Mid-Week Open Thread (2012-08-22)

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Here is your open thread for the mid-week on August 22nd, 2012. 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.

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NOTICE: If you have comments to make about politics or economics that do not somehow directly relate to Seattle-area real estate, they may be posted in the current Politics & Economics Open Thread. If you post such comments here, they will be moved 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
    yukondave says:

    According to Yahoo its all over. Prices are moving up in Seattle! Number 4 best in the country!!!!!

    4. Seattle
    April to May price increase: 2.6 percent
    Median home price: $385,000
    Seattle and Portland boasted the same month-over-month home price increase, but Seattle’s year-over-year numbers were slightly better. Annually, home prices increased 0.6 percent in Seattle as more homeowners settled down to enjoy this fantastic city. From whale watching in Puget Sound to climbing Mount Rainier, there’s something for everyone in Seattle.


  2. 2
    David S says:

    RE: yukondave @ 1 – It also says that San Francisco is number one because, “San Francisco has something for any homeowner who has money to burn.”

    If to be a homeowner there, or Seattle as the prose of this news story indicates, requires amounts of money so large that one is able burn their money without concern, then I’m afraid you have removed the vast majority of real estate market players from the equation.

    Money to burn. Funny.

  3. 3
    Pegasus says:

    Fixing the Mortgage Mess: The Game-changing Implications of Bain v. MERS

    If MERS has no rights that it can assign, the parties are back to square one: The original holder of the promissory note must be found. The problem is that many of these mortgage companies are no longer in business, and even if they could be located, it is too late in most cases to assign the note to the trusts that are being tossed this hot potato.

    Mortgage-backed securities are sold to investors in packages representing interests in trusts called REMICs (Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits), which are designed as tax shelters. To qualify for that status, however, they must be “static.” Mortgages can’t be transferred in and out once the closing date has occurred. The REMIC Pooling and Servicing Agreement typically states that any transfer after the closing date is invalid. Yet few, if any, properties in foreclosure seem to have been assigned to these REMICs before the closing date, in blatant disregard of legal requirements.

    The whole business is quite complicated, but the bottom line is that title has been clouded not only by MERS but because the trusts purporting to foreclose do not own the properties by the terms of their own documents. Legally, the latter defect may be even more fatal than filing in the name of MERS in establishing a break in the chain of title to securitized properties.


  4. 4

    RE: yukondave @ 1 – Again, largely due to mix changes–fewer REOs and short sales. In July though, short sales were at what I believe were record levels. The banks have been processing more of them.

  5. 5
    No Name Guy says:

    All is well, remain calm…housing is doing JUST fine. /snark


    “And finally, to ruin all hopes that the housing bottom may mean an actual pricing bottom, the median new home price slid to $224,200, down from $229,100 in June, and the lowest since January, while the average home price declined from $266,900 to $263,200. This was the lowest average price posted so far in 2012. ”

    (You tube of the initial reference – from Animal House)

  6. 6
    David Losh says:

    RE: No Name Guy @ 5


    Middle Class wages dropped this year.

    The other thing of concern is that the middle class has lost wealth in this down turn of Real Estate prices. The middle class has relied on the family home to be an asset, which has now lost value, but the wealthy have money in financial instruments that have recovered more quickly.

    Going forward we may say Real Estate isn’t an investment, but it was, in the past, a vehicle for building wealth.

    So does it really matter what the price of Real Estate is today if it’s only going to go down in price?

  7. 7

    RE: Pegasus @ 3 – I agree the Bain deciison is a problem, but for different reasons than you. It really left a lot of questions open on just the most straightforward situation. Let’s say Bank X made a loan using a MERS DOT, but never assigned their interest and still holds the note today. Other than making MERS their agent, there’s no clear way to non-judicially foreclose, and as I mentioned before, MERS may not want to be the agent. I think that’s why they used the term nominee instead.

    Assuming that’s a problem, then judicial foreclosure may be the easiest way out. And if the banks go that route, that will overwhelm the court system and also allow the banks the option of seeking a deficiency on far more cases.

    When you read the press reports quoting the attorneys that were involved in the suit, I’m not sure they fully realize the mess they might have created. But as I mentioned before, without seeing the briefing it’s difficult to know just from the opinion what the issues really are. The courts today though are going to have the same problem I have. They will be working off the opinion, not the briefing.

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