Today we come together…

american-flag1Quiet tears stream down my face…

My whole life, and all that I have witnessed and experienced, flashes past as if in fast forward  in my brain…

I believe in God…I pledge myself to this Country and its people…

Words I once heard very long ago, and have never forgotten, come to the forefront…

“Keep us, O Lord, from all pettiness…and let us forget not…to be kind.”

It is a great day…truly the first day…of the rest of our lives.

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

190 thoughts on “Today we come together…

  1. I guess we’re supposed to assume what prompted this. Did your cell phone contract expire? 😉

    Seriously, during the election I wasn’t a big fan of either Obama or McCain, but sort of like the national polls are showing Obama now having great support, I too have come around. Perhaps more than anything what the country needs is a change of attitude, and of all the candidates that ran in the primary, Obama can probably bring that about better than anyone else.

    BTW, this is the first time in my life I’m older than the President.

  2. Kary,

    It was not so long ago…that in the City of Seattle…African Americans were only “allowed” to buy property…except in “designated” neighborhood(s).

    To me this is about the day when I was in 3rd grade, when I was sent home from school, because President Kennedy was shot.

    To me this is about the day my grandmother arrived at Ellis Island, and was put into a room for weeks until she “lightened up”, so that the man she was sent here to marry would marry her.

    This is not merely about a new President to replace President Bush…it is much, much more than that.

  3. I think your Seattle history might be incorrect (unless perhaps you’re referring to redlining by banks), and perhaps overstating it by comparing this to the Kennedy assassination. But I will agree part of what’s important about today is the extent of the change, not just that there is a change. And beyond the race aspect, I think there’s also a generational aspect to the change.

  4. Thank you Seattle Veggie…and thank you to the UW students who took on the task of pulling this information together in 2006. It is not coincidence or preference that neighborhoods are of predominant race in the Seattle Area, and it was not until 1968 that the issue was addressed by the Federal Government, and long after that before the issue was adequately addressed in common practice.


    Redlining is the opposite of what you state. Redlining would be a bank refusing to lend money in the areas NOT restricted to whites, in the link provided by Seattle Veggie. Steering is the practice of pushing people only to certain neighborhoods. Redlining is the practice of once pushed to a given neighborhood, lenders refusing to lend there.

  5. It was 1948 that the practice was declared illegal, well prior to either of us being alive.

    If you check out the database, roughly half are individual lots or a small group of lots. I don’t find that surprising. I do find the restrictions on the entire plat to be surprising, because I didn’t think that was common around here.

  6. Not so, Kary. It was not declared “illegal” in 1948.

    “In 1948, the court changed its mind, declaring that racial restrictions would no longer be enforced, but the decision did nothing to alter the informal structures of segregation. It remained perfectly legal for realtors and property owners to discriminate on the basis of race. Only after Congress passed the Housing Rights Act in 1968 were there measurable openings in Seattle’s system of housing segregation. ”

    And we are not talking about a few small plats:

    “North of the ship canal most neighborhoods were restricted, as was Capitol Hill, Madison Park, Queen Anne, and Magnolia.”

  7. Ardell, the restrictive covenants would have been of no force after 1948. Individual action (and advertising practices) remained legal. There are still some exceptions for individual action.

  8. Kary,

    I released your comment #8. I don’t understand why you are not getting that this was an issue until after 1968. Not done and not “enforceable” are two completely different things. “Illegal” and “not enforceable” are two completely different things.

    You say a willing seller…as if needing the seller’s permission is OK. There’s a big difference between you can buy that house IF the seller let’s you, and you can buy that house because you have equal rights to any other qualified buyer.

    How about you just agree with all of the articles on this topic and the researchers who say:

    “the (1948) decision did nothing to alter the informal structures of segregation. It remained perfectly legal for realtors and property owners to discriminate on the basis of race (until 1968)”

    “remained perfectly legal” being the key phrase.

  9. I don’t understand why you don’t understand a relatively simple concept. You’re treating restrictive covenants and deed restrictions as being the same as individual discrimination. They are different issues.

    Prior to 1948 if you owned a piece of property in an affected area (one with racial covenant or deed restrictions), you could not have sold that property to an Asian person even if you wanted to. After 1948 you were free to sell to whoever you wished.

    Between 1948 and 1968 if you owned a piece of property and didn’t want to sell it to an Asian person, that was perfectly legal. Any and every piece of property was so affected, be it in Magnolia, the CD, Beacon Hill, Bellevue, Kitsap County, etc.

    After 1968 for the most part if you own a piece of property you have to sell it to just about anyone who can pay, subject to limited exceptions (and probably sexual orientation is an exception–I’m not sure.)

    So basically prior to 1948 someone prior to you in the chain of title limited what you could do with your own property. Between 1948 and 1968 you were free to discriminate in selling your own property, but any restrictions in the chain were basically void. After 1968 the restrictions in the chain were void and you for the most part could not discriminate.

    So getting back to the original point, prior to 1968 I don’t believe there was rampant discrimination in the sale of property in the Seattle area. I’m sure there was some (and probably still some today), but I don’t think it was that prevalent.

  10. *sigh* Kary…a buyer needing the owner’s “permission” to buy because the buyer is Asian, African American, etc… IS “rampant discrimination”.

    The mere fact that the buyer could not buy without the owner’s permission because of race or religion IS discrimination.

    How can you not see that?

  11. I can see that. How can you not understand what a restrictive covenant is, and how that is different? And how that became illegal and void in 1948?

    1948 struck down restrictive covenants.
    1968 struck down most discrimination.
    Two different, but related issues.

    BTW, perhaps I should have used the word prevalent instead of rampant. I meant I don’t think it was that widespread in the Seattle area up to 1968.

  12. Kary…”unenforceable” is not illegal or struck down. It means IF someone complains…then the court will not enforce. How many would go through that between 1948 and 1968? Not many.

    To this day, many people have to sign these Deeds with that language. Hard to believe.

    If you can’t accept the significance of today…that’s fine. Just stop trying to pretend it’s meaningless and stop trying to pretend that THIS area, which is one of the few where Deeds include this offensive language in so many areas, was A-OK since 1948. You know it’s not true.

    This discussion sounds like you think that language in Deeds is just honky dory, even today, as long as no one pays attention to it.

    All that said…arguing with you on every single topic I post on is getting too annoying…this one is most annoying and you are ruining my day. Celebrate with me or go away.

  13. Somehow this thread got hijacked from your original point that today was a milestone of epic and inspirational proportion, which just like the Kennedy assassination, will be a monumental turning point in American history. You didn’t overstate anything.

    I am thrilled and proud to be an American again!

    As to whether there was rampant housing discrimination between 1948 and 1968 I would guess the only people who didn’t see it were sitting in the front seats on the bus.

  14. It’s funny how this got off on a racial angle, because I consider this historic also because of the generational factor (something I referenced in my first post).

    The WWII generation was called “The Greatest Generation.” I’d call the one after that the lamest generation. Hopefully this next generation starting to take power will do better.

  15. Kary,

    Have you been in the room when the new buyer who is African American gets handed HIS new Deed on HIS purchase with that language in it? That is what it is about.

    We’re not talking about legal issues…we’re talking about it still being in there. How anyone can argue anything but GET IT OUT OF THERE…is beyond me.

  16. What are you talking about? There’s no reason such language would be in a current deed. It would be either in a prior deed from years and years ago, or a plat dedication or some other such thing. It’s not repeated each and every time the property gets conveyed. To “get it out of there” you’d have to fly around the earth very fast until you were back in time prior to 1948.

    Here is language from a preliminary commitment referencing such a possibility (their caps, not mine):


  17. You might want to read the articles contained in that link. If a new owner gets the convenants, the language in the convenants is not automatically changed, and harder to change in some than others. In one area mentioned in the article, they couldn’t even get the number of votes needed to remove it, from the current homeowners. How sad is that?

    Leave it there, it doesn’t matter…is not the correct answer, anymore than continuing to sell and resell homes with asbestos is the correct answer…another topic we will never agree on.

  18. Your statement was: “Have you been in the room when the new buyer who is African American gets handed HIS new Deed on HIS purchase with that language in it? That is what it is about.” That is entirely different than having a covenant recorded in some ancient document. As I said, there would be no reason for the language to be in a current deed. They are still there in the covenants, but are ignored because they are unenforceable.

    Perhaps you need to go back and re-read some stuff.

  19. “They are still there in the covenants, but are ignored because they are unenforceable.”

    Trust me, the person in the room doesn’t feel the same way that you do. None of the people in the room felt the same way that you do.

  20. “Trust me, the person in the room doesn’t feel the same way that you do. None of the people in the room felt the same way that you do.”

    Is this about your most likely non-existent recent deed that contained the offensive language?

    Did you miss the Superman reference? There’s nothing you can do to undo the past. The covenants or prior deeds will still be there. They cannot be unrecorded, they cannot be modified. If it’s a restriction in a plat (as opposed to a deed), then there could be an amendment with new documents, but the old documents will still be there, and the new documents will reference the old documents. They will still be in the chain of title. The amendment won’t accomplish a thing, legally or otherwise, which is why it doesn’t tend to happen.

    Rather than worry about the past I’d suggest worrying about the present and the future. Discrimination in housing and other public accommodations didn’t go away just because a law was enacted in 1968. In fact, I think there have been one or two “English only” accommodation incidents in Eastern Washington within the past 5 years or so, and probably numerous cases prosecuted within the City of Seattle in the rental area. And although I don’t know of any cases, I think it would be extremely naive to think that in the past 5 years there has not been a single case in Seattle where a buyer’s offer was rejected because of their name. What matters is the discrimination that might be going on today, not the discrimination of the past that we cannot change.

  21. Let’s go back to your comment #1 Kary.

    I write a post exposing my deep, profound feelings about the Inauguration. You belittle my emotion with this comment:

    “I guess we’re supposed to assume what prompted this. Did your cell phone contract expire?”

    If you don’t understand the significance of what happened, and why people like me were crying and moved yesterday…there really is nothing else for us to talk about.

  22. Do you think that this is the first inauguration where people cried? Do you think people were excited when President Kennedy was inaugurated because he was Catholic, or because of his other attributes?

    You can focus on the significance of President Obama’s race. That’s fine. I’ll focus on his age, intelligence and education, because I think those are the characteristics that will largely determine whether or he will be a great president or something less than that. His race has undoubtedly affected his experiences, and that will have an impact on what he does. But I really think other characteristics of President Obama are far more important. In particular, the fact that he’s a lawyer. 😉

    As to the age factor, I don’t mean to be “ageist” but right now I’m terribly disappointed in the generation that went to college in the 60s and even the 70s (my group). They were supposed to be about change, and they were not. They ended up being greedy and incompetent, which was a dangerous combination. So right now I’m more than ready to let the younger people give it a try.

  23. Wow, after this and other recent threads here Kary shouldn’t be complaining about contrarian and negative posters at SREP again. Seems like he’s just here to stir up trouble. All the ‘doom and gloom’! 😉

  24. Wow interesting thread. I am not one for getting all worked up and excited about change maybe coming (I am a pessimist, sorry) however when I was watching one of the news and they interviewed a little African American boy that said how he was excited about Barack because when he watches the tv now a black man is not just recognized as only a baller or rapper, that he can be a president, doctor, or a lawyer. I was impressed by the little boy and then started to change my thought about it all. I know this doesn’t apply to the argument but I think it truly identified how big of an impact the presidential election had.

  25. Vernal,

    It’s Huge. Obama is to young afro-americans as Bill Gates is to “Geeky Boys and Girls” everywhere 🙂 It’s a special sign of what is possible.

  26. Must be more of a generational thing? I never viewed it as impossible for a black man to become president. As a result, I haven’t been caught up in the Obama mania. He’s just a man, and I trust he’ll do the best job he can.
    If not he’ll be voted out in 4 years.

  27. Brett,

    In our business, anyone who has been in it a long time, has seen and heard many things. It was not too long ago that I had to help an Afro-American family whom the building manager had targeted to be evicted. She just didn’t want them there. This was in L.A. about 6 years ago.

    I also have had several clients over the years that no one else would work with, because of their name or color.

    To some extent it may be generational, but in real estate, it was not too long ago that people would tell us they didn’t want any Afro-Americans to even view the property. That was common when I started in real estate in 1990. Of course we “educated” them, but these things happen a lot in real estate. We hear a lot of agents complaining about the behaviors of various cultures and rolling their eyes at the offer when they see the name.

    As Kary said, ” I think it would be extremely naive to think that in the past 5 years there has not been a single case in Seattle where a buyer’s offer was rejected because of their name.”

    We are often on the front lines making sure descrimination doesn’t happen. Maybe in your line of work, it doesn’t come up as much as it does in ours.

  28. On a brighter note 🙂 One of my clients sent me this link a few minutes ago. His Mom from Mississipppi had a ticket to the Inauguration and was inteviewed on Capitol Hill and had pictures taken with the Congressman from Mississippi, Gene Taylor.

    Some awesome shots in this link:

    She’s just heading back to Mississippi, so I don’t have the pictures of her yet. Kary…he is coincidentally the client I was referring to above. I really went to bat for him a couple of times, and he clearly would not be in his dream home today, if I had not done that.

  29. I am reminded of a time in 1992 that five truckloads of guys with baseball bats pulled up as I was helping a seller “of color” leave his house that was a short sale. I literally had to go out there and physically protect my client and his friends from being bashed.

    Anyone who was born when Kary and I were born, and who work in the real estate business, who do not see this as an awesome event…well, as Dan said…was too busy sitting in the front of the bus.

    Though in all fairness, I think I’ve been in the real estate business 4X longer than Kary.

  30. “All the ‘doom and gloom’!”

    What’s doom and gloom? It’s doom and gloom to hope President Obama does well because he’s educated, intelligent and young? That’s much more rational than thinking how well he will do will somehow be determined by the color of his skin.

    Also, this whole thing seems rather silly to me at the inaugural stage. Did the people voting for Obama during the primaries think that it wasn’t possible for an African American to win? Did the people staying late election night not realize what had happened? Did they totally miss the formality of the electoral college? What is happening only sinks in with the inauguration? Sort of reminds me of getting excited over Case-Shiller results, months after we basically knew the same thing.

    For me the inauguration isn’t about who won. It’s about the winner finally taking power and being able to do something.

  31. “Though in all fairness, I think I’ve been in the real estate business 4X longer than Kary.”

    And you’ve also been in it in different areas. You mention L.A six years ago. I’d suspect the rental discrimination still goes on here, and probably everywhere. And there have been a few local hate crimes publicized, but I’m not sure how they’re related to ownership or buying/selling, if at all. But I don’t believe Seattle has ever been as bad as some other parts of the county, at least during my adult lifetime.

    Back in 1970 my family took a trip around the entire U.S. I remember a white couple staring at me because I said “Thank you” to an old African-American who who had sold me a post card and gave me change. I remember African-American women stepping off the sidewalk to allow us to pass. Just last year I found out that my brother also remembers a racist joke told by a barber. Because it was so out of place with our ordinary experience it was all memorable, more so than the places themselves.

    Someone above, suggesting it was a generational thing commented: “I never viewed it as impossible for a black man to become president.” I would agree. Ardell is a few years older than me, and also has lived more places, so perhaps age and geographic areas lived in account for the difference?

    Also, in my view the election reflects what the country is like–it doesn’t change the country. We aren’t suddenly more sexist and less racist because it’s President Obama instead of Hillary. And we wouldn’t be more racist and less sexist if Bill Clinton were the First Gentleman right now. Both would have been possible results because that’s the way the country is right now. Earlier was different, but this is now.

    That said, I don’t think it’s all sunshine. There are a lot of serious prejudices that still survive.

  32. Is anyone under the impression that prejudice is dead? It’s still a complicated issue. Let’s see what happens in the spring,…will customer service reps start getting rude again, and will point of sale clerks start throwing my change back to me again? Will everyone be in such a good mood then?

    Jobs were promised, chickens in every pot type of thing. Let’s see the change as it effects real estate markets in future.

  33. “Is anyone under the impression that prejudice is dead? ”

    You certainly can’t legislate it out of existence.

    Some people voted against Obama because he was black, and some people voted for Obama because he was black.

    Some people voted for Obama because McCain was old, and some people voted for McCain because Obama was young.

    Some people voted for Obama because he was a Democrat, and some people voted against Obama because he was a Democrat.

    And let’s not forget the Iraq war. That’s possibly what got Obama the Democratic nomination over Hillary. And given what happened with the economy prior to the election, if he had somehow gotten the Democratic nomination, we’d probably today be talking about President Kucinich. (I picked him because I think he was consistently at the bottom of election and caucus results, and thus unlikely to win otherwise.)

  34. Some people voted for Obama when McCain pointed back at him, without looking at him, at the debate and said “THAT man”.

    Clearly the election is not going to turn the real estate market around by the end of 2009. In fact, if anyone is expecting the market to come back to where it was…they are just wishing for the wrong thing. It’s not going to happen, nor should it happen.

    If 6% of people and 16% of households have incomes of $100,000 or more, then the majority of people qualify for mortgages of $350,000 or less. $350,000 plus downpayment does not equal prices that are going to rise. It equals prices that are going to continue to fall.

    It’s all about the credit markets, the amount of mortgage people can get, the reduction of credit card limits, and going back to the way it was is not the good answer.

  35. Ardell wrote: “Clearly the election is not going to turn the real estate market around by the end of 2009.”

    I would disagree as to the possibility, simply because a lot of the market is confidence more than just numbers. Confidence is severely lacking right now, and I think President Obama is a good speaker who can raise confidence levels.

    Ardell wrote: “It’s all about the credit markets, the amount of mortgage people can get, the reduction of credit card limits, and going back to the way it was is not the good answer.”

    For residential housing there hasn’t been a huge difference in financing availability between now and say September, 2008. But the volume of sale going pending after September, 2008 plummeted. That’s due to lack of confidence and even fear.

    BTW, I think McCain said: “That one.”

  36. Kary,

    The market getting back to where it was in September of 2008 is going to happen regardless. Nothing needs to change for that to happen except normal seasonal changes, and sellers not pricing at peak and above peak pricing.

    Back to September of 2008 is a given until October of 2009. We don’t need Obama or anyone else to make that happen.

  37. November and December volume reductions were more than seasonal changes. January and February could be even worse, but at least part of that can be blamed on snow.

    Sales volume (King Cty SFR) the last four months of 2006:

    1901 (80.6% of September)

    Sales volume the last four months of 2007:

    1340 (79% of September)

    Sales volume the last four months of 2008:

    869 (61.4% of September)
    929 (65.7% of September)

  38. Kary,

    If you want to call 79% of 869 vs. 65.7% of 869 “the market turning around”…well, let’s just say you’ll be the only one in the room calling that a market recovery.

  39. LOL…I’ll change that to if you want to say 79% of ANYTHING vs. 65% of ANYTHING is a market turning around OR a recovery…you will be the only one in the room saying that.

    Until you acknowledge the financing issues, particularly with regard to prices over $500,000, and how that market will impact the under $500,000 market…you just can’t be remotely correct about much anything else.

    When you see properties selling at 38% under assessed value, primarily due to the financing issues you say do not exist, you can’t pretend that the only issue out there is “confidence”.

  40. From Rhonda’s post of a few minutes ago…”There is so much going on with mortgage rates these days…”

    So much for “For residential housing there hasn’t been a huge difference in financing availability between now and say September, 2008.”

    If anyone still thinks they can buy with 20% down, if the balance is a jumbo loan…think again.

    If anyone thinks it doesn’t matter if it is a single family home or a condo…think again.

  41. I don’t have the figures handy going back past 2006, but assuming that was a normal year, December 2009 being 79% of September 2009 wouldn’t be too bad. It would mean that for the first time in three years we made it through the fall without another financial crisis! Whether it’s good or bad overall though will depend on what September 2009 comes in at.

    As to the second paragraph, I’d say the same thing to you regarding the financial crisis that became apparent to the country in September, 2008. It’s not financing that is causing the problem today. It’s that too few people want to buy because we just faced the possibility of economic collapse.

    The bad financial news of 2007 mainly affected the lower end of the market, because people in the higher income levels have always been able to get credit, and didn’t believe newspaper reports that financing wasn’t available. Today too few people care that financing is available at any price, because they don’t want to buy due to the economic situation the country is in. It’s a herd mentality.

  42. Rates (and surcharges for condos) are a different matter than availability. But in any case, I’d guess that even with the surcharge, the net rate on a condo is less than what it was in September, and clearly so for a house. So what’s you’re point? That things are better now than September?

  43. Kary,

    A “normal” year equals 42% or so of a year’s sales in the first and last quarters and 58% in the 2nd and 3rd Quarters.

    2008 Total Sales – 15,708 (Res)

    1st Quarter = 3,635
    2nd Quarter = 4,628
    3rd Quarter = 4,422
    4th Quarter = 3,023

    Q1 + Q2 = 6,658 = 42%
    Q2 + Q3 = 9,050 = 58%

    OMG! I SWEAR, Kary…I did not know how those numbers were going to come out when I said “normal” equals 42% for first and last Quarters and 58% equals 2nd and 3rd quarters.

    I was basing that on a post I did well over a year ago, when I determined what “normal” was. WOW!!!! Exactly…it came out exactly as I predicted.

    So much for not being able to “predict”. Sorry, even I am floored over that result. Freakin’ AMAZING!!! Better go check the math as it is just too good to be true!

  44. My point is that you are kidding yourself regarding what a recovery is going to look like, and that “confidence” is the only factor. Unless you think people worrying about the value being lower in six month than it is today is a “mere confidence” issue. If you think people should NOT worry about paying more today than the price it will be come October of 2009, then you are not looking for clients with “confidence”…you are looking for complete idiots.

  45. Mr. Mogul,

    Sorry I didn’t get to your #46 comment earlier.

    I have a hard time responding, given you seek to make a living teaching children how to “crush their opponents” financially. Who is “an opponent”?

    Since you obviously support crushing someone, I can’t feel sorry if the kharma of that comes back at ya.

  46. Kary,

    Normal is 1st plus 4th equals 42%…sometimes first is higher than fourth, sometimes not. You’re being too “linear” about it. Economics and forecasting is not a linear function. As long as the answer is 42%, which it is, then that was predictable. You should not be surprised by the 4th quarter results.

    That’s all I can tell you until the end of the first quarter when I do my 2009 forecasting.

  47. Your last paragraph is incorrect. We did not overnight become a nation of savers. The reason spending is down is not because people are saving, it’s because their credit limits on their credit cards was reduced.

  48. Re 63, that’s undoubtedly true for some people. And others weren’t able to refinance to sustain their borrowing as they had in the past. But there are also a lot of others that are just uncertain about the future. I would guess that for every layoff there are probably 3-4 other people who have fear of losing their jobs, and reacting accordingly.

  49. Kary,

    Linear thinkers are exceptionally good at linear activities, like contract issues. I do wish you would recognize that your talents and mine are equal…and yet not nearly the same. Instead of coming out with your dukes up…can you please try to do things a bit differently in 2009? I would appreciate it very much. Understand that we approach things differently, respect that as well. I clearly respect that by not coming over to your posts and saying you are wrong…in your way of thinking. It is likely that often we will each think the other is wrong, given our different approach to many, many things.

    By coming here, you express a desire to READ my approach…not to constantly and continually berate it…it’s getting tiring and it wears on me.

  50. Re 65, it’s a bad thing because the uncertainty creates a lot of personal stress for one thing. But to the extent the concern is unwarranted, it just sends us deeper into a recession because people who don’t need to cut back do cut back. That has a multiplier effect which then puts other people out of work. So it’s bad because it makes things worse.

  51. Kary,

    Repeat after me:

    Things WILL need to get worse, before they can get better.

    It’s always darkest before the dawn…and it ain’t NEARLY dark enough yet for anyone to be expecting a dawn.

  52. You wrote: “Things WILL need to get worse, before they can get better.”

    That doesn’t even touch at all on what I was writing about, but in any case I’m a believer more in both fiscal and monetary policy having an effect, than in the certainty of cycles. Thus I don’t believe in simplistic theories like we have to go down a certain amount before we can head back up (so, no, I won’t “repeat after you.”)

    Most likely what happens over the next year or two will depend on the stability of major financial entities, and how much Congress screws up the plans of people who actually know what they’re doing.

  53. Kary,

    Just do the math. 3x income equals loan amount. Go over all your past, present and future clients and see how that holds up.

    Things can’t get better and meet that formula at the same time.

  54. If 6% of individuals make $100,000 a year, and the other 94% make less than $100,000 a year, then people taking out mortgages for more than $300,000 can’t continue long term. Pop it up to 4X and you still won’t get the inventory sold at current pricing levels.

  55. You’re switching from the economy in general to housing, but whatever.

    Per this site there are about 64000 households in Seattle earning more than $100,000.00. That’s about 23%, not 6% (although you were using individuals and this site uses households). And there are about 138,000 owner occupied houses (about 153k if you include vacant, some of which are probably rentals). If you account for renters by assuming 50k of the 64k making over $100k own a home, that would mean that roughly a third of Seattle households owing a home make over $100,000.

    The median equity is over $181,000 per that site.

  56. A real estate site is not a credible source. Go to the census or wikipedia or Seattle Bubble.

    I was using national statistics BTW which I have checked and double checked with several non-real estate driven sources.

    Anyone expecting a recovery in 2009 is just going to be disappointed. It’s like going to sleep and hoping your weigh 20 lbs. less when you wake up. Nice dream, but ain’t gonna happen.

    Of course we’d have to agree on what a recovery looks like…but I’m sure you and I will never agree on that…either.

  57. Kary,

    Difference is local vs. national. Wikipedia usually has links to the credible sources. Sorry, no one believes what’s on most real estate sites anymore unless they also show where they get their info and it checks out. It’s obvious the industry needs more people buying houses AND they need people to pay higher prices, at times, for that to happen.

  58. Ardell, the way to criticize a citation is to post your own link with contrary data, not to just throw out names. If you’ve looked it up, post the link so that I can try to determine the difference. The link I cited was specifically for Seattle, not Bellevue or King county. That could be another difference in addition to the two I mentioned.

  59. Ardell wrote: “Of course we’d have to agree on what a recovery looks like…but I’m sure you and I will never agree on that…either.”

    That could be problematic. Is a rise in prices 15% when inflation is at 25% a recovery? You could argue that either way.

    Personally I think I’ll focus on volume more than price. I’ll be happy with any month where the volume is higher than the corresponding month for 2008. Note that’s not a way of determining the bottom–it’s just that any such month would be a good month at this point.

  60. “I’ll be happy with any month where the volume is higher than the corresponding month for 2008.”

    As I said…that makes you linear and OF COURSE volume will be UP May vs. Dec.. Of course median price will be UP 2nd and 3rd quarter, maybe even 1st vs. 4th.

    If you don’t recognize the normal cyclical aspects, then your opinion is of no value.

  61. A rise YOY in MPPSF for that given corresponding month…not 15% higher than last month, would say something. If you are waiting to see if volume will increase by 15% in any given month in 2009 over December volume, let me save you the trouble. It WILL!

  62. Ardell wrote: “As I said…that makes you linear and OF COURSE volume will be UP May vs. Dec.. Of course median price will be UP 2nd and 3rd quarter, maybe even 1st vs. 4th.”

    I wouldn’t make any of those assumptions, but I think you need to look up the definition of “corresponding month.” That isn’t comparing May to December or the 2nd quarter to the 4th.

  63. Ardell wrote: “A rise YOY in MPPSF for that given corresponding month…not 15% higher than last month, would say something. If you are waiting to see if volume will increase by 15% in any given month in 2009 over December volume, let me save you the trouble. It WILL!”

    You really need to start reading better. My 15% comment was a price comment, not volume. And it was in the context of inflation being higher than that over the same period of time, such that nominally it would be a net loss.

    Just to explain that further, for the cash buyer that would be not a good situation, although it would be a better move than just staying in cash. For the 96.5% leveraged buyer, it would be a good situation all around, assuming their income didn’t lag too badly.

  64. Kary,

    But…to me it looks like you want people to walk into a fire…and why? If their gut and personal circumstance say”

    1) cut back expenses
    2) save more
    3) pay off debt

    Why would you want to convince them otherwise?

    Isn’t it “payback time”?

  65. I don’t want anything. I’m just reporting what the news is, and how I think that news is affecting the economy, particularly housing.

    However, I will point out that while 1, 2 and 3 above are good for each individual, collectively they are bad, and eventually that comes back to bite many of the individuals in the butt in the form of layoffs. The same could be said for companies laying off employees, where eventually the collective layoffs come back in the form of fewer sales. It’s a vicious cycle.

  66. “I don’t want anything.”

    I don’t see honesty in that, Kary. You want people to have more “confidence”…no? What people want now, is more security…and rightly so. Following a period of over indulgence, the pendulum will swing, before it finds balance and becomes centered.

    Why would you care if the market comes down half way from where it was, if you “don’t want anything”?

    I have often said this market reminds me of when I started in real estate in 1990 in NJ/PA. It went up 100% then came down 50% and then went up past its previous high. Can’t whine when the market backs off. It’s how it’s ‘sposed to be.

    Well, you can whine…just be honest. You don’t want the market to recede 50% as to prices. Be honest about that, instead of saying “I don’t want anything”.

  67. Ardell & Kary,
    Since you are discussing confidence I am going to jump in and discuss my situation. I look at this market as an opportunity. My husband and I don’t have to sell. We want to relocate from the Fauntleroy neighborhood to Magnolia to be closer to work and our kids private school. The amount of houses on the market in our price range is greater than I have every seen. I expect it to get better this spring. Since we bought our house in 2001 we do have quite a bit of equity in it….interest rates are going down. I think we can get more house for our money and maybe even have an equal or a lower payment. We are getting our house ready to put on the market. Since we plan on staying in the Magnolia house for a least ten years I am not concerned about prices falling the rest of 2009. The trick is going to be selling our house….surely we can’t be the only buyers who see opportunity in this market.

  68. “The trick is going to be selling our house….surely we can’t be the only buyers who see opportunity in this market.”

    That is the trick. In a strong market it’s much much less risky to buy and then sell. In this market, doing that is much more risky.

    As to your not being the only buyer, that brings up another point. Sales generate sales. If you sell, you will buy. Whoever you buy from may then also buy, etc. Unfortunately it works the other way too. When someone isn’t able to sell, they don’t buy. So you almost certainly are not the only person who would like to move around based on the market conditions. It’s just that the market conditions make that more difficult.

  69. Brenda,

    Sounds more like a lateral move than an “opportunity”, unless you are planning to double the size of house. You will lose as much as you gain…no? The market will be down an equal % for both the house you sell and the house you buy. So you only gain a fraction if you are buying a lot more house.

    Sell low; buy low…no?

  70. Ardell,

    Yes, it is lateral…we may up our mortage $25-50,000. Our current house is 2,000 sf and 3B/1Bath. It is a 1930 Tudor and a very inefficient layout. We are looking at mid-century modern houses and we can can a 4B/2Bath in the same 2,000-2,200 sf….

    I posted on Redfin forums about making an offer on a house with it contingent on the sale of our house….this was not possible in 2001 when we bought our house….someone joked on the forum that if just one house sold in Seattle without a contigent sale it would be like a game of dominos and everything would start to move…



  71. Looks more like $375,000 or so on the sale and $550,000 or so on the purchase to go from a 3/1 Fauntleroy to a 4/2 Magnolia. Unless you have four bedrooms spread out on 3 levels, like one in the basement, two on main and 1 on top.

    Trading up from 3/1 to 4/2 generally, does not equal $25,000 to $50,000, from what I can see.

    What’s your assessed value, and what do you think it will sell for?

  72. Ardell,
    Our appraised value is $552,000……We were hoping to sell for $575,000. The house next door sold for $575,000 two and 1/2 years ago. We were thinking our budget for Magnolia is $625,000. We are going to get an appraisal to help us set the price correctly.

  73. Brenda,

    Good idea. There aren’t too many 1 bathroom comps though. Did the house next door have one bathroom? Is that your 2008 assessed value, or the new 2009 assessed value?

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