Mid-Week Open Thread (2009-08-05)

Here is your open thread for the mid-week on August 5th, 2009. You may post random links and off-topic discussions here. Also, if you have an idea or a topic you’d like to see covered in an article, please make it known.

Be sure to also check out the forums, and get your word in the user-driven discussions there!

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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.


  1. 1
    Softwarengineer says:

    Cash For Clunkers an Environmental Joke

    Today’s article states in part:

    “…As a carbon dioxide policy, this is a terribly wasteful thing to do,” said Henry Jacoby, a professor of management and co-director of the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change at MIT. “The amount of carbon you are saving per federal expenditure is very, very small.”…”

    The rest of the URL:


    I’d add too that recycling of the cash for clunkers engines is impossible now; they’re pouring liquid glass into the engines….ahhh….we’ll send the unusable clunkers to Asian countries as scrap metal to subsidise their automotive manufacturing [and burn more oil/energy per unrecycled unit] with American cash for clunker income tax credits buying more foreign deficit…LOL

    Where’s common sense in America today?

  2. 2
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    My 89 Ranger qualifies for the program, but in real life it gets just under 20 mpg. I suspect some of the cars I could buy that qualify for the program probably don’t get much better in real life (as opposed to EPA), for a net savings of next to nothing ignoring the disposal/manufacturing issues.

  3. 3
    patient says:

    Here’s a question for you all, if the majority of market are actually stabilizing and starting to recover and the gov. start pulling the housing stimulus do you think Seattle as arguably still being early in it’s correction phase will be left to it’s own demise or do you think there will be more focus/funds made available for late markets as Seattle when the bulk of the markets can recover by their own?

  4. 4
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    I don’t see the focus of stimulus being on specific markets, although it really should be. For example, I’m guessing that houses in Iowa never fell that much, and they probably didn’t need an $8k stimulus. But politics being what it is, they’ll get relief the same as everyone else.

    As to if stimulus just expires, rather than being extended, at that point the markets that do the best will be the ones the fell the most, just because properties will seem relatively cheap to locals.

  5. 5
    patient says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4 – Yeah that’s my thought as well, when the bulk of markets can stand on their own legs the ones that can’t will be left to their own and probably see a deeper ( and healthier) correction ( with a healthier recovery to follow ).

  6. 6
    Kary L. Krismer says:


    This article surprises me a bit. Sales of “Connected TVs” are growing at good rates despite the economy. I realize that’s from minuscule levels, but you’d think it would be a bad time to introduce such a thing. Rather obviously, some people are not feeling pinched.

  7. 7
    David McManus says:

    Uhhh….this can’t be good.

    “About half of U.S. mortgages seen underwater by 2011”


  8. 8
    cheapseats says:

    RE: David McManus @ 7 – That should really scare the pants off anyone who thinks there is any merit to the analysis.

    “Regions suffering the worst negative equity are areas in California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and West Virginia. Las Vegas and parts of Florida and California will see 90 percent or more of their loans underwater by 2011”

    Hey Ray lotsa gems to be had!

    I used to think this site was a bit doom and gloom, after reading Calulated Risk the last couple weeks this is my happy place.

  9. 9
    Softwarengineer says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2

    I know what you mean Kary.

    I’m a bit selfish though, I figure with extra cash for clunkers sales and dealers raising prices higher to pocket our tax credits…the autotrader and other websites should be plump with 2 year old cash for clunker cars at 50 cents on the dollar in a couple years….that’s when the depression vulchors swoop in, like me….LOL

  10. 10
    Softwarengineer says:

    RE: patient @ 3

    I don’t think we’ll be worrying about a stabilizing economy when the top 5% of household incomes start losing their temporary jobs like the bottom 95%….that’s when the Dems/Reps will be joining the real middle income Middle Class and stop this $250K is Middle Income nonsense and start becoming real.

    We might get a real MSM then too…LOL

  11. 11
    Trigger says:

    Hey – So do people still think we have a bear rally before we go down to 5000 points in Dow. I was cautious and invested 25% of my savings in Dow when it was 7000 points. So I made some money. Now I wish that invested more. Oh well.

    have we reached bottom in SEA?

  12. 12
    Rack says:

    By Softwarengineer @ 9:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2

    .the autotrader and other websites should be plump with 2 year old cash for clunker cars at 50 cents on the dollar in a couple years….that’s when the depression vulchors swoop in, like me….LOL

    I don’t think you will see any CFC cars on autotrader, unless you are buying scrap steel.

  13. 13
    Acerun says:

    RE: David McManus @ 7

    Brings a whole new meaning to sink or swim!!!

  14. 14
    seattlerenter says:

    I looked into the cash for clunkers and was shocked when I found out they crush the cars. My 2000 minivan may not get the best gas mileage but I would feel far less guilty driving it than wasting a perfectly good family vehicle that has years of life left in it. I was looking at hundai sonatas and as others have mentioned it seems the prices were raised by about 4k from what I remember them being. Needless to say I am pretty disgusted with the whole program now.

  15. 15
    David McManus says:

    RE: seattlerenter @ 14 – Not just crushing the body, but they destroy the engine, thereby eliminating salvage value. If I want to buy a 95 Chevy Blazer with 4WD, the gov will say nope, sorry, we have to destroy this vehicle for the greater good. What’s hilarious about the whole deal is that I can turn in my clunker and put it towards a Hummer. No BS.

  16. 16
    RJ1 RJ1 says:

    RE: seattlerenter @ 14

    I too was surprised when I learned that they destroy the cars. Of course, the best way to stimulate an industry is to increase demand (by offering $4,500 credit) and reduce supply (by destroying the clunkers). Here’s a link to an article on wsj.com, explaining exactly how they’re destroying the cars. http://tinyurl.com/l88npo

  17. 17
    Softwarengineer says:

    RE: Trigger @ 11

    Hey Trigger, stocks have recoverred 11% this year, but still lost 20% YOY to date.

    Seattle RE hasn’t lost 20% YOY, yet.

    See the proof:

    Have you ever talked to a compulsive gambler? They always tell you when they win money, but fail to mention the lion’s share they lost…LOL

  18. 18
    Softwarengineer says:

    RE: Rack @ 12

    I meant the cars bought new in the CFC program….I bought a newer used repo 2 1/2 years ago with 27K on the odometer, 2 years old for $7800, it based new at $19K and is loaded. Its been a wonderful car too, 33 mpg highway and 150 hp. Its like a 1978 305 V-8 Firebird in hp with half the weight…LOL….it goes 70 mph at 2000 rpm with its 4 cyl, much better than the foreign 4 cyls I rented, mpgs too.

    Two years later, my car still sells for $6800 at the ripoff dealers with 60-70K on the odometer…LOL

  19. 19
    julie says:

    How can you tell when a property is under contract rather than off market on redfin?

  20. 20
    poorHomeBuyer says:

    How long is a buyer bound to work with a buyers Agent? We been working with an agent for about 5 months. We had put 2 offers through him but it didnt go through. For past 2 months we havent seen any home with him or put any offer with him. So do we still need to continue work with him or change to a different agent who gives 2% back?

  21. 21
    Scotsman says:

    I always say there’s an explanation for everything, you just may not know it at the time. And the explanation you get face-to-face is probably not the whole truth. Looks like the fed and treasury have been playing games. Check the chart at the end of the post..


  22. 22
    Rack says:

    By poorHomeBuyer @ 20:

    How long is a buyer bound to work with a buyers Agent? We been working with an agent for about 5 months. We had put 2 offers through him but it didnt go through. For past 2 months we havent seen any home with him or put any offer with him. So do we still need to continue work with him or change to a different agent who gives 2% back?

    Are you asking contractually, or ethically?

  23. 23
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 21

    Holy crap- 16 pages of comments and growing..


  24. 24

    RE: poorHomeBuyer @ 20

    If you signed a buyer’s agency agreement with this agent, you need to put it in writing that you’d like to end it.
    If you didn’t sign any agreement, you don’t have any obligation to this agent. You didn’t agree to work with this agent for any set period of time, but if you signed a buyer’s agency agreement, he’s your agent til you end the agreement.

  25. 25
    poorHomeBuyer says:

    Thanks for the replies.
    I don’t think we did any buyer’s contract. We also had different views on what the price we need to offer on a home. Obviously we were coming up with lower number than him. As a result he was thinking we were not realistic and not that serious about buying home.

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