August Stats Preview: Where did the listings go?

Remember, you can always get access to the Seattle Bubble spreadsheets by supporting my ongoing work as a member of Seattle Bubble.

Where does the time go? Apologies for the radio silence! August was crazy busy, but we’re getting caught up now. Most of the spreadsheets are updated for members, and I’ll be posting some refreshed data and commentary about the current market here this week.

NWMLS stats for August are due any day now, probably later today, but let’s have a look at our “early” view on the August housing market stats for the Seattle area.

The biggest news: Active listings appear to be down considerably from a year ago. This is a big flip from earlier this year, when listings were way up, and definitely not great news for buyers.

Here’s the snapshot of all the data as far back as my historical information goes, with the latest, high, and low values highlighted for each series:

King & Snohomish County Stats Preview

First up, let’s look at our inventory charts, updated with previous month’s inventory data from the NWMLS.

King County SFH Active Listings

The number of homes on the market in King County fell nine percent from July to August, and year-over-year listings were down 14 percent from August 2018. This is the first year-over-year decline since March 2018.

In Snohomish County inventory fell 12 percent month-over-month, and the year-over-year decline was 20 percent. So much for the “rush to the exits” some people were hoping for. I know a lot of people are expecting / hoping for some sort of new crash, but this decline in listings is a pretty big sign that no such crash is imminent.

Snohomish County SFH Active Listings

Next, let’s look at total home sales as measured by the number of “Warranty Deeds” filed with King County:

King County Warranty Deeds

Sales in King County fell 0.6 percent between July and August (a year ago they fell 3.2 percent over the same period), and fell 5.5 percent year-over-year.

Here’s a look at Snohomish County Deeds, but keep in mind that Snohomish County files Warranty Deeds (regular sales) and Trustee Deeds (bank foreclosure repossessions) together under the category of “Deeds (except QCDS),” so this chart is not as good a measure of plain vanilla sales as the Warranty Deed only data we have in King County.

Snohomish County Deeds

Deeds in Snohomish fell 2.7 percent month-over-month (in the same period last year they were down 17 percent) and were down 3.4 percent from a year earlier.

Hit the jump for the foreclosure charts.

Next, here’s Notices of Trustee Sale, which are an indication of the number of homes currently in the foreclosure process:

King County Notices of Trustee Sale

Snohomish County Notices of Trustee Sale

Foreclosure notices in both King and Snohomish Counties are still scraping along the bottom with fewer than 100 notices per month. Notices in King were down 11 percent from a year earlier, while Snohomish was up 6 percent, which is a difference of 3 additional notices.

Here’s another measure of foreclosures for King County, looking at Trustee Deeds, which is the type of document filed with the county when the bank actually repossesses a house through the trustee auction process. Note that there are other ways for the bank to repossess a house that result in different documents being filed, such as when a borrower “turns in the keys” and files a “Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.”

King County Trustee Deeds

Trustee Deeds were up 13 percent from a year ago.

Note that most of the charts above are based on broad county-wide data that is available through a simple search of King County and Snohomish County public records. If you have additional stats you’d like to see in the preview, drop a line in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Stay tuned later this month a for more detailed look at each of these metrics as the “official” data is released from various sources.

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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.

52 comments:

  1. 1
    Eastsider says:

    Where did the listings go?

    Simple answers –

    1. According to MND, average 30yr fixed mortgage rate was 4.70% on 9/6/2018 and 3.55% on 9/6/2019. That is a big discount on monthly mortgage payments.
    2. S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Seattle Home Price NSA Index was 257.78 in June 2018 and 255.53 in June 2019. Homes are cheaper too.

    Even with a huge discount and more inventory, fewer homes were sold year to date compared to 2018!

    I see that US 10yr treasury yield is now heading higher…

  2. 2
    Notme says:

    Mosspit, two offers
    That is not a bidding war
    It’s just two offers

    -a bubble haiku

  3. 3
    Justme says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1

    Exactly. Prices are down, mortgage rates are down, but people still are not buying. Sellers are attempting a little seller’s strike, because they think the mortgage rates will get buyers out of the woodwork. But no, it will all end badly for the sellers and the speculators (who sometimes are the same person),

  4. 4
    Justme says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1

    Buyers are showing reluctance all over the country, here is an example from Dallas.

    “Mortgage rates are around the lowest in three years, but buyers are suddenly much more cautious about purchasing a home. Competition is cooling, and consequently sellers can no longer command any price. At an open house in Dallas on Sunday, a few dozen potential buyers toured a home listed at just under $1.4 million. The agent for the home said the market is still moving, but buyers are getting more picky.”

    “‘I definitely think it has softened a bit,’ said Kelley McMahon a Dallas-area agent with Compass. ‘It’s not a seller’s market right now. Now is not the time for sellers to put out these crazy prices. Appraisals have gotten a lot harder, and buyers are a little more cautious. They’re more willing to take their time.’”

    “Just more than 10% of offers written by Redfin in August faced a bidding war, according to the brokerage’s monthly survey. That is down from 42% a year ago. ‘Despite remaining near three-year lows, mortgage rates have failed to bring enough buyers to the market to rev up competition for homes this summer,’ said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin.”

    “Dustin Collins and his wife toured the Dallas property while carrying their new baby. They are watching interest rates closely but don’t feel the pressure to move quickly, the way so many buyers did last year. ‘For us, knowing that that kind of the frenzy is over, it’s more about finding the right house for us than paying too much for it,’ Dustin said. I feel like now houses are sitting a little longer, it just gives us a little more opportunity to find the house we want.’”

    More examples in the full article.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/09/fall-housing-shifts-quickly-to-a-buyers-market.html

  5. 5
  6. 6
    BacktoBasics says:

    Home owner are happy to refinance at 3.5% if their rate is 4.0% or higher. A penny saved is a penny earned. Seattle still see job growth and traffic is getting no better (try to get on to metered HWY during rush hours). People are commuting further and further because they can’t afford live close to the their work. Everything are getting pricey. I went to lunch last Friday. Five Pho noodle soups cost us $112!!! I can’t afford eat out. But I can’t afford to waste 1 hr each way on traffic Mon->Friday. I am fortunate to own a house in a very desirable location and good school district. I bought mine couple of years ago and I don’t care how much it appreciate or depreciated because it’s our primary place to live (I can’t house my family in a small apartment live next door to an unknown weed smoker. I am targeting refine 30 year fixed at 3.0% no cost sometime in the future. I am remodeling my kitchen and enrolling cooking class. I am proud being my own chef and plumber.

  7. 7
    N says:

    Two new listings popped up on my redfin today that were previously listed unsuccessfully in the spring. The one, a duplex, list at 1.1M in the spring, relisted at $850k now. Doesn’t really mean much, but interesting to see.

  8. 8
    LessonIsNeverTry says:

    “I am proud being my own chef and plumber.” Hopefully not simultaneously!

    The inventory decline is a bit mysterious but the stronger signal, to me, is the YOY decline in sales despite the mortgage rate decline, as JustMe and Eastsider mentioned. Neither sellers nor buyers are confident they know what is coming next.

  9. 9
    Lulu says:

    If house fall 40% tomorrow, would you sell? The same question: if S&P fall 40%, would you sell? I guess if you been through 2008, you already have the answer. Even if you bought at the 2007 peak and hold to it, you would have 20-30% gain with your house and 100% gain with S&P500. If you count 5x leveage (20% down), you have 5×20% gain on your down payment. If you have a balanced asset allocation (stock, bond, real estate) and a 6 month to 1 year living expense saved, you could sleep very well through a recession. And if you have some cash saved, you would be even happier to buy another real estate at discount. Real estate is very local. A house in St Louis and a house in Seattle might look the same but have a different value. A house close to a job hub is always desirable and demand high price.

  10. 10
    BacktoBasics says:

    RE: LessonIsNeverTry @ 8
    Inflation will eat a person’s purchase power. Do you really care about the house price if you plan to stay in your house for another 20 or 30 years? A house is a place to shelter my family. Buying or selling a house cost a lot fees and taxes and it’s a total waste. Saving in the bank earns me 0.01% interest and in many parts of the world negative interest. Just like Vanguard group founder Jack Bogle ever said to us: Buy and hold, stay the course.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    The Tim says:

    FYI, the NWMLS August data was indeed posted today. I’ve updated the spreadsheets and will post the data on the blog tomorrow.

  13. 13
    Notme says:

    A penny saved is,
    especially on price paid,
    a penny earned.

    -a bubble haiku

  14. 14
    Eastsider says:

    By Lulu @ 9:

    Even if you bought at the 2007 peak and hold to it, you would have 20-30% gain with your house

    Seattle may be an exception in the last decade. But if you look at Real (inflation adjusted) CS Home Price Indexes, all of them (National, 10-city, 20-city) are still 20%+ below the last bubble peak prices.

  15. 15
    Eastsider says:

    By BacktoBasics @ 10:

    Do you really care about the house price if you plan to stay in your house for another 20 or 30 years?

    In general, you are right, especially if you are financially well off. However, you should care about the price you pay for your home. You don’t want to be a debt slave for life.

  16. 16
    DavidE says:

    I am seeing the same trend in Vancouver BC–lots of homes for sale and not many buyers.

    Just like in Seattle, speculators and some rich buyers bid up the prices in Vancouver and increased the price of the comparables. Now that the speculators with deep pockets are gone or have bought what they wanted, the rank and file employees can’t afford to buy at the current prices. Inflation is eating their purchasing power and many are under the constant threat of layoffs (e.g., Boeing).

    THE FED IS STUPID AND CLUELESS–the issue is not that interest rates are too high, but that the principal, maintenance, utilities, and property taxes are much too high. Negative interest rates will only worsen the situation.

  17. 17
    N says:

    @DavidE – I would caution to say anything about Vancouver is just like Seattle. Seattle has a rough future if that’s the case.

    https://stevesaretsky.com/detached-sales-slowest-june-since-1991/

    Look at some of the graphs in this link for detached homes:

    Medium sales price went from around $0.4M in 2005 to ~$1.5M in 2017

    Months of inventory peaked above 15 in 2019

    Sales in June were the lowest since 1991

  18. 18
    Justme says:

    RE: BacktoBasics @ 6

    You bought in 2017? Well at least you did not quite buy at the peak. But almost.

  19. 19
    Lulu says:

    I haven’t been to Seattle downtown for long time. I can’t recognize how city has been changed since last decade. Amazon, Costco, *bucks, MSFT have been expending their compus locally. Apple, Facebook and Google are expending their office here in Seattle. Costco is growing (HQ in Issaquah) into largest emerging market (China, India). Boeing is a Chicago company decade ago if we don’t count it as Renton or Everett company. Sometime I question myself, is Everett Seattle or Renton (or even Tacoma) Seattle? Drive on I-5 and I-405 during rush hour and you can tell.

    https://www.king5.com/article/tech/amazon-going-on-hiring-spree-in-seattle-across-the-country/281-3c6bcd0f-fbfb-46f3-8505-7597cf067b41

    https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2019/09/09/apple-expands-in-seattles-two-union-square-ahead.html

    https://www.foxbusiness.com/retail/costco-store-china-second-location

    https://www.geekwire.com/2019/facebook-continues-growth-across-seattle-another-big-office-lease-bellevue/

    https://www.geekwire.com/2019/first-look-inside-microsofts-plan-reinvent-original-redmond-campus/

    https://www.foxbusiness.com/retail/costco-store-china-second-location

  20. 20
    BacktoBasics says:

    RE: Justme @ 18

    No, I bought in my 1st one in 2009 (not the absolute bottom) and I got $10000 rebate check from my dear President Obama. And I bought my 2nd one in 2017 after Seattle pass the min wage law @15$/hr. I told my DW our green back will be worthless. I feel insulated when I open my bank monthly statement seeing my checking account making me $1 a month interest. I don’t even bother to report that $12 interest in my tax return. People would ask why not put your money in wall street? Yes I did. I max out all my tax defer saving account but refuse to earn zero interest from my friendly bank (bank loan my money to other house buyers). We are at end of bull cycle. By owning real estate, I would at least own the dirt under my feet and collect some rental income. And I am glad I live in Seattle not Kansas City. I will say, see ya in 10 years and then see who is right.

  21. 21
    richard says:

    RE: BacktoBasics @ 6 – which pho ?

  22. 22
    BacktoBasics says:

    RE: richard @ 21
    Pho are all the same. You must not eat out recently. in addition to 10% tax, 20% tip, I just noticed Kirkland charge 4% min wage fee in a very small letter. that add to my $112 menu cost. You do the math.

  23. 23
    richard says:

    RE: BacktoBasics @ 20 – A lot of houses in Seattle are super old. with another 10 years, a lot of them will be in tear-down condition. You are right, many owners will only have dirt in hand.

  24. 24
    BacktoBasics says:

    RE: richard @ 23RE: richard @ 23

    I think these owners are waiting for a major quake. I went to an open house last week. The 80 year old owner told me that his 800k asking price is basically dirt price that a developer will offer him. A yard with a lot mature fruit trees, plenty for a whole year of fruit supplier or I can sell them at local farmer’s market to make some money. Washington is an apple state. They are charging $2.99/lb for a lb of apple in super market. Things are expensive here, let alone house.

  25. 25
    N says:

    It’s off topic but don’t even get me started on the cost of food here (or gas for that matter). Upwards of 50% higher than much of the country, but it’s always been that way. Restaurant costs of course have suffered from the increased wages. After a while you get numb to $12 work lunches. Goes with the territory. Now if only we could get Aldi’s here.

  26. 26
    Justme says:

    RE: Lulu @ 19

    (music: Queen: Bring back that Leroy Brown)

    Big mama Lulu Belle
    she had a nervous breakdown
    Justme’d taken her honey chi’le away
    and she met him down at the station (wooo-wooh)
    put a shotgun to his head
    unless I be mistaken,
    this is what she saaaaa-aid……
    Buy! Now! Buy! Big! Buy! Now! Leroy Brown (Lennox Scott?)
    Your gonna get that mossy pit!

    For parody purposes only.

  27. 27
    whatsmyname says:

    NWMLS numbers are out now. Where did the listings go?

    Well, mostly to fewer new listings. About 700 fewer compared to August 2018. But pending and closed sales also exceeded last August. So that adds something too.

    Median sales prices weren’t the highest ever, but they were the highest ever for an August.

  28. 28
    Deerhawke says:

    Tim thanks for the preview. I look forward to your full update tomorrow.

    You comment on the sudden decline in inventory and give your view:

    “So much for the “rush to the exits” some people were hoping for. I know a lot of people are expecting / hoping for some sort of new crash, but this decline in listings is a pretty big sign that no such crash is imminent.”

    Would you hazard a guess as to why inventory has dropped so much n o quickly?

  29. 29
    Joe says:

    Why do people have trouble understanding the temporary drop in inventory? Isn’t it the obvious result of interest rate decreases that started several months back?

    Now ask yourself, if continual interest rate decreases over the past 10 years have caused housing prices to increase, isn’t it important to understand whether interest rates can continue the downward path?

    The problem today is that interest rates can go no lower, which likely means housing prices have peaked.

    Don’t be the sucker that buys at the end of a 10-year price run, then gets laid off.

  30. 30
    S-Crow says:

    ###### —– Sub 3.5% 30 yr fixed rates. —–######

    NWMLS: And Kitsap county median prices are “surging up” a whopping 14.2 % YOY! (Care to provide the mix on that when sales are down – 3.66%?)

  31. 31
    DavidE says:

    On another note, I happened to go to the Google campus in Kirkland the other day. They were all twenty- something. Many were waiting at the bus stop to go back home; some were walking to their studio apartments on 6th street. It flew in the face of the narrative that these tech workers will push home prices higher in the area. It seems their lifestyle has nothing to do with owning a SFH. I have seen the same exact trend at the Facebook campus and to some extent Apple. Near Microsoft, the new work force is made of mostly young H-1B workers. It makes you doubtful that tech will revive housing given the composition of the workers.

    It seems that some agents grasp at anything to keep pushing the ever increasing home price narrative because Seattle is so special. But then again, we heard the same things 10 years ago.

  32. 32
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: Joe @ 29

    How do you know the drop in inventory is temporary? It seems equally likely that inventory is going back to the pattern of scarcity we saw over the past few years. What evidence makes you believe that the drop is temporary?

    RE: DavidE @ 31

    So you are making the case that all of the tech workers flooding into the area will be perfectly happy living in tiny apartments forever? Seriously? You make them sound like code-writing robots. Clearly you don’t know any folks in tech.

    Let me assure you that they are highly intelligent, well compensated people who will eventually also want what others want when they get a bit older, get married and have kids—more space, a condo, a townhouse or a single family house. This is not a real estate industry narrative. It is a demographic reality.

  33. 33
    TheBenBernank says:

    RE: BacktoBasics @ 22 – I have never paid that much for pho in my entire life. You must have also ordered appetizers and additional adult beverages. And you probably over-tip for poor service, like how most Americans do.

  34. 34
    TheBenBernank says:

    RE: N @ 25 – Service is also terrible in Seattle. So tired of apathetic, tatooed, dull and gloomy millenial servers in need of baths and haircuts.

  35. 35
    DavidE says:

    By Deerhawke @ 32:

    RE: DavidE @ 31

    How do you know the drop in inventory is temporary? It seems equally likely that inventory is going back to the pattern of scarcity we saw over the past few years. What evidence makes you believe that the drop is temporary?

    RE: Joe @ 29

    So you are making the case that all of the tech workers flooding into the area will be perfectly happy living in tiny apartments forever? Seriously? You make them sound like code-writing robots. Clearly you don’t know any folks in tech.

    Let me assure you that they are highly intelligent, well compensated people who will eventually also want what others want when they get a bit older, get married and have kids—more space, a condo, a townhouse or a single family house. This is not a real estate industry narrative. It is a demographic reality.

    “Clearly you don’t know any folks in tech.”

    You make big assumptions here without any facts to back up your claims. I have been a programmer for 20 plus years, so I know this industry much better than you do (so your first assumption about me is blown out of the water). I have seen most of my white middle-aged friends lose their jobs in top fortune 50 companies; seen them leave the tech industry altogether once they became unemployed for years, and I am one of the last survivors. And I do know a lot of those young replacements better than you do–I talk to them daily since I work with them on a daily basis.

    Many of those young workers have no intention of ever owning a home or getting married. Many absolutely detest the idea of raising kids especially given the caliber of fickle women these days and the cost of raising kids. They are terrified of divorce since most are themselves children of divorce. The thing I hear from most of these young males is “MGTWO. ”

    Yes my friend, they are and will be happy in their small apartments, and won’t buy a house from you any time soon.

  36. 36
    TheBenBernank says:

    RE: The Tim @ 12 – Tim, is there a way to delete all of my comments on this blog? Somehow I feel like the low level of discourse on this site has pulled me in and I want to nuke my comments and just become a silent observer/reader.

  37. 37
    SeattleHouseBubble says:

    It would be nice to specify your current situation in this forum before post your comment :a) owning a house b) not owning a house.

  38. 38
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: DavidE @ 35

    Wow. You are so right. In every industry there is a bottom of the barrel. The people who find themselves there look for someone else to blame. In the construction industry, the lowly laborer or flagger will end up in a trailer resenting women, minorities, immigrants, and wear MAGA hats. In tech, especially on the East side, you have the MGTOW and incel types blaming women for their problems. And yes thankfully, they will not end up buying one of my houses.

  39. 39
    LessonIsNeverTry says:

    By BacktoBasics @ 10:

    RE: LessonIsNeverTry @ 8
    Inflation will eat a person’s purchase power. Do you really care about the house price if you plan to stay in your house for another 20 or 30 years? A house is a place to shelter my family. Buying or selling a house cost a lot fees and taxes and it’s a total waste. Saving in the bank earns me 0.01% interest and in many parts of the world negative interest. Just like Vanguard group founder Jack Bogle ever said to us: Buy and hold, stay the course.

    Not sure why you are implying I’m a housing permabear and lecturing me about elementary housing knowledge. I said the sellers and buyers are both uncertain and the market is essentially at an impasse because of the confusion on both sides. Sales did decline YOY so this shouldn’t be seen as polarizing. It could break either way but best guess is that it sorts of grinds along for a few years, unless he get another severe recession. Then all bets are off because of the highly leverage economy.

  40. 40
    LessonIsNeverTry says:

    By Joe @ 29:

    Why do people have trouble understanding the temporary drop in inventory? Isn’t it the obvious result of interest rate decreases that started several months back?

    Because sales dropped YOY despite the mortgage rate collapse. So…. no, it is not the obvious result of the rate decline. I certainly think it helped turn things around and next year it may act as a tailwind again. But it is an odd mix of sellers reluctance to list and buyers reluctance at the high end (low end is hot) to buy. The tension is what makes it interesting. Which way does it break? Place your bets.

  41. 41
    LessonIsNeverTry says:

    By SeattleHouseBubble @ 37:

    It would be nice to specify your current situation in this forum before post your comment :a) owning a house b) not owning a house.

    Sorry, I don’t want the responsibility of collapsing the wave function.

  42. 42
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 38 – This comment is so over the top.

  43. 43

    The Seattle Area Boeing/MSFT/AMZ Jurassic Park Monsters are Escaping and the Misleading Predictions and Security Measures Are All Failing in Chaos

    LOL….great blogs all. Our Mainstream Media Ouija Boards are all useless. Its the chaos theory invading Seattle like angry wasps.

    The August MOM Investment Prediction Raw Data Was Late its Now Here:

    Aug 0.18% 2.60% (1.59%) (4.19%) (1.77%)
    YTD 1.65% 9.11% 18.32% 16.34% 10.04%
    Last 12 mo 0.57% 2.67% 10.23% 2.91% (6.45%) (2.83%)

    Long-term CDs, Long-term Bonds, American Stocks, Foreign Stocks, Foreign Stocks

    Its horrifying Bubble heads….the 2.7% long-term CD rates I locked in to be “Conservative in retirement” now rival the 2.9% YOY American Stocks. Grab up those Long-term bonds instead, that’s 10%+ interest YOY. If you invest in foreign stocks under Orange Head Guy’s trade tariffs you’re a complete buffoon. IMO, who cares, let the foreigners eat cake and create American GLUT of unsold food products, etc….and I watch prices collapse and COLA dwindle for MY POCKETBOOK, instead of foreigners. Even Chinese stuff at Walmart must be stock piled worldwide “unsold”?; as I watch “ACTUAL” price declines in America on that “tariffed” stuff too, like flat screen TVs. Who would know or predict this escaped monster “CHAOS” would happen, hardly no one. Certainly not the fake news MSM folks or many Ivy League Investment Gurus [village idiots now..LOL].

    Break out the Yuban, Its Tuesday Seattle Times Brief and Its a LULU too!

    The Seattle Times
    MORNING BRIEF
    Tuesday, September 10, 2019
    Walkers with umbrellas
    Puget Sound area gets a blast of fall weather — and flooding
    So much rain fell in Everett last night that roads closed, a flooded high school shuttered its doors today, and one man pulled out his kayak for a ride down the street. Conditions hint at a possible high flood season ahead. It was a gentler scene at Seattle’s Jefferson Park, above, where walkers dusted off their umbrellas. Let this be a reminder to get ready for frightful weather: Here’s how to prepare your home and car now, and what to do when the power goes out. (Photo: Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)
    NEED TO KNOW
    Yes, the Seattle area’s housing market has cooled, but prices are still sky-high. The shock wave of frustrated buyers looking to escape high prices has rolled farther out, making for some frenetic home-buying in Kitsap and Thurston counties. Find out what’s happening around you in this area-by-area look. And across the state, one city’s hot market will look like quite a deal to Seattleites.

    Seattle is ditching its $52 million deal to buy 10 new streetcars, but the City Connector line will still get built, officials say. The streetcars along First Avenue, once scheduled to debut last year, won’t be clicking along until at least 2026. Mayor Jenny Durkan hit the brakes on the project last year after we reported that the city may have underestimated the costs by millions of dollars.

    Kids in King County aren’t getting outside enough. Fewer than one in five get the recommended hour of physical activity per day, according to a new report that looks at what’s holding them back. Children in some areas are faring much worse than others. We’ve written about what separates the haves and have-nots of school athletics, and how the state is trying to fix that.

    “Your stories have broken through,” a tearful Seattle city councilmember told Native women yesterday as the council took a first step toward addressing the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. Learn about the crisis and the fight for change in our docuseries, “Not Invisible.”
    Enjoy Morning Brief? Then you’ll love full digital access. Help us continue to bring you the news you care about, now. Subscribe to The Seattle Times for just $1 to start.

    SUBSCRIBE TODAY
    SEATTLE’S BAD, BOLD DRIVERS
    People wave flags at bus-lane violators
    Tickets for traffic violations have plunged in Seattle, but that doesn’t mean drivers have miraculously gotten better. Violators don’t think they’re going to get caught, and they’re usually right — just ask the civilians trying to usher violators out of a bus lane, above. Tickets are down sharply since 2015. FYI Guy digs into the numbers and what’s behind them. (Photo: Heidi Groover / The Seattle Times)
    WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
    Big Tech is coming under big fire. Fifty U.S. states and territories, including Washington, yesterday launched an investigation into whether Google is behaving like a monopoly. This comes amid a separate antitrust probe of Facebook. Meanwhile, U.S. tech companies’ worst enemy is getting the European Union’s top tech job.

    Homelessness complicates basic health needs, from managing chronic conditions like diabetes to access to a bathroom, clean drinking water, a bath or just a decent night’s sleep. Supportive housing helps fill in the gaps.
    WORTH A READ
    Huge barges are stranded above the mighty Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River because cracks have shut down a critical navigation lock. The closure of “the cork in the bottle for the whole rest of the system” chokes river commerce in a big swath of the Pacific Northwest. It’s particularly painful for wheat growers.

    Mopeds are fun, but they can be noisy. E-bikes are silent, but not so great if you’re running errands with a friend. A Seattle e-bike company’s new model has fat tires, upright handlebars, a step-through design and a seat option that accommodates a passenger.
    EDITORIAL/OPINION
    Washington law has long restricted victims of child sex abuse to an unjustifiably short window to take their abusers, and the institutions that enabled them, into court to seek justice. At a time when the vast majority of other states have reformed their civil statutes of limitations to help victims, Washington should stop being a national outlier, The Seattle Times editorial board writes.
    TODAY’S WEATHER
    Clouds, then sun. High 69. Low 56. Sunrise 6:40. Sunset 7:31.

    SWE’s Take on Seattle Times MSM:

    Google is all to blame now? Both parties agree on that now? LOL…How about MSFT bringing in uncontrolled and unlimited traffic jam OVERPOPULATION into Seattle for H-1Bs immigration we obviously never needed and lying about unfilled skill needs to make us all buffoons? AMZ hiring MASS warehouse slaves at low wages and pays no federal taxes either? Those are the “tech” sacred angels that can get away with murder?

    Mopeds loud? LOL…how about “hopped up Hondas” with loud exhausts that move like low powered electric gold carts anyway but are louder than American muscle cars? LOL

  44. 44
    Joe says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 32

    I told you – LT interest rates cannot go lower. This latest buyer push was the last gasp. The top is in. Expect significant deterioration from here.

  45. 45
    MKK says:

    RE: DavidE @ 35
    Sexist much?

  46. 46
    SeattleBubble says:

    Seen so many California plates in Seattle. Seattle housing bubble is nothing compare to SV housing bubble.No state tax in WA. Tax code change cap the tax and mortgage deduction are capped CA. Apple, Google and Facebook are moving their employees to Seattle. Those SV transplant could easily sell their house in San Jose and pay cash in Seattle.

  47. 47
    Nick says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 28 – @Deerhawke, curious if you’ve seen any impact from this housing price ‘plateauing’ translating into any changes in construction costs, particularly for additions.
    Trying to decide when to bite the bullet on my fixer-upper and expand the existing 2nd story from the current ‘Lovell-style’ upstairs to a full 2nd story.
    Thanks!

  48. 48
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: Nick @ 46

    I am not a remodeler so I can only comment indirectly.

    The code is getting stricter and that drives up costs. Planning and permitting are more intricate and time consuming so that drives up costs. All of the costs for architecture, engineering and consultants are up. All trade labor and building materials are up. The only areas where you can control costs a bit are appliances, hardware, plumbing supplies and lighting where you can buy online.

    The 2 folks I knew who added a story found that net-net it would have been substantially faster and cheaper to demo and rebuild on the existing foundation. And close friends who asked for bids to do a full remodel only got 2 firms out of 7 contacted to meet with them (“we are booked three years out”). The 2 rough bids they did get convinced them not to move forward.

    All of this is probably not what you were looking to hear, I am sure. Let us know what your experience is.

  49. 49
    Nick says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 48 – Thanks for the feedback. Yeah for my kitchen remodel and bathroom remodel, I got about a 20% return-call rate from various contractors, and even then their bids were quite high; $600 a foot for kitchen, and $750 a foot for bathroom remodel AND they were scheduling like 12-18 months out.
    So it took longer, but I piecemealed my kitchen down to $250 a foot for the kitchen and $150 for the bathroom by getting independent bids from the respective trades, then coordinating the scheduling myself. a headache, but worth the $$.
    For the upstairs, I’ve gotten a few ‘back of the envelope’ quotes for $350 a foot-ish for expanding the current finished 450ft2 to 900ft2.
    It’s a tough call for us since we’ve updated the bathroom and kitchen, so a demo isn’t ideal, plus the existing half-story is already finished (8 foot ceilings, but sloped). But we might just add a half-bath and move to a larger house. Hard call.

  50. 50
    Erik says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 32
    I know a lot of low intelligence code writing robots. Wreckingbull is a good example of that.

  51. 51
    Erik says:

    RE: Joe @ 44
    They can go lower. Fed funds rate is 2%. During the last recession, I believe it got down to .25%. That’s 1.75% to drop rates. We’ve just done some quantitative easing. Next we can lower the federal funds rate.

  52. 52
    BacktoBasics says:

    RE: Nick @ 49
    I agree with you. I did kitchen remodel recently. A 200 sf modest remodel cost me total $50,000 material & labor. The construction cost in Seattle is about $250-300/sq. So a 2000 sf SFH would cost you $600k alone on material and labor. plus land cost around 250k to 800k depend on the location. So a SFH in Seattle metro area would cost you around $850k to $1.4 million. Don’t blame high housing price. Blame high construction labor cost and shortage of skilled labor. If you ever visit HomeDepot recently or even your friendly Costco Warehouse, have you noticed secret price hike on some of the items?

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