Around the Sound: Still a dismal market for buyers everywhere

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Let’s take a look at our stats for the local regions outside of the King/Snohomish core. Here’s your October update to our “Around the Sound” statistics for Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties.

Things are looking pretty similar all around the Puget Sound region—extremely low supply, high demand, and skyrocketing prices. The one tiny bright spot for buyers is that new listings are higher than they were a year ago in every county.

First up, a summary table:

October 2020 King Snohomish Pierce Kitsap Thurston Island Skagit Whatcom
Median Price $745,000 $579,972 $430,000 $437,000 $395,000 $449,000 $441,500 $474,450
Price YOY 12.9% 17.2% 17.8% 13.2% 13.4% 24.7% 17.6% 13.2%
New Listings 2,986 1,309 1,512 472 492 173 197 320
New Listings YOY 29.7% 20.6% 23.1% 27.9% 21.8% 29.1% 4.2% 4.9%
Active Listings 2,258 652 881 280 217 122 188 323
Active YOY -37.6% -59.2% -46.6% -42.5% -54.4% -60.3% -44.9% -51.4%
Pending Sales 3,007 1,403 1,658 524 549 182 219 331
Pending YOY 16.0% 12.4% 11.2% 10.3% 11.8% 16.7% -0.5% 2.2%
Closed Sales 3,027 1,438 1,520 527 522 179 232 344
Closed YOY 36.0% 36.0% 18.0% 28.9% 15.0% 32.6% 22.1% 19.0%
Months of Supply 0.7 0.5 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.7 0.8 0.9

Median home prices were up in every single county from a year earlier. King County’s 13 percent increase was actually the smallest around the sound, while the largest price gains were in Island County.

Median Sale Price Single-Family Homes

Year-Over-Year Change in Median Sale Price Single-Family Homes

Here’s the one sort-of bright spot for buyers: New listings are on the rise, especially in King County.

New Listings of Single-Family Homes

However, active listings are down dramatically from a year ago in every county. The biggest decline was in Island County (probably no surprise then that prices are up the most there), where listings fell by 60 percent from a year earlier. King County saw the smallest drop, but was still down 38 percent.

Active Listings of Single-Family Homes

Closed sales were up across the board in every single county. The biggest gains were in King and Snohomish Counties, which both saw closed sales increase 36 percent from a year ago. Pierce and Thurston had the smallest gains at 18 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Closed Sales of Single-Family Homes

Months of supply is just absolutely abysmal for buyers everywhere. Every single county less than one month of supply in October.

Months of Supply Single Family Homes

In summary: It’s still a pretty terrible time to be a home buyer, across the entire Greater Seattle Area.

If there is certain data you would like to see or ways you would like to see the data presented differently, drop a comment below and let me know.

5.00 avg. rating (97% score) - 6 votes

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1751
    David says:

    I took the cash out and invested it in stocks. Which so far have been very rewarding on paper. I’m also selling 55 acres of land right now because I want to sell while the market is hot (closing is delayed by 2 weeks as of today).

    I like liquidity. There is ultimately a limit on how high real estate can go IMO. Course, investing cash is harder in stocks because the tax consequences are not nice if you feel you need to sell the stocks.

    Biden sounds like he wants to make it harder to keep the gains from real estate – which may make housing even less available and more expensive.

    RE: Erik @ 1707

  2. 1752
    David says:

    Also, try and find a stock that isn’t in the 30s for P/E. The Government is never going to raise rates or it would go bankrupt.

    I’m very distrustful of what the Government does financially because I don’t see how they get out of the fiscal mess they’ve made.

    I’d make sure you own at least your own house free and clear – I see that as the ultimate hedge fund.

    RE: David @ 1751

  3. 1753
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1746 – Inventory, like all balance sheet items, is definitionally a point in time concept. From a practical standpoint as well, last week’s sales are not available for sale today. If in 2020, you brought more toilet paper than ever before into your store, but your shelves are nearly empty; you do not have high inventory. That is the kind of high inventory our housing market has right now.

  4. 1754
    Eastsider says:

    April condo sales in KC. YoY change in median sale price – Seattle +4.5%, Eastside -1.0%,

    The market dynamic has changed. Check out the last map in the article. A couple areas in Seattle is experiencing YoY price decline! (I previously predicted a price decline this year.)

    Some relief for Seattle-area homebuyers, as more houses are listed and condo buyers find plenty to choose from

    Two key measures of how much buyers have to choose from — the number of new single-family home listings and the number of listings still active by the end of the month — were both on the rise in April. More homes were newly listed for sale last month in King County and Pierce County than in any month since last July. In Snohomish County, new listings were at their highest level since 2019.

    Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere, said in a statement the boost in inventory could cool off listing prices. The average list price in King County for single-family homes fell about 7% from March to April, according to Gardner. (Emphasis mine)

  5. 1755
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1754RE: Eastsider @ 1754 – From my own non-scientific survey, I have quite a few Zillow searches set up for RE around the country. Based upon the content of periodic Zillow e-mails, there are a ton of ugly condos, many new, for sale in Seattle at ridiculous prices. In many cases, no on site parking. Many with very narrow dimensions – hello, wall! All with unappealing and uninspired sales blurbs. Doesn’t mean there is a surfeit of inventory. May merely mean that the salespeople are more amenable to using Zillow to sell. Back in the day, these used to be called tenement housing, but without the expensive price tag.

    A few regions I am looking at outside of WA state, sadly, have already been discovered, and I’ve seen it happen in real time over the last 2 years.

  6. 1756
    Whatsmyname says:

    By Eastsider @ 1754:

    April condo sales in KC. YoY change in median sale price – Seattle +4.5%, Eastside -1.0%,

    Surely, it is not controversial on the Seattle Bubble that the condo market is nearly always weaker than the SFR market. Your Seattle Times article carries a twin April sales chart for SFR’s:

    YoY change in median sale price – Seattle +7.4%, Eastside +38.7%.
    Also, North KC +27.5%, SW KC +18.4%, SE KC +19.8%.

    Change in market dynamic? Your same Times article has a price bar chart by county. Most of King County’s $115,000 YOY price increase is since January.

    MOM increase in listings? If you are on the Bubble, you are 2 clicks away from knowing that inventory increases from March to April every year. You may have clued into a tiny secular factor, but it’s basically seasonal.

    I’m sure Matt Gardiner is a fine economist, but his job in the monthly press release is to give the masses encouragement to jump into the marketplace.

  7. 1757
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1756

    I highlighted the condo sales for our condo king here. lol.

    It doesn’t matter how you interpret the (same) data. But here is the trend – “The average list price in King County for single-family homes fell about 7% from March to April”. Frankly, even I’m surprised by such a drastic drop in prices so early in the spring. Perhaps you can claim it is seasonal but I doubt it.

    Lastly, I predicted earlier in the year that we would see MoM drop in prices. It looks to be on target, except a lot sooner than I thought.

    Now I’m going to predict that Jan 2022 we will have YoY price decline. Mark it on your calendar!

  8. 1758
    Erik says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1756
    If you own houses and condos, 2024 may be the time to sell your houses and only own paid for condos? It would be nice to have cash flow during the next housing price crash and not be concerned about values dropping.

  9. 1759
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1757 – Fair enough regarding the condo’s.

    I would say be careful with listing prices. They are running counter to better indicators, and
    A: it can be a shift in the mix. I am seeing a surge of sub 1,000sf houses in 2 areas I watch.
    B: listing prices are not sold prices. This could be strategy. I am seeing houses go for $70, $100, $150 over asking. It’s not like a small number of houses. I’ve never seen anything like this before.

    I think you are wrong about next year, although I am aware enough to know that I don’t know the future. So, we’ll see.

  10. 1760
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Erik @ 1758 – Erik, I did break my own rules and buy 1 condo because it had a set up and amenities that I really liked. In general, though, the monthly HOA fees on condo’s function as a net rent reducer, maybe 20%. I think this same load impacts what owner occupants will pay to purchase, thereby limiting price growth. I think these do affect the unit I bought.

    Because you also bring the rehab work to the party, I don’t doubt this is very successful for you. For me, I’m just more comfortable with houses.

  11. 1761
    Erik says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1760
    Condos were all I could afford 10 years ago, so I started there and did well. I own condos and houses now. I took baby steps out of the poor house.

    Here is my point… Don’t you think it would make sense to sell a house that has seen massive appreciation and pay off that condo before the housing market crashes? I was thinking of selling one of my houses and paying off 2 condos if the market is still high in 2024. I’ve never owned real estate without a mortgage, and it sounds like something I may enjoy.

  12. 1762
    Erik says:

    RE: David @ 1751
    You buy stuff that you think will go up in value and you sell it when the value is up. That’s your approach. You bought a house in Tukwila when values were down and you sold it when values went up. I guess that makes sense.

  13. 1763
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Erik @ 1761 – Here are my thoughts on that. First, I do expect an eventual bear market; I don’t expect a crash.

    If you’ve had massive appreciation, and you sell without a 1031, you will lock in the maximum potential in capital gains taxes. Now, that’s better than taking a loss, but if that property also has better recovery potential, and better interim operating income; then that’s the one you want to save. And so on down the line. The best properties to liquidate are those with lower eventual potential and lower taxable gains. They are the most efficient both to get liquid, and for your portfolio. Then stay pretty liquid.

    A 1031 could change this somewhat, but it’s not clear this would be a good year for that.

    Unlevered property is not really that great. You still have taxes and insurance, and possibly HOA fees. So you still have outgo. It’s lumpy, and needs to be managed. If you are lightly levered and liquid, the bank handles the payments evenly through the months, you’ve got positive cash flow, and you have cushion to get through long interruptions without much stress. In fact, by being more liquid, you will be in a stronger credit position if you get your crash, and want to acquire near what you perceive to be the bottom. Financing and especially cash out refi is harder to get when the market is bad.

  14. 1764
    David says:

    You will love the feeling of being out of debt. Course, my neighbor has a 2.25% mortgage. It would take him about 32 years to pay as much in interest as he paid for the house. He is controlling a $500k asset in the meantime but he is, nevertheless, going to pay dead money for shelter of $500k over that 32 year period.

    My view is that if you know you have an asset that can cash out well above historical returns – book it and cash out. Look for the next deal in Rainier Valley or Auburn or stocks.

    I made well over $300k in the last 60 days in Berkshire Hathaway and Bank of New York Mellon. I have 0 in S&P 500 funds which I sold as stated. I am 75% BRK & 25% BK. A smattering of CitiGroup, T-Rowe Price, Boeing, & HCHC.

    Eventually housing begins to depreciate like any asset with diminishing returns and then negative returns YOY.

    Here’s a true-life example of a house we lived in when I was very small kid:

    The same amount paid for this house invested at 6% would be worth almost 18 times more than the value paid originally. Unless you put that same house into downtown Seattle 50 years ago and sold it NOW !!

    RE: Erik @ 1762

  15. 1765
    Eastsider says:

    By Blurtman @ 1755:

    A few regions I am looking at outside of WA state, sadly, have already been discovered, and I’ve seen it happen in real time over the last 2 years.

    If we return back to ‘normal’, i.e. no more remote work, you will be able to ‘rediscover’ those regions, if you are still interested then. James Dimon clearly believes the current WFH arrangement is temporary. Jack Dorsey, on the other hand, believes in 100% WFH. I personally think we will be back to 80% normal. The current traffic pattern seems to trend in that direction. But who knows.

  16. 1766
    Eastsider says:

    By Whatsmyname @ 1759:

    I would say be careful with listing prices. They are running counter to better indicators, and
    A: it can be a shift in the mix. I am seeing a surge of sub 1,000sf houses in 2 areas I watch.
    B: listing prices are not sold prices. This could be strategy. I am seeing houses go for $70, $100, $150 over asking. It’s not like a small number of houses. I’ve never seen anything like this before.

    The flaw in your argument is this is not a single home or a small sample. It is county-wide data – “The average list price in King County for single-family homes fell about 7% from March to April.”

    The 7% drop is just that – yes asking prices are dropping. You can’t ‘explain’ it away as you often do and just did.

    Yes, we had crazy bidding wars in January/February, probably a result of buyers rushing to “lock in” historical low mortgage rates at that time.

  17. 1767
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1766 – It’s not a matter of explaining things away. You’ve got to understand what the numbers mean, for which I am not hopeful. If a house listed at $850 is removed from inventory by selling for $950, and it’s place is taken by an inferior house listed at $550, that does not mean that listing prices are going down.

    Tell me: How big a sample in universe of <1400 diverse houses do you need to get statistical relevance? You have no idea of that, just as you have no idea of how many I sample. I individually follow 7 neighborhoods pretty hard. This is good, because neighborhood is a big value factor in otherwise similar properties. I check the new listings daily, so I see everything that comes in. I look at houses almost weekly. I follow many that interest me through closing.

    Here's one neighborhood I follow:
    No houses for sale in Jan or Feb. 8 houses came on the market mid March to mid April. Most went pending in a week. Sales were:
    1 $5,000 under asking
    1 $69,000 over
    1 $70,000 over
    1 $80,000 over
    1 $90,000 over
    1 $135,000 over
    1 $140,000 over
    1 still pending
    There are currently no active listings in this neighborhood. Does this mean that houses selling at less than $60,000 over asking are anecdotal?

    I am seeing a definite upswing in 2/1's which is a type that doesn't typically interest me – but you notice when they go from 3 a week to 6 a week in one of your areas. They do cost less than other types, but they are asking a lot more than they were a year ago.

    You are welcome to restrict your analysis to regurgitating parts of newspaper articles. But you've been dead wrong for several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Maybe you're not doing it right.

  18. 1768
    ruxpert says:

    “Literally Shocking Data” – April Payrolls Miss Huge, Just 266K Jobs Added Below Expectations Of 1 Million

    “The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market.”

    U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls for ending $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefits to address labor shortages

  19. 1769
    ruxpert says:

    RE: ruxpert @ 1700

    “As noted at the outset, this explosion in fraud of late is merely indicative of just how successful the Fed has been in stoking ‘animal spirits.’ JP Morgan said, ‘Nothing so undermines your financial judgement as the sight of your neighbour getting rich.’ Clearly, financial judgement in a broad sense has been undermined like never before.”

    What the boom in fraud says about the current market environment

    ‘Felder gives perspective to the current mania and those who exploit it for their own purposes. Nicholas Taleb’s comments on bitcoin alone are worth the visit to the link above. ‘

  20. 1770
    ruxpert says:

    RE: ruxpert @ 1508

    “Political failure could well become a mounting crisis for markets in coming years – especially if weak governments come alongside the kind of short, sharp shock of inflation which many strategists and economists now expect. Inflation could fuel union demands for wage rises at a time when corporates remain weakened in wake of pandemic – fueling the kind of industrial wage militancy we last saw in the 1970s.”

    Failing global politics and inflation will be a nasty shock

  21. 1771
    Erik says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1763
    Where do you get the money to buy the houses if you don’t sell occasionally and pay capital gains tax?

  22. 1772
    David says:

    Under Trump, economic numbers were routinely revised up. Under Obama and Biden, we’re now back to economic numbers routinely being revised down.

    RE: ruxpert @ 1768

  23. 1773
    Erik says:

    RE: David @ 1764
    I like to hold investments a long time. I will hold most of the real estate I own now probably through the next downturn. I may sell a house and own a couple condos without a mortgage just to minimize my risk. Other than that, I’m playing the long game. My real estate portfolio is negative cash flow with high appreciation potential, so I will consider using some of that equity to pay off other units to make everything cash flow. Then keep buying more.

    I buy in areas I think will go up in value. That Tukwila house is gonna go up, so I would have probably held onto it indefinitely. South Seattle l, Renton, Tukwila, etc, are all long plays in my opinion.

  24. 1774
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Erik @ 1771 – Eric, I do sell occasionally, although I think more occasionally than you. The earlier post is about different criteria in picking the targets. Also, I sometimes have a little other money coming in that I will save and direct toward real estate.

    For a big equity deal, I will favor alternatives like borrowing on one for the down on new one, or 1031’s if I’m selling. 1031’s are not that expensive or difficult most times, and you can get up to 3 replacement properties if there is enough equity. This is a hold, or mostly hold through the bad times/ and not a get out of the market strategy.

  25. 1775
    ruxpert says:

    Screw Lumber, Just 3D-Print Your Next Home


    “The Lumber to Gold ratio is at levels not seen since 2005, just as the housing bubble was
    nearing its final year, three years before the Great Financial Crisis of 2008.”

  26. 1776
    Erik says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1774
    I like to buy, sell, and buy more. I figure I can get $80k equity or more after remodeling a distressed auction house or condo. Then after that, I get appreciation, which is the real money. The more I buy, the higher my net worth. Paying 15% capital gains after subtracting remodel costs is a small price to pay. Say I pay $30k capital gains minus $350k on a sale. Then I buy 5 more rentals in Seattle using the BRRRR strategy. That’s probably $400k in instant equity and if real estate goes up 10%, that’s another $250k that year in appreciation.

    The point is that worrying about paying a little capital gains tax is nothing worth worrying about. By virtue of owning more properties, you will be wealthier.

    By the way, I don’t manage anything. I just decide who I pay to help me manage properties, do my taxes, etc. My wife runs all my book keeping because she’s an accountant/MBA and likes it. I just make sure I really like everyone helping me, which I do. Adding more means no increase in work, because I don’t do any of the managing anyway. I make sure my condos get new water heaters. I tell my property manager and she works with the HOA and does it for me. If I died tomorrow, my rentals would just keep renting and not even know I’m gone.

  27. 1777
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Erik @ 1776
    BRRRR really relies on the rehab value-add in order to work, as does what you do. Looks to be a great business. I am in a slightly different business. It’s all good. Happy mother’s day.

  28. 1778
    Erik says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1777
    Sure, different strokes for different folks. Work within what you can do. Just keep buying if you can. BRRRR just makes it so you can own more faster because you don’t have to spend 25% every transaction. BRRRR is not required, but you can buy more faster that way. When you are done, the units are remodeled and nice.

    Happy mother’s day. My mom came from Camano Island to New Orleans see her grandkids and we went to fountainebleau park for mother’s day. I like that it only cost me $6 to get 6 of us in and everyone had fun.

  29. 1779
    Joe says:

    RE: Erik @ 1776

    You should understand what happens to your empire if rental payments drop permanent by 30%, like what is happening in San Francisco right now. Good to know your downside.

  30. 1780
  31. 1781
    Erik says:

    RE: Joe @ 1779
    During the Great Recession, Seattle rents barely dropped if at all. I don’t see rents dropping much this time either if at all. Rents don’t follow real estate prices. I’ve said this to people in this site so many times and I will not entertain another debate. When the market crashes and people can’t buy, they rent.

    Sorry to be short, I’ve been telling Eastsider this for years and he still doesn’t believe me.

    If you still think I’m wrong, tell me why and we can go through the process again.

    In general, I don’t care about losing a few grand in rent. What I care about is making millions in price appreciation. In Seattle, the worse the cash flow the better. That means asset prices are probably going to go up faster. For example that house I bought at auction a couple years ago, I lose $600/mo on. It’s appreciated about $80k/year since i bought it in 2019. I don’t care about the cash flow because if I sell, my net worth will go up.

  32. 1782
    Eastsider says:

    By Erik @ 1781:

    I don’t see rents dropping much this time either if at all.

    Zumper has rent data from Nov 2014. Today’s Studio/1BR/2BR rents are the lowest since they started collecting data. Rents are almost 1/3 below their peak.

  33. 1783
    S-Crow says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1782 – You have more patience than I.

  34. 1784
    Eastsider says:

    Here is an article on the migration trend. King County has been losing households for at least the past 3 years.

    Americans Up and Moved During the Pandemic. Here’s Where They Went. (Paywall)

    Seattle and Portland
    At the same time, the loss of households from King County (Seattle), which suffered the early impact of Covid-19, rocketed from 1,000 to 19,000 in a year. Multnomah County (Portland), more than doubled the net loss of households.

  35. 1785
    Eastsider says:

    RE: S-Crow @ 1783 – You would think people would be talking about the housing bubble here. But this site has been hijacked by countless BullS.

  36. 1786
    Voight-kampff says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1785

    I actually consider myself bearish in most investment matters. If someone disagrees with you, this does not mean they have “hijacked” this site, or even that they are a “bull”. The simple fact is that the “bears” here have been dead wrong for years. I’m afraid this is indisputable.
    Eventually the tide may turn and you may bestow us with I-told-you-so’s.
    Until then, you shouldn’t be surprised by disagreements over where this market is headed.
    The recovery is definitely long in the tooth, but there is a lot of money sloshing around out there looking for return. Speaking for myself, I don’t know what happens next. If only there were a Real estate blog where we can all discuss what we think may happen next.

  37. 1787
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Voight-kampff @ 1786 – I’ve been on both sides – bull & bear. I am neutral on homeownership, i.e. it does not matter how much you pay (assuming your finance is sound) if you intend to live in the same house for 30 years. For investment purpose, the current elevated prices in Seattle is not sustainable. Seriously, if you need to count on government bailout to make your investment work, as promoted by Erik multiple times, you should find something else to do with your savings.

    That said, if we enter a period of high inflation, all bets are off.

  38. 1788
    Whatsmyname says:

    Talk about unsustainable. That “all bets are off” thing would have been a good idea in 2019:

    Eastsider says:
    January 4, 2019 at 2:25 pm
    RE: steven @ 1 – You are probably right.

    Dec ’17 KC listings is 1,168. All months of 2018 have higher numbers, as high as 4.5x the Dec ’17 number.

    Dec ’18 active listings is 2,844. 4.5 x 2,844 = 12,000+! This is a very crude calculation but we may see 10k listings in coming months, especially if we hit a recession.

    This is bad news for sellers but buyers should sit out for now.

  39. 1789
    chip&dip says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1782 – “The average rent a one-bedroom apartment in notoriously expensive cities like San Francisco, Manhattan and Seattle is decreasing. Cities where average one-bedroom rents are decreasing: 1. San Francisco. Rents have decreased 45%. 2. Chesapeake, Virginia. Rents have decreased 29.4%. 3. Manhattan. Rent have decreased 27.3%. 4. Long Beach, California. Rents have decreased 27%. 5. Colorado Springs, Colorado. Rents have decreased 24.6%. 6. Seattle. Rents have decreased 18.9%. 7. San Jose, California. Rents have decreased 16.2%. 8. Los Angeles. Rents have decreased 16.0%. 9. Jersey City, New Jersey. Rents have decreased 15.5%. 10. San Antonio, Texas. Rents have decreased 15.4%.”

  40. 1790
    ruxpert says:

    Could Seattle-area homebuyers be getting some relief? New report shows rise in new listings

  41. 1791
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1788 – What’s wrong with a (wrong) projection? If the Fed/Biden want to pump another trillion or two or 10, I can’t stop them. If the pandemic takes a worse turn in fall, we are all scr**d.

  42. 1792
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1791 – That projection is nearly 2 and 1/2 years old. It is instructive to the reader that when the King County median house price was $610,000, you used a sadly simplistic speculation to misjudge the future inventory top by 100%, and told buyers to sit it out. Now the median is $830,000. Imagine the damage if someone was dumb enough to find you other than entertainment.

  43. 1793
    Erik says:

    RE: S-Crow @ 1783
    It’s penny wise and pound foolish to worry about cash flow. Penny pinching and playing it real tight is what keeps people poor.

  44. 1794
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1792 – Are you telling everyone you have great hindsight? Okay, I’ll grant you that.

    I made 2 projections this year. Rates are heading (much) higher. MoM price decline by end of summer. Smart one, do you have something to add? Or just an empty vase with great hindsight?

  45. 1795
    Whatsmyname says:

    By Eastsider @ 1794:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1792 – Are you telling everyone you have great hindsight? Okay, I’ll grant you that.

    I made 2 projections this year. Rates are heading (much) higher. MoM price decline by end of summer. Smart one, do you have something to add? Or just an empty vase with great hindsight?

    I certainly think nominal rates will move up with inflation. I’m actually trying to lock up a little fixed rate cheap money right now.

    I congratulate you on looking closely enough at Tim’s charts to see that we experience a MOM price decline nearly every year between May and September. But are you forecasting a meaningful drop that helps buyers, or just some easy to verify seasonal noise? Will people be glad they shelved the housing project at the $610 median?

  46. 1796
    Blurtman says:

    A reverse wealth effect beginning in the stock market? Weak, non-functional leader breeds no confidence, coupled with tax increase proposals = bad environment for risk taking. Unexpected consequences for RE?

  47. 1797
    S-Crow says:

    RE: Erik @ 1793 – No, what keeps people poor is reliance on debt. What makes people financially independent is having very little to zero debt. They are then able to plow their income towards buying MORE real estate with no mortgage and with cash flows and cash on cash returns that would make one blush. I’ll do the 100% cash flow route all day before I follow probably 70% of what I see in the Escrow business. Do what works for you Erik but the incessant drum beat of leveraging yourself to riches is a fools game. My education is nearly 18 yrs in the Escrow business alone that tells that story as clear as possible. The public doesn’t see it. I do. Your paid off property are what will payoff for you. And keeping them a very long time.

  48. 1798
    S-Crow says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 1796 – Yup.

  49. 1799
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 1796 – Probably a good idea to let it get down to at least the best number the former guy ever had before blaming it on the current leadership.

  50. 1800
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1799 – Haha. The current guy has already brought us the highest inflation in decades, $5 gas is coming. And I’m being conservative. LOL.

  51. 1801
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1800 – It could be that the greatest loss of jobs since Hoover helped quash the effects of $6 or $8T in deficits over the last 4 years. But it’s a bit early to dismiss the inflation inertia of all that in favor of much smaller money barely out the door.

    Glad to hear from you, though. Did you ever decide if your projected MoM price decline is more than seasonal noise that happens pretty much every year? Quick update on the neighborhood I mentioned in post 1767: the pending deal closed at $120,000 over asking.

  52. 1802
    Eastsider says:

    By Whatsmyname @ 1801:

    Did you ever decide if your projected MoM price decline is more than seasonal noise that happens pretty much every year?

    I decided you made up the seasonal noise nonsense.

    P.s. For a decade prior to the housing crash, decline in Seattle home prices were minimal and in very few winter months, as in single digit number of winter months over a decade. (Source: CS Seattle HPI)

  53. 1803
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1802 – You are literally 2 clicks away from Tim’s October NWMLS update, featuring multiple graphs we’ve watched him build over the years; one of which plots the SFR monthly median King County Home Prices for about 24 years. There, you may look at each year as a line.

    2020 declined in May
    2019 declined in June through Sept, every month
    2018 declined in June through Sept, every month
    2017 declined in August
    2016 declined in June, July, August
    2015 declined in July and September
    2014 declined in August
    2013 declined in August
    Then it gets harder to tell the years apart, but still plenty of downslopes in most of the lines in various months of our chosen season. And you think a summer MoM decline is news????

    Seattle is slightly different than King County, and the scale of your Zillow chart makes monthly fluctuations very difficult to see. Still, I had no trouble finding a few summertime MoM drops in just a quick scroll through the 5 year view. If you can’t get that far on your own, why would anyone give you any credibility at all? Sad.

  54. 1804
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1803 – You could have easily googled Case Shiller Home Price Index Seattle. As I mentioned, for a decade prior to the housing crash, Seattle home price declines were minimal.

  55. 1805
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1804 – Something wrong with using numbers consistent with the numbers used here for about 15 years? Straight up numbers that haven’t been massaged for time value, and thereby less transparent the further back you go?

    But to your point, the very frequent summer MoM declines, particularly in recent years, amount to mere noise, as the secular result has been large increases in price. You re-make my point for me. So it would appear that we agree your projection of MoM decline before the end of summer this year amounts to, well, nothing.

    How many hundreds of thousands of dollars has the median price risen since you so cleverly decided to beat the system?

  56. 1806
    Eastsider says:

    By Whatsmyname @ 1805:

    How many hundreds of thousands of dollars has the median price risen since you so cleverly decided to beat the system?

    I only recently turned bearish on RE investment. It sounds like you missed the massive gain in the stock market over the past year. But I’m glad that you potentially profited hundreds of thousands of dollars in RE. 50% vs 10%? I’ll take 50% any day lol.

  57. 1807
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1806 – Sorry, no. I’m diversified. So I’m well aware that 50% up after 30% down is a lot less than you’d like to pretend. The 15 month result is about 14% up. Nice, and I’ll take it.

    But this isn’t about me. It’s about you. You’ve been consistently and incorrectly vocal about impending real estate doom for much longer than the 2019 quote I referenced. Even from there, you’ve missed 36% growth on leveraged money. That’s 180% if you were leveraged at 20% equity.

    It’s just a warning to the newbies: This guy has demonstrated he consistently gets it wrong, and is unable to learn. He uses the language, but he doesn’t understand it. Stay safe.

  58. 1808
    Eastsider says:

    By Whatsmyname @ 1807:

    It’s just a warning to the newbies

    This is too funny. You don’t even know my finances to comment on my investment return.

  59. 1809
    Whatsmyname says:

    By Eastsider @ 1808:

    By Whatsmyname @ 1807:

    It’s just a warning to the newbies

    This is too funny. You don’t even know my finances to comment on my investment return.

    No one here knows your finances. We only know what you say. And what you say is demonstrated to be consistently wrong. And ignorant. That’s all we need to know.

  60. 1810
    Erik says:

    RE: S-Crow @ 1797
    When I started, I was not leveraged and I was poor with a low net worth. I took on what I thought was a lot of leverage at the time and now I have plenty of money and a high net worth compared to the people I know. You and others on this site preach being frugal and not taking on debt, but my experience is opposite. You don’t get wealthy by not going out to eat and being frugal. That’s how you retire at 65 with a million dollars to try to survive off until you die. That’s a bad life plan in my opinion. In general, the people that frequent this site are poor because they are scared of debt. I’d like to help others break free from that myth like did so they can have a lot more wealth and retire with passive income and a continually increasing net worth.

  61. 1811
    Eastsider says:

    Has anyone noticed the (dis)interest in Seattle housing here lately? When a market is hot (e.g. r/WSB), it attracts lots of people and comments. And the post itself is over half a year old. Perhaps people are losing interest. Just an observation lol. (btw – where is SWE?)

  62. 1812
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1811 – The Tim, and possibly for employer related reasons, lost interest in this blog a long time ago. But my observation has been that the historical majority of reader comments were in the realm of identifying something in the wind that the commenter hoped/predicted would break prices or flood inventory. At first these were heavily centered on data releases. As the market improved, comments would slow down fast after the NWMLS data was released, and build mostly in the period between reports.

    Inventory/sales, bidding wars, and sales prices show this continues to be an extremely robust recovery, causing a general loss of confidence in theories based on ever more tenuous evidence chains. You can see from occasional posts that at least some of these posters are still watching. There is just nothing happening that they want to talk about. The market activity shows that there is still a lot of interest in real estate among the general population.

  63. 1813
    ruxpert says:

    The Day the Pandemic Changed in Washington State
    After May 13, “normal” is finally in sight. Read More »

    The tide is turning ?

  64. 1814
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1811 – I check back every month or so hoping to see some interesting insight, and sometimes I find it from the likes of you, S-Crow and a few others.

    But typically it is the same self-affirming, low-effort posts from the resident condo expert and debt enthusiast. Same old drivel. Maybe SWE finally loaded up the blue couch and found his dream home in Kansas.

  65. 1815
    Paulie says:

    RE: Erik @ 1810

    “ In general, the people that frequent this site are poor because they are scared of debt.”

    How do you know the people who frequent this site are poor? I’ve got a loaded wagon baybayyyyyyy. Multiple properties, stocks, crypto, cash, gold and art.

    You’re making sh*t up. And assuming “in general” most of the people on the site are poor, a completely made up statistic by an upper middle class internet troll as far as i can see, why is it because they are afraid of debt? Credit standards are very high. Maybe that is a factor? Who knows.

    Well off to go hang out with the other “poor” people. So many of us, and we all suck! But it can all be traced to one simple reason: fear of debt.

    Seriously, your love of debt+real estate reminds me of those gun fanatic friends who, every time you go to their house, any conversation turns into the same thing: guns. If i talk about the academy awards or last night’s utah jazz game, it takes about 120 seconds for the conversation to veer to them showing me their gun collection. For you, if your best friend wanted advice on how to get in shape, I bet the answer would he to take on debt, buy houses, get rich, and then hire a personal trainer (except you would lose your train of thought by the last part and just stay on the debt + real estate part). Every one of your comments has been virtually identical for several years, with no interesting market insight.

  66. 1816
    Erik says:

    RE: Paulie @ 1815
    You are right Paulie, I have a one track mind. I focus on one thing and don’t really stop. I have gotten the feedback that I talk about the same thing over and over like the people you are talking about. I have wondered if I have some some degree of autism, it’s possible. I am an obsessive compulsive person by nature and I’m really good at math which I have in common with autistic people.

    I’m not sure why you are angry at me? I think it’s great that you invest in real estate, crypto, and stocks. I invest in all those things too. The place to start is taking on debt in real estate. People need to start there and expand. The mentality on this site is that debt is scary and bad. That’s horrible advice. Why have you been reading my comments for years if you hate me? That doesn’t make sense.

    The people on here that comment are making comments a poor person would make. That’s why I assume they are poor workers. Poor person mindset is something they can change and they should change that so they can have more money to live a lower stress and do what they want. People on here want to work for money and put their paychecks in a 401k. The reason they are poor and struggling, because of that mindset that was told to them to keep them poor.

    And I’m not rich. I was a very poor 401k saver for a long time. Once I got into real estate, my situation changed. Most commenters on here are pushing that lie to keep everyone else poor. It’s a big fat lie pushed to keep poor people working for money so wealthy business owners can get richer.

  67. 1817
    Eastsider says:

    I just came across the NWMLS KC April stat. A few observations –

    – Seattle’s summer of love is having a major detrimental impact on RE values. RES+CONDO YoY median price gain of 4.46% is the lowest in KC. SW King +21.44%, SE King +23.93%, N King +27.38%, Eastside +24.89%, Vashon +34.30%.

    – N King’s RES median sales price. $870k, is on track to overtake Seattle’s $875k. At this rate, Seattle may become the next ‘Everett’ (Erik’s joke :)) in a couple years.

    – Eastside’s RES median price spiked $363k(!!!) from $937k to $1.3m. It totally obliterates Seattle’s prestige and influence, if there is still any left.

    People voted with their feet. Sadly, Seattle’s majority renters don’t care about the city they destroyed. So don’t expect the situation to improve. Let’s wait for Expedia to follow its employees to decamp to the Eastside. I believe employee preference was the reason they moved to Seattle. No? (Perhaps Chelsea was involved in that dumb decision lol.)

  68. 1818
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1817 – The composition of the Seattle city council tells you all that you need to know. Big children with fantasy beliefs, pandering to the my grievance mob. Two things that put this in focus for me – those BLM imbeciles stealing the mic from Bernie and hijacking his rally, and worse, helpless Bernie dong nothing about it, and an early televised march in Seattle with some dopey drab white liberal apologizing for his privelege, which by appearance he did not seem to have. There is no out in the cesspool of flagellation and self-flagellation. But it obviously gets enough people off.

  69. 1819
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1817 – Seattle’s paltry 4.6% price growth is like a mere $40k on the median city house. Those who succumb to the charms of the city proper only need to find an additional $8k in down payment to keep up. But for those of us in the burbs; making 20%+ on the bank’s money feels great.

    This is probably not the kind of insight that wreckingbull is looking for.

  70. 1820
    Eastsider says:

    By Whatsmyname @ 1819:

    Seattle’s paltry 4.6% price growth is like a mere $40k on the median city house.

    To put this in perspective. We are experiencing global asset inflation. Seattle’s paltry 4.6% is far below national/global price gain. If there were no asset inflation, Seattle homes would be losing values YoY. And if you believe the 4.2% CPI increase understates inflation, as many do, in real term, Seattle homes just experienced a YoY decline. Likelihood of a nominal decline going forward is not out of question.

  71. 1821
    Erik says:

    RE: Paulie @ 1815
    If someone has credit holding them back, I can help them fix it in 4 months or less. Most things come off much more quickly though. If that’s your situation and that’s why you got so angry at me, I can help. Credit repair is just a learned skill that is easily remedied. I had a 580 credit score and now my credit score is over 800 and has been for years. When I was poor, I was terrible at paying bills because I didn’t have the money, so I learned how to repair my credit so I could buy more Seattle real estate. I’ve gotten things off my credit report that most people think could never come off and I don’t do anything illegal or lie.

    You seem pretty angry and frustrated. I was in your position once working for money and trying to climb the corporate ladder by working harder, which is a great way to grow as a person, but not a great way to become wealthy. Buy more real estate at discount prices in great areas is all you gotta do Paulie. You wouldn’t be attacking me on the World Wide Web if you were happy and content with your situation. I may be dumb, but I’m not that dumb.

  72. 1822
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1819 – Oh, my goodness. I should have gone to the source. RES ONLY is up 7.36% in Seattle, or $60k per the chart. So you’d really need $12k in additional down payment if you wanted to actually have a house.

    Re: asset inflation, Seattle homeowners are doing much better than the bank, bondholders, or savers. Eastsider, do you regularly adjust your stock returns for inflation? I presume you’re not counting the $12k needed for inflated down payment as part of your return?

  73. 1823
    Eastsider says:

    By Whatsmyname @ 1822:

    Oh, my goodness. I should have gone to the source.

    That’s the reason not to engage with you. Most comments are skewed and twisted. Just like Erik.

  74. 1824
    ruxpert says:

    Priced Out Of The Newly-Built Housing Market, Millennials Are Turning To “Fixer-Uppers”

    “So, how does it play-out with all these people that haven’t been paying their rent and mortgage?”

  75. 1825
    ruxpert says:

    RE: ruxpert @ 1620

    We’re returning to the ‘70s era of social decay, crime, and stagflation – Scott Rothbort
    May 15

    Portland Police Union President Says City Is “On The Precipice Of A Gang War”

  76. 1826
    Whatsmyname says:

    By Eastsider @ 1823:

    By Whatsmyname @ 1822:

    Oh, my goodness. I should have gone to the source.

    That’s the reason not to engage with you. Most comments are skewed and twisted. Just like Erik.

    You quoted the appreciation rate from RES CONDO; then you used the RES ONLY for the comparison with North King. As a result, my first numbers were quick estimate based on the wrong number.

    I think it’s fair to bring apples to apples. It is you that’s engaged in skewing and twisting.

    Oversimplified for sure, but if the median house price increases $60k, and the owner put down 20% of $875k, or $175k; $60k would be a very strong 1 year return.

  77. 1827
    Eastsider says:

    By Whatsmyname @ 1826:

    Oversimplified for sure, but if the median house price increases $60k, and the owner put down 20% of $875k, or $175k; $60k would be a very strong 1 year return.

    Buying a house is not like trading stocks. There is no liquidity. And you lose almost 10% in transaction costs each round trip. Bye!

    P.s. If you have reading comprehension problem, that’s on you. I even highlighted RES and CONDO just for dumb people like you.

  78. 1828
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1827
    I always say real estate is not for day traders; but I keep my 401k money in for the long haul too. Btw, we’re all paying rent in one way or another.

    You did identify your sources. But unlike comparisons are still not good comparisons, and especially easy to overlook if you are anticipating a reasonable argument. Still, I came up with bad numbers, and it was on me that I should correct them. Shouldn’t I have?

    p.s. Do you try and grow/compound your stock earnings, or is it imperative to get them out for cigarettes?

  79. 1829
    Erik says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1827
    When I buy with hard money at the auction, I do my repair and all that. Then I apply for a $100k BECU HELOC. I’m conservative, so I don’t take the money out. I like to know it’s there though for security. Is that considered liquidity?

  80. 1830
    Erik says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1828
    I do 20% plus whatever company match I get for my 401k. I use to do 8%, but Eastsider convinced me to do 20% because i’m competitive. You never know what this world will bring and I agree, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. My real estate dwarfs my stocks only because my real estate has been so much more successful than stocks. I just keep recycling the real estate money to buy more real estate and after a while, it really adds up.

  81. 1831
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Erik @ 1829 – HELOC is not liquidity. It is a line of credit that can be pulled anytime. When you sell a stock, you no longer own it. When you take out a HELOC loan, you still own the underlying asset. It’s like margin borrowing. Homes are not liquid because you can’t dispose of them easily.

  82. 1832
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Erik @ 1830 – I’m glad you find some of my advice helpful. Here is an idea for you to consider when you quit your job. You can rollover your 401k to a self-directed IRA that permits RE investing. It is not a typical Fidelity IRA, but you can read up more when you are ready. Since IRA is tax deferred/free, you don’t have to worry about taxes. (Check with your CPA.) That said, I don’t think it is wise to put all eggs in one basket.

    P.s. If you have self employment income, you can set aside upwards of $50k+ in a retirement account a year. And if it is a Roth account, there is currently no tax!

  83. 1833
    Whatsmyname says:

    By Erik @ 1830:

    My real estate dwarfs my stocks only because my real estate has been so much more successful than stocks.

    Me too. I have always contributed at a level to at least get the maximum employer match. I have never taken anything out. But my net real estate is much bigger.

  84. 1834
    ruxpert says:

    RE: ruxpert @ 1825

    Real estate bubble is about to pop, invest here for safety – Scott Rothbort
    May 16, 2021

  85. 1835
    S-Crow says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1831 – “Homes are not liquid because you can’t dispose of them easily.” True. However, time to sell at this time in this market (from list to recorded at the county sold) is dizzyingly quick vs back in the day when 45-60 days was routine. Your prior remarks about HELOC’s are dead on which is commonly overlooked. Trust me, open HELOC’s access will be shut down immediately at the first real signs of market problems.

  86. 1836
    Eastsider says:

    RE: S-Crow @ 1835 – Yes, I realize that closing nowadays is faster than ever. But if the market heads south, it could take 2mo (fast) to 4mo (typical) to 6mo+ (slow) to close a sale. Transaction costs has not come down measurably though. In fact, it might have gone up for ‘expensive’ homes (via excise tax) when many homes today are ‘expensive’ (e.g. Eastside’s $1.3m median sales price!)

  87. 1837
    Whatsmyname says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1836 – One can take a 27% bitcoin loss with remarkable speed, and very small transaction costs, (although that might not be one’s biggest concern at this point). And that market may have already gone south – saving even more time!!

  88. 1838
    Erik says:

    RE: Whatsmyname @ 1833
    Cool. Like it or not, we are on the same program. It sounds like the only difference is that I’m attracted to distressed real estate at the auction and you buy on the mls. Now that I have some money I’ve been thinking about just buying on the mls because it’s so much easier. We’ll see.

  89. 1839
    Erik says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1832
    I rolled my 401k over to a self directed Roth IRA when I got laid off once. The money is a Roth in M1 finance now if you are familiar with that brokerage. I’m not sure your advice is helpful, but I do have a slow growth 401k backup plan. I’ll probably bump my contribution up when I sell a house and own my condos straight up. The rental money has to go somewhere and we already have an excess. We have college funds for the kids too. I do the traditional things too, but my point has consistently been, real estate grows a lot faster.

  90. 1840
    Eastsider says:

    RE: Erik @ 1839 – I don’t believe M1 finance and most brokerages/banks allow RE investment in IRA. You will need some individualized IRA to purchase/hold properties.

  91. 1841
    S-Crow says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1840 – Closed a transaction a few years ago that was in a IRA Real Estate centered investment . It was the only one I ran into and really interesting to me. I remember I spent a couple of hours looking at the mechanics of it after work at the time. Can’t remember who the IRA custodian (investment company) was or much about it today.

  92. 1842
    Erik says:

    RE: Eastsider @ 1840
    I’m just talking about a Roth IRA, not real estate. I have a Roth IRA as well as a traditional Ira with M1. My pie is electric vehicles which are taking a beating right now.

    I’m very active investing in stocks. My position is that real estate is much more lucrative, especially when you have less than a million dollars.

  93. 1843
    Blurtman says:

    RE: S-Crow @ 1835 – RE agents are telling me that folks are doing virtual tours and buying without an in person visit; the agent with iPhone as physical proxy. Kind of makes sense considering Zillow, Redfin, etc. How many people actually visit a company’s facilities when they buy its stock? The total financialization of RE?

  94. 1844
    Eastsider says:

    RE: S-Crow @ 1841 – IRA RE investment is rare because it has to finance the whole transaction. So it needs to have at least a 6 figure balance. But there are no taxes, depreciations, income and 1031s to deal with in tax deferred/free accounts.

    It is possible to set aside upwards of $60k in a retirement account a year. So yes some people do invest in RE in their IRA accounts.

  95. 1845
    S-Crow says:

    RE: Blurtman @ 1843 – Yup, people are buying and selling with less human personal interaction. However, “tech” has been trying forever to basically make it a “push the button” transaction but what the tech industry has yet to overcome (or fully understand as I laugh and SMH at some of what is proposed or marketed as “this is a gamechanger!” type bs) is that real estate is a moving, breathing, changing thing and even more so legally. People go in and out of Title, encumbrances change, documents are recorded that are incorrect, clearing Title hurdles and on and on and on. Just too much to go into here. This is what takes time. Real estate agents also neglect to think that buyers can bring baggage to the transaction too. The virtual tours really started in earnest due to Covid and has kind of been cemented. However, there is nothing like touring a property in person. There are things that a Matterport/or equivalent generated virtual tour cannot offer that an in- person inspection/tour provides. Transactionally, yes, lots of transactions are being done without as much “interaction” per se of tours and meeting in person with allied pro’s (agents, loan officers, Escrow etc). In my eyes, the most beneficial tech innovation has been the offering of listings of near instant notification available for all to see including history of sales and public tax information. It is when Tech thinks they can control the entire pipeline is when Escrow and Title people get the popcorn out and get ready to be entertained.

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