeing is not the only game in town anymore. Actually the weak dollar makes Boeing more competitively priced in comparison to that other manufacturer across the pond. Maybe if you would stop wasting your time blogging, and trust me in your case it is a waste, and get back to getting the 787 produced and filling up all of those orders you have backlogged, Boeing would be doing much better.

    One last thing, I used to be a research scientist for the two government agencies that regulate your little airplane manufacturer. I am sure you are aware of the projected business jet and regional airline demands through 2030… then again probably not.

  57. 57
    what goes up comes down says:

    Harley you are a complete ASSHOLE. So what is your degree in again — Research Scientist my ass.

    Yeah, Boeing isn’t the only game in town but if you haven’t noticed it is still the largest.

    So I guess you are saying we are not in an economic DOWNTURN — yeah, you and Bush — everything is just peachy right. See right now I am positive you bought at the peak and now the old stomach acid is just eating a hole through you — couldn’t happen to a bigger A HOLE. See I get to LMFAO watching you squirm — oh how enjoyable.

  58. 58
    what goes up comes down says:

    Oh and BTW Harley, I am posting from an overseas assignment and don’t work on the 787 – my posts appear with PST but I am on Central European Time.

  59. 59
    what goes up comes down says:

    BTW Harley, I had to repeat this here just so you didn’t miss it

    “It’s not much different than purchasers of Belltown real estate who are in denial about how incredibly dangerous of an area they chose to live. Facing up to reality is often painful — especially when money spent foolishly is involved.

    I noticed this gem in the PI today:

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/jamieson/373526_robert05xx.html

    “I can’t tell you how many times people have had their store windows shot out,” she said Monday, ticking off some names. “Bullets are flying. It’s the Wild, Wild West down here, especially Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.”

    Maybe that will be used in future Belltown real estate listings.”

    How could such a thing be possible in your glorious Seattle?

  60. 60
    David McManus says:

    “Have you considered renting your home and moving to Austin?”

    Sure I have. Once again, we do like it here and will consider this when the NEED arises. We don’t HAVE to move and our house is not an investment. Don’t forget that renting out a home can be a hassle and you still have maintenance costs. What happens if they just up and leave? What do you do if you are stuck 2000 miles away?

    We have made a family decision to have someone stay at home with my daughter (my wife) while the other person supports the family. Instead of slamming a kid in daycare, and then having the other income go solely to that, wouldn’t you say it’s better to have her mother raise her?

    To have another person work more just for stuff is silly IMO. My priorities in life are more family-oriented than item-oriented. We have been blessed in that we necessarily don’t need the second income as I make enough money to support our family with plenty left over. I see people all over our neighborhood trying to keep acquire the items and overextending themselves and it really is sad.

  61. 61
    mikal says:

    David Mcmanus, you are living in the wrong city to try that. Then again, you are living in the wrong century. Few families can afford to have one bread winner now. There is a reason that families stop at having two kids. Who can afford more?

  62. 62
    David McManus says:

    Few families can afford to have one bread winner now.

    Um, my family can. Your situation may be different.

  63. 63
    mikal says:

    If that is the case you shouldn’t be bitching about house affordability because you have it covered.

  64. 64
    David McManus says:

    I’m sorry the value of your house has gone down. Maybe The Tim and KING5 can just relax on their hype.

    All I was saying was that Seattle (or the Puget Sound for the anal retentive types) is not the center of the universe and that you can get more bang for your buck elsewhere. Are 2 people killing themselves to make money and then putting one whole income towards daycare really worth it? What are you getting out of that situation? Maybe that is normal around here, but in other parts of the country (and world), it’s not. For some people, it may be necessary. Don’t hate me because we are able to do and have been able to do that for 10 years now. We still take vacations, my family is clothed and fed, my wife goes shopping, etc. I haven’t always made the income I make now. We’ve just been able to…….


    LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS!

  65. 65
    tarzanchuck says:

    YOu guys can all blow it. Seattle is awesome and I’m not moving. HOUSE PRICE BE DAMNED!!!!

  66. 66
    mikal says:

    I wrote bitching, not doging.

  67. 67
    Harley Lever says:

    What goes up must come down,

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry…

    You like to talk down to people and as if they were children and when someone calls you out for completely making a moronic assumption “how the housing market in Seattle drives Boeing’s business” you freak out. You are the one who made the idiotic statement.

    Yes, and sorry to burst your bubble, but I was a Human Factors Research Scientist for four years. I helped develop the FAA’s Certification Job Aid, NEXCOM (next generation communication and datalink systems), as well as several other projects.

    Overseas assignment… it is obvious that you do not play well with others. I guess human resources made a good decision to move you out of the country. The liability of having a hothead like you on US soil is too great.

    There are guns everywhere. That whole right to bear arms thing does have trade-offs. Try living in Arizona. Yes for Seattle the gun violence seems enormous but it seems like a BB gun fight in comparison to what it is like to live in a state next to the Mexican border.

    Perhaps next time you will reconsider talking down to people, swearing, and truly making a spectacle of yourself. You know what they say about profanity… “an ignorant mind so desperately trying to express itself”. Thank you for the wonderful example.

  68. 68
    Harley Lever says:

    David McManus,

    I agree completely with having your wife raise your kids and making the sacrifices to do such a thing. I would never be the one to say it is wrong by any means. You must realize and appreciate that there are many families that have to put their kids in day care and must have two incomes. A side effect of that is these families have two incomes and would likely have more buying power when purchasing a house.

    With regard to renting your home. Yes there are trade-offs with every decision. There are many good property management companies out there that will take the hassle out of renting your home. I know of several people who now live on the east coast and other parts of the country that have rental property in Seattle. The vast majority of renters are good and responsible people. Many are here on this blog. Don’t get me wrong, there are nightmare tenants out there, but they are in the minority. With regard to maintenance, you will have it regardless if you live there or not.

    I too like Seattle and am happy here. I will not be here for the rest of my life, but will keep my property here. My end game is Maui… unless I find some other equally magical place to live.

  69. 69
    EconE says:

    Harley Said…

    “Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you cry…”

    You’re the whiniest little bitch here Harley.

  70. 70
    Harley Lever says:

    What Goes Up Must Come Down,

    Check out the Tims Post on number 44. It is extremely interesting. Area 700, where I live, the prices went up 4.01% from last year… I thought everywhere was crashing???

    Lastly, I will own this place for the rest of my life as a rental. My stomach is acid-free.

  71. 71
    EconE says:

    beeeee-otch

  72. 72
    Harley Lever says:

    EconE,

    Ruff, ruff, ruff.

    Thanks for bringing so much to the conversation.

  73. 73
    Harley Lever says:

    EconE,

    “Beeeee-otch” let me guess… 20 something, lives at home with mom and still gets put in “Time-out”.

  74. 74
    whats my name says:

    “Why would I want to introduce all that stress into my life when I don’t NEED to move? Wanting to and needing to are 2 different things. It won’t break my heart if I take a loss on my home,”

    I asked because you said your only reason for not leaving was you couldn’t sell you house. Since you both want to and you can, why wouldn’t you? I can’t put this together.

    On to your questions: Lowering house prices are bad for people who own houses because it destroys part of their wealth, making them poorer. Homeowners are a majority of the people in this country, so it is certainly not the greatest good for the greatest number.

    I dispute your assertion that someone making 60K, can’t even afford to make a down payment without overextending themselves. You save; you buy what you can afford once you’ve saved. Harley had it right on here.

    I do not believe that real estate “professionals” have a monopoly on the information, but the more time you spend with a field, the better you should understand it. I wouldn’t expect a realtor to have equal knowledge of my field.

    I don’t think that in capitalism all parties in a transaction ever have equal access to the same info. That’s just the way it is.

  75. 75
    mikal says:

    That is because EconE wants to live in his bubble.

  76. 76
    what goes up comes down says:

    Harley, what was your degree in again — oh that is right you never mentioned it — but nice title — what a joke.

    Yes, Harley — you will always make money on your investments — isn’t that the same crap you were accusing other people of saying — I am sure your condo will go up, up, and up.

    Harley you a right Real Estate is only take a short pause before its next great climb up — keep believing that.

  77. 77
    Harley Lever says:

    I have a degrees in Human Behavioral Communications and in Entrepreneurship.

    I am sorry that you do not like the fact that I was in fact a research scientist and worked on several projects and authored several white papers, and co-authored the materials found in the FAA certification Job Aid. I was involved in the Mixed Fleet Flying analysis of the 777 and the 767 among other studies.

    What is it again that you do? Well besides making baseless accusations.

    Correct me if I am wrong but you are the one who stated Boeing’s business grew because of the cheap housing here in Seattle. Thanks for that Gem of Wisdom!!!

    I never said any of what you are accusing me of. So please do us all a favor and why not start being a little more accurate.

    I am sorry that I bought a house that I can afford in an area that went up 4.1% last year. Silly me!

    And l will repeat this one more time, please pay attention. I will never sell my condo, I will rent it when I move on to my next property.

  78. 78
    I already left says:

    I used the less than 2 years vote, because I just moved. Sorry Seattle, you’re too expensive.

  79. 79
    Alan says:

    I will never sell my condo, I will rent it when I move on to my next property.

    You mean that you will never sell your condo as long as the finaincials behave in the way that you expect them to behave. If there are not situations under which you will sell your condo then you have some serious financial mistakes in your future.

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