Mid-Week Open Thread (2009-09-09)

Here is your open thread for the mid-week on September 9th, 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
    Cheap South says:

    Well; Sept. 18 is my last day at work. I will be one of the “new unemployment claims” in the next few weeks.

  2. 2
    ray pepper says:

    RE: Cheap South @ 1

    always sorry to hear that……….

  3. 3

    RE: Cheap South @ 1

    I’m Sorry to Hear the Bad News

    I was laid off in 1982 for 8 months and the only silver lining for me back then [and unemployment], was my 18% money market savings investment(s) 2nd income I acquired by staying out of over-priced RE….now-a-days, the 0.75% money market monthly income wouldn’t even fill a gas tank, let alone a shopping cart.

    I’d give you some hints where they’re hiring, but my list comes up quite grim now-a-days too….I do hope you have a working spouse.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Cheap South says:

    Thank you. I do have a working spouse that, once again, will have to feed the family.

  6. 6
    patient says:

    I read some where:

    “Rising unemployment, falling prices and growing deficit. With recoveries like these who needs recessions?”

    Cheap South, you have my sympathy. Keep looking, be positive and don’t give up and it will eventually pay off.

  7. 7
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Haven’t you heard? The recession is over: Fed findings indicate recession may be over

    Now everyone can start buying houses again!

  8. 8
    S-Crow says:

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 7 – Just got back from Snohomish County Superior Court Clerks office and Snohomish County Auditor for some escrow business:

    Re: Recession is over. Tell that to the 150+ NOTS recordings for Snohomish Co since 9-1-09. Some long time developers and more small builders continue to populate my recording searches.

    While sales are clearly better than months prior and the near stop of sales during late fall of ’08 after all the Wall Street and Washington DC debacles, there will be a steady continuance of distressed property coming on line.

    Keep your eyes open and ears tuned. You may find yourselves coming across some very solid buys (more house/property for the money and I’m seeing superb interest rates ranging from 4.875 -5.5% for 30 yr fixed.)

  9. 9

    RE: S-Crow @ 8

    Don’t Look for Any Common Sense Plan By the Uncontrolled Population Growth Enthusiasts

    This group just does what they want in a “knee jerk” brainless way IMO; they simply lack science and good old common sense.

    Their push for more insane job competition during depression level unemployment [calculated honestly] in America makes about as much sense as saying the recession is over in America with depression level unemployment getting worse and worse.

  10. 10
    Scotsman says:

    From the WSJ, Monday, Sept. 8, 1930:

    “Bullish demonstrations spread across market, encouraged by some good business news. Majors including US Steel, GE, Radio, GM, Consolidated Gas advanced; bull pools operated on favorites including US Industrial Alcohol, Vanadium, Loews. Coppers higher on short-covering. Volume increased on price advance, strong tone maintained to the close. Bond market slightly irregular, Argentina weak.

    Sentiment was favorable after closing rally Friday, though some were cautious because of low volume. Many believe a movement through the summer resistance level at 241 would indicate strong further advances.

    Good business news has started to accumulate over the past week, including better wholesale and retail reports (ex. Woolworth), good steel news (increase in production and some indications of price improvement), increase in freight loadings for second week in a row (although still well under 1929 level), some increase in gasoline prices.

    Market observers call bear attacks in past week “rather theatrical,” often delayed until final hour to affect sentiment at close.

    Public participation in trading still seen small, but public also hasn’t been liquidating in response to bear attacks; all in all, public “still is marking time.”

    Henry Ford, sailing on ocean liner Bremen, predicts early end to depression. Says might last past Oct., but no wage cuts needed for return to normal conditions.”

  11. 11
    johnnybigspenda says:

    I had to do a double take at the date of the article… eerie indeed….

    RE: Scotsman @ 10

  12. 12
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 10 – Wow, I had no idea that the WSJ has been an unreliable source for so long. :-D

  13. 13
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By Scotsman @ 10:

    From the WSJ, Monday, Sept. 8, 1930:

    Henry Ford, sailing on ocean liner Bremen, predicts early end to depression. Says might last past Oct., but no wage cuts needed for return to normal conditions.”

    I’d missed this the first time. There was a line of thinking that wage cuts were needed for return to normal conditions? I hope they only thought that as to company profits, and not the economy overall.

  14. 14
    Sniglet says:

    Deflation is even starting to become noticable at the supermarket.


  15. 15
    Sniglet says:

    The economic “recovery” is on increasingly shakier grounds. It looks like the ground-work is well under way for the housing bust 2.0. The government has become the primary mortgage lender for the USA (e.g. FHA and VA backed loans are now 40% of the market alone), and delinquencies on NEW mortgages are skyrocketing,

    In their efforts to goose the market by opening spigots on government-backed loans, policy makers are ensuring the next leg of the housing bust will be breathtaking…


  16. 16
    Sniglet says:

    The Washington Post reported September 7 that the federal government is now guaranteeing 86 percent of all new home mortgages, as default rates continue to increase and threaten to require a bailout of federal loan guarantors such as the Federal Housing Administration.


  17. 17
    patient says:

    RE: Sniglet @ 15 – meredith Whitney agrees with you sniglet. Another 25% from here most be rather breathtaking for the bulls.


  18. 18
    Sniglet says:

    meredith Whitney agrees with you sniglet. Another 25% from here most be rather breathtaking for the bulls.

    A further 25% price drop would be tame. I am expecting to see an additional 60% decline from current prices (bring us to at least an 80% drop from peak prices) before we hit bottom.

  19. 19
    ray pepper says:

    RE: Sniglet @ 18

    I find Meredith Whitney rather attractive. But, her husband that WWF guy would pop my head like a pea nut.

  20. 20
    Scotsman says:

    News from the WSJ, Wednesday Sept. 10, 1930.

    Note second paragraph:

    “Bulls encouraged by good business news continuing to trickle in yesterday, including Aug. rise in steel production and $30M rise in commercial loans in latest week. Several bear attacks failed, and stocks strengthened in late afternoon. Retail shares rallied impressively on news of recent sales improvement, including Woolworth, Macy, Best & Co., Associated Dry Goods, Abraham & Straus. Banks, utilities strong. Oils weak on lawsuit against curtailment. Bond market firm, particularly convertibles and preferreds. South American bonds higher. US govt. dull, unchanged.

    Roger W. Babson (economist, made perfectly timed bearish call in fall 1929) optimistic on immediate future, sees possible “stampede of orders” due to underproduction; says it’s as evident now that business is bound to improve as it was clear a year ago that it must deteriorate.”

  21. 21

    RE: Scotsman @ 10

    Yes Scotsman

    I’m sure there’s a few of us bloggers here that watch Doug Short’s Four Bears Chart:


    And it’s starting to look like a recovery with the S&P at -34%, up 57% from the low six months ago.

    But now look at these charts from the engineer “Thought Offerings”


    The third chart down shows, compared to the Great Depression, the trend in dividends and earnings is scary similar to the Great Depression when comparing operating earnings today with reported earnings back then (operating earnings was not an accounting method back then). Reported earnings have fallen off a cliff, even when compared to the Great Depression.

    So, even though the big five banks have boosted stock prices; operating and reported earnings reveal it’s a head fake.

  22. 22

    RE: softwarengineer @ 21

    I’d Add Too

    Which is exactly why insider selling on Wall Street is at record levels right now. The financial officers and CEO’s of these companies know the real score – they know what the projected profits are in the next 12 months. So they are dumping their own stocks in droves. Says everything, doesn’t it?!!

  23. 23

    And Coming Soon, to an Uncontrolled Growth Seattle Theater Near You

    2 out of 5 working-age Californians jobless -40%

    Sunday, September 6, 2009

    On this Labor Day weekend, many Californians find themselves more in need of work than a holiday.

    A report released Sunday says two of five working-age Californians do not have a job, underscoring the challenges in one of the toughest job markets in decades. A new study has found that the last time employment levels among this group were this low was February 1977.

    The study was done by the California Budget Project, a Sacramento-based nonprofit research group that advocates for lower- and middle-income families. The report said that California now has about the same number of jobs as it did nine years ago, when the state was home to 3.3 million fewer working-age people.

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/09/06/state/n000211D96.DTL#ixzz0QcqB9EBu

  24. 24
    Scotsman says:

    “Reversion to the mean.”

    KD over at MarketTicker has revised his favorite chart with more current data. Given what this shows, it’s pretty clear we won’t be having a consumer led recovery. It looks more like we’re going to have a .gov debt led bubble, at least until it too pops.


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