Weekly Twitter Digest (Link Roundup) for 2012-03-17

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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.


  1. 1
    karl says:

    I thought the MERS dispute was settled….could explain the stalled foreclosure listings.

  2. 2

    RE: karl @ 1 – The settlement pertains more to issues on how things were foreclosed. Robosigning and such. Big banks were the parties to the settlement. I’m not sure MERS was even a party.

    There are issues as to whether MERS works in all 50 states which have different laws. In general MERS seems to comply with Washington state law. The issue in the Supreme Court case is whether MERS can be the party conducting the foreclosure. I’m not so sure that they can be, but I seldom see them do that. It’s usually the beneficiary directing the deed of trust trustee, not MERS. In the case at issue the Notice of Trustee’s sale I found which I think pertains to that same case used some very awkward language which made very little sense.

    So a likely result of that case may be that the MERS system is fine in Washington, but that they cannot be the party directing the foreclosure process (that they cannot be the beneficiary when acting as nominee for the beneficiary).

  3. 3
    Pegasus says:

    RE: karl @ 1 – I don’t think so Karl. Several years ago Fannie Mae ordered no foreclosures be done with MERS as plaintiff and as the extent of MERS problems became common knowledge many others halted the practice. Last year MERS itself ordered that no one is allowed to foreclose in their name. MERS was trying to be all things to all in fifty states at the same time. They also demonstrated they had poor or no paperwork practices and knowingly violated laws in many states. They are owned and commanded by the same people that just signed a 26 billion settlement. People that can’t be trusted, proven over and over again. MERS claims to have involvement with over 60 million mortgages, a staff of about 45 people and , under oath, no employees.

  4. 4

    As to Steve Tyler’s article, I would question how he knows that a price reduction is needed. There could be other reasons why the property was not selling, and without seeing the property (and the listing) that would be impossible to determine.

    Not that a low price couldn’t make up for those other things, but that might be an expensive solution, and as he notes it might result in a short sale, which would make a sale even less likely.

  5. 5
    patient says:

    I think someone else mentioned this as well. When looking at Alto research’s Market Stats it doesn’t really support the tight inventory claims for any of the main areas, Seattle, KBR etc. Inventory is up about 25% YTD and keeps growing while their market action index is plunging and keeps well below 30 which is their indicator of a balanced market ( higher indicates a sellers market, lower a buyers market ). As usual data without proper fundamental context is dicy but it’s nevertheless an interresting contradiction to the stories of late around here.

  6. 6
    The Tim says:

    RE: patient @ 5 – I’ve noticed that too, but I think something is wonky about the Altos inventory chart. Inventory simply is not growing like that. Compare Redfin’s chart of Seattle SFH inventory over the same period to Altos’ chart.



    Note that Altos appears to be lumping single-family, condo, and townhouse all together, but even when I add in all types of inventory on Redfin I still don’t get a trend that shows an increase since earlier this year.

    I’ll have to drop Mike S. over at Altos a line to see what’s going on, because I’m fairly certain that his chart is just wrong.

  7. 7

    Just for comparison the NWMLS shows today as active for Seattle:

    Residential: 1275
    Condo: 675

    Pendings: 1170
    Residential: 478

    I didn’t exlude anything, so this would include some double listings, such as some listings listed in multiple areas or some condos also listed in residential.

    Statistics not complied nor published my NWMLS.

  8. 8
    patient says:

    RE: The Tim @ 6

    Agree that seems fishy. Perhaps they include pendings in their inventory.

  9. 9
    calvin mccomfrey says:

    I think industry folks and consumers should take a look at this:


  10. 10

    RE: calvin mccomfrey @ 9 – Reminds me of Pegasus, in that it’s a link to a site with an obvious extreme bias.

    I only looked at the first story–a complaint that a buyer at a foreclosure auction was mislead by an agent because they bought a house with foundation problems. One of prior listings, in the agent only remarks indicated “settling issues & sprinkler system repairs needed.” The plaintiff claims that they should have been advised of that.

    What’s interesting to me though is that the publicly advertised price for the house in two cancelled listings, including the one with the comment, was $325,000 (as a short sale), and the plaintiff paid more than that at a foreclosure sale! Not much more, but still, more is more. I think it was Ray who said that a client shouldn’t count on an agent to do their due diligence. This seems like an example of that when it comes to the price paid.

    It also shows the hazards of going the foreclosure route, where you can’t inspect the property. For investor types at least the short sale route gives the eventual right to an inspection. Or if you want to actually buy at a foreclosure, going through the house when it was listed as a short sale would allow you to do a very limited inspection.

    I continue to believe that buying at foreclosure sales is not for amateurs, and this possibly an example of that.

  11. 11
    David Losh says:

    RE: calvin mccomfrey @ 9

    The foreclosure market has become a complete scam. Every low life on earth is involved with the foreclosure industry today. It is a magnet for scum. I keep saying the system is broken, which it is. People will pay way too much for problem properties at auction, or they go back to being a “screaming”/ sarcasm/, REO deal.

    I’d like to see more posts, or articles about how the under belly of Real Estate has gone completely down hill. The other part is that people, “investors,” scam artists, and scum, buy these problem properties, and fix ’em to unload on good, honest, decent people for those 38% returns industry scum keep screaming about.

    I’m especially disappointed because this was a part of my business for many years, and now it is just so loaded with hustlers it’s now a dead market place.

  12. 12
    Blurtman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 11 – Expect to be flamed by the Scammers and Scum lobby.

  13. 13
    Pegasus says:

    RE: calvin mccomfrey @ 9 – It appears that when you give advice and expect a profit from someone buying foreclosures on that advice that just maybe the buyer actually expects something in return?

  14. 14

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 10 – I would also add that going the short sale route would typically get you a Form 17 seller disclosure statement, which presumably would have mentioned the foundation problems since they were addressed in the agent only comments.

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