Weekend Open Thread (2011-09-16)

Here is your open thread for the weekend beginning Friday September 16th, 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

    Komo story on short sales. Not terribly informative.


    Do you think the headline writer meant “pittfalls” rather than “pratfalls?”

  2. 2

    Buying Evicted Homes at an Auction

    I’m sure has a lot of risks, including getting bid up way too high by “Pink Pony bidders” is likely the biggest risk of all in the Seattle area.

    My surplus item auction experience is limited, but I did help my daughter buy a used car at an auction last month. I imagined you should sit through the auction and get a good idea what prices were moving stock and maybe even wait for the “pink pony bidders” to run out of cash and bid late in the auction inventory….probably everyone else was thinking the same thing.

    But not my daughter. She fooled us all and was one of the first to bid and came home with a $10-12K vehicle for $5.6K [she could easily sell it today for $9K]…..it only goes to show, getting a good price on an evicted home at an auction may not be savvy at all, just plain “gut feel” and perhaps our inexperienced youth are much better at that than us seasoned investors.

  3. 3
    David S says:

    My wife commented about our Redfin search within our area with our criteria.

    She said, “Wow there are a lot of places pending”.

    So I looked at it closer.

    60 houses listed.
    16 pending
    Of the 16:
    4 conventional
    12 short sale or bank owned.

  4. 4

    RE: David S @ 3 – Too bad you couldn’t break out the bank owned from the pending. They tend to close about as fast as a normal sale, so grouping them together with short sales doesn’t tell you as much.

  5. 5
    David S says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4 – I can easily see which ones are Bank owned or short sale in the data, no problem for me there. I grouped the 12 short sale and bank owned together because I don’t care about differentiating. Should I care? Please tell me why I should.

  6. 6
    Jimmythev says:

    We finally got sick of putting offers in on short sales. 5 offers, zero answers from the banks. It’s almost like banks don’t want to sell the properties. So, we decided to go new construction and just bought on the Sammamish Plateau. By no means am I looking at this as an investment, but the rent vs buy equation worked out, even by baking in another 20% reduction in value. Now, if prices go down another 50%, then we will never be moving from this house :)

  7. 7

    RE: Jimmythev @ 6

    Yes…..New Homes Get Cheap During a Repression

    I remember during the Savings and Loan Recession of the 80s the used houses were like 1/2 of two professional incomes’ net pay in the early 80s….by the late 80s you could get a new home for 3/4’s of one of those two incomes. They came on 1/2 acre lots back then too.

    Too bad the avg household income is 1.2 incomes.

  8. 8

    News on 787 Jobs Moving Out of Seattle to SC

    The following article came from my personal email from a friend who gets AFL/CIO news:

    “…House Passes Anti-Worker Bill to Block Labor Board’s Complaint against Boeing: The House of Representatives this week passed a bill that would block the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) complaint against Boeing for allegedly retaliating against unionized workers. H.R. 2587, introduced by Rep. Tim Scott from South Carolina, would strip the NLRB of the power to do anything about the company’s illegal actions. Even though the bill passed the House, its fate is still unclear in the Senate. The AFL-CIO has urged lawmakers to shoot it down.
    The NLRB in April filed a complaint against the aerospace giant after the company retaliated against striking Machinists Union workers by moving its 787 final assembly and supply chain work from Puget Sound, Washington, to Charleston, S.C., the right-to-work-for-less state which limits union membership. The strikes were triggered by Boeing proposals to gut health care and pension benefits for workers and to give work to non-union contractors. The NLRB, whose statutory role is to protect employee rights, said by moving the line to Charleston, Boeing tried to intimidate unionized workers by threatening to take away their jobs unless they made concessions at the bargaining table. Under the complaint, which is being considered by an administrative law judge,Boeing would be required to maintain the production line in Washington but would not have to close its facility in South Carolina.
    Meantime, a group of 250 academics led by Julius “Jack” Getman, a labor law professor at the University of Texas, wrote an open letter stating that the Scott bill would go far beyond overruling the NLRB’s action against Boeing.
    “If enacted, it will give tacit permission to employers to punish any segment of their workforce that chooses to unionize or to exercise the right to strike by eliminating their jobs,” said the letter. “Employers will be able to eliminate lines of work, hire subcontractors, switch jobs to non-union facilities or transfer them out of the country in violation of the NLRA—secure in the knowledge that the Board will be unable to order it to undo those actions.”…”

    Sounds like the decision to use composite molds instead of aluminum had nothing to do with using less oil for manufacturing [plastics use lots of oil], nor did it make sense to switch to plastic from aluminum to save American jobs [the outsourced foreigners can’t cut low production aluminum for Boeing/Airbus, but lower skilled molds they can “barely” handle]….but another insideous real reason, IMO, for composites seems evident too: to move to SC, less tooling to move out of Seattle to SC.

  9. 9
    Pegasus says:

    Seven states have joined the Justice Department’s lawsuit to stop AT&T’s proposed purchase of T-Mobile USA, the Justice Department said on Friday.

    Attorneys general from California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington have signed onto the effort to stop the $39 billion deal to merge two of the four large national cellphone carriers.

    The Justice Department says the acquisition of T-Mobile USA by AT&T would lead to higher wireless prices.


  10. 10

    By David S @ 5:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4 – I can easily see which ones are Bank owned or short sale in the data, no problem for me there. I grouped the 12 short sale and bank owned together because I don’t care about differentiating. Should I care? Please tell me why I should.

    Because the short sales languish as pending for months, while the REOs close normally. If you’re going to group REOs with anything it would be the normal sales.

  11. 11

    RE: softwarengineer @ 8 – I love House members. If you don’t like the law, change it. At least this time it’s probably not unconstitutional, so they’re improving!

  12. 12
    ricklind says:

    Open thread question:

    What are some of your Good Reads?

    I just stared reading “Griftopia” by Matt Taibbi, writer for that venerable source of economic literary verite, “Rolling Stone.” So far it is a very good read although I’m only on page 63. He really skewers Allen Greenspan and the fueling of multiple bubbles through the mechanism of cheap money. A real page turner so far, and he is a thinking guy.
    Cheap money is present now, here, and has been for 2 decades in Japan, so the dynamics have clearly changed. The growth bubbles have popped. The big bubble I see right now is the “Debt Bubble,” with Fed policy still existing to bail out too big to fail, while the average citizen seems to be “too small to make a difference.” YMMV.

    Good reads?



  13. 13
    ricklind says:

    JFC, I guess nobody here reads anything that makes them smarter?
    If so, we are doomed.


  14. 14
    ChrisM says:

    RE: ricklind @ 13 – Sorry, too busy during the weekend to look at the computer. Check out:


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