Signs of the Times

I thought I’d lump a few “sign of the times” type of stories into a single post, since it gets old after a while constantly reading (and writing) posts that are basically just slight variations on the “the real estate market is slow” theme.

Here’s another interesting piece from Kirsten Grind over at the Puget Sound Business Journal about reductions and shifts in the real estate agent job market over the last year.

Since the end of last year, about 2,800 Washington agents have abandoned the business, a decrease of about 9 percent, and hundreds more have put their licenses on hold, according to the state’s Department of Licensing.

“I think everyone was expecting some sort of rebound in the third and fourth quarter,” said Russell Hokanson, chief executive of the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors.

“But just when it seemed we were coming out, we had another meltdown in the stock market in September and October and that hit consumer confidence again.”

The article also points out an interesting trend that many agents are moving to smaller, brokerages in an attempt to cut costs during these lean times. Maybe it’s just me, but I think Kirsten Grind has been on a roll lately with interesting and insightful articles. Far better than the usual rehashed press releases we get from the Times. And I’m not just saying that because of this article.

Meanwhile, yet another Seattle condo project is headed for the auction block…

Here’s a scene that would have been unheard-of a year ago.

Back then, the condominiums at Press on Capitol Hill were selling in the $300,000s or $400,000s. But for the past couple of weeks, big red “Auction” signs have adorned the building — and bids for some of the condos inside will start at roughly half their original price when they are auctioned off later this month.

As one Press Condominiums resident Brian Gruneir noted Friday, there was an air of desperation a couple of weekends ago, when teenagers stood on nearby corners holding eye-catching red auction signs with arrows pointed toward the Press’ two buildings at Belmont Avenue and Pine Street.

I’ve been watching the county records to see how much the Seventeen07 condos ended up going for in their recent auction, but data has not yet been posted. Also, Quadrant homes is “holding off on further selling” for their “The Ridge at Gig Harbor” development, and D.R. Horton is auctioning off nearly 100 Puget Sound houses with “starting bids as low as $89,000.”

Lastly, I posted this one on the forums, but thought it was worth sharing on the front page as well. This large billboard has been on display right next to southbound I-5 in Tacoma all year. My wife took this picture last Wednesday as we drove down to my parents’ for Thanksgiving:

Overly Optimistic

It would appear that sales projections for 2008 at Soundbuilt Homes were at least two times too high. Unless they are holding out some secret weapon for Christmas, I doubt they’ll be selling another 442 homes before the year is out to make use of that lonely fourth digit. Oh well.

(Kirsten Grind, Puget Sound Business Journal, 12.01.2008)
(Kery Murakami, Seattle P-I, 12.01.2008)

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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.

66 comments:

  1. 1
    dailyt says:

    What I don’t get…

    Is how anyone can tell anyone to buy a home today with a straight face. I think Soot & Ashes hit it right on the spot. There’s a crazy woman on Fox News that keeps popping up, telling viewers to buy buy buy. I definitely don’t buy her argument.

    Let’s hear it. What ARE the reasons to buy a home now? For a first time homeowner, or for a repeat buyer. Are there any incentive to get into the market today (This is for you RE agents out there)?

  2. 2
    DavidB says:

    Personally, I don’t believe it’s a good time to buy a home because it’s likely that prices will continue their decline for the foreseeable future.

    There are good reasons to buy a home now for example, if you already own one and you have equity and you’re interested in trading up to a nicer or larger home or one in a better neighborhood. People also buy for lifestyle reasons. Interest rates are lower then they’ve been in a long time so that may entice some people to buy now. In the near future, there may be government incentives to prop up home values so if that happens then now might also be a good time to buy .

    If you’re currently renting then I don’t see any reason to rush out and buy a house now. I’ll wait until prices show some signs of stablizing before I buy.

  3. 3
    The Tim says:

    DavidB,

    I’ll wait until prices show some signs of stablizing before I buy.

    Well according to Suzanne Britsch of New Home Trends, you’re making a grave error. As she said back in November… last year…

    The problem is, is when it flips, it goes in one day! You know… I mean… So you never know when the bottom is.

    You never know.

  4. 4
    DavidB says:

    Tim, I’m willing to take my chances with that!

    I’ve heard realtors use that argument before too and it’s laughable! I don’t think home prices will reach a bottom and then make any substantial gains. I expect they’ll hit bottom and be flat for a while (possibly years).

    After all, this is real estate we’re talking about not stocks!

    But like you said, “you never know”.

  5. 5

    100’s OF ACRES OF EMPTY BULLDOZED LOTS

    The builders have apparently abandoned [or the bank money was refused?] 100s of acres of potential home building lots on the Kent/Auburn/Maple Valley hill. Some of the land has been destroyed and undeveloped for a year now, then they finally fence them off and plant grass.

    Its ashame they bulldozed the trees all for naught, where’s King County Executive Sims screaming bloody murder over the environmental impact? I know, those buffoons are too busy making plastic bags illegal in stores, to care about uncontrolled growth.

  6. 6
    Dave Lincoln says:

    “There are good reasons to buy a home now for example, if you already own one and you have equity and you’re interested in trading up to a nicer or larger home or one in a better neighborhood.”

    I don’t see that one either, unless you have some special knowledge that the one you are buying will lose less market value in the future than the one you are selling. If you are trading up, you may have a lot more to lose in the bigger house, right? Also, why not go ahead and sell the smaller house and rent for 2 or 3 years, then buy that bigger one that is now 50 % cheaper (yes, it will be).

    Of course, you would have to move twice and that does suck. Get rid of some of that junk while the wife is not home (“I put in on the sidewalk for a few minutes to vacuum, and, dang, people must have thought it was free stuff. Oh, well, we can get a new dining set and hobbit dolls when we get our new house during the depression – everything will be cheaper anyway.”)

    “Tim, I’m willing to take my chances with that!” Don’t know if you realize Tim was being facecious (sp?) or not.

  7. 7
    BanteringBear says:

    softwarengineer has hit on one of my biggest pet peeves of this bubble; the decimation of trees and habitat in the name of profit.

    The national builders are the worst. I hate them with a passion. What I’ve noticed, from the north Sound to the south, is that they will not leave so much as a single tree. They log off the entire property, razing it to dirt.

    It used to be that developers would save as many native trees as possible, understanding the importance and value of such beauty. Not anymore. These sickos have turned forests into subdivisions that resemble something more fitting for the Arizona desert. What a disgrace. Those in charge who permitted this should be fired, and publicly ridiculed.

  8. 8
    Bits_of_Real_Panther says:

    “Also, why not go ahead and sell the smaller house and rent for 2 or 3 years, then buy that bigger one that is now 50 % cheaper (yes, it will be).”

    So the typical $500k house in Seattle, down from its peak of $560k last summer, is going to be $250k in 2-3 years? I’m not going to hold my breath on that forecast but I’ll be happy to dig up $50k to get in line to make that happen if you’re right

  9. 9
    LeftOverpricedSeattle says:

    I know a couple who bought a $500K home in West Seattle that is clearly not worth the money they paid and, in fact, a probably worth less than $250K in a normal market. I expect their home to be worth about $225K before this all unwinds, maybe even less.

    The signs were/are all there.

    I told them to rent, but their agent convinced them I was being shortsighted.

  10. 10
    Dave Lincoln says:

    “So the typical $500k house in Seattle, …” No, I said the bigger house.

    A BIGGER house in Seatte is not 500,000 bucks, not unless you mean bigger than that converted garage. I think an 800,000 dollar house will go down close to 1/2 of that, yes. Get in line, if you want, I don’t care.

  11. 11
    BanteringBear says:

    “So the typical $500k house in Seattle, down from its peak of $560k last summer, is going to be $250k in 2-3 years? I’m not going to hold my breath on that forecast but I’ll be happy to dig up $50k to get in line to make that happen if you’re right”

    I don’t know why it’s so hard for people to comprehend these sorts of price drops. Perhaps Panther can clue us in. $250k isn’t pocket change. Look at median household incomes. What’s absurd are $600k WWII era homes of 1500 square feet on 4000 square foot lots.

  12. 12
    Joel says:

    I agree about the trees. Like any region the Puget Sound has it’s plusses and minusses and one of the big plusses is the beautiful greenery. Why would you take that away? Might as well live in some chocolate hole like Phoenix and save yourself a bunch of money.

  13. 13
    EconE says:

    There are good reasons to buy a home now for example, if you already own one and you have equity and you’re interested in trading up to a nicer or larger home or one in a better neighborhood.

    1. You’ll never know just how much “equity” you have until the check is in your hands.

    2. To sell your house, it’s pretty essential to mark to (current) market. Then you have to find another reasonable seller unless you want to make up the difference and pay a dream asking price.

    3. In order to “move up” to a nicer/bigger/better house, “equity” isn’t completely what gets you there (unless you paid off your house and want another 30 years of debt for the extra cost)…you really need savings “outside” of the house and/or increased income.

    Yesterdays post from the Irvine Housing Blog covers it quite nicely…

    http://www.irvinehousingblog.com/blog/comments/there-is-no-move-up-market/

  14. 14
    Bits_of_Real_Panther says:

    The line will form out into the street a lot sooner than $250k so I won’t worry about it. That house would be rentable at a tidy profit well before that level, extended recession or not

  15. 15
    Joel says:

    The line will form out into the street a lot sooner than $250k so I won’t worry about it.

    Assuming incomes don’t fall, unemployment doesn’t go up, interest rates don’t go up, and lending guidelines don’t get stricter.

    That house would be rentable at a tidy profit well before that level, extended recession or not

    Assuming rents don’t fall.

    i’M in Ur aRgueMintz, sTatin’ uR aSsumpshuns

  16. 16
    Dave Lincoln says:

    How do you know that, Panther (about what rent it could get, I mean)? I didn’t say anything about any kind of “extended recession” either. I wrote “depression”.

    Some of these $800,000 houses are inherently worth LESS than 1/2 of that (building materials, labor, location). But, say it went down to $400,000, as I say, then, even with low interest rates, do you think it’ll rent for $2200 /mo. or so. Of course, it would now – that’d be about right, but not if we have 15 % unemployment, averages wages of working people are down 20 %, taxes are higher (I don’t have to speculate on that one), and the economy is a damn wreck.

    Mark my words, young man. Keep your cash. Don’t go trading up now – trade DOWN (in price) if you’re going to do any buying.

  17. 17
    Dave Lincoln says:

    oops, must have posted the last one about 1-2 minutes after Joel. Sorry to duplicate any argument.

  18. 18
    mukoh says:

    I have a direct relationship to development on more plains then will go into.

    Tired of whiners about trees, water, storm runoff, small lots and blah blah blah blah….
    Want to be an earthie? Move to a ranch in Utah or E. WA. You are in a suburban and urban area. Get used to it. Stop whining.

  19. 19
    Curtis says:

    Deep recession is way to go for depression!! House prices will be much below than 15 %to 20% predictions.

  20. 20
    BanteringBear says:

    “I have a direct relationship to development on more plains then will go into.

    Tired of whiners about trees, water, storm runoff, small lots and blah blah blah blah….
    Want to be an earthie? Move to a ranch in Utah or E. WA. You are in a suburban and urban area. Get used to it. Stop whining.”

    This is the kind of myopic view which has brought us to where we are. We need to root out this sort of incompetence, to better serve the environment and it’s inhabitants.

  21. 21
    Joel says:

    I have a direct relationship to development on more plains then will go into.

    That explains a lot.

  22. 22
    Dave Lincoln says:

    oops “golly” = “d a m n”

    thx

  23. 23
    Andy says:

    Just so we are clear – real estate depreciates on every balancesheet I have ever looked at. Think about it, man+woman buy home – then have kids and buy a dog – both will piss and defecate all over this home. Thus, you have realized depreciation – not appreciation on these properties. Even 2-3 year old homes smell terrible. Why do brokers insist on putting lipstick all over these pigs? The only properties that are worth anything are brand new – or totally renovated.

    I’m looking in Gig Harbor, and let me tell you that the brokers there are freaking desperate. No homes have sold over $500K last month. I think the lone retards who did buy in October are already handing in their keys. Real Estate Agents should tell their customers to hold off. DONT BUY! Lets wait for the next 50%!

    Think about it: This area is (Pierce County) is full of passive aggressive, wannabe hard ass, relatively poor, redneck, beard loving, ultra-thin emo liberal hippies. Just to get back to this beard totting culture – I think it is a prop for looking tough. Working on Wall Street, no one will wear a beard. It is shifty, reeks, and you look like a wannabe (exceedingly lazy) hippie professor. I cannot understand why businessmen in this area carry it on. It’s fundamentally ugly. I can understand why techy types will wear this: Mainly b/c they don’t care about a thing – and b/c they have a skillset that is not easily taken away – aka they don’t have to sell anything – so why worry about appearance. However, all you business guys should get a clue. Dump the beard and bring back professionalism. No one in the military wears beards either. Disgusting!

    How are these people getting loans? The few of us who are high-end business professionals, business owners, and educated can’t even afford a “real” home. My wife and I will earn well over $300K and both firmly believe that you should not have to spend more than 15% of your Net Income on a home.

    We can rent the same crappy home for far less than buying.

    The funny thing is that homeowners are all telling us “on-the-fencer’s” that its such a good time or “rates are so low.” They are trying to put a floor on this overpriced “non-liquid” liability. They want to save their hides.

    Please save me. I’m a homeowner that took out a $200K HELOC and spent it all…..lol!!!!!!!

  24. 24
    ekim says:

    Andy, could you please clean it up a little? Disgusting.

    ‘both will piss and defecate all over this home’

  25. 25
    Dave Lincoln says:

    I think Mr. Tim’s potty-mouth-word-switcharoo routine is running backwards. It substituted “piss” for Andy’s “pee” and “defecate” for Andy’s “soil”. Better have that looked at Tim, before all heck breaks loose.

    Anyhoo, the depreciation is in the roof, HVAC, etc. The work of the babies and dogs can be cleaned up with steam cleaning, and the beards can be shaved off in 15 minutes, though I don’t know how that all relates together.

    I also don’t understand about the redneck hippies, Andy? I’ve seen rednecks and I’ve see hippies, but they never seem to be in the same room together (the rednecks can’t stand the smell of pachoulie and B.O. and the hippies can’t stand to hear common sense and also they don’t like the smell of B.O. (even when the rednecks are not in the same room), and it’s all even worse down in Pierce County, apparently …..

  26. 26
    Dave Lincoln says:

    oops, )

    (close parentheses – easily could crash a good potty-mouthed-word-swicharoo routine)

  27. 27
    Joel says:

    Tired of whiners about hippies, environmentalists, people that care, “earthies” and blah blah blah blah….
    Want to be a depletist? Move to a ranch in Utah or E. WA. You are in the Puget Sound region. Get used to it. Stop whining.

  28. 28
    Jonness says:

    Seattle is about to take the biggest single quarter of house price deflation in its history. That will be followed by many more quarters of drops. Things are about to get ugly.

    We are experiencing asset deflation. In such an environment, cash becomes inreasingly more valuable than assets. Now is the worse time ever to trade your cash for highly leveraged depreciating assets. Wait until the fundamentals re-align, then start searching for an overshot bottom. That’s where the deals will be.

    What’s happening to WA right now has already happened in other states. We are fortunate in that we have a template that shows exactly what to expect–depreciation for years on end.

  29. 29
    A says:

    Andy, would you kindly point to a place in the Universe where people make the kind of money that you and your wife make(relatively obviously- top small number % earning bracket) and spend 15% of their net income on a home?

  30. 30
    Amarjit says:

    Real Estate agents are like seasons, they really enjoyed good harvest in the subprime lending boom. If they did not plan for the drought tough luck. They should be out. At 500Realty all the agents are financially sound be it rain or sunshine.

    Amarjit
    [bzzt—Amarjit did not read the comment policy. -editor]

  31. 31
    David Losh says:

    real estate depreciates on every balance sheet I have ever looked at. #23

    Probably without intention these are the truest words ever written about Real Estate and they have been written a thousand times. I think most people who read blogs, like this one are pretty new to Real Estate. It’s a great an beautiful thing. It’s a great business.

    Yes, when you buy a property it goes down in value. Wear and tear, economic, or functional obsolescence begin from the moment the papers are signed. The value is in the land and what you can do with the land. The structure has a foundation foot print that exists plus any improvements or expansion.

    You are much better off buying raw land. So right now the best deals are in agricultural land and financing is abundant.

    In terms of buying a house there are some very good deals in the market place today. Many will never see the market, but some do. My best examples are all the people who have owned places forever with the idea they would sell some day. They may be close to retirement and watching their entire portfolio slipping away. It would be better to sell a property now and bank the cash. Rental income is off set by maintenance and dropping home prices.

    You don’t have to care about the dropping price if you believe that over the course of time the value will rise to the price you paid. You can be selective and buy what you really want rather than compete with others.

    Real Estate is a negotiation between individuals. We all have a level of motivation.

  32. 32
    BanteringBear says:

    Obviously Andy has experience with certain beards up close and personal. I’m not sure I want to know the circumstances under which he smells the reeky beards of these shifty people. Disgusting indeed!

  33. 33
    Andy says:

    Agreed. Will clean it up. New to the blog, and I think its great + full of very colorful people. I’m just indulging this group a little. Easy to get you all riled up. Passive aggressive Northwesterners indeed.

    http://seattlest.com/attachments/seattle_david2/hippie.jpg

  34. 34
    Bits_of_Real_Panther says:

    OK I get it now, the new cool on RE blogs is to try to outroubini Roubini instead of trying to revert back to fundamentals like price/rent and income/price, I know when to say when

  35. 35
    b says:

    Andy –

    Beards are a very important part of computer science, so its good that you have an allowance for tech nerds in your hate.

  36. 36
    mukoh says:

    Joel, How is it being a deplitist come into this?

  37. 37
    redmondjp says:

    OK, I feel exactly the same way about developers scraping the flora (while private homeowners a block away can’t even cut down a tree in their own yard without a permit, as is the case here in Redmond), but I’ve got to state a couple of counterpoints:

    1) The combination of tall evergreen trees (which are plentiful in the urban area here), especially individual ones or small groups that have no protection from the south-westerly winds that we often get, and stick-built homes or condos is simply asking for trouble. Having ancestors that homesteaded in WA around 100-110 years ago, I have seen several of those original sites, and it was common practice to clear an area of all timber for several hundred feet around the house. My parents both own timberland that they inherited, and they lose trees every time there is a big windstorm in the area. During the Nov-December 2006 storm here in Redmond, my neighbor’s tall cedar trees both lost one of their two tops (both of them had twin tops which split about 35 feet up). It was a miracle that nobody was hurt, and both tops (about 10″ thick at the base each) dropped parallel to each other, right between two houses and just a few feet outside of my neighbors’ bedroom.

    2) Developers often are required to replant new trees, and this can be done in a planned fashion over the entire development which will result in a unified and aesthetically-pleasing result (if their landscaping designers are any good), even if it takes a number of years for the trees to mature.

  38. 38
    Joel says:

    Joel, How is it being a deplitist come into this?

    You don’t seem understand. I was using your own argument to show how hypocritical you are. Get it? You’re whining about whiners. That makes you a whiner.

  39. 39
    mukoh says:

    RedmondJp is absolutely correct. While trees are replanted by code requirements it is safer to not have trees within 30-40 feet of the home. So when you have compacted lots, there is no way for them to stay. :)

    Every development I have seen removes trees only when needed. Too badly it is more often needed then not.

  40. 40
    Joel says:

    OK I get it now, the new cool on RE blogs is to try to outroubini Roubini instead of trying to revert back to fundamentals like price/rent and income/price, I know when to say when

    What are you talking about? Your assertations are based on certain unstated assumptions that may or may not be true. Is the possibility of rising unemployment, falling wages and falling rents just so outlandish that it is not worth discussing?

  41. 41
    Amarjit says:

    I want to know how many of the active bloggers rent or own a house. Lets be honest. Raise your hands.

    Amarjit
    [ATTN: Amarjit—If you keep disregarding the comment policy, I will begin deleting your comments. -editor]

  42. 42
    Andy says:

    Amarjit,

    Your website details you business – to get someone to hand you 5-8% of their value of their home. Actually, I think that your entire crew is useless. The real estate business should be performed on-line. I would restructure the entire business. Flat fee mortgage applications – destroy the brokers. Flat fee ($500)commissions – kill Real Estate Agent overblown commissions. That way we can take cancerous real estate agents/mortgage brokers out of the equation.

    Actually, no commissions for any of you. Let the buyers and sellers take the 5% and reduce the price. That way the buyer and sellers figure out their deal.

    These people drive around and show people homes. Why even bother with a Real Estate Agent????? What do they really do? They are not engineers or the people that built the home. They are glossy faced people that want their 5%.

    Dump your Real Estate Agents. Go directly to zillow, craigslist, and redfin.

  43. 43
    what goes up must come down says:

    mukoh

    “RedmondJp is absolutely correct. While trees are replanted by code requirements it is safer to not have trees within 30-40 feet of the home. So when you have compacted lots, there is no way for them to stay. :)”

    What is there to SMILE about if you have to cut down a tree? And for those that think everything is still so green in Seattle or that it is was done right in the past — Have YOU ever been to Ballard? The city finally got a clue a few years ago and decided to plant some trees before than the only vertical wood was the poles for the power lines.

  44. 44
    dailyt says:

    What is there to SMILE about if you have to cut down a tree? And for those that think everything is still so green in Seattle or that it is was done right in the past — Have YOU ever been to Ballard? The city finally got a clue a few years ago and decided to plant some trees before than the only vertical wood was the poles for the power lines.

    The only way to keep the limited in-city greenery as we know it today is to stop population growth. And we all know that isn’t going to happen. What we can do is to keep pressure on our city council to ensure that green space is preserved, if not increased. (As is the case in Ballard)

    Fortunately, we’re home to several architectural firms that are world renown for their environmental activism. If there is anything good that will come out of this RE boom, it will be the rapid spread of “green” building standards throughout the country. As for suburban sprawl… Some of you will wince at the idea, but Seattle (Bellevue, Redmond) needs to increase density to accommodate growth. This can be achieved in an eco-friendly manner; albeit at a higher cost to the developers. But if you as a customer demand greener products (homes / condos), then developers will tow the line. Don’t let it be the other way around.

  45. 45
    mukoh says:

    #43,
    Its not the smile about the cutting down part. It is about accepting it as a piece of the process to put more houses where there were few before. It is a reality that everyone needs to accept, and not whine about it.

    On a 24 unit apartment that I had done for myself two years ago there were two gorgeous cedars about 25 feet from the existing house. When they were cut down, they were both completely hollow inside. The lumber company said if the winds were big enough these huge trees would have wrecked that home or the neighbours property.

    Just an example at you.

  46. 46
    Mike2 says:

    dailyt

    The only way to keep the limited in-city greenery as we know it today is to stop population growth. And we all know that isn’t going to happen.

    How much to you think the population of Seattle has increased in the last 30 years? It’s not that much, maybe 10-15%. Nothing that can’t be solved through increased density in under developed areas.

  47. 47

    DEPOPULATING THE CREDIT CRISIS

    Do any of you bloggers have a short/long term fix for the economy that includes more population growth and credit crisis?

    I know, nada.

    I think we should put the American kids in charge of Obama’s economic team, you know, the ones we threw all the overpopulation debt on.

    I see more wolf bankers in those positions and it ain’t gonna get better in my book, with same old same old…..

  48. 48
    BanteringBear says:

    It was NOT common practice to clear ALL trees within a few hundred feet of a house back in the day. Just look at the old developments in Bellevue, and Kirkland, where my family has roots. The old trees remain, with greenbelt surrounding many neighborhoods. Sure, there will be debris during high wind events. That’s where the term “windfall” came from . But, it doesn’t mean that all trees need to be removed. That’s just stupid talk. If they’re diseased, that’s a completely different situation.

  49. 49
    MC says:

    Andy @ #23:
    Think about it: This area is (Pierce County) is full of passive aggressive, wannabe hard ass, relatively poor, redneck, beard loving, ultra-thin emo liberal hippies. Just to get back to this beard totting culture – I think it is a prop for looking tough. Working on Wall Street, no one will wear a beard. It is shifty, reeks, and you look like a wannabe (exceedingly lazy) hippie professor. I cannot understand why businessmen in this area carry it on. It’s fundamentally ugly. I can understand why techy types will wear this: Mainly b/c they don’t care about a thing – and b/c they have a skillset that is not easily taken away – aka they don’t have to sell anything – so why worry about appearance. However, all you business guys should get a clue. Dump the beard and bring back professionalism. No one in the military wears beards either. Disgusting!

    Gee, I guess that Ben Bernanke is a shifty, hippie professor… definitely not a Wall Street finance kinda guy.

  50. 50
    mikal says:

    Mike2, Thirty years ago their were a third more kids in Seattle schools. Even if there was no population growth there are more people neading places to live.

  51. 51
    jimmythev says:

    Question… what will this do to Seattle housing prices…

    http://www.mediatechanalyst.com/2008/11/microsoft-to-layoff-contract-workers.html

  52. 52
    what goes up must come down says:

    mukoh — we better cut down all trees than — they could be hollow and they are very, very dangerous.

    Are you kidding me?

    You better not get in your car and drive because there is these things called auto accidents where people die. If you want I can send you some documented cases as examples.

  53. 53
    redmondjp says:

    WGUMCD–if you bothered to learn anything about cedar trees, you would know that it is common for large cedar trees to rot from the inside out, with no external indication that there is any structural weakness. I cruised some timber on my parents’ property earlier this year with a logger, deciding which trees we were going to remove and we discussed this fact as there was significant quantities of cedar on the site. Granted that there is always the exception to the rule–there is one cedar tree at NE 73rd ST & 20th Ave NE in Seattle that has got to be one of the oldest trees in the city, right in the front yard of a house (but who knows, it may be hollow inside as well).

    And Bantering Bear–In regards to tree removal around houses, I was referring to rural settlers, not to urban development in forested areas. If you look at blowdowns of 100’+ tall fir trees, it is shocking to see how shallow the root systems often are (because there is so much water available near the surface, the roots needn’t go any deeper to find it). Just because people have built houses in the forest doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Personally I love how it looks and feels, but from a safety standpoint it isn’t a good idea.

  54. 54
    what goes up must come down says:

    redmondjp,

    since you are such an expert tell us how many species of cedar there are.

    me personally I use to live in wedgwood on 85th and had a cedar in my front yard which I had two people at the UW arboretum come out and look at, they estimated it was 100 years old + or – 10 years, and also said that it was very healthy, cedars tends to have deep root systems not like hemlocks etc… so let the wind blow that up your fanny.

  55. 55
    mukoh says:

    WGUMCD,
    Let me guess, you drive a subaru? :)

    Trees have this really weird tendency, I do not know why, if you bulldoze their roots to put in utilities/foundations and such things that some creatures require in order to build their dwellings the trees die.

  56. 56
    mukoh says:

    Redmond,
    I remember when me and my friend a few years ago thought we hit jackpot bought 400 acres for just pennies. Granted it was just a fun property it was really cheap. Gorgeous forest. A lot of Cedar and Alder. We thought we were going to actually turn a profit on the cedar as prices were up a lot. 90% of the cedar turned out to be hollow. :)

  57. 57
    what goes up must come down says:

    mukoh

    No actually a BMW 3 series but I don’t think there is anything wrong with a subaru – I take it you do.

    BTW I know something else that is hollow and it is on your shoulders :-)

  58. 58
    mukoh says:

    Oh its definitely hollow. And best of luck on the lowest model. :) It is a 318 I take it.

  59. 59
    what goes up must come down says:

    No, actually a 320d, not available in the US but here in Germany yes. so should drivers of subarus be offended by your statement?

  60. 60
    mukoh says:

    A Whole 320d? Wow. Impressive.

  61. 61
    what goes up must come down says:

    Well not as impressive as you and your real estate EMPIRE, but see I don’t have the visions of grandeur that you apparently do :-)

    Now be careful of those subaru drivers they might just be out to get you.

  62. 62
    what goes up must come down says:

    btw they don’t sell them in halves.

  63. 63
    mukoh says:

    Woops. Had my hopes all up. Was going to get half.
    There is no EMPIRE. Just simple worthwhile assets.

  64. 64
    what goes up must come down says:

    Depreciating assets as of now.

  65. 65
    mukoh says:

    As of today? Or as of yesterday? Can you please let me know?

  66. 66
    Aaron Smothers says:

    Is this a “sign of the times”:
    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Sammamish/19174-NE-43rd-Ct-98074/home/265272

    Property History
    Date Event Price Appreciation Source
    Dec 05, 2008 Relisted — — NWMLS #28090235
    Nov 22, 2008 Off Redfin — — NWMLS #28090235
    Oct 18, 2008 Price Changed $899,000 — NWMLS #28090235
    Jul 15, 2008 Price Changed $919,500 — NWMLS #28090235
    May 23, 2008 Listed $945,000 — NWMLS #28090235
    Jul 24, 2001 Sold $649,000 — Public Records

    Why would the property go off the list and come back to the list at the same price two weeks later?

    Regards
    AS

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