Poll: Now is a better time to buy than…

Please vote in this poll using the sidebar.

Now is a better time to buy than... (check all that apply)

  • 2008 (22%, 120 Votes)
  • 2007 (27%, 142 Votes)
  • 2006 (23%, 124 Votes)
  • 2005 (14%, 76 Votes)
  • 2004 (5%, 28 Votes)
  • 2003 (2%, 9 Votes)
  • 2002 (0%, 2 Votes)
  • 2001 (1%, 3 Votes)
  • 2000 or earlier (1%, 8 Votes)
  • None of the above. (4%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 211

This poll will be active and displayed on the sidebar through 06.27.2009.

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.


  1. 1
    David Losh says:

    If you buy a property today you should do it with the idea you will be paying it off.

    When you buy you should buy way below your income comfort level and throw money at the diminishing principle balance. If you have the ability to buy a big house you should. Shared living will be in our future.

    Like in the Great Depression the banks have taken the foreclosure road to stay in business. This time it may work against them because of the global eyes that are on us.

    Our military might is already stretched thin and any country like a North Korea can test our wills. We have very few resources to throw at the problem.

    As other commenters say, we are tapped out.

    In the 1930s we were between World Wars. In the 1970s we were leaving Viet Nam. In the 1980s we had the peace dividend. Now we have two very expensive wars, the end of a construction boom, and a global credit collapse, so we can’t even borrow our way out of the future.

    It’s a perfect storm of economic conditions that will require years to get out of.

    Now to back track a bit let me say I do see a solution. Paying off your home is a big part of financial security. If you allocate your savings dollars to paying off the family home we would all be dollars ahead. If you rent rooms in your home you have personal income. If you fund your own business the money stays with you in your own financial portfolio.

    Simply put you can become your own financial market.

    People refer back to Japan, or they fear China economically. The great part of Asian economic development is to keep money circulating within the community. It can be broader based than protectionist ideals. China especially has traded globally by sending business people to every corner of the world. You can have Chinese food anywhere in the world, just as an example.

    You, and your friends and family, can build a financial empire by cooperation.

  2. 2
    truthtold says:

    My friends are financial idiots and my family is comprised of rich people practicing appalling greed. Shocking to imagine any genuinely safe harbor within the confines of financial cooperation. Overlooks greed. But it is an idea of sweetness, love and mutual benefit: nice.
    Happy Father’s Day.

  3. 3
    Softwarengineer says:

    RE: David Losh @ 1


    With BECU Money Markets under 1% and 12 month CDs at 1.4%; after the IRS gets its share [or worse yet, its stuck in a tax free 401K life insurance account, assuming you die before you retire…LOL] you’re looking at like $80/mo or so for every $100K you saved….that might pay the gas on the SUV to make deposits at the bank….

    A 3.1% ARM [and a leg later] loan is $440/mo on an $80K balance; out of your net pay too bloggers.

    I don’t need to give you folks more data….the best bank offer is eliminating bank interest and paying off all your debt: bear in mind though, if you have a 30 YR loan, your payments won’t go down at all until the principle is paid off [or you refinance, if you can]. That’s why I always recommend a 10/20 fixed rate loan, for like 50% of what you qualify for [that’s what I did]….after 10 years, it gets refinanced free, but that’s a moot point….if you’re like me, you can easily save in that time to zero out the principle before the 10 year reset.

  4. 4
    talksense says:

    I just noticed this online, yet another article about future housing prices:


    It seems ‘analysts’ just can’t get it out of their heads that Seattle is special!

  5. 5
    Hector says:

    I’m sure we can all guess where these analysts are getting their info from…

  6. 6
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Hector @ 5

    And who pays their consulting fees.

  7. 7
    Joel says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 6 – And what they’re eating for breakfast.

  8. 8
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Joel @ 7

    No cherrios for me, thank you.

  9. 9
    Orion says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 8

    Hey One Eyed Man, you’re on to something… Cheerios with little dried bits of cherries – “Cherrios”

    General Mills should pay you a percentage when they take it to market and make a killing.

  10. 10
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Orion @ 9

    New product marketing slogan: “Life is just a bowl of Cherrios.”
    New product promotion: Buy a box of Cherrios and get a free condo. (In small print: “Offer subject to underlying construction financing, some assembly may be required.”)

  11. 11
    what goes up must come down says:

    A little off topic but I haven’t seen greg posting for awhile either a.) he is very busy doing deals or b.) the 2000+ sales for June aren’t looking real likely. It seems to me from what I can see being far away are sellers are still not dropping the prices much and buyers are unwilling or unable to drop the cash down.

    I mean I have seen price reductions but 10K on a place listed for 500K really doen’t do much, I wonder what people think when they do something like that, if your place is sitting a change in price of 2%? I can’t imagine that is going to make people jump.

  12. 12
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By what goes up must come down @ 11:

    I mean I have seen price reductions but 10K on a place listed for 500K really doen’t do much, I wonder what people think when they do something like that, if your place is sitting a change in price of 2%? I can’t imagine that is going to make people jump.

    A price reduction gets the listing to show up on agents’ “hotsheets.” Some agents purposefully try to get that to happen, so the NWMLS has a rule to prevent meaningless price changes and opposing price changes, etc., but no one is going to argue that an owner can’t reduce their price by $10,000 if they want to, unless perhaps its a house worth well over $500,000.00.

  13. 13
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    This poll is sort of odd in that it doesn’t really say by what we should judge the decision, and thus the results are even more meaningless than polls typically are.

    Do you judge it by price, selection, or the fact that you’re no longer married to that person who made 2004 a living hell? Maybe 2008 was better because that year you won the lottery.

  14. 14
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By David Losh @ 1:

    If you buy a property today you should do it with the idea you will be paying it off.

    Perhaps my impression is wrong because of my age, but I have the feeling that people who bought in the 60s and 70s did buy with the intention of staying a lot longer than buyers today. I wonder if there are any studies of that, other than just general mobility studies.

  15. 15
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 14

    In the condo post I was going to mention that builders built apartment buildings in the 60s and 70s with the idea of holding the dirt for future uses.

    A lot of those building are still there, some got converted to condos. The cash flow was to pay off the construction and value of the land. The formula was to have the whole thing paid off in fourteen years.

    So the joke of those days was that they only built them to last for fourteen years because after that they’d do something else with the dirt. Now the joke is that forty years later the building went condo.

  16. 16
    Magnolia44 says:

    Is it just me or is this place slowly dying? There have been some weak topics, what else is their to discuss really.

    Everything is in shambles, we know we get it.

    Good while it lasted hey tim, at least you got a few atta boy’s out of the whole blogging deal and website building experience.

    If only there was more unknown left to discuss, does it really matter to discuss if homes will go down 40 percent versus 35?

    ust some thoughts from a reader who is coming less frequently.

  17. 17
    The Tim says:

    RE: Magnolia44 @ 16 – I will admit that over the last couple weeks the time I have available to dedicate to the site has not been what it should.

    Overall, site traffic is not quite as high as it was in the early spring (much like the real estate market, traffic to Seattle Bubble is seasonal), but is still ~25% higher than it was a year ago.

    I’ve actually got some fun things in store for the site, if I could just make the time in my schedule to get them done. Personally, I still think there are plenty of interesting topics to explore.

  18. 18
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Magnolia44 @ 16

    Man, have you changed your tune. When you first showed up on the site it was to argue that all of us “bubble-heads” were delusional, and that housing would always be at least a great investment, if not the best investment most of us ever made. You told us how much your house was appreciating, etc. and how renters were losers.

    Then, when things started to fall apart, it was endless justification of how a house was more than an investment, it was a home, it represented security and stability, and would still do fine over the long haul. Once in a while you might concede that renting had it’s place for some.

    Recently it’s been a tale of concession. Sure, your house has lost value, but you love it and would never sell. I seem to recall you even admitted that perhaps you’d paid a bit too much(?) (I may have that confused with someone else- my apologies if true.) And yes, the economy does seem to be headed for the dumps.

    Now, feeling the pain, you take a bit of a dig at The Tim, claiming the site has lost relevance, isn’t as exciting or important, and attempt to find solace in the fact that the snake that bit you is now old, slow, and headed for the highway.

    This site is still the most relevant and valuable resource for anyone thinking of buying a home in the Seattle area. I’m confident it has saved many families hundreds of thousands of dollars by giving them an opportunity to check out the other side of “buy now, or be priced out forever.” It’s a mother-lode of factual information, well presented, discussed, challenged, and updated by some very bright people who for the most part don’t have their income determined by the real estate industry. I would argue that as a greater part of the population becomes aware of the shifting home market this site is still needed, now more than ever.

    Stick around to try and get a handle on just how bad things may get. There’s still time to sell your house before the collapse. And you can always buy it back in 4 years for a fraction of it’s current value. ;-)

  19. 19
    The Tim says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 18 – I think you may be mixing up Magnolia44 with other commenters (maybe another one that started with “M”?). I just went back and checked, and he didn’t begin commenting here until August 2007, and I didn’t see any comments that could be characterized as claiming that “housing would always be at least a great investment.”

  20. 20
    Magnolia44 says:

    Just posted some feedback, a dig maybe but digs have been going on here for a while.

    I think what Tim has done here is pretty cool, the net is a challenging place and keeping interest I imagine is a struggle for any blogger or website owner.

    My point goes for the other sites I visit as well, marketwatch, bloomberg and cnbc (on the tube for those 2. As this whole thing drags on the information is either skewed, bs, or not really new.

    Guess its a new age in the lost decade and its something to get use to.

  21. 21
    Magnolia44 says:

    I do have a piece of info I can supply as a home owner. The days of the county assesor and high valuations on the properties has finally ended.

    My slip came in the mail and in magnolia they dropped my value 100k. I will let you know if the property tax comes down an equal % but something tells me don’t count on it.

  22. 22
    patient says:

    RE: The Tim @ 19 – Wasn’t there just a post with nearly 300 comments? And most of the regular data driven posts as the nwmls release and c/s tends to get comments in the 100s. I think this site is thriving and plays a very important role, the real estate industry is as full of tricks and propaganda as ever that needs a consumer oriented site like this as a counter part to dissect and analyze all the bs and give consumers a chance to make better decisions. Thanks The Tim and keep it up!

  23. 23
    Scotsman says:

    My apologies to Magnolia44 if I have him confused with other posters. My intent isn’t to pick on him so much as to illustrate how opinions have changed for a number of the regular visitors to the site. And after all, isn’t informing and changing the minds of those who visit one of the goals?

  24. 24
    Mikal says:

    RE: Magnolia44 @ 16 – It’s scotsmen and softwareengineer all the time. Before, one could quickly skim past them. Ray doesn’t even post much.

  25. 25

    RE: Mikal @ 24

    While Scotsman and Softwareenigineer are frequent posters, I think Kary Krismer would win the award for the highest number of posts. Of course quantity is not the same thing as quality, but I myself have been accused of using many words to say nothing.

  26. 26
    Mikal says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 25RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 25 – You write good stuff.

  27. 27
    BillE says:

    By what goes up must come down @ 11:

    I mean I have seen price reductions but 10K on a place listed for 500K really doen’t do much, I wonder what people think when they do something like that, if your place is sitting a change in price of 2%? I can’t imagine that is going to make people jump.

    I recently saw a $2500 price drop on my favorites list. It means jack squat to me. Reductions of 10k seem pretty common for the market I’m looking at. Still not real impressive when a house goes from 269k to 259k.

  28. 28
    David Losh says:

    RE: The Tim @ 19

    OK, you just let this guy eat your lunch. Why?

    The difference between this and the Ruin Cutty Guts is that that guy runs his blog like a business. His end result is the content generates leads for business. His main poster along with Jillyanne and the mortgage person are blogging for business. Oh geez I forgot the law firm.

    You’re running a club house.

    That guy controls a business blog. He sells those blogging services. He goes to conferences, networks, and consults.

    I know there is the quarterly, but as this guy is pointing out no one is going to care in the coming year. Home prices are going down.

    The style you have here is really good. I like the club house and think there are a variety of resources you could draw on.

    I’m just saying as I commented in the open thread that we are all a part of a community and I think the first step should be to make you rich. You can get wealthy on your own, that’s your choice.

  29. 29
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By David Losh @ 28:

    RE: The Tim @ 19 – The difference between this and the Ruin Cutty Guts is.

    Not that I necessarily disagree with your conclusions, but IMHO, the main difference is that Tim is involved with the site and knows what is going on here. That leads to all sorts of other differences.

    Also, as you mentioned in the past, this site wasn’t set up to generate referral fees. I really don’t like the idea of referral fees in general, so a site that is set up specifically to generate them is somewhat offensive.

    But watch out! Ardell is going to jump all over you for your purposeful misspelling!

  30. 30
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By Magnolia44 @ 21:

    My slip came in the mail and in magnolia they dropped my value 100k. I will let you know if the property tax comes down an equal % but something tells me don’t count on it.

    I guess I haven’t been visiting this thread, but our tax system doesn’t work that way. The assessment only determines what you pay relative to other people, not how much the county collects in total.

  31. 31
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 29

    I did find a post from Ardell about my spelling in my own Google search. I commented on it.

    The same now is that I have spelled Ardell and she will find this comment. I wanted some time before she flew in to let the comment stand.

    robfun must monitor for the use of the brand name. If you watch, when they get a blog mention you have one of them, those people, making a comment. I don’t like giving them any more internet exposure.

    As far as lead generation Dustin gets free content. Ardell writes about the bottom of the Real Estate market, it gets picked up here, and in the next few weeks she is posting about four clients she has.

    Dustin even mention in the post about my spelling that he is interested in contributors that generate leads. That is the business.

    Back in 2007 I put up my first blog as a Do it Yourselfers home repair and maintanence site. It also talked about buying well and what to look for. Other Do It Yourself sites that I had commented on were rapidly taken over by contractors with cautions of DIY work. Enough about that.

    This site is different and i agree that I prefer it to self promotion. Dustin may be hands off on his site but he does have a lot of regulation and monitoring of his site by others. He can turn the site into a Real Estate search and consultation site easily at this point. From what I’m seeing he could also consult on internet business models or small business in general.

    So there is a business associated with what we are doing here. The question is what will be Tim’s end in this.

  32. 32
    dancingeek says:

    RE: David Losh @ 31The question is what will be Tim’s end in this.

    A free 500 Realty shirt? ;-)

  33. 33
    David Losh says:

    RE: dancingeek @ 32


    My first suggestion was a book. It’s interesting to me that out of all the national Real Estate brainiacs that some one outside of the business would set up a site to specifically question home price increases.

    Then in the process a couple of guys like sniglet and eulia start talking about an economic melt down and get shouted down for that.

    All along the way the Real Estate Industry kept up a good front the way they are today. It would be a good chronicle.

    My second idea was to actually do individual home buyer consulting. Doing specific research outside of the Real Estate agent, the bank, and appraiser on a property some one wants to buy.

    My last idea was to have a subscription side like in the forums. People subscribe and get articles on the economy, housing market, and trends, like the Quarterly only with comments. If it’s a club the members should be allowed to pay to stay.

    I really don’t know. What I like is the site self regulates for the most part. That part interests me, but at the same time it should pay a wage.

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