Puget Sound Counties Interactive October Update

Let’s take a look at October NWMLS statistics from around the sound. As usual, courtesy Tableau Software, the Around the Sound update is rocking sweet interactive data visualizations.

Feel free to download the old charts in Excel 2007 and Excel 2003 format. To get specific info about a certain point on any graph in the post below, float your mouse pointer over the data.

Before we get to the cool stuff, here’s the usual table of YOY stats for each of our seven covered counties as of October 2009.

October 2009 King Snohomish Pierce Kitsap Thurston Island Skagit Whatcom
Median Price 3.7% 12.3% 10.3% 0.4% 10.7% 7.0% 10.1% 5.0%
Listings 19.7% 23.8% 22.8% 26.1% 14.5% 7.3% 4.2% 10.1%
Closed Sales 33.3% 42.5% 24.0% 5.5% 5.7% 26.8% 9.0% 19.0%
Seasonally Adjusted Active Supply 1.6 1.8 1.7 1.6 1.6 1.7 2.0 1.8

Summary

Hit the jump for the rest of this month’s interactive charts.

The visualization below is comparable to our previous chart of closed sales in each county in October 2008 and October 2009:

Closed Sales

Kitsap, Skagit, and Thurston counties all still seem to be mostly missing out on the sales spike action.

Here’s our comparison of median prices in each county at their respective peaks and in October 2009:

Change from Peak

Still pretty much in a holding pattern.

Seasonally Adjusted Active Supply

Only Skagit County came in on the “buyer’s market” side with October’s SAAS, and only Skagit and Thurston saw higher SAAS than last year.

The complete lack of a strong surge in sales in Kitsap, Skagit, and Thurston counties is interesting. Given that these counties have some of the lowest home prices around the sound, it is surprising to see that the tax credit incentive doesn’t seem to be having more of an effect.

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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.

51 comments:

  1. 1
    Meadows says:

    Thanks for the info Tim. I have only anecdotal observances from my 20 year perch here in Bellingham. It’s interesting to note the many For Rent signs in the middle of last semester in the Happy Valley area which is packed w/WWU students. Many For Sale signs removed after languishing all summer and Fall at too-high prices being pulled. (I check to see if a sale was made when I note this….)

    Many For Sale New Price! signs in the least spendy hoods on the north end of town. Many more For Rent signs in front of condos everywhere that used to be “For Sale”.

    However, it seems homes around the $300,000 mark in hoods w/in walking distance or near bus lines to downtown are selling. Those same homes can usually be rented for 1/2 the price of Home-Moaning.

    I still expect a continued trend down, maybe more gradual, but down over several more years, until renting and owning are closer together or until the jobs outlook is no longer ominous.

  2. 2

    Kitsap county is particularly surprising in that it’s largely a government employment base, and I don’t recall hearing of any cutbacks over there.

  3. 3
    Scott Weitz says:

    Lot of financial nim-wits in thte King County area. Stop listening to your realtor,people! Low Interests only mean that prices will continue to fall when rates are inevitably hiked up. The govt continues to pay people to buy homes!! Does that sound like we’re back to a healthy, vibrant market?! We’re simply delaying the problems.

  4. 4
    Tim says:

    Meadows, I live in Bellingham as well and have also noticed that 300,000 seems to be the line where houses begin to languish. Still seems high to me for Whatcom County but maybe I’m missing something. Seems like there may be a little spillover from BC.

  5. 5
    JimN says:

    There is one group that has been presented with an extraordinary opportunity, the move down buyer that has decent equity.

    Here is the chance to get into a smaller mortgage at excellent fixed rates and limit downside risks of further declines in the housing market with the cheaper house.

    And a $6500 tax credit to boot!

  6. 6
    Hector says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2

    The bubble in Kitsap was fueled by Seattle/Tacoma commuters. While gov has remained steady for the past 20 years, ferry service has contracted (not to mention become more expensive) and the new bridge has lost its luster (not to mention people realized the cost of gas + toll wasn’t cheap), making the discounted housing in Kitsap not as attractive as it used to be.

  7. 7
    pfft says:

    so now that the stock market is still going up and the numbers are still getting better(or less bad which is the same thing) do people still think the economy isn’t doing better?

  8. 8
    AMS says:

    RE: pfft @ 7 – Could you put that in terms of the price of an ounce of gold?

  9. 9

    Sellers Can’t Wait Forever

    They’d like to, and hope the price goes back up where they want it….but let’s be real.

    Article states in part for October 2009:

    “…mortgage application activity fell 13.7%…”

    The rest of the URL:

    http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/10282009_mba_mortgage_applications.asp

    Tim’s supply decrease trend could likely be greedy sellers pulling homes off the market because of reduced buyer activity refusing their asking prices and any price increase was the few uninformed dupes that bought in too high, IMO.

    Do an increase in short sells and foreclosed eventually reduce SAAS too?

  10. 10
    HappyRenter says:

    By pfft @ 7:

    so now that the stock market is still going up and the numbers are still getting better(or less bad which is the same thing) do people still think the economy isn’t doing better?

    Unemployment countrywide above 10% and no recovery in sight, Microsoft laying off another 800 employers, 1.5 trillion dollar deficit and still rising, my health care insurance reducing benefits, etc etc etc. No, the economy isn’t doing better.

  11. 11
    Snigliastic says:

    By pfft @ 7:

    so now that the stock market is still going up and the numbers are still getting better(or less bad which is the same thing) do people still think the economy isn’t doing better?

    WTF? How on Earth can you say that slightly less new filings for unemployment is a good thing? A whole chocolate-load of people have lost their jobs. that doesn’t sound “better,” that sounds “worse.”

  12. 12
    Meadows says:

    RE: Tim @ 4

    Possibly. Beats me. My friends dropped $280,000 on a POS this summer. I tried to talk them out of it. Low info people are easily persuaded by MSM.

  13. 13
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: JimN @ 5 – It also provides the homeowner with the ability to downsize the hooks that local gubmint has in his flesh. I still can’t get over the fact that some people I know pay the man $700/month on top of a steep mortgage.

    Forget it. I will gladly live in a tiny place and use that cash elsewhere. While I always felt farmland would be nice to have, there is no way I will expose myself to the taxation that comes with it.

  14. 14
    Haybaler says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 13
    Fortunately for you, you are mistaken about the tax burden on Agricultural land…. Timberland too. When it is used in a productive purpose it is granted Much lower taxes. If you live on land that “looks like farmland”….(these 5- 20 acre mini estates) but is zoned and used as residential then you have a much larger tax burden.

  15. 15
    AMS says:

    RE: Haybaler @ 14 – Could you outline all of the Federal and State programs available for farmers?

    It’s probably not even possible, as by the time you have the list, there are too many revisions to existing programs and new programs, as well as expired programs.

    I have never been able to keep up with all those farming regulations, programs, etc. It’s probably because it’s not my main interest, but whenever I hear “farmer,” a different world comes to mind.

  16. 16
    pfft says:

    ” Could you put that in terms of the price of an ounce of gold?”

    since the bottom the dow/gold ratio is up 30% since the march lows.

  17. 17
    pfft says:

    “Unemployment countrywide above 10% and no recovery in sight, Microsoft laying off another 800 employers, 1.5 trillion dollar deficit and still rising, my health care insurance reducing benefits, etc etc etc. No, the economy isn’t doing better.”

    you think the people who sit at computers all day staring at charts and reading quarterly reports don’t know that?
    perhaps there is more than unemployment to the stock market?

  18. 18
    pfft says:

    “WTF? How on Earth can you say that slightly less new filings for unemployment is a good thing? A whole chocolate-load of people have lost their jobs. that doesn’t sound “better,” that sounds “worse.””

    unemployment is a lagging indicator. things are getting less bad. that is a good thing. that’s how we get out of recessions. at our height we lost 700,000 jobs in one month. we are unquestionably doing better than that. many many more indicators are doing better or less bad.

  19. 19
    Jonness says:

    By pfft @ 17:

    perhaps there is more than unemployment to the stock market?

    Like unsustainable government stimulus and the mother of all carry trades.

  20. 20
    WestSeattleDave says:

    RE: pfft @ 18 – While it’s true that at the peak we were losing 700K jobs per month, and we are now down to 200K jobs per month, that does not tell the whole story. Businesses may have slowed down layoffs, but nobody is doing any hiring. The number of people unemployed for more than a year is rising fast. So is the number of people that have given up on looking for a job — one can take only so much rejection. And it is all of those unemployed folks who will not be spending money to drive the economy to anything approaching the level of years past. Unemployment IS a lagging indicator — and I expect it to lag for quite some time to come.

  21. 21
    AMS says:

    RE: pfft @ 16 – How about the gold lows?

  22. 22
    Ray Pepper says:

    RE: Scott Weitz @ 3

    Doers anybody actually still listen to a Realtor anymore? A used car salesman? An Attorney?

    Whats the difference in the above 3?

    The Attorney will be paying off a student loan the rest of their lives and cannot file Bankruptcy to extinguish it…….

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/too_many_lawyers_too_little_work_more_layoffs_likely_expert_says/

  23. 23
    Ray Pepper says:

    By Ray Pepper @ 22:

    RE: Scott Weitz @ 3

    Does anybody actually still listen to a Realtor anymore? A used car salesman? An Attorney? I know they listen but with a wealth of knowledge at the fingertips of Buyers and Sellers do they already know the answer? Many of our clients do listen but they still need their hand held.

    Whats the difference in the above 3 (Realtor, Car Salesman, Attorney?)

    The Attorney will be paying off a student loan the rest of their lives and cannot file Bankruptcy to extinguish it…….

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/too_many_lawyers_too_little_work_more_layoffs_likely_expert_says/

    RE: Scott Weitz @ 3

  24. 24
    AMS says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 23 – Are you trying to get back up into the top 8?

  25. 25
    Cheap South says:

    Snohomish’s price drop seems to be more in line with the rest of the country. King continuous to show resilience.

    HappyRenter at 10 – MSFT – the 800 lay-offs are worldwide. According to the PI, about 1/4 (200 people) from Redmond (still a considerable amount).

    Kitsap – this past summer while staying in Silverdale for a couple of days, I heard from a retired sailor that the Bangor base was going to be home to one more sub and all the support that comes with it. I don’t understand the details or if I understood it correctly; but the just of it was “more people will be relocating to the peninsula.”

  26. 26
    pfft says:

    “Like unsustainable government stimulus and the mother of all carry trades.”

    the market knows about the stimulus. it knows about the carry trade. we are in a new bull market.

    “While it’s true that at the peak we were losing 700K jobs per month, and we are now down to 200K jobs per month, that does not tell the whole story. Businesses may have slowed down layoffs, but nobody is doing any hiring. The number of people unemployed for more than a year is rising fast. So is the number of people that have given up on looking for a job — one can take only so much rejection. And it is all of those unemployed folks who will not be spending money to drive the economy to anything approaching the level of years past. Unemployment IS a lagging indicator — and I expect it to lag for quite some time to come.”

    less bad is how the economy and stock market recovers. the stock market correctly predicted that earnings would improve. if you believe unemployment is a lagging indicator, why are you arguing?

    the stock market predicts, it’s not backward looking for the most part. it knows that unemployment is going higher. it already priced that in. the stock market doesn’t have to have people spend like years past because it fell so much.

  27. 27
    buystocks says:

    RE: pfft @ 26
    Two flaws in your logic:

    1) We’ve been in a secular bear market for almost a decade (overall sideways with large bull and bear swings)
    2) Your assuming that since ‘A’ (bull market) happens, that ‘B’ (recesscion recovery) will follow. Yes, when ‘B’ happens it will be preceded by an ‘A’. However, in the market’s history, there are many ‘A’ that are not followed by a ‘B’.

  28. 28
    Scott Weitz says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 23

    So true. I’m a young attorney who has the displeasure of seeing a lot of young, unemployed attorneys struggle. I know one gentleman with a JD, and an LLM in Taxation who is stocking shelves at Target. Its not a good situation for recent grads.

  29. 29
    Scott Weitz says:

    RE: pfft @ 26

    You’re giving the market far too much credit as a reliable predictor of economic health. The reason the market is going up is that the Fed Rate is at 0% so banks can borrow and invest in the markets (rather than loan it out for real estate). There are absolutely no fundamental reason why the markets are where they are. A pull back is inevitable.

  30. 30
    AMS says:

    RE: Scott Weitz @ 29 – “The reason the market is going up is that the Fed Rate is at 0% so banks can borrow and invest in the markets (rather than loan it out for real estate).”

    How about, the government gives your tax dollars to the bank so they can charge you to borrow them back.

  31. 31
    Scott Weitz says:

    RE: AMS @ 30

    Touche. Its a heads I win, tails you lose situation for the banks right now.

  32. 32
    AMS says:

    RE: Scott Weitz @ 31 – Remember what so many REALTORs were saying just before the peak of the housing market?

    Let’s recall:

    It’s a great time to buy!!!

    Sound familiar?

  33. 33

    “I know one gentleman with a JD, and an LLM in Taxation who is stocking shelves at Target.”

    At least he’s making an honest living?

  34. 34
    pfft says:

    “You’re giving the market far too much credit as a reliable predictor of economic health. The reason the market is going up is that the Fed Rate is at 0% so banks can borrow and invest in the markets (rather than loan it out for real estate). There are absolutely no fundamental reason why the markets are where they are. A pull back is inevitable.”

    yes there is, there are probably a dozen indicators that point up. the market has seen it’s lows. so has the economy. earnings are up. this is how the economy recovers. this is how the stock market recovers. the markets trade on earnings and panic. both have subsided. look at the vix. look at the ted spread.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/cbuilder?ticker1=.TEDSP%3AIND

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/cbuilder?ticker1=VIX%3AIND

    “1) We’ve been in a secular bear market for almost a decade (overall sideways with large bull and bear swings)
    2) Your assuming that since ‘A’ (bull market) happens, that ‘B’ (recesscion recovery) will follow. Yes, when ‘B’ happens it will be preceded by an ‘A’. However, in the market’s history, there are many ‘A’ that are not followed by a ‘B’.”

    1. I know that.

    2. so what exactly does an economic recovery look like? when should I buy stocks then? when unemployment is at X? when Y is at Z?

    how often does the market recover and the economy not?

  35. 35
    buystocks says:

    RE: pfft @ 34

    Just stare at this graph:
    https://seattlebubble.com/blog/2009/11/04/job-loss-crash-comparison-update-stimulus-rant/
    (second one on this page)
    Each recession/depression has valleys and peaks. I’m guessing during each of them the bears said is was doomsday and bulls said it was all roses, respectively. Trying to predict is just speculation and quackery if you ask me. The fundamentals totally suck, but that could take years to really show effect. My strategy is conservative and I stay diversified(stocks,cash,bonds etc) and avoid any significantly leveraged assets(ie an expensive home); buying a significantly leveraged asset right now would be way out of my risk profile (right now, it should only be included within the risk profile of drunken gamblers if you ask me).

  36. 36
    Scott Weitz says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 33

    Honest living? I suppose so. I would say he’s forced to take a job well below his capabilities.

  37. 37
    Jonness says:

    RE: pfft @ 26 – “we are in a new bull market.”

    3 days prior to the bottom, I predicted a massive sucker rally would occur due to the massive stimulus being pumped into the system. As far as I’m concerned, I was correct. If you prefer to refer to this as a new bull market that’s fine. I tend to think of bull markets as driven by strong business fundamentals. This upward trend has little to do with that.

    The only prediction I missed so far is I predicted the correction in October would be stronger than it was. At that time, I did not realize the liquidity bubble was fueling a false bull market. I’ve since adjusted my model.

  38. 38
    Scott Weitz says:

    “yes there is, there are probably a dozen indicators that point up. the market has seen it’s lows. so has the economy. earnings are up. this is how the economy recovers. this is how the stock market recovers. the markets trade on earnings and panic. both have subsided. look at the vix. look at the ted spread.”

    “Market has seen its lows”….I would not say this with such certainty. The banks have still not dealt with their bad assets yet. Commercial Real Estate is poised for a similar disaster; and the govt has already used all its ‘bullets’. FYI: the vix is in no way forward looking. It will naturally be lower when the market is doing well.

    How can you say the economy has seen its lows?…unemployment continues to rise. I don’t think anyone knows for certain, however, my presumption is that the economy will not bottom until this ‘quasi-recovery’ fails to come to fruition, and we see many more ‘straegic’ foreclosures, and the banks unload the huge REOs on their books.

    “the market trades on earnings and panic’ = true, however, most “improved” earnings have been based on cost cutting, rather than top line revenue growth. While the panic has subsided, it could very easily come back if unemployment, the so-called ‘lagging indicator’ , does not improve soon.

    Finally, look at the Bankruptcies in Western Washington recently…its not a pretty sight and certainly does not show a ‘recovery’ or a ‘bottom’…more BKs in October than any month since the new BK laws were implemented
    http://www.wawb.uscourts.gov/read_file.php?file=2305&id=0

  39. 39
    Scott Weitz says:

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 33

    Don’t tell him that. He’s got an amazing education and is making 10/hour at a job that is meant for high school kids.

  40. 40
    Herman says:

    By AMS @ 30:

    RE: How about, the government gives your tax dollars to the bank so they can charge you to borrow them back.

    How about the government gives your children’s tax dollars of tomorrow to the bank so they can charge you to borrow it today.

  41. 41
    pfft says:

    “The fundamentals totally suck, but that could take years to really show effect.”

    exactly on the it could take years to show some effect. the fundamentals don’t suck. they are clearly improving.

  42. 42
    pfft says:

    “I tend to think of bull markets as driven by strong business fundamentals. This upward trend has little to do with that.”

    in your opinion, but I disagree and could give a dozen or so indicators that show the economy is improving. guess what, new bull markets don’t begin with strong fundamentals, they begin with bad conditions after a nasty stock market sell off and recession or depression like conditions. the strong business fundmentals are after the big moves when the market is priced too high.

  43. 43
    pfft says:

    ““the market trades on earnings and panic’ = true, however, most “improved” earnings have been based on cost cutting, rather than top line revenue growth. While the panic has subsided, it could very easily come back if unemployment, the so-called ‘lagging indicator’ , does not improve soon.

    Finally, look at the Bankruptcies in Western Washington recently…its not a pretty sight and certainly does not show a ‘recovery’ or a ‘bottom’…more BKs in October than any month since the new BK laws were implemented”

    have you thought that the first step in improved earnings is the first step in earnings recovery?

    how do you know that bankruptcies are a leading indicator?

    people mention CRE all the time. CRE is priced in. insurance stocks crashed. bank stocks crashed. real estate stocks crashed.

    the stock market is climbing a wall of worry. we have the highest unemployment since 1983, that was a great time to buy stocks.

    here is what warren buffet said about the economy and stock prices.

    “Now if you look at 1954, we were in a recession a good bit of that time. The recession started in July of ’53. Unemployment peaked in September of ’54. So until November of ’54 you hadn’t seen an uptick in the employment figure. And the unemployment figure more than doubled during that period. It was the best year there was for the market. So it’s a terrible mistake to look at what’s going on in the economy today and then decide whether to buy or sell stocks based on it. You should decide whether to buy or sell stocks based on how much you’re getting for your money, long-term value you’re getting for your money at any given time. And next week doesn’t make any difference because next week, next week is going to be a week further away. And the important thing is to have the right long-term outlook, evaluate the businesses you are buying. And then a terrible market or a terrible economy is your friend.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/33901003/

    wall of worry my good buddies.

    a month after the march bottom it was a bear market rally. then it was low volume with lots of traders away for the summer. the fall swoon didn’t happen. now improved earnings are the stimulus and cost cutting. the CRE crash is just around the corner they say. sounds like a wall of worry to me.

  44. 44
    AMS says:

    RE: Herman @ 40 – Fair enough. And if you don’t pay today, then the grandchildren must pay more.

  45. 45

    By Scott Weitz @ 28:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 23

    So true. I’m a young attorney who has the displeasure of seeing a lot of young, unemployed attorneys struggle. I know one gentleman with a JD, and an LLM in Taxation who is stocking shelves at Target. Its not a good situation for recent grads.

    He should try hooking up with a bankruptcy firm. Tax and bankruptcy is a good combination, and the bankruptcy firms are pretty busy.

  46. 46
    David Losh says:

    The fundamentals of today’s business is a lot of shoddy little tricks. Banks made $25 to $35 billion dollars on over draft debit card fees. Credit card rates are increasing across the board and people are scrambling to get out of credit cards so they are paying them down and off. If some one does not have the ability to pay off credit they can restructure in bankruptcy. Even in bankruptcy some lenders are getting something.

    Cash for clunkers added more financing. Loan modifications, and refinancing are adding more dollars into the banking and financing system. We are in a time of economic adjustment.

    Attorneys seem to me to be a good indicator. Who is going to sue anybody over anything with the amount of economic upheaval we have? There are no dollars in that system, you might as well settle and move on. Even in tax and bankruptcy the dollars are gone, you can’t get blood out of a turnip.

    Quoting Warren Buffet is ridiculous as any indicator, the guy owns billions in stock, he makes his money by manipulating stock. To a guy like Warren there is no end to the money he can make in any given day for doing absolutely nothing, but manipulate public perception.

    I worked on a Warren model about a week ago, he owns Geico. He has 15 million customers. Let’s say a policy is 1$ per month. Geico pays out 80% in claims, so that’s $12 million. Over head is partially included in the 80% but lets say he spends another 19% on overhead. He still gets to keep roughly $1.5 million dollars per month.

    Now what if a policy is $100 per month, or $200 per month.

    Warren can say whatever he wants. Institutional investors of billions of dollars can continue to trade no matter what. Most institutions are playing with your money. When the losses come in remember that past perfomance is no indication of future gains.

  47. 47

    By David Losh @ 46:

    The fundamentals of today’s business is a lot of shoddy little tricks. Banks made $25 to $35 billion dollars on over draft debit card fees. . . .

    Attorneys seem to me to be a good indicator. Who is going to sue anybody over anything with the amount of economic upheaval we have? There are no dollars in that system, you might as well settle and move on.

    As to the first comment, I suspect that’s gross revenue, not net profit. They’re basically making unsecured loans, and I suspect that they have a significant amount of losses from such loans.

    As to the second comment, I remember an associate at my first firm that was hired and made the comment that our firm was suing people who were solvent. That apparently was a big change from where he worked before. But also as to that comment, the first firm was a good firm in that it was half bankruptcy and half business litigation. The workload of each have balanced each other out as the economy went up and down.

  48. 48

    Kary,
    Wouldn’t you think a bunch of lawyers would find out if someone were solvent before suing them? Am I missing something here?

  49. 49
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 47

    Bank of America had that program where they would take your change from a transaction and move it to saving. That program generated over draft fees that they are now being required to pay back. It’s a small thing that in my opinion is the back bone of the new American business model.

    Switch to Geico and save $500 on your car insurance!

    As far as the attorneys go, money is no longer flowing like water. There is no source of funds for an attorney to be paid and even less incentive to get involved in a protracted litigation when the end result is a judgment against a declining asset.

    Even the promise to pay is pretty hollow. Solvent today may be a liability in a year or two.

  50. 50
    Scott Weitz says:

    RE: pfft @ 43

    I simply can’t buy that argument until we deal with the problems on our plate (Alt – As), tons of REOs, unemployment that continues to worsen, and local govt fiscal crisis.

    The 1953s is poor comparison. That era was coming out of an extended period of economic malaise. We’ve had a 20 year boom that needs to unwind. In my opinion, Japan in the 90s is a much better example.

  51. 51

    RE: Ira Sacharoff @ 48 – You can’t necessarily get at someone’s financial condition prior to getting a judgment. Unless that’s somehow relevant to your underlying cause of action, it wouldn’t be part of discovery.

    Also, sometimes appearance are deceiving. I remember years ago a fairly big house contractor (I don’t remember the name) went under, and most the creditors didn’t have any lien rights because they weren’t sending the proper notices for that contractor because they thought there was no way they would go under.

    Finally, sometimes the attorneys simply don’t care. People here like to think that the possible conflict of interest between a real estate agent’s own interests and their clients is somehow unique. It’s not. Some attorneys will continue billing hours, and defeat attempts to settle, as long as the client is paying the bill.

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