Share of sales in cheap parts of King County hit all-time high as prices keep climbing

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It’s been nearly a year since we took a look at the in-county breakdown data from the NWMLS to see how the sales mix shifted around the county. I like to keep an eye on this not only to see how individual neighborhoods are doing but also to see how the sales mix shift affects the overall county-wide median price.

In order to explore this concept, we break King County down into three regions, based on the NWMLS-defined “areas”:

  • low end: South County (areas 100-130 & 300-360)
  • mid range: Seattle / North County (areas 140, 380-390, & 700-800)
  • high end: Eastside (areas 500-600)

Here’s where each region’s median prices came in as of February data:

  • low end: $360,000-$500,000
  • mid range: $480,000-$961,200
  • high end: $820,000-$2,070,000

First let’s look at the percentage of each month’s closed sales that took place in each of the three regions.

% of Total King Co. SFH Sales by NWMLS Area

The most interesting thing in this data is that in February the share of sales in the South King regions hit an all-time high at 41.6 percent, just edging out the previous high of 41.4 percent set in November 2007 (just four months after prices peaked). Despite this continued shift in sales toward the lower-priced regions, the county-wide median price continues to push upward.

The raw number of sales in all three tiers increased between January and February. Month-over-month sales were up eighteen percent in the low tier, up nine percent in the middle tier, and up five percent in the high tier.

Meanwhile, year-over-year sales were up in the low and high tiers, but down slightly in the middle tier. Compared to a year ago, sales increased five percent in the low tier, fell one percent in the middle tier, and rose seven percent in the high tier.

As of February 2018, 41.6 percent of sales were in the low end regions (up from 40.9 percent a year ago), 32.1 percent in the mid range (down from 33.5 percent a year ago), and 26.4 percent in the high end (up from 25.5 percent a year ago).

Here’s that information in a visual format:

Bank-Owned: Share of Total Sales - King County Single-Family

Here’s an updated look at the percentage of sales data all the way back through 2000:

% of Total King Co. SFH Sales by NWMLS Area since 2000

The thing that always stands out to me about this chart is how the bubble years of 2004-2006 stick out with a much larger percent of sales taking place in the low tier regions, and a steady decrease in the sales share for the high tier Eastside regions. The last year has been a lot more variable, but the same trend seems to be shaping up again.

Finally, let’s have a look at each region’s (approximate) median price (actually the median of the medians for each area within the region).

Median Price of Single Family Homes Sold

The low and mid tiers both saw month-over-month gains in their respective median-median price, each setting a new all-time record high, while the high tier regions fell slightly from the all-time high set in January. Month-over-month, the median price in the low tier rose four percent, the middle tier increased four percent, and the high tier lost one percent.

Twenty-seven of the twenty-nine NWMLS regions in King County with single-family home sales in February had a higher median price than a year ago, while nineteen had a month-over-month increase in the median price. The two areas that had a lower median prices than a year ago were Area 350—Renton–Highlands & Kennydale and Area 520—Bellevue–West of 405.

Here’s how the median prices changed year-over-year. Low tier: up 19.1 percent, middle tier: up 20.5 percent, high tier: up 14.5 percent.

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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.

64 comments:

  1. 1
    jc says:

    Interesting note about Renton Highlands median is lower this year. Back in Summer of 2016, I was unable to purchase a home in Renton Highlands because of all cash offers. I’ve made offers on over 10 homes there. In fact, there was one house(~$500k) so hot (near QFC), I made an appt to see it 6 hours after it hit the MLS, but turns out I was already too late. Already sold in hours, and not accepting any backup offers. what’s going on in 2018?

  2. 2
    Jake says:

    I think you need to smooth out your data points – having 12 mos of data points for 18 years (216 points) crammed into that graph makes it kind of hard to interpret. What we really care about is what the long term trend has been, so I think showing 2 pts. per year, beginning and end, would give a better visual of what’s happening.

    Also, you brought up some points:
    1)SFH sales increased in the ‘Low End’ market on the precipice of the downturn
    2)Median SFH price increased in 27/29 of areas surveyed

    1) Are you implying we are experiencing a ‘bubble’ in home values because people are moving to outlying areas? As homes become more expensive, people move to areas they can afford. It’s the ‘why’ they are more expensive that should be focused on here. And you’d have to go a lot more in-depth on why home prices have increased and how that correlates to the past housing crises. Hint: look at population & employment data.

    2)You lumped some VERY different neighborhoods together to get your 3 ‘high’ ‘med’ & ‘low’ tiers, then drew unsubstantiated claims from the data. ‘North End’ includes Vashon Island… wait, what? Also, you never talk about volume of homes sold when you bring up median price changes… in some of the high end neighborhoods, that could be the difference between 5 homes selling or 3… not very statistically significant if you ask me.

    I understand you are a data person, but interpreting the data is another story entirely… How many people do you think were of the opinion San Francisco would stop growing and the housing market would ‘crash?’

  3. 3

    If you look at the pattern in the first graph, seemingly what is happening is the number of sales in the lower priced areas is staying more consistent month to month (is less seasonal) than the other areas. This is somewhat similar to what we saw five years ago with REOs and short sales, but there the reason was largely just how fast the banks processed things. I’m not sure what the reason would be for this phenomena.

    And as to Tim’s first point about the median pushing upward, that isn’t surprising because the difference YOY in percent of low price area sales is relatively insignificant (40.9 to 41.6). What is surprising is that we’re not getting the pumping action of the overall median over the year as occurred back in the period I was talking about above. There the swing was much greater, but perhaps that’s because we were dealing more with what was in reality a flat market?????

  4. 4

    RE: jc @ 1 – There is a wide variety of houses in the Renton Highlands, so it’s probably just a difference in mix. (I haven’t looked that the data.)

  5. 5
    kenmorem says:

    general selling question:

    is it worth it to replace the carpet in my house before selling? i have 12 year old carpet. matted down. no real stains except for one area by a closet door somehow. it is builder grade.

    thinking of replacing. looks like costs would be about $1.50/sf, so about $1100 or so.

    in this market (going to list in a month), is it worth it?

  6. 6
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: kenmorem @ 5 – I don’t know the answer to that question, but I will say that my folks were convinced by a RE agent to do this, the house sold, and the new owner ripped out all the new carpet and put it their own choice. All that synthetic material ended up in a landfill without ever being used.

  7. 7

    Reduce the List Price 50% of the Cost of Remodeling Costs

    Then don’t remodel it and sell as is. Win/Win.

  8. 8

    By wreckingbull @ 6:

    RE: kenmorem @ 5 – I don’t know the answer to that question, but I will say that my folks were convinced by a RE agent to do this, the house sold, and the new owner ripped out all the new carpet and put it their own choice. All that synthetic material ended up in a landfill without ever being used.

    Maybe my wife was the buyers’ agent! We just mentioned this to someone yesterday, but one of her first buyer clients ripped out all the seller’s new carpet because of allergy concerns. So the money the buyer spent was seemingly wasted–except–maybe the house looked better such that they made an offer when they otherwise wouldn’t have. That would be impossible to know.

  9. 9
    David B. says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 6 – I hate homes with new carpet, because I hate carpet in general and would just have it torn out and replaced with hardwoods. Yet I’m expected to pay a premium for the stupid carpet because it’s new. This tend to extend to other sorts of “updates” as well; I’d much rather pay less for something worn and dated and get to choose how it gets updated. (Isn’t the freedom to choose such details supposed to be one of the chief advantages of home ownership?)

    But the last time I started a discussion thread like this there were many who asserted that I’m in the minority on this and that “turnkey” properties do tend to sell faster and fetch higher prices.

  10. 10
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: David B. @ 9 – I think you are probably right. That being said, if there was ever a market where it really did not make much difference, this might be it!

  11. 11

    RE: wreckingbull @ 10RE: David B. @ 9 – Wreckingbull, correct. It’s actually a bit tough to find fixer-uppers in this market, and that’s what a fair amount of buyers want.

  12. 12
    Anonymous Coward says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 11:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 10RE: David B. @ 9 – Wreckingbull, correct. It’s actually a bit tough to find fixer-uppers in this market, and that’s what a fair amount of buyers want.

    Yes, but are they looking for fixer uppers because they want to customize to their exacting specifications or are they looking for discounts due to cosmetic blemishes? If they’re expecting to shave $2500 of the purchase price because the carpet needs replacing, then the seller has to do the math. Of course, this is where a good agent provides a lot a value as a good one will know the various sub-groups of buyers and how to market a particular property so as to maximize the profit of the seller.

  13. 13
    ARDELL DellaLoggia says:

    RE: kenmorem @ 5

    Yes. At that cost, why question it? You are appealing to a buyer who can’t afford new wood flooring right away. That fresh surface will hold them until they can afford to put what they want. Many buyers in your market are tapped out as to cash immediately after closing. It buys them time.

  14. 14
    N says:

    King County SFH Inventory

    3/25/16 – 2,008
    3/24/17 (Friday) – 1,582
    3/23/18 (Friday) – 1.750 10% increase YOY.

  15. 15
    N says:

    I heard on a remodel/home improvement radio show a monologue about why construction costs and remodels are so expensive here and included was a comment that many contractors are paying $8/hr in L&I for an employee at a manager level. Is this possible, sounds really high but I am not familiar with L&I rates in construction.

    Also, found this article interesting. It’s an opinion piece but if true opens some eyes.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogervaldez/2017/07/03/washington-governor-jay-inslee-continues-housing-cost-cover-up/#59596c2e3343

  16. 16
    wreckingbull says:

    By ARDELL DellaLoggia @ 13:

    RE: kenmorem @ 5

    Yes. At that cost, why question it? You are appealing to a buyer who can’t afford new wood flooring right away. That fresh surface will hold them until they can afford to put what they want. Many buyers in your market are tapped out as to cash immediately after closing. It buys them time.

    So do it as a favor to the buyer? What about from the seller’s perspective? Is he really losing customers or leaving money on the table in today’s market due to some older carpet?

  17. 17
    jc says:

    RE: David B. @ 9 – Many young buyers like myself don’t have the money to buy a home and also pay for a renovation. So having the home look new, clean, and move in ready was important. It really depends what the majority of your demographics is.

  18. 18
    Jon says:

    I would speculate that there are more psychological factors in the higher end of the market, where at the lower end people are focused on the out of pocket costs of shelter. So new carpet will might make the buyer feel more comfortable making a seven figure purchase even if they don’t want that carpet.

  19. 19
    QA Observer says:

    “EXCLUSIVE”
    Amazon in negotiations to buy Target.

  20. 20

    RE: N @ 15 – It would have been nice if they had given a bill number so that someone could actually verify it was true, and also just check out the specific proposal made.

    Reading the article though it did make me wonder if these things are so tax driven that entities buy into them for X dollars in tax credits and to get that they need to spend Y dollars. If so, they might not care so much what they get for their Y dollars. Then there’s also the fact that they are almost certainly passive investors and not really have a say.

  21. 21

    By QA Observer @ 19:

    “EXCLUSIVE”
    Amazon in negotiations to buy Target.

    They want distributed warehouse space? ;-)

  22. 22
    David B. says:

    RE: jc @ 17 – Dated, worn, un-renovated homes sell for less than freshly-renovated ones, so I don’t get your point. Even if you can’t afford the cost of getting hardwoods put in and can only afford new carpet, at least you’ll be able to choose the carpet (and the paint color on the walls, etc.) if you buy the dated house.

    On the other hand, if you don’t have any strong preferences in such matters, I guess then yes, a turnkey property could appeal. Come to think of it, I have a friend who was mildly surprised when I mentioned not wanting to buy anything in a nearby subdivision of smaller but starkly modernist homes (because I’m not a big fan of modernism). “I never pay much attention or care that much about architectural styles; I could live in anything” or words to the effect came from his mouth.

  23. 23
    Erik says:

    RE: kenmorem @ 5
    My whole thing is to find a place that needs new flooring, new paint, new countertops, and new appliances and provide them before the home is sold. The idea is the price of your asset will go up exceeding your expenditures. Put in new hard flooring such as hard wood, laminate, etc. people in my the Seattle area are willing to pay for beauty.

  24. 24

    By Erik @ 23:

    RE: kenmorem @ 5
    My whole thing is to find a place that needs new flooring, new paint, new countertops, and new appliances and provide them before the home is sold. The idea is the price of your asset will go up exceeding your expenditures. Put in new hard flooring such as hard wood, laminate, etc. people in my the Seattle area are willing to pay for beauty.

    Do you have any experience on the sale side besides that one condo? There most of your gain was due to having bought it as a distressed sale at a weak point in the market. Sure your improvements increased the price obtained, but if you had bought and sold via normal means in a flat market you would have possibly lost money on that condo, perhaps even before accounting for costs of sale.

  25. 25
    ess says:

    An interesting discussion, and a couple of points if I may:

    It may be that all perspectives are correct, depending on the buyer. I have observed houses for sale that languish because of various minor defects, especially when there is the distinctive odor in the carpet that the prior owner was a cat lover. As an investor – the smell of cat urine is the beautiful smell of a lower price, to many buyers it is a signal that it is time to leave.

    The same with the interior colors. A relatively minor fix. but one that seems to turn off many potential buyers even if everything else is perfect.

    I would suggest a few other factors that may affect the decisions.

    In a hyper market such as Seattle where there is fierce competition for housing, minor issues such as floor covering and colors may be of less concern than actually finding something at all that is at least quasi acceptable. On the other hand, with the prices that potential buyers are paying these days, they may accept nothing less than what they consider perfect.

    In addition, the proliferation in the media of shows and print of house beautification projects may affect some buyers. There was a comment that perfectly new carpet was jettisoned because the buyers did not like it. How about the countless kitchens and bathrooms that are totally stripped of their perfectly operational fixtures because they are “dated”. Rather than a thousand dollars – these are projects in the tens of thousands, and really clog up those landfills. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that these projects never return their full investment, and they are being done only primarily for cosmetic reasons. But with all the hype of “updating” houses, perhaps a segment of the population must have these items before they consider purchasing – regardless of the increase of cost.

  26. 26

    By ess @ 25:

    In a hyper market such as Seattle where there is fierce competition for housing, minor issues such as floor covering and colors may be of less concern than actually finding something at all that is at least quasi acceptable. On the other hand, with the prices that potential buyers are paying these days, they may accept nothing less than what they consider perfect.

    I agree with your point (not quoted) that it varies from buyer to buyer, but I think in this market it’s more of the former than the latter. I’ve seen too many places where major expensive issues (e.g. failing LP siding) are apparently completely overlooked by buyers in setting the price offered. Although I do not know this for sure I suspect it’s probably mainly buyers who have lost out on too many other offers and become desperate.

  27. 27
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 24
    I believe that Seattle and Eastside condos are the sweet spot. I think doing this in working class cities like Renton or Everett, the value of the condos would not go up as much. In Seattle and eastside condo people will pay for beauty.

    I have never done a real flip like they do on hgtv, so I cannot be certain. I buy them distressed, fix them, hold them, and sell them so it’s hard to pinpoint how much the remodel really matters.

    I’m likely not gonna sell anything until around 2022, since I believe the 18 year cycle is in full effect. I have a process and it seems to work, so I’m not changing it.

  28. 28

    RE: Erik @ 27 – What I was asking is whether you’ve sold anything besides that one Ardell sold for you.

  29. 29
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 28
    Yes, I’ve sold other real estate than what Ardell sold for me.

  30. 30
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 28
    What I’m asking you now is what does it matter how many homes I’ve sold? Lots of idiots sell lots of houses.

  31. 31

    RE: wreckingbull @ 16

    It’s not a “favor” for the buyer. It’s to appeal to buyers, as jc pointed out. Of course if it is hardwood under that old carpet, my answer would be different. I’m assuming it is not. I am also assuming that Kenmorem lives in Kenmore where the market is less forgiving than Kirkland, Bellevue and Redmond.

    In your #10 you said “…if there was ever a market where it really did not make much difference, this might be it!” Not all markets are equally robust. Kenmore is doing well, but not presenting the home in its best possible light would be more of a mistake there than in Bellevue.

    I have even seen some weakness in Issaquah-Sammamish recently, and since the early Feb stock market correction, where sellers thought it was a waste of money to prep their homes for sale. It’s not a good time to be overly confident and it’s never a good time to make costly mistakes.

    Recently I used a portion of the commission to get the homes ready for market and in all cases I did new carpet. Primarily because there were pets in all three combined with some other issues. Sometimes new carpet is not merely about a fresh “look”. Would I put Urban Vinyl planks vs carpet? Probably yes. But the budget doesn’t stretch that far. Carpet has gotten very cheap to do, especially with the free install that is readily available.

  32. 32

    By Erik @ 30:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 28
    What I’m asking you now is what does it matter how many homes I’ve sold? Lots of idiots sell lots of houses.

    Because you’re giving your opinion on flipping. Particularly:

    My whole thing is to find a place that needs new flooring, new paint, new countertops, and new appliances and provide them before the home is sold. The idea is the price of your asset will go up exceeding your expenditures. Put in new hard flooring such as hard wood, laminate, etc. people in my the Seattle area are willing to pay for beauty.

    I remember the property Ardell sold for you, and you mentioning something earlier that didn’t work out to well, but which may have been bought just to live in rather than flip. So I’m asking how much experience do you have to back up the quoted advice?

  33. 33

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 32

    To be clear, the one I sold for him in Kirkland worked out VERY well. :) The one he owned in Everett before we knew him did not.

  34. 34

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 33:

    To be clear, the one I sold for him in Kirkland worked out VERY well. :) The one he owned in Everett before we knew him did not.

    LOL, yes.

  35. 35
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 34
    What’s so funny, that I’ve made mistakes in the past?

  36. 36

    RE: Erik @ 35 – No, that Ardell wanted to clarify that.

    There were four things that made your second condo (Ardell’s) a good result in the end.

    1. How and when you bought it.
    2. What you did with it.
    3. The market direction after you bought it.
    4. How and when you sold it (with Ardell’s help).

    I’m just suggesting that #2 wasn’t the biggest part of the overall result, and that most of your gain was due to other factors, but your recent material that I quoted is more about #2. In the past you’ve commented more on #1, and repeated that same sort of thing with your subsequent purchase(s), that you’ve mentioned, which I would agree is very important to a successful result in the end.

  37. 37
    Deepak says:

    We saw a home with a very slopy landscape, lot more slopy of the front but backyard is pretty flat and usable. The lot also has huge trees (4 pine trees in the backyard and 1 cedar in the front close to the entrance). Wondering how this could impact the foundation of the home. Thoughts?

  38. 38
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 36
    I think anyone could make money buying, holding, and selling in Seattle right now. All those other things like remodel, Ardell, and getting a good purchase price all add up to be substantial.

  39. 39

    RE: Erik @ 37 – I don’t know so much about right now, that would require a prediction of the future, but those having bought over a year ago are generally good.

  40. 40
    kenmorem says:

    to clarify on my carpet and home sale:

    house is a 2006 north seattle townhouse with prefinished cherry floors on the 2nd floor. 1st floor and 3rd floor and all the stairs are carpet, minus the bathrooms. current carpet is a beige color and pretty flattened down. no major stains and certainly carpet cleaning would be able to get out nearly everything. no pet smells. house is generally new looking. targeting $700k for the sale.

    i just think the carpet is blah and that it could use a fresh look along with new paint on the walls.

    BTW: what is the trendy paint color now? seems like everything has light grey colors…

  41. 41

    RE: N @ 15
    The Contractors Get Paid Too Much in Seattle for Materials and Labor

    Its supply and demand. The longer we resist selling in Seattle the higher the remodeling demand on our 50-100 year old stock of mostly ancient homes in a dilapidated/aged utility and road infrastructure. Grab your wallets if you pay for remodeling in Seattle and remember your stagnated wages are competing with a lot of old inheritance CASH [with buyers that generally lack savvy investor skill] driving prices out of sight here….

    Example: just replaced the furnace, central air and thermostat in Kansas with new systems for $4500 total [taxes and labor]….my Seattle area 2017 new furnace installation alone was $7600….doing it yourself won’t affect these numbers too…

  42. 42
    QA Observer says:

    Local Improvement District (LID) = (WTF)

    This might be old for some, but it is news to me. I read some horror stories about pending “Special Assessments” that could be levied on the nearby property owners just because they happen to be near the waterfront. As a result, some affected property owners might not be able to sell.

    First, who is in favor of this, and how can it be justified?
    Second, how is this even constitutional?
    Third, what are the chances of this being passed, or wait has it?

    https://waterfrontseattle.org/lid

  43. 43
    Minnie says:

    RE: kenmorem @ 40

    Kenmorem,
    2006, new enough that you have a good canvas to work with and if your home is in good condition/well maintained and clean, it will show great and can look brand new.

    Here are my recommendations:
    Do not replace the carpet (since it does not stink or otherwise damaged).
    The money can be better spent towards:
    -Outdoor landscaping/powerwashing/yard cleanup
    -Painting
    -Staging (which includes getting you and your stuff out, or most stuff in a storage unit…more on that below)

    If you want top dollar for your home (and I’m assuming you do), make sure that it is very very clean.
    You can hire it out or do it yourself…I did it myself because I didn’t like the job they did when I hired it out, every scrub with be worth it. Too many homes for sale are not clean and they are leaving money on the table. Sweat equity. Run to Costco and stock up on household cleaners and paper towels. Also repair anything that is in need of maintenance, maybe change your kitchen cabinet knobs/hardware if you feel they are dated. Pay special attention to the bathrooms, they must be sparkling.

    New paint goes a long way, it makes everything look and smell nice and new. I’d go with neutrals (greys are generally appealing, whites are more difficult to find the right shade but if you google “the perfect white paint” you’ll find a good one. My recommendation for the walls is ‘Cotton Balls’ by Benjamin Moore…but Ace Hardware is having a buy one get one free on all of their paints, I’ve heard good things about their Valspar line). If your basemolding/trim is scratched then paint that too.

    Not sure if you are planning on using a stager, or have even thought about it. Professional photographs are a must, and the better your home looks, the better it photographs. Move all your clutter and belongings (anything you don’t use for staging, which will be almost everything) to a storage unit. We used public storage, it’s $1 for the first month (they have fees, and if you don’t own a lock you will need to buy one, it comes to about ~$80 if i remember correctly) but trust me its worth it. If you are planning to live in your home while its listed, only keep the essentials there, a few shirts hanging in the closet and put away all of your essentials when you are not home.

    Don’t worry about the carpet, just make sure its clean and it will be fine, rest assured. Especially if it is beautifully staged.

    If you need some recommendations for staging and photography, let me know. However, most agents have their favorites, but if you feel iffy about their recommendations then use your own.

  44. 44
    kenmorem says:

    minnie,

    thanks for the feedback.

    house will be staged (will be empty as of 4/1). i will paint the walls to something more neutral than current. i plan to add some landscaping enhancements and generally agree with everything else you’ve written.

  45. 45

    RE: QA Observer @ 42 – LIDs are nothing new. They are passed all the time, but more typically to install water/sewer/sidewalks.

    It’s not nearly as bad as what Tukwila did with it’s sewer line capacity charge. They forced hookup and the imposition of the charge at the first sale after the lines went in, which meant many people in their lower priced areas were confronted with a short sale situation that a short sale lender would never understand. That meant foreclosure or maybe renting the place out would be the only option if you couldn’t live there any longer.

  46. 46
    dlee says:

    From February 2017:

    By Erik @ 231:

    RE: dlee @ 155 –
    Keep it. You did good buying March 2012. This bubble is far from popping. You should be safe until 2022 for sure. I know the bubble won’t pop because in order for the bubble to pop, supply must exceed demand. We are far from that. New housing projects won’t be approved fast enough for supply to meet demand. If you sell, you’ll regret it later unless you are only selling to buy more real estate.

    I would love to, but construction is ramping up in my backyard (literally). In the near future, a freeway wall will be across the street — major detractor for potential buyers. Believe me, I’m not ready to sell in this market. However, with all things considered + falling in the low tier category, I’m probably nearing my ceiling. I appreciate the heads up!

    Today:

    We ended up selling the home in March 2017 and moved back in with the parents. In the past year, the low-tier ceiling went higher and we saved less than it appreciated >< Was it worth it? Not sure. Flipped a home and didn't make much. We recently bought a home (2nd kid on the way) and got it under asking (sat for months in Kent East Hill) — going from 1200sqft to 2400 sqft. However, If this keeps going, it looks like we left quite a bit of money on the table. With low inventory, I don't think the freeway wall would have been an issue at all. GLTA

  47. 47

    RE: kenmorem @ 40

    Usually in that style the first carpeted staircase has the most wear and tear. Since that stairway usually dead ends at the hardwood on the main, it is sometimes ok to replace that stairwell without replacing the rest of the carpet. But since you can get a free stair install with the rest of the carpet being replaced, there’s no advantage at present to doing that. (last I checked and using Home Depot for free install)

    The median price is running at $650,000 and even the very highest sale (close to $800,000) of that style did not replace the carpet. So new paint and/or new carpet does not seem to be the price determinant factor. Though most are not from the Brazilian cherry period. I think staging it a bit on the modern vs “comfy and cozy” side will make the difference.

    Also I recommend a quick painting out of the garage with white paint. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Those were left brown with white tape and dots at time of construction and if it hasn’t been painted out to white yet, I highly recommend it. Most of those garages are 240 sf one car garages and a white coat of paint always helps the whole place feel newer and the garage feel larger. Doesn’t take long to do it.

  48. 48
    Eddie Huang says:

    RE: Deepak @ 37 – One of our properties has an old pine tree about 15-20 feet away from the house, and some of the thick root are getting awfully close to the house. We had similar concerns regarding its impact on foundation and subsequently consulted an arborist. We were told that foundation won’t be an issue, but rather the water pipes (also possibly drainage pipes) could be more susceptible to damages. I agree that buyers would and should have similar concerns with an encroaching old pine tree.

  49. 49
    Erik says:

    RE: dlee @ 46
    Congratulations on reproducing again!

    Keep that one you got now, try to sell at the top, rent until we hit bottom, then buy as much real estate as you can. I still think we’ll be okay until 2022. Sell near the top and put your $200k, or whatever you make, somewhere safe until we hit bottom again. Then buy all you can at the auction and rent the property out. Getting rich slowly in real estate is way easier than trying to do it quickly.

  50. 50
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 31 – Fair enough. At some point, everyone has to weigh what is important to them. If there was a good chance that carpet would not make much difference and end up in a landfill, I would personally not do it. Others may feel differently.

    I do agree with Minnie that the two most important things are:

    1. Bathrooms – not only clean them perfectly, but also buy all new tasteful towels, shower curtain, soap dishes, etc… Add some tasteful color which makes it pop a little bit.

    2. Rent a storage unit and get rid of half your stuff. When a buyer sees a full closet, they think the place won’t have enough storage for their own. They need to see half-full, well-organized closets.

  51. 51
    Doug says:

    CS HPI increased in January by 0.73% sending the index to 234.19 — an all-time high!

  52. 52

    RE: jc @ 17
    Stuff Breaks and Even New Stuff Doesn’t Last Long Anymore

    The new appliances are not near as reliable as the old ones. Maytag is junk now, so is Michellan Tires…its a changing world. You can’t quickly get parts for 30-40 year old furnaces anymore…if at all.

    A new looking house with family use is gonna need maintenance very soon and an old house newly remodeled with more unreliable stock; even sooner…

  53. 53

    RE: wreckingbull @ 50
    I’d Buy Gladly Buy a House With a Dirty Bathroom

    I want to know….did they use bathroom calking at all?

  54. 54

    RE: wreckingbull @ 50
    Throw Stuff Away in Bulk Dump Trucks

    Its far cheaper than piece by piece.

  55. 55

    RE: softwarengineer @ 52 – Appliances really are junk now compared to the past. I think they’ve discovered they sell a lot more with only a 10-year lifespan. Either that or they want to promote extended warranties. Nothing instills confidence in a purchase decision like a manufacturer repeatedly sending you materials on extended warranties. /sarc

  56. 56
    uwp says:

    By Doug @ 51:

    CS HPI increased in January by 0.73% sending the index to 234.19 — an all-time high!

    LOL.
    Very first 2018 Case-Shiller report and Justme’s prediction is already blown.

  57. 57
    Eastsider says:

    RE: uwp @ 56 – FYI – Case-Shiller January index is a 3 month average of November, December and January prices.

  58. 58
    uwp says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 57

    “Let’s see if I can express this as succinctly as possible: My prediction is that the highest Seattle CS index value in 2017 will not be exceeded/surpassed in the next 11 consecutive monthly index values thereafter.” ~Justme

  59. 59
    Doug says:

    RE: uwp @ 58 – BOOM. ROASTED.

  60. 60
    Blake says:

    For SWE and others concerned about the decline of US manufacturing and complex problem-solving skills…
    I recall back in the early 80s, when I finished my engineering degree, that Japan was churning out roughly 10 times more engineers per capita than the US, while the US was churning out 10x more lawyers! Then it was MBAs and so-called “financial engineers!”
    Tell me again what Goldman Sachs and Citigroup “produce?”
    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/03/decline-quality-manufacturing-entrepreneurship-us.html
    -snip- Largely missing from the discussion is an evaluation of whether the decline in entrepreneurship rates is accompanied by a change in the skill type of entrepreneurs, and whether this has long-term consequences. Moreover, a related concern has been the effects of globalisation and foreign competition on US businesses, particular those in manufacturing. In recent contributions, Autor et al. (2013), Pierce and Schott (2016), and Acemoglu et al. (2016) among others, have shown that the effect of foreign competition has been more severe than previously believed. Are these effects particularly severe of new firms?

    In a recent paper, we focus specifically on the skillsets of entrepreneurial firms with five or more employees, and how they have changed through time… We show that over the 2005-2013 period, there was a decline not only in the number of new businesses in US manufacturing, but also in their size and quality, measured by the tasks which their workforce performs…

    Our results are consistent across the measures we use – entrants score lower on skillsets that load heavily on cognitive skills such as complex problem solving and non-routine cognitive analytical, and higher on skillsets such as routine manual, which are more likely to be made obsolete with continuing automation.
    (end quote)

    Long term outlook…??

  61. 61
    Blake says:

    I should have noted: the comments following that article are VERY interesting. Naked Capitalism readers are a diverse and knowledgeable group!

  62. 62
    Doug says:

    This board often talks about rising mortgage rates with reference to the traditional 30-year fixed rate. But one topic mostly flying under the radar right now is LIBOR and it’s impact on floating rate loans.

    I personally have a HELOC floating at L + X.XX% and if I hadn’t so materially paid down the principal these increases in LIBOR would definitely be painful. I think there’s about $350 trillion tied to LIBOR globally and probably a lot of floating rate home loans out there that are getting uncomfortable.

    Just something to keep an eye on.

  63. 63
    Eddiemaster says:

    RE: Doug @ 62 – Can you do another ARM, perhaps a 3-Yr fixed which gives you some time to get things ready to market to get slightly ahead of the Erik’s 2022 predictions?

  64. 64
    Erik says:

    RE: Eddiemaster @ 63
    For the record, 2024 is my predicted top. 2022 is with the knock down factor.

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