Bubble Bloggers Buying Houses: Officially a Trend

New Jersey.
San Diego.

Three outspoken bubble bloggers who started websites in 2004 and 2005 to tell the world not to buy a home during the biggest housing bubble in history, all finally buy homes in their respective markets within nine months of each other.

I wouldn’t take it as an economic indicator of any significance, but it’s interesting timing, at least.

[Update: I had forgotten that one of the Portland bubble bloggers bought a house in the last year as well. Worth noting, even though they didn’t start blogging until 2008, and he isn’t the main contributor to the site.]

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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
    Buy My House, Idiot Renters! says:

    I’m planning on buying a house in the next year as well, after tracking the bubble blogs for years.

    Home owning has gone from being a terrible investment to a mediocre investment, and since there are some non-pecuniary benefits to home owning…

  2. 2

    Tim, shouldn’t your purchase have been 18 months after the one in San Diego? ;-)

  3. 3

    Buy Yourself a House If You Can Afford It

    What I disagree with is folks that say they can pay cash for a house, but allege monthly payments on a home loan are better to keep your extra cash out of house principle for emergencies.

    OK, if ya could get like 5% on your savings I’d agree, albeit its more like 0-1% in safe investments. But if you’re not pulling that much interest in savings, why pay even 4% interest out of your net pay on house principle to the banksters?

    I’d also counter that the keeping cash out of your principle for more emergency cash argument, with a simple truth too, imagine how fast ya save without a monthly mortgage interest payment….its an early 2nd retirement income, without income taxes to pay.

    One wonders if the cash bag for a house method is ridiculed more, not because it makes sense, but more because most can’t afford it with Seattle area’s high prices and its a way of poo-pooing it.

  4. 4
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2 – I just returned from San Diego. Lots of low priced condos for sale near the Gaslamp/Lillte Italy districts. Lots of homeless, too, and touristas.

  5. 5
    Tim McB says:

    Wasn’t there also a bubble blogger in Portland that bought in the last year or two? I can’t remember his name though.

  6. 6
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Tim McB @ 5 – Yeah, Monty at http://portlandhousing.blogspot.com/ — bought a hobby farm.

  7. 7
    deejayoh says:

    Not a home purchase, but an interesting post along the same lines from the Calculated Risk blog post today:
    The Housing Bottom is Here

  8. 8
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 3 – Why would anyone pay cash for a home? Leverage, baby. Prices go down, you walk away. Prices go up, you sell for a profit.

    Pretty sad, but this is the behavior our government encourages.

  9. 9

    By wreckingbull @ 8:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 3 – Why would anyone pay cash for a home? .

    It generates tax free income. Absent paying cash for a home you’d have to pay rent. Let’s say that’s $1,500 a month, and that your income taxes are 20% of your income. After you include social security taxes, you’d need to earn about $22,500 just to pay your rent. Of course you’d need to back real estate taxes and maintenance out of that.

  10. 10

    RE: wreckingbull @ 8

    There’s One Thing More Toxic Mortgages Can’t Buy

    Putting your head on the pillow and quickly falling asleep; because you’re not worried about your next default or bad loan….let alone your trashed credit rating.

    BTW, even paying off your house in Seattle does not make it cheap to live in Seattle. If you have a $500-600K property taxed house paid for and you’re forking out insurance for it too…ya better have about $1000/mo for costs and this doesn’t include normal chronic maintenance.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    deejayoh says:

    By softwarengineer @ 11:

    RE: deejayoh @ 7

    Here’s Another Interesting Article on Upper Income American Wages Being Threatened


    Typical quality SWE. did you read the date on that article?

    Marketplace for Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    30 months old

    Relevance to this discussion? None

  13. 13
    Ross Jordan says:

    Time to register seattlebubblepopped.com =)

  14. 14

    RE: deejayoh @ 12

    Typical From You Too

    Arguing about dates as if it matters….

    Here’s the same old same old as my article before:


    “…The unemployment rate in 2010 for all engineers was 4.5%. For software engineers it was 4.6%, and it was 5.4% for all computing professionals, according to U.S. Labor Department data analyzed by the IEEE-USA. Those figures are about double the normal rate of unemployment for engineers.

    In an email response to questions to the IEEE, Ed Kirchner, chairman of the IEEE-USA Employment and Career Services Committee, explained why salaries had increased during a period of higher-than-normal unemployment for this profession by saying, “I can only report what I’ve observed in my local area (Florida Space Coast). We have had major layoffs at the Kennedy Space Center, but engineers who still have their jobs have generally received normal, i.e. around 3%, annual raises. That is consistent with the data,” although most of the engineering work there is defense-related, he added.

    “I would suspect that what we are seeing is that employers have all the workers they need,” said Ed Perkins, IEEE Region 6 director and former chairman of the IEEE-USA Career and Workforce Policy Committee. But otherwise, “it is business as usual — but with a smaller workforce,” he said, via email.

    “This could be the new normal,” Perkins said. “We could need new industries or new companies to absorb the unemployed,” he said….”


  15. 15
    Buy My House, Idiot Renters! says:

    “What I disagree with is folks that say they can pay cash for a house, but allege monthly payments on a home loan are better to keep your extra cash out of house principle for emergencies.”

    No – the reason why you borrow every dollar for a house that you possibly can is that banks will currently lend you money at 4% for thirty years.

    The big risk in buying a home now is that interest rates will shoot up, causing a big drop in housing prices (in real terms, at a minimum). Having borrowed a lot of money at a fixed rate hedges that risk – if your house is worth less in real terms due to inflation and high interest rates, at least you get to pay the loan back in depreciated dollars.

  16. 16
    patient says:

    People get fatigued and bubble bloggers are also people. The governments interference and willingness to bankrupt the country to support their masters has taken everyone by surprise, many give up and just buy a home and try to forget about it. The problem is that for every early bubble blogger that give up there are thousands of new people added to the masses that no longer want or can by a home at artificially high prices. It takes endurance to ride this thing out.

  17. 17

    RE: Buy My House, Idiot Renters! @ 15

    Sounds Like Sound Advise

    There’s one glitch. The underwater loan past is representative of our new future with underwater loans keeping zombie interest rates low forever? Like Japan’s lost decades [the low interest loan fun goes on and on forever?].?

    Now, 4% seems high compared to that 0% short term treasury bond you can go to, instead of Las Vegas [the stock market]. Perhaps the mattress is safer?

    The joke of it is meanwhile, a i.e., pound of Jimmy Dean pork sausage goes for like $5.49 retail at Safeway and even lean hamburger is $4.99/lb with their fruits and vegetables priced like meat used to be, etc, etc….I see gasoline is inching back up in price lately too. The real inflation we pay.

  18. 18
    ChrisM says:

    RE: patient @ 16 – I wasn’t clear in my earlier post – if we look at the Dow graph (holy cow, Yahoo really sucks – no way to define a time range???)

    This is interesting – how difficult should it be in the Internet age to get a graph of the Dow 1926 to present? I’ve been trying for the past minute (yes, that is a pretty darn short attention span!) but No Luck. IMO this is deliberate.

    I wasn’t clear in my earlier post – what I meant to say was “how obvious was it in 1928 that 1928-1932 would down-trend?” I think we’re in the same position today.

  19. 19
    SummitSeeker says:

    By ChrisM @ 18:

    RE: patient @ 16

    This is interesting – how difficult should it be in the Internet age to get a graph of the Dow 1926 to present? I’ve been trying for the past minute (yes, that is a pretty darn short attention span!) but No Luck. IMO this is deliberate.

    I recently tried to find out the total, real return of the SP500 over a custom time range. You’re right, it was way more difficult than it should be.

    In the never ending stocks-vs-real estate debate, I was trying to compare a cash flowing property acquired in 1992 to what the market has done since then.

  20. 20
    The Tim says:

    RE: patient @ 16, ChrisM @ 18, & SummitSeeker @ 19

    Yes, you can get historical stock/index prices over a custom time range from Yahoo. Click the “Historical Prices” link on the left, define your range, click “Get Prices,” then scroll to the bottom and click “Download to Spreadsheet.”

    Dow: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=%5EDJI+Historical+Prices
    S&P: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=%5EGSPC+Historical+Prices

  21. 21
    deejayoh says:

    By softwarengineer @ 14:

    RE: deejayoh @ 12

    Typical From You Too

    Arguing about dates as if it matters….

    I rest my case

  22. 22
    ChrisM says:

    RE: The Tim @ 20 – Thanks, Tim. I’m listening to TripleJ as I type this, so the irony scale is off the charts. For those thinking of investing in Australian shares I’d suggest caution…

  23. 23
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Buy My House, Idiot Renters! @ 15 – Exactly. For me it was more not wanting to go all-eggs-in on an asset class. The idea of living debt free is attractive, but in the end, you can never be free. You still have to rent your home from the government.

  24. 24
    leanne says:

    But he called a bottom for housing construction, not for prices, which is a bit different. RE: deejayoh @ 7

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