Friday Flashback: Christine Gregoire’s 2008 Advice – “Our economy is strong. Buy your home.”

Back in January 2008, nearly two years after the housing bust began, and six months after home prices peaked in the Seattle area, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire was hitting the campaign trail with a reelection message powered by complete denial:

Christine GregoireAddressing the politically powerful Washington Realtors, the Democratic governor said she sometimes wishes people wouldn’t watch the evening news because of all the “doomsday” talk of a home mortgage meltdown and a pending recession.

Gregoire said that in actuality, the state economy has seldom been so strong, with record low unemployment, 222,000 new jobs created in the past three years, and national publications praising the business climate here.

She conceded that the national news is having a psychological effect on home buyers, even though there are relatively few mortgage failures here.

“This is a very frustrating time,” the governor said, adding “Our economy is strong – buy your home. … There is no good reason for a slowing of home purchasing in the state of Washington today.”

The GrasshopperNo good reason at all! …Except the major recession that was just around the corner that would lead to nearly 200,000 lost jobs in Washington by January 2010 and a 29% drop in prices over the next four years after she delivered her little pep talk.

I called out this garbage at the time:

Is it really any surprise that Mrs. Gregoire, who has overseen a 33 percent increase in state spending since taking office (source), would want people to ignore the “doomsday talk” and just buy, buy, buy? What do you suppose has enabled spending to increase by so much? Could it perhaps have been the high-flying home prices and red-hot pace of home sales in 2004-2006 (every one of which puts more money into the state coffers)?

And now Mrs. Gregoire wants us to ignore reality so she and her pals can fund their pet projects. Yeah, that sounds like a great reason to keep this bubble alive. Who’s with me?

I wonder why Gregoire decided not to run for another term in 2012?

It still astonishes me that anyone was surprised by the last four years of constant downward adjustments in our state’s budget. Apparently nobody in state government had ever heard of The Ant and the Grasshopper before.

The purpose of our Friday Flashback series is to remind people why it’s never a good idea to base your home purchase decisions on the word of someone with a vested financial interest in selling as many homes as possible for as much as possible, no matter what. If you’ve got a good example of local home salespeople or other industry shills on record making fools of themselves in the years before the bubble burst, shoot me an email.

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

    She probably didn’t believe Eleua either! ;-)

    Seriously, when she was elected in 2004 I thought she’d be a total disaster, based on her record as AG. She didn’t turn out as bad as I expected, and has had to deal with some fairly bad economic numbers. Would I have preferred someone else? Yes. But she hasn’t been all that bad judging her by other politicians–admittedly not a very high standard.

    Am I glad she’s not running again? Yes.

  2. 2
    Scotsman says:

    Leadership? She was pretty much silent, in the background. Not much more than a manager when anticipatory action was required.

    Heard on the radio today that the WA. Realtors are endorsing McKenna. Hmmm.

  3. 3
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1 – Poor Eleua. He doesn’t respond to his own blog anymore. Whatever happened to bank failure friday? Things just keep changing.

  4. 4
    2kt says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 3

    The man was not all well. I hope he is still out there, but probably not in peace.

  5. 5

    By Scotsman @ 2:

    Heard on the radio today that the WA. Realtors are endorsing McKenna. Hmmm.

    Not terribly surprising. He’s been a good friend of WR on foreclosure issues, and a few other things. I’m not sure what Inslee has done.

  6. 6
    Carl says:

    Yep, she was definitely wrong. And in hindsight laughably wrong. On the other hand, i have been wrong once or twice in the past 10 years. :-)

    Maybe I am cynical, but i am with Kary – I just want the politicians not to f— things up too bad.

  7. 7
    Daryl says:

    Given this whole series of “experts” telling us the bubble wouldn’t burst, do you really expect it to be the politician who disagrees with all the experts? (particularly in an election year…being a doomsayer might cost swing voters).

    But, as for why she’s not running again, it’s been a not-so-secret secret for a while that she wants a job in D.C.

  8. 8
    Lo Ball Jones says:

    Gregoire grew the government 50% over 2000-2010 while population grew by only 13%.

    She took a well run state government with a surplus and turned it into a juggernaut teetering on the precipice.

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