Help Me Improve Sound Housing Quarterly

Welcome back, I hope everyone had an enjoyable Labor Day. Speaking of laboring, I recently finished another issue of Sound Housing Quarterly. For those not familiar with this project, it is a quarterly journal in which I roll up all of the vital local real estate statistics into one massive 40+ page tome, complete with its own unique set of 42 charts including affordability and my own custom heat index for eight Puget Sound counties: King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom.

You can download a free single-page summary of this quarter’s report, or head over to the free archive to check out last year’s Q2 report in full.

Here’s the latest look at the affordability and heat indices for the four counties closest to Seattle:

Seattle-Area AffordabilitySeattle-Area Heat

Both affordability and the heat index ticked up for the inner counties in the second quarter, as seasonal increases in home prices were offset by another plunge in interest rates.

I’ve been publishing Sound Housing Quarterly for three years now, and while it has certainly been satisfying, it is a lot of work to do in addition to the content that I create daily here on Seattle Bubble. Lately the number of subscribers to Sound Housing Quarterly has been dwindling, so it seems like a good time to ask for your help.

If you could take a little time to download the latest issue in the Free Archive, have a look through it, and give me some specific feedback and constructive criticism here in the comments (or by email, if you prefer), I would really appreciate it. Here are some of the questions I’m trying to answer:

  • Is the existing content compelling?
  • What additional content do you feel is missing?
  • Are there other topics that should be covered?
  • What content could/should be dropped?
  • Would you subscribe to it at any price?
    • If so, what price?
  • Who would be likely to subscribe?
    • How would you make them aware of it?

Of course, if you like what I’m doing here on Seattle Bubble, purchasing a subscription to Sound Housing Quarterly is a great way to help support my work here. However, even if you don’t want to subscribe, you can help me out by giving me a little bit of your time to help make it a more attractive product that others will want to subscribe to.

Thanks in advance.

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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
    David Losh says:

    Statistics have little to do with building a Real Estate. You found the perfect outlet for what you are producing at redfin. What you have is internet content.

    Schiller has said the same thing repeatedly in many different ways.

    The idea of an index of property pricing was a doomed venture from the beginning. It had it’s place as an economic model when new construction could guide a market place, like in Nevada, or Arizona. Now there is less reliance on statistics, and more on economic viability. continues on with political, and economic news that is more pertinent than charts, and graphs.

    I would like to see you make this site work. You can convert what you do for the quarterly as content for here, God bless you for that.

  2. 2

    The thing that sticks out to me is how it has coverage of many different counties. That could be very appealing to those who don’t live in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

  3. 3
    robotslave says:

    Who is your intended audience for the newsletter?

    I can see how it would be of interest to the dozen Real Estate Professionals who read Seattle Bubble, but the rabble here seem to be content to watch the world burn, without buying a program.

  4. 4

    RE: robotslave @ 3 – I’m not sure what you mean by real estate professionals. If you mean agents, they can get much if not all of the same information themselves on a much more timely basis. If you mean builders and contractors, I could see that this sort of thing would be very interesting to them. They work on much longer time-frames, so the quarterly aspect wouldn’t bother them at all.

    I didn’t look for this to see if it already is in there, (and I’m running out of time to edit), but maybe more content aimed at builders, like number of building permits issues, data on new construction sales, etc.

  5. 5
    Ray Pepper says:

    You provide so much info here Tim with charts etc that I’m not sure there is a demand for much more.

    Between Bubble, an occasional glance at RCG, CNBC, and a few other juicy websites I frequent my cup is full with housing data…

    What I do find fascinating is things like this which will be TRUE LIFE stories of the decade ahead of us:

  6. 6
    2kt says:

    You probably need to add a content that others can try making money off of. For instance, forecasting prices 6-12 month out, or taking a particular area and analyzing area rents vs buying costs by that area. Even then, you are far more likely to generate paying customers from business entities than individuals, but for that you’d need to expand to analysis of commercial rents/buildings, etc.

  7. 7

    If I Was a Foreign Lobbyist Funding and Picking Our Major Candidate Choices

    I’d tell you to print that you’d better buy in now while there’s still time, you’ll be laughing your head off two years from now when Seattle Real Estate prices go through the roof and you’re paying almost no interest on your loan for another fantastic giant bubble investment.

    But alas….I’m an old fashion Earthday Democrat the foreign lobbyists hate. God forbid I use “overpopulation” and “the environment” in the same sentence…..let alone tell the truth, like more population density equals more unemployment, lower per capita pay and “slam-dunk” continued price collapses in Seattle Real Estate. With no end too.

  8. 8
    Voight-kampff says:

    RE: Ray Pepper @ 5

    Excellent link, great discussion there.

  9. 9
    Jonness says:

    By robotslave @ 3:

    Who is your intended audience for the newsletter?

    I second the question.

  10. 10
    aeaneas says:

    I read through this website daily and I find the various perspectives discussed here valuable. In fact, a number of times I decided to support the website just to find it relies solely on Google Checkout (Which I am not willing to support directly or indirectly :) ).

    Did you consider expanding the website to use Paypal as well?

  11. 11
    jbraxton says:

    What are the three rules of real estate? Data for entire counties is useless. Do I really want data that conflates Auburn with Mercer Island; Mill Creek with Arlington; Gig Harbor with Fife; Bainbridge Island with Bremerton? Anyone in the real estate industry who wants to know countywide information can compile it for themselves within 20 minutes and in the process assemble numerous additional data that is useful for analysis. There are occasionally data points presented that are moderately interesting but not compelling. Industry participants are interested in very localized data.

    Having 10+ years of data on the same chart just makes my eyes roll back in my head. Unless you are trying to make a specific point or to show some type of parallel (among recessionary periods, for example) then only show what is relevant. I don’t care what happened in 2003 or 2004 anymore unless I am looking for parallels.

    In numerous places you choose to use a chart when what you are trying to say could be simply conveyed in a couple of sentences. For example, on the Forecast page, everything that you are trying to say could have occupied less than 1/3 of a page and been digested in one sweep but instead I am looking at four charts and left trying to figure out what exactly it is that you are showing.

    The data that is interesting to me, as an analyst, includes the job data, the heat index even though I don’t know enough about the heat index to know if the methodology is sound because there are some counties I know were very strong in early 2007 that your index shows as being strongly in the buyer’s favor at the time (Furthermore, I see no reason why this data is presented multiple times. It’s better when consolidated onto one chart which includes multiple counties and would be ideal if it were broken out by pricing tiers so that the data actually meant something), the housing affordability index and the pending/closed sale/orphan/foreclosure data. It seems to me that the information could be condensed to 15 pages or less. The rest is just noise.

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