“A continuing, steepening decline in opportunities here in Seattle”

The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), whose primary focus is on the “multi-family and commercial real estate sectors”, held an “economic-forecasting event” on Friday, which both a P-I reporter and Matt at Urbnlivn wrote up reports on.

Here’s an excerpt from the P-I’s story: Real estate a sore point in Seattle area economy

“When we look at Seattle’s commercial real estate outlook — duh, it’s deteriorating,” leadoff speaker David Legeay, a KeyBank senior vice president, told 500 real estate professionals and investors at the 23rd annual economic-forecasting event by The Institute of Real Estate Management. It was held at the West Club Lounge at Qwest Field.

“I think you can expect to see a continuing, steepening decline in opportunities here in Seattle over the coming months. You’re going to take your lumps just like everyone else has,” the Cleveland resident said.

Legeay said the Pacific Northwest market has held up significantly better than others in the U.S. through 2008. But, he noted, construction has been the single largest contributor to employment growth in Seattle, “and we think there is some risk, given the high reliance on construction, administrative and information-type services,” he said.

Even J. Lennox Scott is finally starting to slightly tone down his “we’ll never drop here” language (emphasis mine):

J. Lennox Scott, chairman and chief executive of John L. Scott Real Estate, predicted that residential real estate’s comeback will be led by first-time home buyers, close to downtown. Cheaper gasoline, interest rates that may decline to 4.5 percent and a small inventory of appropriate houses will fuel a surge in that segment, Scott said. But he didn’t predict when it will occur.

Again, recall that just over a year ago Mr. Scott was vehemently denying that there was any chance Seattle home prices would fall 20% over the next five years, saying:

That’s not the projections that we’re seeing. We’re in one of the best markets in the nation here in the Northwest. We have positive job growth, we have low interest rates… And we just do not see that taking place.

Fact: King County’s SFH median price has fallen 18% from the July 2007 peak of $481,000 to $395,000 in November. That’s only 16 months, for those of you keeping score at home.  So much for “positive job growth” and “low interest rates” saving Seattle, Mr. Scott.

Be sure to also check out Matt Goyer’s write-up of the breakfast over at Urbnlivn. Here are a few excerpts:

My take away from David Legeay’s (SVP at Key bank) keynote was that while things nationwide may be in the final stages of bottoming Seattle is currently not so bad relative to other areas but things will get worse as a large part of our local GDP has been made up of construction and real estate both of which are in or moving into an oversupply condition in residential, multi-family and commercial (though not industrial.)

…Matthew Gardner felt we’d have a V shape recovery as we aren’t that over built relative to other markets…

The collective outlook for 2009 was not positive; instead wait for the opportunities to arise late in 2009 before getting back in.

Again, since IREM focuses on multi-family and commercial real estate, it’s not really clear how many of these predictions are meant to apply to those markets as opposed to the residential real estate market, but it’s interesting to see how the tone has turned nonetheless.

(Dan Richman, Seattle P-I, 12.05.2008)
(Matt Goyer, Urbnlivn, 12.05.2008)

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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.

57 comments:

  1. 1
    Joel says:

    …residential real estate’s comeback will be led by first-time home buyers, close to downtown. Cheaper gasoline, interest rates that may decline to 4.5 percent and a small inventory of appropriate houses will fuel a surge in that segment…

    Wait, just a few months ago high gas prices were going to fuel homebuying activity close to downtown. Now low gas prices are going to do the same thing?

  2. 2
    uwp says:

    Well duh Joel.
    It’s always a good time to buy.
    And we’ve also always been at war with Oceania.

  3. 3
    budbrad says:

    “We’re in one of the best markets in the nation here in the Northwest.”

    Ah yes, the ‘tallest midget’ defense.

  4. 4
    NoMoreWork says:

    Hitler and the housing bubble, might lose his McMansion…

    Hitler’s Liar’s Loan

    “I’m going to miss those granite countertops…”

  5. 5
    Groundhogday says:

    So in a nutshell:
    1) Primary source of recent economic growth for the Seattle area was real estate and construction –ie the RE bubble. (So much for the Boeing/Microsoft/Adobe theories.)
    2) RE/Construction growth filled the state coffers.
    3) RE/Construction goes away, so much for local economy.
    4) State facing $6 billion deficit, so more job and service cuts coming.

    Sure looks like a classic bubble unwinding doesn’t it? Good thing we have “experts” like Mr. Scott to set us straight.

  6. 6
    deejayoh says:

    Tim –
    you left off the part of the article intended for all our snarky landlord visitors:

    “Matthew Gardner, a principal with Gardner/Johnson LLC, predicted ‘a tsunami of new apartments coming online in 2009 in Seattle’ — about 6,600 units, with 8,000 more in 2010. ‘Do we need it all? Ultimately, yes. Do we need it all in 2009? Oh, no, definitely not,’ Gardner said. ‘It’s going to be rough here next year’ for apartment owners, though tenants will have a wide choice.”

  7. 7
    The Tim says:

    Fun. Lennox Scott’s PR Director sent me a lovely email in response to this post.

  8. 8

    MAKING CONSTRUCTION YOUR PHONY REPLACEMENT INDUSTRIAL BASE IN SEATTLE IS LIKE BUILDING A HOUSE ON SINKING SAND

    The debt limit is when the whole house of cards collapses.

  9. 9
    singliac says:

    Great response, Tim. Somebody needs to hold these guys accountable for their statements. The Times and PI haven’t really been critical journalists of the REI. While there’s definitely some invective in your posts, I’ve never heard you demonize these guys. I think that most of us would be doing some cheerleading ourselves if we were in their position. Lennox should be willing to respond to some criticism if he wants to be a respected expert.

  10. 10
    TheHulk says:

    Using Lennox and “respected expert” in the same sentence leads to an oxymoron.

    The day lennox tells the story like it really is, is the day that hell freezes over. To quote Sinclair – “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

  11. 11
    CostcoMike says:

    To be fair John L Scott is a salesman and it is his job to put a positive spin on things in order for his business to survive.

    That being said – Any salesperson of any commodity must be able to explain to a customer that brings a broken item back why it is broken or why they would sell something that did not perform to the standards portrayed by the salesperson. I suggest anyone who bought their home from any John L Scott agent go back and ask for an explanation.

    Personally I don’t care if your selling a house or you are fixing a car. If you truly believe your idea’s are right you will stand up for them in any context. Even an interview with an opposing side of the argument. I believe now from the communication between The Tim and Mr. Scott’s PR rep. that even Mr. Scott does not believe his ideals about our current real estate market. Anyone who is willing to interview with the bubble obviously truly believes in what they say and is worth listening to even if I don’t agree with them. Just my $.02.

  12. 12
    cheapseats says:

    The NAR should hire Baghdad Bob.

  13. 13
    Curtis says:

    How come a person is called “professional” if he is failing to rightfully predict at his profession. Are these titles on sale in a market?

  14. 14
    mark says:

    Does this mean we’re not about to get our mojo back?

  15. 15
    DavidB says:

    Tim,

    Good response to Lennox Scott’s PR Director’s email. The reporters aren’t holding any of these so called real estate experts responsible for their overly optimistic predictions for a rebound of home prices. The real reason they won’t grant you an interview is because you’ll ask them for quantifiable evidence to support their polyanna statements that they can’t provide!

    So much for objective journalism these days!

  16. 16

    Over the long haul, people will recognize when someone is not telling the truth. J Lennox Scott has, on many occassions, not told the truth..
    As the owner of John L Scott, I would think it would be in his ultimate best interest, and that of his company, if he told the truth and insisted that his agents tell the truth…I know, it’ll never happen, and many of the agents out there either are great liars or truly have swallowed the Kool-Aid, but there are few of us out there who want to both recieve and deliver accurate information.

  17. 17
    patient says:

    For a PR Director and CEO those two really knows how to turn the public against them. Like the NAR they are turning into a parody of themselves. Nicely handled The Tim.

  18. 18
    harbord says:

    The 6 percenters are a dying breed.
    They are buring through their remaining cash and credit at an alarming rate.
    Many of them won’t make it into the 2nd quarter of 09
    I suspect JLS will start closing offices before march and their pr hack position will be eliminated

  19. 19
    mark says:

    Didn’t JL Scott have a white paper out this past Jan. detailing how it was a good time to buy?

    Anyone have a link?

  20. 20
    anony says:

    Here you go Mark.
    http://www.johnlscott.com/includeX/pdfs/whynowisasmarttimetobuy.pdf

    A few highlights:

    Pg. 5 “Homeowners in the Northwest have been able to successfully sell their homes for a profit or refinance to pay off their subprime loans.”

    Pg. 7 “it remains a guaranteed return-on-investment.”

    Pg 1. “Lawrence Yun projects that nationally, the “median existing-home price will
    drop about 1.7 percent this year.””

  21. 21
    Thaxter says:

    Given the huge deflationary environment, falling prices in oil, cars, real estate, clothing and all retail, etc., when will rents follow suit? How can rents still stay as high as ever when people are losing their jobs? Maybe the recession just hasn’t hit Seattle yet, but it has to eventually. Will rental rates drop to meet falling or lost incomes?

  22. 22
    mukoh says:

    DJ,
    By units coming online is by their prediction what is currently in permits. Permits last 5 years, furthermore can be extended by 2 year increments. Quite a few large multi unit buildings I know of have been put on hold for better days.

  23. 23
    Ray Pepper says:

    Harbord you are dead on. JLS is a model of Real Estate past. Soon they all will advertise “Buy from your local JLS Agent and receive 5000 for assisting your Agent find your home.” The model is broken, the public is becoming to saavy, and the consumer will win going forward. Too bad it took a complete market meltdown for people to WAKE UP! 6% is insanity. Always was and always will be. We will all look back and laugh that people paid so much to Realtors to sell their homes.

    All Buyers will know when the home is listed on the MLS a cash register sound will go off in their heads. Buyers will know that 3% is their money!! They will not waste it anymore going forward in 2010 and beyond.

    As for the term “real estate professionals.” I have not read anyone on this blog “EVER” that I would consider a real estate professional. You see its very easy to spend other peoples money! Real Estate Professionals “in my book” are investors who spend their own money. I will say it again..Its very easy to spend other people’s money and give advice on what someone should buy.

    I also love this “professional”…Nobody more fun to watch then Howard Davidowitz talking about the disintegration of retail.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=950787517&play=1

  24. 24
    deejayoh says:

    DJ,
    By units coming online is by their prediction what is currently in permits. Permits last 5 years, furthermore can be extended by 2 year increments. Quite a few large multi unit buildings I know of have been put on hold for better days.

    Sorry, Mukoh. You’ll need to take that up with Matthew Gardner – the REIC shill, not me. I ‘m posting a direct quote.

    But you think something he has coming on line in 2009 isn’t already a hole in ground with money being poured into it?

    If you have evidence that contradicts what he says – post it here.

  25. 25
    Robert Wojciechowski says:

    Did anybody try to figure out to what extent the govts bailout plan for distressed homeowners (who are at risk of foreclosure) will have an effect on both short term and long term prices of real estate in Seattle? Fewer foreclosures = more stable prices but nobody is going to offer ARMs anymore…..

  26. 26
    Buceri says:

    National Picture – nothing new:

    The Associated Press analyzed economic data from the 2,000 or so cities and towns across the nation with populations of 20,000 or more, comparing the 2005-2007 data to figures from the 2000 census.

    Among the findings:

    –Median household income dropped in 79 percent of the cities and towns. Incomes dropped in the wealthiest communities as well as the poorest. Charleston, Ill., home to Eastern Illinois University, saw the biggest drop — 31 percent — to a median household income of just under $21,000.

    Nationally, incomes dropped by 4.3 percent during the period, to $50,007.

    –The poverty rate increased in 70 percent of the cities and towns. Athens, Ohio, home to Ohio University, had the highest poverty rate, at 52.3 percent, in the 2005-2007 period.

    Nationally, the poverty rate increased from 12.4 percent to 13.3 percent since the start of the decade.

    –The unemployment rate increased in 71 percent of the cities and towns. Muskegon, Mich., a city of about 40,000 near Lake Michigan, had the highest unemployment rate, at 22.1 percent.

    Nationally, the unemployment rate increased from about 4 percent in 2000 to 6.6 percent in the 2005-2007 period.

    –Median home values increased in 92 percent of the cities and towns studied — doubling and tripling in many cities, mainly in California. Nationally, the median home value increased 26 percent, to $181,800.

    It’s not surprising that many communities were doing better in 2000 than they were mid-decade, said Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer economics at Moody’s Economy.com.

  27. 27
    50%off says:

    I’ll be buying in a year or three but you can bet your last buckeroo that I won’t be using a Realitter that can’t/won’t speak truth. Correctomundo, I also won’t be paying no 6% either!

    I see realitters periodically and ask them what’s happening in the market ( I know, but their answers tell me whether they’ll ever be on my short list). Have yet to come across one that hasn’t told me that …
    It’s a good investment
    It’s already turning around
    This area (insert your town here) is better than most
    Etc, etc.

    Hey realitters! Doesn’t it seem kinda dark where you have your heads?

  28. 28
    what goes up must come down says:

    RW there is no way to keep housing prices at these levels at this time and that is the key the time part. This is why people talk about fundamentals. Do house prices go up over time you bet do the double in 2, 3, 4 years nope and if they do guess what happens — look around and you see it today.

  29. 29

    HI ROBERT W

    The bubble brains already hit on the 4.5% plan and foreclosure bailouts schemes, along with other recent MSM RE bailout pipedreams, currently out there and apparently stagnant as cement.

    Deejayoh already mentioned the $8 Triilion to date total federal bailout costs this year, not even getting our ARMs around the other $27 Trillion to keep the Titanic afloat. Just picking and choosing which banking friend of Paulson gets to stash more of the bailout has made it worse.

    Where do you suggest we bailout the hopeless economy? Homelessness, schools, infrastructure, green technology, Detroit, Japan, Strarbucks, Animal Cookies, etc, etc, etc…..?

    A conundrum isn’t it. A basic question I have is why are foreclosed homes are so darn important to bailout, especially compared to investing in a longterm real industrial base job creation?

    Robert, ask your kids [if you have any and they’re old enough] who should get all the bailout money, I’m sure they’d go with industrial base jobs, so they can have a future; with what’s left of this severely limited debt. After all, its their debt.

  30. 30
    Robert Wojciechowski says:

    And I would say that the kids should also say:
    – Keep the US govt out of the US economy. No central planner is needed. People can judge the best what is best to do and where and under what circumstances. So don’t over regulate like in Europe which is lagging behind the US but has more manufacturing there I guess…..
    – Keep top universities like Harvard and Princeton – churning new Noble prize winners – so that people in the US stay competitive as much as possible.
    – Keep bringing the best people to the US from all over the world so that new patents can be actually filed in this country. New companies can and should be started here.
    – Make sure that countries such as Russia loose out on new innovations. The founder of google is from Russia but he chose to start a 400Bill company in the US because he knows that the US govt will not play with his company.
    – Make sure that the US economy that is based on innovation stays that way.
    – Make sure that the taxes stay low – especially compared to Europe – so that innovative and top companies go to the US and actually leave countries such as France.
    – Make sure to limit the amount of labor unions – they suck the blood out of every company. This is one of the reasons people shut down companies in France and move them to the US. My friend actually just did this – he was sick of people going on strike and demanding more. GM and other companies – apart from failed management actually had unions on their backs (whether this could have been avoided is another story).

    The US has all the know how – so compared to China and pretty much the rest of the world – it will stay competive unless Obama installs communist ideas here. But I doubt that.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Brian says:

    Rob-W,

    What do you mean by “communist ideas”? That seems pretty knee-jerk to me. I imagine that most, if not all of us, find the idea of a communist or socialist government to be repugnant. But at the same time, I think we are coming to the realization that pure capitalism (or even the slightly watered down form we have had for the past few decades) has its own inherent flaws.

    What I believe our country needs, and I think this is what Obama will strive for, is a largely capitalistic economic policy, but with healthy doses of government oversight of businesses. Clearly business and legitimate innovation cannot be stifled, but nor can business be allowed to run wild. If we have learned anything in the past few years, it is that a total (or close to it) hands-off approach is an important ingredient in a recipe for disaster.

  33. 33
    DaveyDave says:

    To Ms. Rossi and Mr. Lennox,
    It’s very understandable that you want your business and industry to succeed and so behave according to your best judgement. But when someone continually miscalls the market with an obvious bias towards sales promotion, then your opinion becomes untrustworthy. People discount what you say. Do you really want people to discount what you say?

    And as someone who plans on buying a house when the market seems more balanced, I’m not going to an agency that I don’t trust as a matter of common sense. And it seems a bit disingenuous to deny Tim an interview because of perceiving a mocking manner. I think you called it unprofessional. A professional in my opinion would overlook this perceived mocking manner and further their cause and grant the interview. It may just turn my opinion about how much I can trust what you say.

    Just one person’s thoughts.

  34. 34
    anony says:

    What is it about blog commenters that makes them incapable of discriminating between lose and loose? You are capable of connecting to the internet but you don’t know the difference between two 2nd grade vocabulary words?

  35. 35
    Dan C says:

    I asked this on Urbnlivn:

    I want a real, honest answer from an RE agent as to the following (with economic support!!)

    “When is it NOT a good time to buy?”

    Given that there is always two sides to a coin and they are so sure that now is a good time, then they must also know when it is a bad time right?

    In reality, I know the answer. But I just love seeing RE agents try and wiggle out of something with false data and assumptions.

  36. 36
    Another Tim says:

    The discussion over economic ideologies is a bit off-topic except that someone brought it up. Words have changed meaning over the years. When words like communism, socialism, facism, capitalism, freedom and liberty are used these days they invoke an emotional response before they receive consideration for their true meanings.
    There are a handful of us that will continue to suffer being called “crackpots” when we talk about the morality of economic freedom. And that’s really what it comes down to. It’s a discussion of morality and for me the only moral course is for freedom and liberty. Anything else should be resisted.
    There is no free market, no capitalist system and no true freedom today. The system we live in is a heavily regulated, state-capitalist system. If you have a million regulations and you eliminate 100,000 of them, you still have a lot of regulations left.
    As long as we do not have true economic freedom we will have the problems and complications inherent with socialism. We may not like it but we still need to do what it takes to survive and care for our families.
    I appreciate there are smart people out there that can help in this regard and am glad they post on this site which is why I’m here.

  37. 37
    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

  38. 38
    Plymster says:

    Lennox Scott should realize that they will only sell houses once they convince sellers to drop prices in an effort to meet buyers. Instead of making rosy predictions to “encourage” his team of Realtors, he should be laying out the truth for these people so they pass this info on to sellers, so that they can ultimately sell properties. That’s their whole damned raison d’etre, aint it?

    Properties sitting on the market for in excess of a year (which is now becoming very typical) means the Realtors aren’t doing their job of facilitating sales.

    We had 869 sales last month. That’s the lowest number of monthly sales ever. December will likely be around the same. Clearly RE agents aren’t doing their job of representing their clients’ interests (unless their clients are interested in featuring their empty homes on the NWMLS for exhibition purposes only).

    They always cling to the “I can’t recommend that a buyer drop his price because the market could violently turn around at any moment” (something which has never before occured in history), but they rarely think about “I have to recommend that a buyer either drop his price, or plan on not selling his house”.

    Those Realtors that act in their clients true best interests will do well, the rest will get creamed; and good riddance.

  39. 39
    Plymster says:

    Another Tim –

    Regarding your bid for “economic freedom”, I disagree with the removal of regulation. It was the systematic destruction of regulations for the past 30 years generally, and the blatant unwillingness of the current administration to enforce regulations, specifically, that have produced the economic collapse we are now facing.

    True economic freedom is like true freedom. It’s called anarchy. In a truly free society, people can rape, kill, murder, and steal as long as no one else can stop them. Likewise, in a regulation-free economy, businesses can violate contracts, steal ideas, pollute the water supply, make dangerously unsound loans and then pass on the risk to investors, whatever they like.

    We need a regulated economy. But that’s not what we have had for a long time.

    Instead we have had an economy regulated by agents of large business owners (corporatism or plutocracy), instead of agents of the public (socialism). One system benefits the few; one system benefits the many.

    Regulations are not strictly a tool for socialist governments. They are a tool for every form of government, especially those who seek to gain an advantage economically. Our government is not sufficiently safeguarded against the corruption of corporations.

  40. 40
    DaveyDave says:

    Regarding my comment @33. Um. My bad. My apologies to Mr. Scott for misaddressing the note.

  41. 41
    Pegasus says:

    Last thing in the world a misleading salesman needs is a PR agent empowering the other side that is pointing out your shortcomings and possible lies to gain business in an idiotic email to your opposition whom happens to be spot-on with the facts. Thanks Shelly Rossi for a job well done in further exposing your employer’s idiotic claims. If your boss were smart and it appears he is not he would fire you for being incompetent post haste.

  42. 42
    Another Tim says:

    Plymaster-
    I think you’ve mixed cause and effect. I find the idea of being forced to give up my property under penalty of imprisonment or death to be immoral. No less immoral than the crimes you mentioned. That is the foundation of this country and that ideal has been lost. I understand your objections and have heard them many times. I doubt that my words here will change your mind either but I thank you for allowing me to have a say.

  43. 43

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

    Many properties are taking themselves off the MLS for short periods and then relisting themselves as it looks better for marketing to be on the MLS for a shorter period of time…. presumably discouraging low ball offers.

    Personally, I think its all for not, but its worth a shot on their end.

  44. 44
    CostcoMike says:

    Really my big problem is that he won’t defend his thoughts (since we know he or is PR checks this blog). I think it’s great that he has an argument to the bubble and he could be right in the end. No one can prove the future definitively until it happens. But the only way he will move me off the fence is to make a case for his argument. Everyone hates to be questioned when they understand what they are doing. Even if he simply said “my predictions were off my apologies” I would hold more respect for the man and his company than after reading the email sent by his PR agent.

    I guess it’s different since I work for a company that I can walk up to my CEO and he will give me a straight answer even if I don’t like it or its not what the shareholders want to hear (like no we won’t cut employee pay/benifits for higher profit). Which is why I love my job and the company I work for. Straight answers and no bull business. That’s the way I wish everything operated!

  45. 45
    The Tim says:

    I guess it’s different since I work for a company that I can walk up to my CEO and he will give me a straight answer even if I don’t like it or its not what the shareholders want to hear (like no we won’t cut employee pay/benifits for higher profit). Which is why I love my job and the company I work for. Straight answers and no bull business. That’s the way I wish everything operated!

    And which company would that be, CostcoMike? You should let us know so we a discerning consumers can reward them with our business. Why be so secretive about such a great company?

    </sarcasm>

  46. 46
    CostcoMike says:

    Sorry I am not at liberty to say…

  47. 47
    CostcoMike says:

    I will say that my CEO also said lay off’s are not an option. And we will continue to expand as planned in the next fiscal year due to good cash reserves and very little debt. I have and always will continue to buy stock in this company as a long term investment because I believe in what it does and how it goes about doing it. And I, unlike Mr. Scott, will argue that with anyone.

  48. 48
    buystocks says:

    costcomike,
    Not sure if buying stocks in your company is a good investment if your CEO refuses to ever consider layoffs to decrease costs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great for the employees, just not good news for investors.

  49. 49
    Yesler Hill says:

    Very well handled The Tim.

    I’m seeing rents starting to come down on First Hill and Capitol Hill.

    I wouldn’t bring this up in the blog comments, except comrade Wojciechowski and comrade Another Tim already opened the door.

    We’ve had 30 years of increasing deregulation and privatization, 30 years of declining household incomes and 30 years of suppression of working people’s right to organize….

    And where has that led us? Into this depression.

    I really have a hard time believing there are still people out there defending neo-liberal classical capitalist economics when those very policies have led us down such a terrible road; and we’ve reached the dead end sign.

    Freedom is not abt maximizing your personal ability to be greedy. Freedom is a shared experience, a mutual endeavor, Imho.

  50. 50
    CostcoMike says:

    That’s why I said long term investment. Even if I continue buying at these lower prices (and decreasing) I will hold on to the stock for a long time. I am only 26 so I have quite a bit of time before I retire and If I purchase now at the lower cost I am confident that I will come out on top in the end.

    Not to mention a few other factors such as:
    Management opting out of/cutting thier yearly bonus down to help our business and employees survive in this economy.
    Food sales are doing very well and will continue to do well in a recession.
    Plus historically the company has done extremely well weathering economy declines in the past.
    I agree with the business model and practices and feel they provide a good foundation for the company to grow and compete in this economy as well as a hopefully better economy someday (I don’t think it will be any time soon).

    I am not saying our stock is going to jump or sky rocket but over a long period of time (10-15 years) I think it is a good investment. No I will not come out a millionaire but I will have more than I started with and I get to keep my job which is more than a lot of people can say now and in the coming months.

  51. 51
    jon says:

    “I really have a hard time believing there are still people out there defending neo-liberal classical capitalist economics when those very policies have led us down such a terrible road”

    Similarly, it’s hard to believe someone could watch a multi-trillion dollar bubble and collapse caused by the fraud and bribery of large quasi-governmental agencies, outlawing of risk management (aka redlining), and various actors arbitraging on the implied federal guarantees of debt and come to the conclusion that the problem is too little government. And please also explain how workers’ right to organize is helping with the $100billion bailout of selected parts of the auto-industry.

  52. 52
    anony says:

    CostcoMike,
    Off topic, but it may be wise to find a different company that you like as much and invest in it instead, just for the sake of diversification.

    If anything were to happen to the company any time in the future you could be out your paycheck, pension, and retirement savings all at the same time. If you put your retirement savings in another companies stock you at least have one of the three. Maybe it isn’t likely, but anything can happen, especially in the 40 or so years before you reach retirement age.

  53. 53
    Plymster says:

    I find the idea of being forced to give up my property under penalty of imprisonment or death to be immoral. — Another Tim

    I’m not sure exactly what you’re talking about., but I think it’s:

    a) Having money stolen from you via monetary policy engineered inflation.

    b) The threat of imprisonment by the IRS for failure to pay taxes which go to support malfeasance in the financial community.

    In both cases, these are examples of corporate owners influencing (via bribery, holding sway over large numbers of jobs, etc) our government. In any case, I don’t think anyone has ever been executed (or even given a life sentence) for tax evasion.

    Personally, I think the idea that you can have property taken from you for not paying your taxes is appropriate. If you will not pay for the services which are inherent to the upkeep of your property (roads, fire department, law enforcement, education of future generations of doctors, cops, etc), you should not reap the same rewards as those that do. This concept has been around since the first city-state.

    I don’t agree with the bailout. Personally, I think that finance is a basic infrastructural requirement. You cannot trade without a monetary system. Today, you cannot buy or sell effectively without a debit card system, letters of credit for shipping, etc. Many communities cannot build construction projects without a loan of some kind. I believe the private sector has shown time and again that it cannot be trusted to manage this responsibility. It must be either highly regulated (and not by industry cronies, but by actual cops), or the financial infrastructure should become the domain of the state.

    Yesler Hill – I think (based onreading his web pages “Rants and Raves”) that Another Tim is basing his argument for more deregulation based on the fact that citizens and small businesses have seen greater regulation and abuses of power.

    At the same time, the regulation that does exist for the bad actors in our economy is totally inadequate. This discrepancy is obvious when you look at the Big 3 bailout vs. the Financial Bailout. The Big 3 are far from being like you and me, but they are no match for the campaign contributions that Wall Street regularly showers on DC.

    The financial community got $700 billion in two weeks without ever appearing before congress. It was their agents, Paulson and Bernanke that had to do the begging. This was a crisis entirely of their own making. From the origination of MBSs and CDOs to the insurance of these catastrophes, to the rating of them by the complicit ratings agencies who were beholden to the very owners of the products they were rating.

    The Big 3, on the other hand had to beg Congress twice for money in order to save their businesses due to an unprecedented drop in sales (30-40% for the Big 3, 30-35% for their foreign competitors) since people were no longer able to secure credit – a problem created by the financial bad actors.

    I doubt I’m telling anyone anything new, I’m just trying to defend why I think we need to either regulate the hell out of the financial community, or we need to nationalize it.

  54. 54
    CostcoMike says:

    I am invested in other companies and else where in the market as well. I did not put all my eggs in one basket! I am just saying that I will continue to invest in this company with it’s current business plan and balance sheet as long as it keeps doing business by that model and preforming as it is. I would not advise anyone to put all of thier money into one stock/company at any time. Being that I am employed by the company I can see how well we are doing and if I feel the company is making bad decisions I will remove my money from the investment. But as of right now I see no reason to discontinue making investments through our employee purchase program.

    My 401k is diversified with some in stable value funds also and did not take a huge hit even though it is down a little. I am doing quite well in comparison to most I have talked to. I also have a ROTH IRA I started at 18 as well.

  55. 55
    what goes up must come down says:

    Plymster — well put.

  56. 56
    Aaron Smothers says:

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

    > Many properties are taking themselves off the MLS for short periods and then
    > relisting themselves as it looks better for marketing to be on the MLS for a
    > shorter period of time…. presumably discouraging low ball offers.

    > Personally, I think its all for not, but its worth a shot on their end.

    In the case I was referring to, re-listing doesn’t seem to have obliterated the previous listing of the same property:

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Sammamish/19174-NE-43rd-Ct-98074/home/265272

    The re-listing occurred with the same MLS#, and presumably because of that, the “number of days no Redfin” and “cumulative days” numbers encompass all days of active listing.

    AS

  57. 57

    It makes sense that a housing recovery could be led by first time home buyers, considering that many current homeowners are upside down on equity, or have credit issues, and also FHA guidelines for first time buyers are relatively flexible.

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