Poll: When will inventory recover to pre-bubble levels?

When will inventory recover to pre-bubble levels?

  • 2015 (11%, 5 Votes)
  • 2016 (24%, 11 Votes)
  • 2017 (22%, 10 Votes)
  • 2018 (9%, 4 Votes)
  • 2019 (2%, 1 Votes)
  • 2020 or later (18%, 8 Votes)
  • never (13%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 45

This poll was active 07.06.2014 through 07.12.2014

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

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
    whatsmyname says:

    You didn’t leave an option for 2014!

    Given that King County has only ever had 6 months with higher median prices than right now, it would seem certain that the vast majority of the shadow inventory where people were “priced in” is now above water. The inventory tsunami should be imminent. I will check again for it at 10:00. If it is still not here, I will check for it tomorrow.

  2. 2
    Erik says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 1
    I agree that we are primed for an inventory boost and I think it is finally beginning. Last year, Tim showed a curve of inventory bursting into the stratosphere in king county as shown below. What he was unable to understand was that all the houses with multiple offers meant that there were lots of people that were waiting to buy. If these turkeys finally bought, inventory should be ready to increase.

    It didn’t happen because there were so many buyers that were unable to buy for years. The dummies were finally able to buy after prices increased dramatically from late 2011 til early 2014. Now that the masses have purchased, I think inventory may begin to pick up again.

  3. 3
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: Erik @ 2
    1. Tongue in cheek
    2. Tongue in cheek?
    I do remember that post, though. Good stuff.

  4. 4
    The Tim says:

    RE: Erik @ 2 – Har har, nice troll post.

    I never delete old posts. The post I assume you’re referring to is this one from last July: Inventory Now On Track to Beat 2012 By August

    In it, I simply projected what the next four months of inventory levels would look like “if the April to June trend continues through September.” You’ll notice the word “if” three times in that very short post, which was quite intentional. It wasn’t a prediction, it was a “what if” scenario.

    Even so, my comments on that scenario were definitely not very positive:

    Of course, even if that happens it will only manage to make 2013 inventory the second worst on record since 2000.

    Anyway, please feel free to keep arguing against positions that you imagine me to have taken that are in fact quite different from anything I have ever said in reality. It’s entertaining.

  5. 5

    RE: The Tim @ 4

    Tim, “…to pre-bubble levels” is a bit vague. Can we have a strike number? Date?

    I call 2002 “pre-bubble” vs “pre-peak”. For the purpose of this poll, which year or inventory level are you referring to?

  6. 6
    Deerhawke says:

    The market has a kind of rough equilibrium between supply and demand.

    New construction of condos or SF homes adds supply. When people die or move out of the area, those sales add to net supply. When people decide to sell their homes in order to rent an apartment or move into an old folks home, that adds to net supply. If someone decides to get out of the business of being a landlord and sell their rental house or condo, that creates net supply.

    When people decide to sell in order to buy something bigger, closer, nicer, etc., that generates two sales transactions, but it is a wash in terms of actual inventory. It is the same if a builder buys an old teardown and builds one nice new house– someone moves out and several months later someone moves in, but there is no net inventory created.

    Meanwhile we have a tremendous number of people relocating here for all the tech employment being created. There are far more “relos” than new construction homes being built. There was very little new construction started from early 2008 until 2012 while people continued to relocate into the area.

    So, unless people stop moving here and start moving out of the area in droves or we have a big die-off or the long awaited rapture occurs, we will continue to have a very limited supply of net inventory.

  7. 7
    Erik says:

    RE: The Tim @ 4
    I am glad you find it entertaining. You do a good job at posting data as well. Keep doing it. It is entertaining to look at the data and troll for action on here.

  8. 8
    Erik says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 6
    Seattle has had years when less people live here. For example in 1970, there were 530,831 people reported living in Seattle. In 1980, there were 493,846 people reported living in Seattle.

    These tech people reside on this website, but that is a small slice of the population. I believe that Aerospace employs a lot more people in the Seattle area than the tech field does. The tech folks make more money, so they drive housing prices up, but they don’t have enough bodies to really make a huge impact on inventory. When making airplanes, it requires more people and there is a lower profit margin. All I here on here is tech this and tech that. You tech people make good money, but you aren’t the majority of the population.

    If boeing left and took its supply chain with them to South Carolina or another cheaper location, inventory will sky rocket. In case you have been living under a rock, Boeing wants to leave Washington state. Jim McNerny, the ceo of boeing has done everything in his power to leave washington state and our unions behind. It is not a matter of if Boeing leaves, it is a matter of when will they leave. Boeing machinists had to bend over and get their pensions taken from them, and reduce their pay and benefits to get the 777x in washington state. Next round, what do Boeing workers have to give? If Mr. McNerny wanted to father many children, he would take Boeing union member’s first children, but I don’t think he wants them.

    The relationship between Boeing workers and executives is ruined. Richard Aboulafia is known for being able to see the future of aerospace. He sees that the relationship between Boeing workers and leadership is most likely ruined. Either way, Boeing is done with Washington state, which will increase inventory housing inventory dramatically when Boeing launches its next program in another state.

  9. 9
    Erik says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 5
    I have read things online that say the bubble started in 1997. Lets vote we go with that.


  10. 10
    Another Mike says:

    RE: Erik @ 8 – I agree with you that Boeing wants to leave WA. However, they’ve also got WA by the short hairs and they know it. WA will throw all sorts of tax breaks at Boeing to keep them in the state. Boeing will likely just continue to draw down over time and extract as many sweetheart deals as they can from the state and the unions – it’s their duty to their shareholders.

    In the meantime, the wise will investigate relocating to South Carolina – the Carolinas are quite nice, if you can deal with the heat & humidity.

  11. 11
    Erik says:

    RE: Another Mike @ 10
    I don’t think the unions have all that much to give anymore. They are pretty beaten down. Boeing can still beat tax payer money out of the state. Hopefully Boeing is willing to settle on taking Washington state taxpayer’s money as compensation to stay in this state. Our children don’t really need books anyway. We could cut costs by doubling class sizes and writing on chalk boards. The money saved could be used to keep Boeing in Washington state. We need a manufacturer that won’t slit our throats when they get the chance.

    I interviewed in South Carolina for Boeing. I totally thought I was going to get the job. I did not. There were 25 interviewers and 3 positions to be filled. My feedback was that when I answered the interview questions, I didn’t describe scenarios I “knocked it out of the park.” I also was fuzzy on details when I had follow up questions. The point is that everyone talks like they are handing out jobs in South Carolina, but that is not the case. It is still very competitive to get a job there. I like Charleston much better than Seattle. Nicer weather, prettier women, cheaper prices, etc.

  12. 12
    Deerhawke says:

    By Erik @ 8:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 6

    “Seattle has had years when less people live here. For example in 1970, there were 530,831 people reported living in Seattle. In 1980, there were 493,846 people reported living in Seattle.”

    This is the Seattle city population you are quoting and does not factor in the tremendous growth in the suburbs during this decade. A whole highway infrastructure was built to support the demographic shift. After the riots and urban unrest of the 1960’s, the following decade was an era of white flight and suburbanization. People left Capitol Hill and went to Bellevue, they left the Central District and went to Mercer Island. If you look at the stats from the larger metro area, you will see things very differently.

    Also, the 70’s were a time when Seattle was still a company town and that company was Boeing. The economy has diversified tremendously since then. We now live in a very broad-based technology economy and Boeing (while still an important employer) is just a much smaller part of the picture. There is not much question that given the leanings of the Chicago junta, Boeing employment in the Northwest will be kept to an absolute minimum.

    I sold a new house in Greenlake in May (DOM=1/2). There too the lookers and the buyers were almost all tech people. But not just software types– medical, biotech, cloud computing and even Boeing tech people involved with advanced materials.

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