Weekly Open Thread (2013-05-20)

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Here is your open thread for the week of May 20th, 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.

38 comments:

  1. 1
    No Name Guy says:

    Saw a house go pending in 2 days in my ‘hood. Right next door to the Bank Owned one that’s been held off market now for 3 years (why, there is NO shadow inventory out there at all :-P).

    Someone also just mowed the foot high grass at another nearby bank owned I’ve been watching – it’s been held off market for a couple years plus.

    Saw another house sell in a couple of weeks (sign up to sign down). Looks like that one was foreclosed on last September.

    No point – just observation of what’s going on in my hood.

    The Tim: 2nd time suggesting this one – how about a piece on all the rental stock that’s come on line / is coming on line, with a tracker of what rents are doing. The rent / buy decision will certainly be influenced by the price of both owner occupied AND rental.

  2. 2
    Dirty Renter in Banjo Country says:

    I enjoy the NBA playoffs and hope we get a team some day, but in the meantime, here’s some humor from Conan… http://www.yardbarker.com/nba/articles/msn/conan_o_8217brien_spoofs_nba_postgame_press_conference_fashion/13638143?refmod=msn_art_top&ref_art_id=13648861

  3. 3
    No Name Guy says:

    Seattle not mentioned however……

    Article on CNN Money
    http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/20/real_estate/amateur-investors/index.html

    Why, what EVER could go wrong…..

    Borrow from 401k for down payment to buy rental property…..max out cash flow to pay the mortgage….hope renters come through and aren’t losers that, oh, don’t pay for a few months, hope you don’t lose the job else that loan from the 401k is due in full immediately, else pay income tax AND 10% penalty, hope you don’t get hit with a big repair bill or special assessment from the condo…..yeah, all is well in the real estate market today.

  4. 4

    RE: No Name Guy @ 3
    Even Suzy the Financial Guru on TV

    Has made it clear, by repeating herself several times on this issue.

    Never, never borrow from a 401K to pay off even a foreclosure prevention. The problem in a nutshell, bankruptcy can’t garnish 401Ks. You’re borrowing from the golden egg goose they can’t ever get at.

  5. 5
    Blurtman says:

    The commissar speaks:

    “Despite this improvement, the job market remains weak overall: The unemployment rate is still well above its longer-run normal level, rates of long-term unemployment are historically high, and the labor force participation rate has continued to move down. Moreover, nearly 8 million people are working part time even though they would prefer full-time work. High rates of unemployment and underemployment are extraordinarily costly: Not only do they impose hardships on the affected individuals and their families, they also damage the productive potential of the economy as a whole by eroding workers’ skills and–particularly relevant during this commencement season–by preventing many young people from gaining workplace skills and experience in the first place. The loss of output and earnings associated with high unemployment also reduces government revenues and increases spending on income-support programs, thereby leading to larger budget deficits and higher levels of public debt than would otherwise occur.”

    Perhaps someone should tell the commissar that the decline in the labor force participation rate is due to retiring boomers. Ho ho, ho,…

  6. 6
    Blurtman says:

    Voting “nay” against British military policy:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/world/europe/london-attacks.html

  7. 7

    RE: Blurtman @ 5

    Unemployment and NWO Liars

    Like I mentioned about a week ago after stumbling on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 150K American engineer job butcher ax from 2006-2010 [mostly automotive and space cuts], they lie and falsely allegate there’s an engineering job scarcity in America. There’s a huge glut, but nobody wants to grab up the brightest engineers in the world for livable wages. God forbid.

    Their loss IMO, look what Chrysler just accomplished with its extremely reduced butcher axed group of American automotive engineers…..they developed an 8 speed automatic transmission anyway….Chevy and Ford are so jealous, they recently teamed their smallish engineer force [what’s left] together and are trying to develop one too.

    BTW, for you folks naive about automotive engineering ability….an automatic transmission is the most complicated assembly by far to develop. The rest of the world doesn’t have this degree of engineering ability….no, not even close. The unemployed American space engineers are top notch world class too :-)

  8. 8

    RE: softwarengineer @ 7

    And Don’t You Boeing Engineers Get Haughty

    American automotive engineers are not only the brightest in their field, they put out ten times the drawings you guys do…..I know, I’ve worked both fields. BTW, its quite seamless to switch from automotive to aerospace…ask Mulally….LOL

  9. 9
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 7 – American cars are becoming competitive. I rent a lot and even the Chevy Cruze is quite amazing. I like the Challenger and the Camaro. I see a lot of the new Volvo’ish styled Fusions on the road, too. IMHO, US is better than the average Japanese rental fleet dreck. Ditto US vs.Folkswagen.

    Score one for Obummer and The Shrub.

  10. 10
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 7

    “an automatic transmission is the most complicated assembly by far to develop. The rest of the world doesn’t have this degree of engineering ability….no, not even close. The unemployed American space engineers are top notch world class too”

    Your patriotism is inspiring, but didn’t most advanced auto tech come from Germany? And now that you mention it, German space engineers completely built the US program from scratch.

    I also find it pretty hard to believe that Toyota/Honda/etc couldn’t build an 8 gear transmission. They’ve run circles around the big 3 since the 70s. I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

  11. 11
    pfft says:

    Republicans in Congress are morons.

    An IRS official, the Fifth Amendment and a Congress controversy
    http://news.yahoo.com/irs-official-fifth-amendment-congress-controversy-133021953.html

  12. 12

    RE: Macro Investor @ 10

    Almost All Original Inventions We Use Today Came Out of America

    From my dad’s generation gang. All the space electronics, space shuttle, etc, etc….even the Turbo Hydromatic Tranny from Chrysler that GM bought and sold them for Mercedes too.

    Yes, we grabbed up Dr Werner Von Braun a rocket scientist from Germany after WWII, who is worth grabbing up from Germany today? Besides we killed NASA anyway, rocket scientists aren’t needed anymore in our overpopulated 3rd world country future….the past is behind us.

    Overpopulation destroys hope and inventiveness throughout the world the last 40-50 years….all we do now is reverse engineer and miniaturize…even nano has no applications yet.

    Today’s Germans invented what? A way into Americans’ pocket book IMO.

    Without depopulation we’ll never see wages rise, home prices rise and lots of inventions by American engineers again.

  13. 13

    RE: Macro Investor @ 10

    Toyota is in NASCAR

    And Dodge, Chevy and Ford American engineers designed their “cheater” engine. Kick ’em out of NASCAR, they don’t belong!

  14. 14

    RE: softwarengineer @ 13

    Speaking of Toyota Automatic Transmissions

    They are governed by an acceleration killing computer, because they’re subpar and can’t take stress like American quality ones. Its why they even last as long as they do.

    I rented a newer 145 HP Corolla in Fresno and the “da_n” thing wouldn’t move on a flat, hades, my old ungoverned turbo hydromatic 95 HP Chevy Corsica would run circles around that “gutless” wonder….LOL

  15. 15
    David Losh says:

    Tesla paid off it’s debt to the US government. Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac are stock market darlings, and the deficit is receding according to statistics.

    If you want to talk about the unemployment figures you should also consider the $2 Trillion in underground economy that doesn’t get reported. Every government has a way to figure what the black market for labor is doing. I’m pretty comfortable saying that not all tax dollars are being collected today.

    I find the United States in a unique position of economic growth. We have all of the austerity, along with the Quantitative Easing. Loans by the government are being paid back, and our banking sector seems remarkably robust.

    It seems to me the rest of the global economy is still trying to figure out some angles while the United States is on course to an economic recovery.

  16. 16
    Blurtman says:

    RE: David Losh @ 15 – Define “economic recovery.” Mildly increasing GDP with a falling standard of living, record food stamps and disability claimants, a chronically unemployed work force component, an underemployed work force component, ans a record number of workers who have given up looking. This sounds like “economic recovery” to you.

    They may have plugged holes in the dike, and launched an effective diversion campaign. But the water levels continue to rise, and cracks are everywhere.

    Enjoy the Kool Aid.

  17. 17

    RE: Blurtman @ 16

    Yeah Blurtman

    Even the nurse shortage the NWO liars allege is phony too….from my volunteer job I see like 1/3 full hospitals, nurses on 28 hr weeks no medical benefits, and the unemployed 50+ YO ones might as well get a sleeping bag for tent city.

    I’ve said it before, the cooked book news we get reminds me of the old Soviet Union Pravda propaganda news…..its sad when we need to dig it up on the BLS site ourselves, when the news reporters should be doing their jobs correctly, not just a parrot/puppet for NWO planned overpopulation planning lies.

  18. 18
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 17 – Exactly. Managed economy. Managed news. Flagrant cronyism. More facism, than communism, with an industry/government partnership versus the Communist party/government partnership. Pot instead of vodka. Sleep, peasants, and dream of a greater fatherland.

  19. 19
    pfft says:

    By Blurtman @ 16:

    RE: David Losh @ 15 – Define “economic recovery.” Mildly increasing GDP with a falling standard of living, record food stamps and disability claimants, a chronically unemployed work force component, an underemployed work force component, ans a record number of workers who have given up looking. This sounds like “economic recovery” to you.

    They may have plugged holes in the dike, and launched an effective diversion campaign. But the water levels continue to rise, and cracks are everywhere.

    Enjoy the Kool Aid.

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2013/04/update-recovery-measures.html

    “Mildly increasing GDP with a falling standard of living”

    link.

    “record food stamps and disability claimants”

    link link.

    “chronically unemployed work force component, an underemployed work force component, ans a record number of workers who have given up looking.”

    link link link.

    What you’re describing is a recovery. A slow one. Nobody is claiming otherwise. You are probably a hero at zerohedge though.

  20. 20
    Blurtman says:

    RE: pfft @ 19 – Define “recovery.” The links regarding chronic unemployment. underemployment, and record low labor force participation have all been provided previously, in fact, Ben Bernanke addressed these briefly in the excerpt in post 5 above. There is no need to provide links to a person whose head is a block of wood.

  21. 21
    Blurtman says:

    Certainly Obama has the most aplomb of any US president. He is a cool, unflappable cat. The heckler represents the viewpoint of righteous indignation. God bless her.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57585955/obama-america-at-a-crossroads-in-fighting-terrorism/

  22. 22

    By Blurtman @ 20:

    RE: pfft @ 19 – Define “recovery.” The links regarding chronic unemployment. underemployment, and record low labor force participation have all been provided previously, in fact, Ben Bernanke addressed these briefly in the excerpt in post 5 above. There is no need to provide links to a person whose head is a block of wood.

    There’s no reason to insult wood like that.

  23. 23
    pfft says:

    By Blurtman @ 20:

    RE: pfft @ 19 – Define “recovery.” The links regarding chronic unemployment. underemployment, and record low labor force participation have all been provided previously, in fact, Ben Bernanke addressed these briefly in the excerpt in post 5 above. There is no need to provide links to a person whose head is a block of wood.

    typical. chronic unemployment and underemployment are all going down. that is good and a sign of recovery. the labor force participation rate is mainly due to boomers retiring.

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2013/05/graphs-for-duration-of-unemployment.html

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

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2013/04/update-recovery-measures.html

    See how easy that was? Why can’t you do that? If you can’t post a few links I would ask how do you know what you know? My guess is that you “feel” those are facts but you don’t actually know. par for the course but mostly seen in Republicans.

    This recovery from the financial crisis is going well considering. how do I know this? do I just “feel” it? am I just saying that because Obama is in office? NO! I know it because it’s true. I’ll even link ya! 4th chart down.

    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2012/10/summary-for-week-ending-oct-5th.html

    Let’s talk about food stamps. Less people are going on food stamps. that is good. Between FEB 2011 and FEB 2012 around 2 million people were added to food stamps rolls. Less than 2 million more were added from FEB 2012 to FEB 2013. How do I know this? Food stamp data and 2 minutes of googling.

    http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/34SNAPmonthly.htm

    not that hard.

  24. 24
    David Losh says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 16

    The economy isn’t statistics, even if you want it to be.

    Pot is a good example of a new economy. There are lots of signs of our new economy, like Tesla, banks, with huge cash reserves, cash in Real Estate, cash in commodities, cash in the global market place that makes it here in those sales of over priced assets.

    Come on, throw in the towel, we are in much better shape than Japan, Europe, China, or India. The United States is the place to be, or it’s the place to keep your cash, taxes included.

  25. 25
    Blurtman says:

    RE: pfft @ 23 – You are truly an insane troll. It was only two weeks ago that I posted a link from the Chicago Fed, describing that more than half of the decline in the labor force participation rate was due to the lousy economy, and castigating you for saying that the decline was mainly due to retiring boomers.

    You denied you said any such thing. Now you are back to saying the very same thing.

    You either have severe mental issues, are not the same person who posts, or have a bizarre need to post nonsense, even contradicitng yourself.

    My fault for feeding the troll, No longer.

    “Since peaking at 67.3% in early 2000, the aggregate LFPR has fallen by 3.3 percentage points, to 64.0% as of December 2011 (figure 1). This cumulative decline is over twice as large as any since World War II. While a sizable portion of this drop is related to the deep recession and lackluster economic recovery of the past four years, we argue that just under half can be traced to long-running demographic patterns.

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

  26. 26
    pfft says:

    By Blurtman @ 25:

    RE: pfft @ 23 – You are truly an insane troll. It was only two weeks ago that I posted a link from the Chicago Fed

    Great, and I have posted links saying otherwise. Since when do you believe anything the Fed puts out? LOL. When you resort to name calling it’s because you know you are wrong.

    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#RDLT0EHSgQHLIbTu.99

    see how easy it is to post a link?

  27. 27
    pfft says:

    By the way, the employment population ratio is trending up.

    http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300060

  28. 28
  29. 29
    pfft says:

    By Blurtman @ 28:

    God bless Medea Benjamin.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/24/us-usa-obama-speech-heckler-idUSBRE94N01L20130524

    you call me a troll? how many times have I pointed out that the President tried to shutdown Gitmo but was blocked by Congress?

    “Can you tell the Muslim people their lives are as precious are our lives?”

    How many muslims do you think are alive because drone strikes hit terrorists who were going to kill muslims? what about all those Libyans saved by Obama’s actions?

  30. 30
    toad37 says:

    MLS question- does anyone know if I can list my condo on MLS as a FSBO?

    thanks.

  31. 31
    David Losh says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 25

    I’m going after the unemployment figures because there are jobs that no one likes.

    There is plenty to do, there is more than enough work, and for sure there is way too much cash in our economic system, so the problem with listening to the Fed is that it is BS.

    Comparing any job market to WWII is an instant disclaimer that that the jobs the Fed is tracking are already gone.

    WWII manufacturing, or construction jobs just aren’t ever coming back. People need to think of a new shtick when talking employment.

    We will never have full employment, of employment from cradle to grave. The good jobs will be the ones you make.

    Look at the number of graduates that can’t get work because they depend on a system that is wage welfare. You get some cubicle in a company until that company expands into a sale, or cash flow based on a meaningless labor pool.

    Banking, or finance isn’t what it was in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s. We are in an automated algorithm set of economic choices that are delivered to live bodies in what amounts to a phone center.

    Do you think construction is coming back? I doubt it.

    Where are you proposing these good jobs come from?

  32. 32
    pfft says:

    By David Losh @ 31:

    RE: Blurtman @ 25

    We will never have full employment, of employment from cradle to grave. The good jobs will be the ones you make.

    we are only a few points away from full employment. we’ll get there in a year or two.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NROU

  33. 33
    David Losh says:

    RE: pfft @ 32

    If those numbers are correct why is the Fed so concerned about employment?

    Why doesn’t the Fed go about it’s business?

  34. 34
    ricklind says:

    After reading the last handful of posts I just deleted a post about tools and trolls and my dog thinks I am a better person because of it.

  35. 35
    pfft says:

    By David Losh @ 33:

    RE: pfft @ 32

    If those numbers are correct why is the Fed so concerned about employment?

    Why doesn’t the Fed go about it’s business?

    because the economy has been operating below capacity for years.

    Here is a good article advocating for 4% inflation as a target instead of 2%.

    The case for 4% inflation

    Laurence Ball, 24 May 2013

    Since the double-digit inflation of the 1970s, central banks have sought to reduce inflation and keep it low. This column argues that recent history teaches us that inflation has fallen too low. Raising inflation targets to 4% would have little cost, and it would make it easier for central banks to end future recessions.

    http://www.voxeu.org/article/case-4-inflation

  36. 36

    By toad37 @ 30:

    MLS question- does anyone know if I can list my condo on MLS as a FSBO?

    thanks.

    Sort of. You have to use a brokerage to put in on the MLS, but there are brokerages that exist for that sole purpose, like mysecretagent.com, where you can get your property on the MLS through them for 95 dollars. You have to do all the work, it’s essentially a FSBO. They have keyboxes available for extra money so real estate agents will have access to it.

  37. 37
    David Losh says:

    RE: pfft @ 35

    The Fed is fighting deflation.

  38. 38
    Blurtman says:

    Obama Sucks.

    Why Democrats Can’t be Trusted to Control Wall Street
    Friday, May 24, 2013

    Who needs Republicans when Wall Street has the Democrats? With the help of congressional Democrats, the Street is rolling back financial reforms enacted after its near meltdown.

    According to the New York Times, a bill that’s already moved through the House Financial Services Committee, allowing more of the very kind of derivatives trading (bets on bets) that got the Street into trouble, was drafted by Citigroup — whose recommended language was copied nearly word for word in 70 lines of the 85-line bill.

    Where were House Democrats? Right behind it. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrat of New York, a major recipient of the Street’s political largesse, co-sponsored it. Most of the Democrats on the Committee, also receiving generous donations from the big banks, voted for it. Rep. Jim Himes, another proponent of the bill and a former banker at Goldman Sachs, now leads the Democrat’s fund-raising effort in the House.

    Bob Rubin – co-chair of Goldman before he joined the Clinton White House, and chair of Citigroup’s management committee after he left it – is still influential in the Party, and his protégés are all over the Obama administration. I like Bob personally but I battled his Street-centric views the whole time I served, and soon after I left the administration he persuaded Clinton to support a repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.

    Jack Lew, Obama’s current Treasury Secretary, was chief operating officer of Citigroup’s Alternative Investments unit, a proprietary trading group, from 2006 to 2008, before he joined the Obama administration. Peter Orszag, Obama’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, left the Obama Administration to become Citigroup’s vice chairman of corporate and investment banking, and chairman of the financial strategy and solutions group.

    http://robertreich.org/post/51226404952

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