Mid-Week Open Thread (2011-04-27)

Here is your open thread for the mid-week on April 27th, 2011. 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

    The Manure Has Hit the Seattle Area Housing Fan

    Article in part:

    “…High unemployment, stricter lending rules and fears that prices will fall further are among the reasons few people are buying and selling homes. A record number of foreclosures are forcing down home prices in most metro areas, and prices are expected to keep falling through this year.

    “There is evidence that potential sellers are holding their properties off the market, waiting for housing prices to stop falling,” said Bricklin Dwyer, an analyst at BNP Paribas….”


    Well, good for MSM, they finally admitted it, the sellers are holding back a truckload of shadow inventory [MASS Truckload IMO], waiting for that magic false bottom in RE prices to appear, that MSM has falsely alleged would happen for years now. Buying a house now is like buying a 10 mpg Toyota Tundra [and expecting it to hold value] and gas is heading for $7/gal.

  2. 2
    Snigliastic says:

    Can someone explain to me how to see past pricing histories for properties when they are not provided by redfin?

    for example, in this listing (http://www.redfin.com/WA/Edmonds/8627-200th-St-SW-98026/home/2552993), there are stars (*) in place of where pricing information is. How do I determine what the listing price was at that time?

    Another example, with much more missing information: http://www.redfin.com/WA/Edmonds/1023-Grandview-St-98020/home/2903024

  3. 3
    deejayoh says:

    RE: Snigliastic @ 2 – you need to log in to see the price history. I was able to view the first but not the second. As to that one, I think if they change the listing # they MLS blocks the records – in which case you should just look at Zillow!

    Actually, I find that a better source for price history in any case. You find the ridiculous make me moves, and sometimes they’ve put a different price on listings through other venues.

  4. 4
    The Tim says:

    RE: Snigliastic @ 2 – Unfortunately the agreement Redfin has with the MLS that allows them to get all the listing data also ties their hands with respect to displaying listing prices of old MLS #s. This allows listing agents to de-list and re-list with a new MLS # and “hide” the previous history.

    As Deejayoh pointed out, if the listing is being syndicated by the listing brokerage to Zillow, you can often find that information there. Zillow’s not a member of the MLS, so their data is often outdated and incomplete, but they also don’t have to follow the same rules, so they can sometimes display more information.

  5. 5
    Snigliastic says:

    RE: The Tim @ 4RE: deejayoh @ 3
    Thanks to both. Great to know.

  6. 6
    The Tim says:

    Interesting story about foreclosure sales down in Vegas: Las Vegas Foreclosure Mess Ends in Bitter Duel

    That leaves few regular people buying houses in Las Vegas. Instead, the vast majority of home sales there involve investors looking to buy when the market is low and then sell at a profit, says Bill Uffelman, president of the Nevada Bankers Association.

    That normally simple process is made complicated by Nevada’s unique and vague real estate laws, which say that homeowner associations are entitled to nine months’ worth of unpaid fees after a home goes into foreclosure. The home’s new owner would be responsible for paying the HOA fees.

    Does the law also force these new homeowners to pay collections agencies fees they incurred while trying to collect the unpaid debts, efforts that may have stretched back years before a home has gone into foreclosure?

    Of course it does! That, at least, is what the collection companies say.

    Seemed like something Ray might find interesting, especially.

  7. 7
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: The Tim @ 6 – I’m not so sure that is so unique. What it is would be simply a provision giving those HOA dues priority over the mortgage being foreclosed. I think that’s common in a lot of states, and I’m not even sure off the top of my head that Washington doesn’t have something like that.

    Edit: Washington apparently has a 6 month rule for newer condos, but no rule for older condos (based on which condo statute the condo was formed under). See subpart 3 of this:


    I did not check the HOA statutes. They typically are not that much–$25 a month is about as high as I’ve seen, so it’s not a big issue.

  8. 8
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 7

    We do but I don’t recall what it covers (i.e. if it only applies to condo’s and the number of months).

  9. 9
    Scotsman says:

    The spring bounce is here- in unemployment claims. Unexpected, of course. The magic number? 429,000. Recovery is back in a holding pattern:


  10. 10
    Scotsman says:

    First quarter GDP preliminary reports are out- down to .8% annualized after inventory normalization. Ouch. It would have been negative if adjusted for real world inflation. Consumer spending is down. Recovery Summer, the sequel, is on hold.

  11. 11
    Snigliastic says:

    From Realtor.org today:

    “Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said home sales activity has shown an uneven but notable improvement. “Since reaching a cyclical bottom last June, pending home sales have posted an overall gain of 24 percent and demonstrate the market is recovering on its own,” he said. “The index means modest near-term gains in existing-home sales are likely, which would be even stronger if tight mortgage lending criteria returned to normal, safe standards.””


    from press release here: http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2011/04/phs_march

  12. 12
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Snigliastic @ 11

    ““Since reaching a cyclical bottom last June”

    So it’s still true- you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

  13. 13
    No Name Guy says:

    RE: The Tim @ 6

    Yet another reason to NEVER buy in a development with a HOA (not to mention the psycho who gets on the board and whines about your grass being 1/4″ too long, or the car parked in the driveway, or the fence that deviates ever so slightly from that specified in the CCRs, or how your front yard hose isn’t properly reeled up, or the nut case architect on the ACC whining about the color or beige not being just right).

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: No Name Guy @ 13 – That works both ways.I recently mentioned to a client that she needed to review the CCRs for key terms, such as the ability to park a boat or RV on the property. She said they wouldn’t want to do that, and I pointed out that they might want to have that type of activity restricted–that the restriction could be a good thing from their point of view.

    Generally the restrictions in HOAs are there because more people want them than don’t want them. If that wasn’t the case the restrictions would just be temporary (to allow the developer to sell all the units before the neighborhood becomes a slum), or wouldn’t exist at all.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: chrisM @ 16 – Live next to the neighbor from hell for 8 years and then tell me you feel the same way.

    As to our HOA, it’s been a relatively pleasant experience dealing with them, and if anything I wish the developer 40 years ago had put in place a few stronger restrictions.

    On the other hand, I have seen some restrictions which just seem silly, like requiring front porch lights to be on a photo cell. Maybe that’s how the developer avoided putting in street lights?????

    But in any case, you can review them prior to buying a piece of property. If you don’t like them, don’t buy. The people I can’t stand are the people that buy and then complain about the existing rules.

  18. 18
    pfft says:

    By Scotsman @ 10:

    It would have been negative if adjusted for real world inflation.


  19. 19
    Scotsman says:

    RE: pfft @ 18

    Source? It’s called “doing the math.” Take the just released preliminary (to be adjusted downward, but not until later) GDP stat of 1.8% annualized, subtract the excess build-up in inventory that no one is buying (about 1%), then subtract the delta for the shadow stats number over current reported inflation- you know, calculated the way it used to be before COLAs started messing with the .gov’s budgets- and you’ve got a negative number. Look it up- you can do it!

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