Weekly Open Thread (2013-05-06)

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Here is your open thread for the week of May 6th, 2013. 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!

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.

36 comments:

  1. 1

    Boom or Bust?

    This new immigration bill to cost $6.3T Heritage estimates.That will help fix Seattle’s economy, assuming their estimate is even close…..lol

  2. 2
    blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1 – I heard the bill contains an increase in the allowed H1B visas from India.

  3. 3
    blurtman says:

    Yet another analysis illustrating the insignificant contribution of retiring boomers to the record low labor force participation rate:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/05/the-bls-jobs-report-covering-april-2013-lowest-labor-force-participation-since-19789-weekly-hours-and-wages-down.html

    Part time employment. Underemployment. Chronic unemployment. The non-recovery continues. Yes, Obama sucks.

    Pfft, pay attention. This will be on the final.

  4. 4
    blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 1 – Yet another analysis illustrating the minimal contribution of retiring boomers to the record low labor force participation rate.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/05/the-bls-jobs-report-covering-april-2013-lowest-labor-force-participation-since-19789-weekly-hours-and-wages-down.html

    Part time employment. Under-employment. Chronic unemployment. The non-recovery continues. And yes, Obama sucks.

    Pfft, pay attention. This will be on the final.

  5. 5
    Blurtman says:

    Yet another analysis illustrating that retiring boomers are an insignificant contributor to the record low labor force participation rate.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/05/the-bls-jobs-report-covering-april-2013-lowest-labor-force-participation-since-19789-weekly-hours-and-wages-down.html

    Chronic unemployment. Part-time employment. Under-employment.

    The non-recovery continues.

    Obama sucks.

  6. 6
    pfft says:

    By elliptico @ 3:

    Yet another analysis illustrating that retiring boomers are an insignificant contributor to the record low labor force participation rate

    another?

    The recent decline in the participation rate was mostly expected, and most of the decline in the participation rate was due to changing demographics (and long term trends), as opposed to economic weakness.

    Read more at http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2013/04/labor-force-participation-rate-update.html#byLzeqL3uPDlrrxt.99

    “The non-recovery continues.

    Obama sucks.”

    no the recovery is still on pace but slow. Obama’s policies haven’t been enacted. he’s been filibustered at every turn. just what program is hindering recovery?

    real gdp industrial production and real income are all back to where they were before the recession. the only thing that is lagging is unemployment but we know that is a product of a bad financial crisis. that makes that case for obama’s policies like the stimulus and the infrastructure projects.

    Update: Recovery Measures
    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2013/05/update-recovery-measures.html

  7. 7

    RE: blurtman @ 2
    NWO Lies

    Scarcity of engineers to bring in cheap replacements.

    Hades, the Bureau of Statistics documents 150,000 engineers’ jobs lost in America from 2006-2010 [they don’t mention the 2011-2012 American engineer job cuts]. Mostly automotive engineers [not needed in made in America foreign cars] and space [NASA shutdown].

    The BLS uses tea leaves to project 2020 [like anyone knows]….they project a 250K increase in the need for Civil Engineers [mostly] to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure….lol….like we have th $15T laying around to do it….

    The engineer is the canary in th mine….when we die out [we are] the need for all other professions goes with us…

  8. 8
    Blurtman says:

    RE: pfft @ 4 – Why not prosecuting financial fraud is hindering the recovery. That is well known.

  9. 9
    Blurtman says:

    The increasing irrelevance of the unemployment rate metric has been mentioned before.

    “…the shift of jobless individuals from unemployment into inactivity (the participation rate dilemma) is making the unemployment rate a less appropriate measure of broad labor market conditions.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-06/goldman-caves-unemployment-rate-inappropriate-measure-labor-market

  10. 10
    pfft says:

    By elliptico @ 6:

    RE: pfft @ 4 – Why not prosecuting financial fraud is hindering the recovery. That is well known.

    yeah I remember that network special. sorry. I debunked that last week.

  11. 11
    pfft says:

    By elliptico @ 7:

    The increasing irrelevance of the unemployment rate metric has been mentioned before.

    “…the shift of jobless individuals from unemployment into inactivity (the participation rate dilemma) is making the unemployment rate a less appropriate measure of broad labor market conditions.”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-06/goldman-caves-unemployment-rate-inappropriate-measure-labor-market

    zerohedge AGAIN? I wouldn’t take zerohedges word for it at all.

  12. 12
    Blurtman says:

    RE: pfft @ 8 – No, you did not debunk anything at all.

  13. 13
    Blurtman says:

    The Chicago Fed says that a little more than half of the decline in the labor force participation rate is due to Obama’s lousy economy. The Chicago Fed says Obama sucks.

    http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/chicago_fed_letter/2012/cflmarch2012_296.pdf

  14. 14
    pfft says:

    By elliptico @ 11:

    The Chicago Fed says that a little more than half of the decline in the labor force participation rate is due to Obama’s lousy economy. The Chicago Fed says Obama sucks.

    http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/chicago_fed_letter/2012/cflmarch2012_296.pdf

    Obama’s been filibustered at every turn so the economy is doing good in spite of republicans not Obama.

  15. 15
    Dirty Renter in Banjo Country says:

    Does this mean they’re not all coming back, or is there some other explanation?
    http://www.thestreet.com/story/11913905/1/underwater-mortgages-drop-to-9-million-as-home-prices-rise-report.html

  16. 16
    Grow Up says:

    “The Chicago Fed says that a little more than half of the decline in the labor force participation rate is due to Obama’s lousy economy. The Chicago Fed says Obama sucks.”

    This is a good website with lots of information. Why is it that the weekly threads are filled with trollls. Sorry to tell you, but there’s only so much that a president can do. The economy was already overstimulated when he took office and instead of doing the childish partisan whining, how about you grow a set and say what he should do. Incidentally, his policies followed what the Republicans were suggesting to do at the time. The guy inherited the worst recession in 100 years.

    I’m not sure if you know your history or economics (actually, I’m sure you don’t), but the recovery from that kind of thing is going to be slow. No President, Republican, Democrat or from any other party can change that.

    The entire mess was caused a lack of regulation in the financial sector. Perhaps you can look into what party has been trying to stop the regulation of the banking sector that would stop this from happening again.

  17. 17
    Blurtman says:

    RE: pfft @ 14 – Oh, not denying it now. Red alert! Execute spin maneuver!

  18. 18
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Grow Up @ 16 – Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Robert Rubin. Obama surrounds himself with criminals (Rubin) and enablers of financial crime. Yes, no regulation of the financial system is very, very bad. Say, who was standing by doing nothing as head of the NY Fed when the crime wave was underway? Geithner, who had the nerve during his confirmation hearing to say he did not view his job to be that of a regulator. Obama’s man.

    Yes, an out of control financial sector destroys the lives of countless innocents. And the effect is long lasting, as you point out. And Obama’s strategy of not prosecuting those responsible is an amazing way to keep this from happening again.

    Can’t even jail drug launderers. Why? becuase it will bring down the financial system. Odd that throwing a few crooked banking execs in jail could cause a depression.

    One of Obama’s biggest failures was not restoring trust in the US financial and economic systems. You think this does not have a negative effect on the economic recovery? Add to that he has destroyed Americans’ faith in the justice system.

    Deniers like Pffft will make up facts until you shine a light on the cockroach. He has stated continuously on this website that the record decline in the labor force participation rate was entirely due to retiring boomers. I and others have continuously posted links disputing this. I guess the Chicago Fed finally cannot be dismissed.

    I am not partisan. I did not vote for Romney. I did not vote for Obama. I voted for William K. Black.

  19. 19
    Tim McB says:

    Here’s a good one for a laugh. Apparently in Real Estate no form of advertising is left unturned:

    http://blog.nwjobs.com/careercenter/company_offers_raises_to_employees_who_get_tattooed_with_its_logo.html?prmid=4913

  20. 20
    pfft says:

    By elliptico @ 17:

    RE: pfft @ 14 – Oh, not denying it now. Red alert! Execute spin maneuver!

    it’s the truth. I used a fox link just so everyone here believes it.

    Senate Votes Down Trimmed Version of Obama’s Jobs Bill

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/20/senate-votes-down-trimmed-version-obamas-jobs-bill/#ixzz2Sj06pwPb

  21. 21
    pfft says:

    By elliptico @ 18:

    RE: Grow Up @ 16
    Deniers like Pffft will make up facts until you shine a light on the cockroach. He has stated continuously on this website that the record decline in the labor force participation rate was entirely due to retiring boomers.

    never said or quoted it.

    The recent decline in the participation rate was mostly expected, and most of the decline in the participation rate was due to changing demographics (and long term trends), as opposed to economic weakness.

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2013/04/labor-force-participation-rate-update.html#byLzeqL3uPDlrrxt.99

  22. 22
    Nick says:

    New topic: I’ve been looking at sales in NW Seattle and noticing zestimates in the area are routinely $200k below the selling price.

    Isn’t Zillow based in Seattle? How could they get things so wrong?

  23. 23

    RE: Nick @ 22
    Interesting Allegation Nick

    “Routinely”?

    How about give us the listings so we can check on your allegation. Sometimes I don’t believe anything like your allegation unless I read it in writing.

  24. 24
    Nick says:

    softwarengineer, why do you find it hard to believe? Do you work for zillow?

    On Zillow, Look for sales of 3+ bed houses in 98117. It’s easy:

    zestimate low by $210k: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/8751-16th-Ave-NW-Seattle-WA-98117/48859402_zpid/
    zestimate low by $205k: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/8011-14th-Ave-NW-Seattle-WA-98117/48672725_zpid/
    zestimate low by $100k: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2108-NW-86th-St-Seattle-WA-98117/48991614_zpid/
    zestimate low by $205k: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/9551-6th-Ave-NW-Seattle-WA-98117/48778368_zpid/
    zestimate low by $225k: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7529-Earl-Ave-NW-Seattle-WA-98117/48939620_zpid/

    It seems these zestimates aren’t just wrong; they’re WILDLY wrong. I would expect a Seattle-based company would have their algorithm tuned to the Seattle market, but this apparently is not the case.

    Overestimations would be understandable because some places need a lot of work. But underestimating prices by hundreds of thousands? That just seems broken.

  25. 25
    Plymster says:

    I’m not familiar with Zillo’s zestimating algorithm, but I would guess that record low inventory, hot money circling the globe for assets with a better return than 0, median prices in King County rising by ~20%, and a fair number of greater fools could explain Zillow’s estimates being off by so much. Realistically, the mere lack of inventory could ruin any statistical analysis of prices in the area.

  26. 26
    whatsmyname says:

    By Plymster @ 25:

    Realistically, the mere lack of inventory could ruin any statistical analysis of prices in the area.

    You think listing prices would be a better indicator of price than sales? Sales are higher than they’ve been in years. Same was true last year. Where did you study statistics?

  27. 27

    RE: Nick @ 24

    How Much Stage Money Was Put in Those Low Priced Estimates Before Selling “em

    $250K? A listing computer doesn’t track that.

  28. 28
    Tim McB says:

    RE: Nick @ 24

    Congrats Nick, you’ve spotted most of the house remodel and flips/ demo and new homes in the 98117 zip code. How do I know they’re flips and rebuilds? Look at the previous sold date and price on every example you provided. Under market value if they were in decent/neighorhood standard condition. I’m guessing Zillow can’t keep up with, in most cases, the massive remodeling has taken place on the home. It makes more sense in that context. Some day they might consider linking their algorithms to the city permitting office but even then that would only capture permitted remodel work.
    My personal is favorite was:
    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/9551-6th-Ave-NW-Seattle-WA-98117/48778368_zpid/

    90k in 4/2012??? The land alone should be worth more than that. Perhaps it was a family flip and/or the previous house demo was factor in the final sales price. Not sure but I am sure that even after the build (its a brand new home) selling at 640k netted them a handsome ROI.

  29. 29
    ChrisM says:

    RE: Grow Up @ 16 – “The economy was already overstimulated when he took office and instead of doing the childish partisan whining, how about you grow a set and say what he should do. ”

    1. If an institution is Too Big To Fail, then break it up. That has not been done.

    2. Enforce existing laws. Instead, the Justice Dept has said they will not prosecute financial institutions it if would bring down the economy

    3. (harder) Appoint William Black as Sec Treas. or higher.

    This is not rocket science. Ask yourself what has changed (from a regulatory perspective) since 2007/2008? I say nothing has changed at all….

  30. 30
    ChrisM says:

    Yawn, another rental scam: “Bournef, 32, wired rent money and the security deposit — totaling $800 — to a man claiming to be the property owner and a missionary living in Nigeria.”

    http://www.columbian.com/news/2013/may/11/rental-house-turns-out-to-be-a-scam/

    However, what makes this one interesting is that a real estate agent was involved:

    “She called real estate agents who listed the house and tried to get hold of the home’s mortgage company to learn more about the property. When she called the police, they said they couldn’t help her and that it was a civil issue.”

    Do real estate agents have any responsibility when putting a rental on the MLS? I wonder if it only went to Craigslist, but if so, why would a real estate agent then be involved?

  31. 31
    The Tim says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 30 – Most likely the home was listed for sale on the MLS, not as a rental.

    Here’s how the scam typically works:

    • Listing agent puts a home on the MLS for sale.
    • Scammer searches listing sites and looks for homes that look empty in the photos.
    • Scammer posts home for rent on Craigslist, sometimes with photos taken straight from the MLS for-sale listing.
    • Hapless victim contacts scammer.
    • Somehow scammer talks hapless victim into wiring them money as a deposit, without even seeing the home in person.

    Probably in this case after the hapless victim realized that she had been scammed, she did some more research and spotted the MLS for-sale listing and thought somehow the listing agent could help her or that the homeowner or mortgage company would somehow be of assistance. At this point she’s grasping at straws, because the only connection between the real home and the scammer is that the scammer happened to use that home’s details as the bait.

  32. 32
    Blurtman says:

    On This Week, ABC’s news light Sunday show, war whore Matha Ratazz continues to refer to the recently reported use of chemical weapons in Syria as having been done by the Assad regime. The salivating gas bag of misery then continued to beat on the Obama “red line” statement, with regards to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

    What motives would a major news media have to so blatantly lie? It has been widely reported that the UN has determined that the source of the chemical weapons was Syrian rebels, not the Assad regime.

    What conclusions can be reached by this purposeful mis-reporting? While incompetent reporting might be a default choice, given that This Week is usually chaired by a morning fluff show host, I can’t believe that is it.

    What can motivate a major news outlet lie to advance the cause of war? Boeing advertising revenue?

  33. 33
    pfft says:

    By Blurtman @ 32:

    On This Week, ABC’s news light Sunday show, war whore Matha Ratazz

    you are a terrible person and you also might be WRONG.

    there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas

    The United States has said it has “varying degrees of confidence” that sarin has been used by Syria’s government on its people.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/05/us-syria-crisis-un-idUSBRE94409Z20130505

    another report says that the rebels don’t have the capability to use weapons. we don’t know what is what right now.

  34. 34
    pfft says:

    By ChrisM @ 29:

    RE: Grow Up @ 16Ask yourself what has changed (from a regulatory perspective) since 2007/2008? I say nothing has changed at all….

    Dodd-Frank? Someone will probably say it’s ineffective but if so why are Wall Street and Republicans trying so hard to gut it even after it passed?

  35. 35
    Blurtman says:

    RE: pfft @ 33 – Right, so why not report it that way? Why whore for war?

  36. 36
    pfft says:

    By Blurtman @ 35:

    RE: pfft @ 33 – Right, so why not report it that way? Why whore for war?

    it appears that yet again you made a mistake.

    RADDATZ: I — I want to move on to Syria. It’s been more than a week since Israeli jets hit targets in Syria. More than two weeks since the U.S. said that there was evidence of the use of chemical weapons. What should be happening now concerning, especially these chemical weapons, and the red line that the president talked about?

    I don’t see her beating the drums for war.

    What should be happening now

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/week-transcript-sen-john-mccain-sen-jack-reed/story?id=19159755&page=3#.UZBaR-AmTlJ

    I don’t see anything there that isn’t true. can you please start posting links if you are going to make a big fuss and be so wrong? did the Obama admin say that chemical weapons were a red line? yes. did the the Syrian government use chemical weapons according to the US government? mostly.

    The United States has said it has “varying degrees of confidence” that sarin has been used by Syria’s government on its people.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/05/us-syria-crisis-un-idUSBRE94409Z20130505

    I don’t see what the problem is. Please do better work you’ve wasted a bunch of my replies. At least it wasn’t about Benghazi.

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