Weekly Open Thread (2015-04-06)

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Here is your open thread for the week of April 6th, 2015. 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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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
    redmondjp says:

    My new neighbors moved in over the weekend as the sale closed last Friday. Here are some pertinent details:

    Asking price: $459K

    Sold price: $514K

    $319/sq. ft. for 1977-built split-level with baseboard electric heat. Bathrooms updated with tile; kitchen with vinyl floor, painted cabinets and formica countertops; vinyl exterior windows. No landscaping in back yard, which is adjacent to a very busy intersection. In the master bedroom (if you don’t have light-proof window treatments), at night the walls change color courtesy of the nearby traffic signal.

    This is in Redmond a mile away from Microsoft (Redmond West).

    Now is a great time to sell!

    p.s. So how long does the realtor typically leave the signs up after the deal has closed? Methinks they should be removed on the same day.

  2. 2

    RE: redmondjp @ – Typically it’s the next business day, assuming they get the order in on time and the sign company has daily service to the area (which it probably would in Redmond)

  3. 3

    RE: redmondjp @

    I Used to Build Homes About That Time

    The slide together floor boards were replaced with cheaper plywood in 1977, which can give you the feeling your walking on a trampoline, compared to the slotted strong floor boards. Now they use thicker glue board, which takes that bounce on the upstairs away, but cannot stand prolonged dampness or it puffs up with water. I’m no fan of split levels either, small square footage of actual living area with wasted space of stairs to basement and garage [and washer and dryer hauling on stairs].

  4. 4
    Blurtman says:

    By redmondjp @ :

    Now is a great time to sell!

    Ya, sure, you betcha!

    3 beds 1.75 baths 2,640 sqft

    FOR SALE
    $559,900
    Zestimate®: $563,456

    Lot: 0.26 acres
    Single Family
    Built in 1971

    http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/house_type/49088331_zpid/300000-650000_price/1085-2352_mp/1000-_size/days_sort/47.613503,-122.056316,47.611221,-122.061949_rect/17_zm/?view=map

  5. 5
    pfft says:

    It is amazing the contempt that republicans have for the poor. I am sure the fees in many of these programs is going into a campaign donor’s pockets.

    Kansas Welfare Bill Would Cut Into Benefits With ATM Fees
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/kansas-welfare-bill-would-cut-into-benefits-with-atm-fees/

    In some deep red states they are cutting taxes for the rich and raising them on the poor.

  6. 6

    RE: Blurtman @

    Yes Blurtman

    A limited number of data point(s) in your neighborhood is not a predictive trend, and in real estate an approximate 20% normal inventory level [per Tim’s charts] at current high prices is not a time to invest. Good investors make money when they get good low prices with a high inventory to choose from; its called the economic rule of “supply and demand” that controls prices. Investors aren’t stupid.

  7. 7

    RE: pfft @
    Are Democrats That Much Better?

    Its not a normal American liberal that says:

    “..Speaking to a room full of immigrants’ (legal and illegal) rights advocates (and me), Perez expressed President Obama’s sentiment that gaining amnesty for illegal aliens – legislatively or through executive fiat – is the most pressing domestic priority for remainder of his presidency. “It is impossible to underestimate the frustration that the president feels” about being unable to implement the executive amnesty programs he announced in November….”

    http://immigrationreform.com/2015/04/02/administration-plans-to-abuse-t-and-u-visas-to-backdoor-more-immigration/

    It is a normal Fascist that would ignore Constitutional Laws currently on the books, in favor of Billionaires [conservative red necks?] that give them lobbyist money and prioritize that legal citizen Americans be replaced with cheap foreign labor, in our stagnant 1.9M total labor base in Seattle/Bellevue/Everett. You could also similarly label it Marxist to give away our scarce Social Security and federal taxes to the poor foreigner guests at the same time. Doesn’t sound at all American liberal to this real Earth Day liberal for depopulation, SWE.

  8. 8
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ – The home in post 4 IMHO illustrates an out of whack market. The home and yard need a lot of work, and yet even the Zilllow algorithm (FWIW) says $560,000. Even today, that is a lot of money. Is it being priced for the professional flipper? If you buy it for $530,000, and put in $150,000, can you sell it for $800,000 – $1,000,000? Maybe. Stay tuned.

  9. 9

    RE: Blurtman @

    I Have a New Name for the Seattle [and America too] politically correct environment we’re in right now and its getting far worse at a faster pace lately too…we live in Kurt Vonnegut’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest asylum now…per the movie, SWE is Jack Nicholson…..you know the normal guy they called crazy, who got many of the mental patients out of the asylum in the bus and stole the boat….once they got out of the asylum [Seattle] they became normal again….LOL

  10. 10
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ – Yes, I want to play the electroconvulsive therapy technician – the guy that holds the paddles to the person’s head. Ira can play Chief Bromden.

  11. 11

    RE: Blurtman @
    We Can Make Tim “the Chief”

    He was the muscle and drive behind the patients’ horrification(s).

  12. 12

    By softwarengineer @ :

    …we live in Kurt Vonnegut’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest asylum now…per the movie,

    What does Vonnegut have to do with One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest?

  13. 13
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ – Yes, quite right. It was Owsley fan Ken Kesey, who had a quite remarkable life.

  14. 14
    pfft says:

    By softwarengineer @ :

    RE: pfft @
    Are Democrats That Much Better?

    Its not a normal American liberal that says:

    “..Speaking to a room full of immigrants’ (legal and illegal) rights advocates (and me), Perez expressed President Obama’s sentiment that gaining amnesty for illegal aliens – legislatively or through executive fiat – is the most pressing domestic priority for remainder of his presidency. “It is impossible to underestimate the frustration that the president feels” about being unable to implement the executive amnesty programs he announced in November….”

    http://immigrationreform.com/2015/04/02/administration-plans-to-abuse-t-and-u-visas-to-backdoor-more-immigration/

    It is a normal Fascist that would ignore Constitutional Laws currently on the books, in favor of Billionaires [conservative red necks?] that give them lobbyist money and prioritize that legal citizen Americans be replaced with cheap foreign labor, in our stagnant 1.9M total labor base in Seattle/Bellevue/Everett. You could also similarly label it Marxist to give away our scarce Social Security and federal taxes to the poor foreigner guests at the same time. Doesn’t sound at all American liberal to this real Earth Day liberal for depopulation, SWE.

    your posts are mostly non-sesencial. can you try again? you don’t seem to grasp the basic issues you complain about.

  15. 15
    Blake says:

    Rocket science:
    http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/why-mortgage-volume-is-down-sharply-from-2001-households-are-poorer/
    “In other words, home prices are higher today than in 2001, but real median household income is lower (along with wage growth)… The answer is no, credit is NOT too tight. Borrower income compared to house prices and debt size is too low. Comparing mortgages today with 2001 is like comparing them to mortgages on Mars. An irrelevant comparison to justify loosening credit standards. So, let’s be careful folks about lowering credit scores (or changing them).” (end quote)
    duh… I guess we’ll just have to convince bank underwriters to start approving $600,000 loans to California strawberry pickers again. (Or – as the banks would have us believe – those clever strawberry pickers can trick those gullible underwriters into loaning them $600k again!?)

    I think this is spot on as well:
    Meet The New Recession Cycle——Its Triggered By Bursting Bubbles, Not Surging Inflation
    http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/meet-the-new-recession-cycle-its-triggered-by-bursting-bubbles-not-surging-inflation/
    … the real New Economy!! It’s bubble-licious!

    A smart guy like Muhammed El-Erian has most of his money in cash right now… (et tu SWE?)
    http://blogs.barrons.com/incomeinvesting/2015/04/06/el-erian-my-money-is-in-cash/
    -snip- “It reminds me a little bit of 2007 and 2008,” when investors tried to market time the turn, El-Erian told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in an interview. “I’m not so confident that I will see the turn coming, and turns tend to happen quite quickly.”… El-Erian argued. The Fed needs to be less timid, he said, “and recognize the main risk to this economy comes from mounting financial imbalances.”

    Nah… the Fed can’t take the punch bowl away from Wall Street and the 1%! They are partying like it’s 1999… or 2007!

  16. 16
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Blake @ – What would a market crash look like? Dow 15,000? It seems as if we are in a new era of statist “capitalism” and China is showing the way.

  17. 17

    RE: Blurtman @ – Don’t underestimate (or ignore) the impact of extremely low energy prices. That’s providing a huge boost to the economy right now.

  18. 18
    redmondjp says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ :

    RE: Blurtman @ – Don’t underestimate (or ignore) the impact of extremely low energy prices. That’s providing a huge boost to the economy right now.

    Except for all of those people getting laid off in the oil and gas industry, and all of the people in the service industry whose jobs depended on those workers . . .

  19. 19

    RE: redmondjp @ – But that’s relatively minor in the scheme of things. We have a booming stock market, low interest rates and low energy rates. In most industries that means a lot more activity will be planned. Yes there is that one exception, but if you’re not located in one of those geographic areas it’s unlikely to have a huge affect on anyone not directly affected (e.g. laid off).

  20. 20
    Blurtman says:

    Homie input request – heat pump or AC unit? We are getting a two-stage variable speed furnace. Kind of leaning towards an AC unit. HVAC is actually pretty interesting.

  21. 21

    RE: Blurtman @ – The heat pump will give you some opportunity to recapture some of the expense you incur running the AC. This past winter your furnace might have hardly run if you’d had a heat pump.

  22. 22
    Blake says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @
    Oil prices plunged almost 6 months ago and instead of seeing an economic boom here, we have seen the economic indicators disappoint each month since… why? I see two factors: One is that most of our economy is dominated by oligopolies/monopolies that see little competition and when their factor costs (such as oil/gas) go down, they see no need to cut prices and pass those cost savings onto consumers.. the second is that consumers (70% of the economy) are still in dire straights with rising costs for housing/rent, healthcare and food… and stagnant or declining real wages. And many took on huge debts the last 6 years (student debt is now 25% of all consumer credit, up from just 7% in 2008!) and are struggling to make payments.
    http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/consumers-still-in-the-bunker/
    -snip- The practical effect of this actual fiscal “stimulus” through mostly student loans has not been to add to “aggregate demand” but rather to keep “students” out of the unemployment rate; it is the 21st century equivalent to the soup or breadlines of the Great Depression. Whatever you might conclude about January and February this year, it is clear that there is nothing of an economic “boom” within actual consumer activity totally dissociated from whatever the Conference Board or the U of Michigan assembles out of telephone data. There is an obvious malaise that has not relented, nor are there any signs it is about to. If anything, credit behavior is far more on the “side” of more troubling prospects ahead.

  23. 23

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @
    He was the author of the book.

  24. 24

    RE: redmondjp @
    Sales Figures Document

    Lower oil price savings are all disappearing into America’s larger savings rate. We’re not spending it on extra stuff.

  25. 25
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ – Yes, so cost savings seems to be one of the advantages of the heat pump, but recovery of additional purchase cost may be out several years. Comfort is at the top of the list. I am told that the variable speed blower/2-stage furnace will keep air circulating, and temperature better controlled. Our home far directly west, and the front of the house can bake during the summer.

  26. 26
    pfft says:

    By Blake @ :

    Rocket science:
    http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/why-mortgage-volume-is-down-sharply-from-2001-households-are-poorer/
    “In other words, home prices are higher today than in 2001, but real median household income is lower (along with wage growth)… The answer is no, credit is NOT too tight. Borrower income compared to house prices and debt size is too low. Comparing mortgages today with 2001 is like comparing them to mortgages on Mars. An irrelevant comparison to justify loosening credit standards. So, let’s be careful folks about lowering credit scores (or changing them).” (end quote)
    duh… I guess we’ll just have to convince bank underwriters to start approving $600,000 loans to California strawberry pickers again. (Or – as the banks would have us believe – those clever strawberry pickers can trick those gullible underwriters into loaning them $600k again!?)

    I think this is spot on as well:
    Meet The New Recession Cycle——Its Triggered By Bursting Bubbles, Not Surging Inflation
    http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/meet-the-new-recession-cycle-its-triggered-by-bursting-bubbles-not-surging-inflation/
    … the real New Economy!! It’s bubble-licious!

    A smart guy like Muhammed El-Erian has most of his money in cash right now… (et tu SWE?)
    http://blogs.barrons.com/incomeinvesting/2015/04/06/el-erian-my-money-is-in-cash/
    -snip- “It reminds me a little bit of 2007 and 2008,” when investors tried to market time the turn, El-Erian told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in an interview. “I’m not so confident that I will see the turn coming, and turns tend to happen quite quickly.”… El-Erian argued. The Fed needs to be less timid, he said, “and recognize the main risk to this economy comes from mounting financial imbalances.”

    Nah… the Fed can’t take the punch bowl away from Wall Street and the 1%! They are partying like it’s 1999… or 2007!

    “A smart guy like Muhammed El-Erian has most of his money in cash right now”

    big deal. smart guys have had their money in cash the whole ride up. I can go to just about any financial site and find some guy who has a 5 figure account who has the exact same opinion.

  27. 27
    pfft says:

    By redmondjp @ :

    By Kary L. Krismer @ :

    RE: Blurtman @ – Don’t underestimate (or ignore) the impact of extremely low energy prices. That’s providing a huge boost to the economy right now.

    Except for all of those people getting laid off in the oil and gas industry, and all of the people in the service industry whose jobs depended on those workers . . .

    weren’t people just trashing all of those service jobs? the oil and gas industries are often more drags on the economy than not. the few jobs that are lost will be made up by savings in energy costs.

  28. 28
    Blake says:

    RE: softwarengineer @
    While it’s true that the overall savings rate recently ticked up from below 5% to 5.8%, this is mostly due to the behavior of the top 10% and 1% whose savings rate is over 10% and 40% (!!) respectively. The other 90% barely save anything…
    http://www.financialsamurai.com/the-average-savings-rates-by-income-wealth-class/

    The economy runs on consumption and revolving credit growth and consumption was down 0.2% in both December and January and up only an anemic 0.1% in February, while revolving credit growth has never returned to the 5-10% growth levels we saw before the Great Recession.

  29. 29
    Cap'n says:

    RE: Blurtman @ – I say go with the heat pump. Just had a mini-split heat/AC unit installed and if you size the compressor right, it works great. Sounds like you have duct work so no need for wall mounted air handlers, but if you did, and size/place them appropriately, and the heat pump will save you money (and there may be a rebate) and be very comfortable. Have not used the AC function yet.

  30. 30
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Cap’n @ – Thanks, Cap’n. Yes we have ductwork. May need to add a second air return.

  31. 31
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Cap’n @ – To this date, the money I spent on a Mitsubishi multi-split system (3 air handlers) has been the best money I have ever spent. For me the payoff was about 5 years, but now that I know how well these things work, I don’t even care about the money.

    These are light years ahead of the traditional heat pumps. I will never live in a home without one.

  32. 32

    By Blurtman @ :

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ – Yes, so cost savings seems to be one of the advantages of the heat pump, but recovery of additional purchase cost may be out several years. Comfort is at the top of the list. I am told that the variable speed blower/2-stage furnace will keep air circulating, and temperature better controlled. Our home far directly west, and the front of the house can bake during the summer.

    The fan consumes a lot of energy, so I’d look more into whether the vents are properly balanced and the adjustment of the thermostat for cycling on/off–swing.

  33. 33
    Blurtman says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ – Really. Why?

  34. 34
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Blurtman @ – A few reasons – first they are incredibly efficient, but the second reason has to do with the fact that they are inverter (DC) driven. This means that they are dead quiet and have a true variable speed fan. Just a light whoosh is all you hear. No on-off cycles. Thirdly, they work when things get real cold. No backup heating grid required. Mine still put out plenty of heat when we had 10 degree weather last winter. The hyper-heats will go even lower – pretty crazy that they are sucking the heat out of 10 degree outside air.

  35. 35

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @

    Yes Kary

    I had cheaper(?) natural gas in my Bellevue home and got two winter heat bills [that were together much higher than just electric heat]….one bill for the gas and one electric bill for the blowers.

  36. 36

    RE: Blake @
    Yes Blake

    I read it was going to the savings…..perhaps you’re right, its instead just paying off old credit card debt.

  37. 37
    Blurtman says:

    Things are looking up. Hillary wants to be your champion.

    (Uproarious laughter).

  38. 38
    pfft says:

    By Blurtman @ :

    Things are looking up. Hillary wants to be your champion.

    (Uproarious laughter).

    I don’t get it:)

    Hillary championed Obamacare when it wasn’t popular.

    I don’t see anything that says she won’t lead Democrats on Democratic issues.

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