August 26, 2006

Post Local Housing Market Observations Here!

What do you see in your housing market this weekend? Motivated sellers? Builder incentives? One from the topics thread, “Is Colorado Bucking the Trend? I found this in the Rocky Mountain News in a story on abysmal home sales across the nation: ‘A lot of the statistical information you’re going to see is coming from markets like Las Vegas and Phoenix that had such great run-ups and are now cooling off. The beauty of Denver is we never saw those kinds of run-ups. Denver has a tendency to be countercyclical to the rest of the country.’”

The Wall Street Journal. “Brian Michaud just picked up a little something for 40 percent off, a brand-new, two-bedroom condominium in Fish Creek, Wis., with a private elevator and harbor views. His method: He bought it at auction. Though the condo was new, its developer decided he wanted to sell quickly, so he put it on the block last month.”

“In Denver, auctioneer Janelle Karas has gotten so many inquiries from builders and developers worried about mounting inventories that she recently changed her business model to specialize in them. In Gadsden, Ala., auctioneer Craig King says he handled 12 auctions of new homes in 2005, and this year he’s on pace for about twice that number.”

“Wake up! Centex Homes just made the American Dream affordable again. Neighborhoods in Southern California.”

From New Jersey. “Builder Charles Panahi, like many builders and Realtors, sees the signs of a weakening market in North Jersey and beyond. Jeff Zilahy, an agent in Hoboken, says the numerous condo buildings sprouting up along the Gold Coast are adding to the supply of available dwellings and making it difficult to find enough buyers.”

“And Realtors are competing for fewer deals, he said. He left teaching in 2004, near the peak of the housing boom, to become a Realtor. ‘I got into real estate to make money,’ Zilahy said. ‘Now, ironically, I’m going back to teaching.’”

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Comment by mad_tiger
2006-08-26 11:44:19

“Brian Michaud just picked up a little something for 40 percent off, a brand-new, two-bedroom condominium in Fish Creek, Wis., with a private elevator and harbor views. His method: He bought it at auction.”

Auction, short sale, foreclosure. No matter. A comp is a comp is a comp.

Comment by Renting in SOFLA
2006-08-26 12:34:37

Do Auctions, Shorts and foreclosure sales show up in MLS comps?

Comment by mad_tiger
2006-08-26 12:44:38

Not unless they were listed on the MLS to begin with. But Zillow shows all transactions that were recorded at the city or county recorder’s office.

Comment by Renting in SOFLA
2006-08-26 13:16:45

So Realtors® can ignore/hide the poor comps in the area? Damm.

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Comment by ajh
2006-08-27 00:04:06

Does that also apply to EHS statistics.

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Comment by txchick57
2006-08-26 11:45:46

Guess this guy was more worried about selling option ARMS than his kid

Baby found dead in father’s SUV

07:11 AM CDT on Saturday, August 26, 2006

By HOLLY YAN / The Dallas Morning News

A 10-month-old boy was found dead in his father’s vehicle Friday evening after he apparently was forgotten in it for the entire day, police said.

Shortly before 6 p.m., police responding to a 911 call went to the 4000 block of International Parkway in Carrollton and found the boy dead in a Chevrolet Tahoe.

“The preliminary investigation reveals that the father of the baby was to drop the baby off at a day-care center in Dallas this morning,” Carrollton police Sgt. Patrick Murphy said. “He forgot to drop the baby off … and worked all day, leaving the baby in the car in the parking lot of the business.”

The high temperature in Dallas on Friday was 103 degrees.

Sgt. Murphy said he wasn’t sure when the baby was left in the car but estimated it was between 8 and 8:30 a.m. The father works at a mortgage lending business.

Investigators were questioning the father, whose name was not released, and no charges had been filed. The baby’s name also was not released.

The family has another young child who was staying with relatives Friday night, Sgt. Murphy said.

Comment by Peter Gerard
2006-08-26 12:28:11

Darn that is sad!

Comment by Melody
2006-08-26 13:35:48

How in God’s name can you forget your child? I can’t believe this stuff happens; and it happens more often than it should!!!!

Comment by lizziebeth
2006-08-26 15:04:24

Sleep deprivation! When my kids were babies, there were days where I was just floating by. Mom may usually bring baby to daycare…. It’s just sad!

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Comment by Recovering Homeowner
2006-08-26 18:43:28

If Mom usually brings baby to childcare, you’d think it would be an unusual-enough task that Dad would have paid more attention - not less!

Unbelievable that he would forget all day - and unforgivable.

Comment by rms
2006-08-27 09:58:02

The baby should have been at home with the “stay at home mom”, but they both work because Star Bucks and “bling-bling” are more important. Family values?

Comment by TheGuru
2006-08-27 12:25:26

That’s B.S. For better or for worse, women are more educated and may want/need to work out of the home. This ain’t the 1950’s anymore. I know plenty of f’ed up people whose mom’s were stay at home. Your point is frivolous.

Comment by eastcoaster
2006-08-26 17:01:07

Sleep deprivation is no excuse. Been there, done that, still buying the t-shirt. You do not forget when there’s a child in your car. No excuses - save for being completely friggin’ high.

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Comment by Betamax
2006-08-26 14:04:19

There’s no forgiveness for that.

Comment by auger-inn
2006-08-26 15:39:20

I doubt he’ll ask for any. I’d be surprised if he survives the guilt.

Comment by Price_Doubt
2006-08-26 16:08:36

It’s not like he was busy these days. He had all day with probably nothing to do, yet couldn’t think to go to his car for anything forgotten like a pack of cigarettes, or a call phone, or whatever. This story stinks to me. He should be indicted.

Comment by Pat
2006-08-27 02:08:38

txchick57: We had so many articles over the last year about this parental incompetence that I wrote an e-mail to Graco last month, begging their receiving customer service rep to forward it to their R&D department. All I asked was that they install a pressure reader under the seat cushion that emitted a loud beep when an infant was on the seat and the ignition was turned off or a door opened. She told me she would. I hope they are working on this. If I knew they were, I’d get 10 of the engineering people at Penn State to help them for free. Not brain surgery.

Comment by eastcoaster
2006-08-27 05:07:32

You a Penn Stater? Class of `87 here.

Comment by Pat
2006-08-27 07:32:02

Yeah.. BS’85/MBA’87. You’ve been dead on with the stuff in your area, and it relates exactly to my watch on Bucks Co.

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Comment by Ken
2006-08-28 09:00:50

I remember CSI doing an episode about that a few years ago. I really can’t think of anything sadder than that.

Comment by wmbz
2006-08-26 11:51:25

S.C. Coastal market dropping off… South Carolina.

Comment by Bill in Carolina
2006-08-26 12:57:25

I’m in a community of mostly retirees who hail from the northeast and midwest. When we first got here last May, there was a lot of turnover and prices moved up nicely. But very little has sold in the last couple of months, and two houses that had sold came back on the market. I’m guessing the newly-retired people who wanted to come here couldn’t sell their existing homes. My wife was not happy when we first got here, but is now firmly convinced we made the right move by leaving Florida and buying the lowest price house we could be comfortable in.

Go to any large city’s craigslist site and search real estate for sale using keywords such as “reduced” and “desperate” and even “foreclosure.”

Comment by boulderbo
2006-08-26 11:54:07

the line i hear all the time out here in colorado is that our market is countercyclical, that as the coasts implode we will do much better out here. unfortunately, we have record inventory, record foreclosures, the builders are still finishing inventory, sun is laying off, maxtor is laying off, united is laying off. with 31,000 units (not including the 16,000 foreclosures) on the market, i just don’t see how were ride out a national recession smelling like roses. besides, it looks like the financing spigot is being shut off (involuntarily), the only thing that kept this market alive over the past four years, imho.

Comment by dukes
2006-08-26 12:18:54

bo…what makes you say the financing spigot is being shut off? I would love for lenders to tighten, but I still think there is a ton of funny money out there. Are you hearing/seeing different?

Comment by boulderbo
2006-08-26 12:36:56

see buybacks from hr block this past week, they were far more conservative than most. the others are treading water until they have to deliver the bad news. i get calls from encore several times a week from a friendly rep offering 100% stated investor loans. the company is being shopped right now and you could probably buy it for a 12 pack if you were stupid enough to take on the liability.

Comment by ajh
2006-08-27 00:22:58

I’m reading that last post as implying H&R Block took the hit because they could take the hit. Whereas other lenders out there who are in worse shape can’t afford to do anything at all in case they spook their funding sources.

Holy smoke, talk about dead men walking!!

And here in Australia we’re riding a commodity wave which ultimately depends on the US consumer.


I think I’m going to move my investment strategy towards cash . . .

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Comment by dba
2006-08-26 12:33:56

my brother said this to me when i visited him a little while back. i didn’t ask who is going to buy when the californians can’t sell their homes on the coast to move to colorado.

Comment by rentfornow
2006-08-26 14:27:47

That is what all the brokers are telling us. We are renting until well into 2007. Today on the MLS there are 110 listing OVER 700K. Most are above 1.6M. Most are in bad locations or are in poor condition or are up snake turn roads in the mountains where you live with fire, flood or wildlife issues. Boulder is just NOT California…there are no jobs to support these prices…Boulder is ONLY 90,000 + people…not a big city. I can’t imagine there are that many buyers to reduce this inventory. Further when we first moved here about 10 months ago I started pulling the foreclosure list. It was about 15 properties per week…now it is pages long!
Brokers would like you to BELIEVE Boulder is counter to the national market. I don’t think anyone anywhere is going to survive this crash.

Comment by foz
2006-08-26 15:10:49

I’m sure it is different in Boulder just like it is here in Bend, OR :-)

Comment by boulderbo
2006-08-26 15:17:52

i wasn’t talking about boulder in the threads above, it’s a whole other animal. a lot of 4 wheel drive mercedes wheeling around with california plates. typical new resident in their late 50’s, decked out in mont blanc leisure wear, listening to their ipods and carrying their heavy hands on the way to the mailbox to get their new york times. i have lived in the mountains for the last 24 years, never saw a locked mailbox for the first 20 years, today there more than half are locked, part of our californication i guess.

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Comment by Lex
2006-08-26 11:55:54

Re the Fish Creek WI story, if any poster knows that area, I would be interested in knowing if $740K is considered a bargain. I know the area & seems high to me.

Comment by vcrenter
2006-08-26 12:00:27

Anyone notice realtors still using the “act fast, won’t last long” line in home ads? I’m addicted to searching Zip realty and seeing listings over 100 days old with that line to entice buyers. Just thought it was kind of funny…

Comment by plysat
2006-08-26 12:16:59

Like this? “Mediterranean dream home will not last! ” MLS # 06_122755 Nice area of LA, Listed 8/17 for 1.996 Million. Purchased 11/05 for 1.3. Spruced it up a bit. Dreaming. Kinda makes me angry. I hope they lose lots of $$.

Comment by speedingpullet
2006-08-27 07:49:45

I LOVE those “hurry!won’t last!!” bits of blurb in Zip, especially when the place has been on the market for, like, 8 months..

The stuff that really cracks me up is “open house 3/15″ etc..when we’re almost in september. Fer cryin out loud…change the blurb at least once every 6 months, and stop embarassing yourselves…

Comment by BanteringBear
2006-08-26 18:31:12

My apologies if this is a double post..

“Hurry up, won’t last long!”, “Great investment opportunity!”, “Don’t miss out on this one!”, etc. are so incredibly boring and stupid anymore. Realtors need to refresh their tired old acts. It is absolutely curtains for this market folks. I have been tracking many areas up here in the northwest, particularly Pierce (Gig Harbor), Kitsap, Jefferson, and Clallum counties. The greed and denial in the market right now are absolutely laughable. I have been keeping tabs on this particular house in Gig Harbor as it, to me, represents the bubble as well as any one house could.

It was purchased on 11/30/04 for $285,000 which, to me, was too much considering it is only a 2 bedroom 736 square foot home. $387 per square foot just seems high for the area, but since it is quaint, and in the historical district, let us assume it was only a tad overpriced. But wait, on 8/5/05 it sold again, for $525,000, or $713 per square foot!! HOLY CRAP!! And now, it is back on the market, and the FB is trying to get $595,000 for the place, or 808 per square foot!! And better yet, he is talking about what an opportunity if you sink a bunch more money into it!! I almost want to call the agent and let him know his listing made the housing bubble blog.

Comment by Mamboni
2006-08-26 21:53:22

Ha ha ha ha ha….Holy Crap is right!!!! I can’t believe that one. The seller is insanely greedy or delusional. 600K for that mouse house. The only thing good about it is the property tax, which are cheaper than dirt. If anyone bids on that, he deserves a Darwin award.

Comment by Mr. Fester
2006-08-26 22:22:53

Holy Sh@#! That is bubblicious! Here in Ashland (OR) there is $650 sf 1br 1ba with a “secret garden” (I suppose you would be spending a lot of time outside…) that was coming in at just under $400k that I thought was the kicker. You win hands down. Hard to believe, actually.

Comment by imnotafb
2006-08-27 09:20:12

What’s a FB? I’ve been trying to figure this out for some time now. I did a search in google. The only thing I thought might fit is: “Fart Burner”?

Comment by Operation
2006-08-27 11:30:29

Fuc*ed Buyer

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Comment by PNW_Terry
2006-08-28 08:24:37

Agree price is ridiculous. However, this place appears to be on the edge of the commercial district of Gig Harbor. Generally, don’t “commercial” properties go for higher prices than residential?

Comment by Recovering Homeowner
2006-08-26 18:39:03

About a year ago I spotted a a new listing with that annoying “Won’t last” sign on it. Four months later that sign was replaced with “Reduced.” It still took three more months to sell - and that was LAST YEAR.

Probably see it re-listed soon! BTW, what does “Priced To Sell” REALLY mean? It is so annoying…

Comment by Tom Lawler
2006-08-26 12:11:15

“Zillow-gap” in Loudoun Co. — getting larger every month! Homes are being listed for 5-20% below the zillow value!

Comment by flat
2006-08-26 15:21:06

same here in 22151
zillow LAG

Comment by larenter
2006-08-26 17:27:02

Agree… In 91355 Zillow also lags by about $100k per listing.

Comment by luba
2006-08-26 16:19:46

here in albuquerque new mexico, the house for sale right across the street from me is listed on zillow as 798k (which is so totally ludicrous) but is listed on at 510k (which is still way over-high for this neighborhoood). it has been for sale for a while, and i’ve only seen a few cars stop there for a look over months of being on the market.

Comment by AshlandRenter
2006-08-26 12:19:29

Here in Ashland, Oregon, one of the houses I’ve kept track of is on it’s fifth price reduction since coming on the market in March.

We now have inventory of 430 houses, which represents close to 15 months inventory at the rate of July sales.

Reality is starting to sink in, but there’s still a lot of denial out there.

Comment by Russ Winter
2006-08-26 16:45:57

Portland, Oregon’s Pearl now up to 120 listings, up from 51 on May 5, and 90 on July 28.

That’s about 5% of the total condos here on the market. 24 price reductions since 7/28. Not sure what the sales prices are, or how many?

Comment by Mr. Fester
2006-08-26 22:29:49


Looks like things are finally going the right way in this absurdly overpriced town. Hope they make it an even 10 reductions and offer to come back and feed the squirrels too!

And how did you get the inventory sales statistics? Just curious.

Comment by dba
2006-08-26 12:30:54

in NYC, Queens, Forest Hills there are a bunch of houses for sale in the lower part of the attached house market. The area with the million dollar homes looks OK. Went to visit the in-laws in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn and there aren’t many for sale signs either. More than last year, but doesn’t look like a panic. very far from it.

Looking at Craigslist there is more inventory in apartments. Since rents are so high I don’t think prices will drop too much. The biggest obstacle to ownership here is the down payment, not the mortgage payment at current fixed rates. Even the condos want a nice down payment and at their price level it is a nice $50,000 chunck of change and it grows if you want something more than a 1 bedroom.

We’ll see what happens next year, but so far it’s a return to normalcy in NYC. Back to the averages where it takes your home/apartment 4-6 months to sell and sellers have to bargain like they used to.

And of course buyers don’t have to buy junk like they did in the last 2 years. People would list the dirtiest POS apartment, slap a coat of paint on top of 50 years of paint, do another $100 of cosmetics and call it fully renovated. Hopefully fully renovated will mean that you put $15,000 in real renovations into your place like it did before.

Could we have a big crash here? yes. Do I think so? No. Bought my place for $135,000 3 years ago. Can sell it for around $220,000 now. Current rent would be around $1400 plus utilities. Payment and all expenses if bought is around $1700 for a new buyer at $220,000 with 0% down and 6% interest. With 20% down it’s cheaper than renting, but saving up $50,000 or more is a challenge and that is the biggest obstacle if i were to sell.

Comment by Carlos
2006-08-26 13:43:06

I live in Flushing, Queens and had been looking for something to buy (Co-Op) and what I’ve found in areas such as Jackson heights (which I like) and North Flushing are completely overpriced. I recently saw a apartment in Jackson heights for approximately 145K, 1 bedroom co-op, 650sq ft, no parking spot available with a 20% down payment mandatory. The place was ok, but I took one look and said this is ridiculous, who in there right mind would pay 145K for this. its probably worth 100k if not less.

Could we have a big crash here? yes. Do I think so? Probably. Of course, excluding Manhattan, that’s a story all by itself. The median household income of a family in queens is $42,439 and the median price asked for housing units is $196,100 with a 20% down payment of $39,220. The average working person (who btw is the person that lives in the “outer boroughs”) doesn’t have the 40K lying around to buy a place.

Quick example, I know someone who about 6 years ago bought a 3 bedroom co-op for 90K, they could sell it now for about 305K in Flushing. That price for a Co-op in flushing is ridiculous.

Comment by dba
2006-08-26 15:28:41

not sure about flushing, but there a few very expensive blocks in jackson heights where manhattan people moved in and prices went up faster than fannie mae and appraisers could keep up. right around 34th ave. my wife used to live there as a child and she says the entire area is a lot better now. and the first sign that the high prices are there to stay are that you see a lot of gay men in the area. one thing I learned about NYC is that a lot of times gay men means there is money in the area.

property values in NYC are proportional to the amount of gay men in the area and/or the amount of hot women in the area. that is the simplest rule i’ve found.

Comment by Carlos
2006-08-26 16:03:08

The co-op we went to see was on 34th ave and 87th street. Well actually the property values went in up in the area due to the new influx of whites, since the area was/is heavily hispanic. Because there were gay spanish men long before.

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Comment by dba
2006-08-26 16:45:00

the gay men from chelsea invasion

know the area, wife’s relatives live on 37th and 78th. The really nice buildings are around 34 and 76th or so.

young professionals move in, get on the board and change things. i still don’t understand what makes some areas in NYC go up so much. Sometimes it’s manhattan views, sometimes it’s the lack of manhattan views, other times it’s cheapness and proximity to the city, other times like Jackson heights you have no idea why people moved there other than it’s like NYC but more suburb and small town feel like with unique stores in the street

Comment by Carlos
2006-08-27 10:50:03

“The really nice buildings are around 34 and 76th or so”

I think thats what they call the “Historic District”.

Comment by manhattanite
2006-08-26 16:47:01

“and the first sign that the high prices are there to stay are that you see a lot of gay men in the area. one thing I learned about NYC is that a lot of times gay men means there is money in the area.

property values in NYC are proportional to the amount of gay men in the area and/or the amount of hot women in the area. that is the simplest rule i’ve found. ”

hilarious! but true.

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Comment by Kent
2006-08-26 12:41:06

Anyone catch the New York Times article on the bubble that just went up on their web site? The graph in the sidebar is a complete eye-opener

Comment by P'cola Popper
2006-08-26 14:10:49

“Moreover, few borrowers are falling behind on their mortgage payments, and the economy looks fairly healthy outside of housing.”

Excuse me? I thought there was a bit of news lately about the sub prime market and production trimming in the automobile industry.

Love the chart! 50% decline within three years is in the bag!

Comment by dvo
2006-08-26 22:56:06

Eye Opener? That graph is a jaw dropper!

Turns out any historical bubble/crash cycles are PIKERS compared to this monster. When I think of all the factors exacerbating this impending escalator-to-hell-going-down plunge, the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.

Bye bye Dow, too.

Comment by Colin Jensen
2006-08-27 18:41:01

That’s the best graph evar. Thx!

Comment by John Law
2006-08-26 12:54:00

look at the top 5, all derided here are terrible places to live. looks like they fell hard last time and rose are people were pushed out of desirable areas.


Comment by lessbubblyhere
2006-08-27 07:47:43

Good lord, it really is less bubbly here:
344 Akron, OH 18.0092

18% in 5 years? Not much.

Comment by Blue
2006-08-28 07:46:44

368 Austin-Round Rock, TX 14.6432

Feeling better about the coming bust!

Comment by locust_revolt
2006-08-26 13:00:09

Asheville NC continues to be overrun by equity locusts, prices and sales appear to be up YOY.

Comment by michael
2006-08-26 14:37:17

We’ve been to Asheville a few times and I liked the city quite a bit. We were actually staying in the mountains but went to
Asheville to use the YMCA - it’s the nicest Y I’ve seen. Looking at the numbers on your site, it’s no surprise that
it’s attracting outsiders. Those prices are pretty cheap compared to a lot of of the coast and, like I said, it’s an attractive city in my estimate.

The main negative to me is that there is no really big city
nearby and I’ve always been used to being no more than
an hour away from a big city.

Comment by lizziebeth
2006-08-26 15:07:57

When we took our children to camp this past summer, we were shocked at the number of florida plates. Guess Asheville/Hendersonville is where the halfbackers are going.

Comment by OlBubba
2006-08-26 19:00:59

A lot of Floridians vacation in the mountains in the summertime to escape the brutal Florida heat. It can be quite a bit cooler in the higher elevations. Those folks may have been on vacation, lizziebeth.

Comment by locust_revolt
2006-08-26 13:07:22

The equity locusts continue to overrun Asheville NC

Comment by Mo Money
2006-08-26 13:15:07

Choices driven by interest rates, commutes, schools (Santa Cruz is Hosed)

Comment by adopt-a-landlord
2006-08-26 13:25:27

The real estate sign planter here in Lodi CA just stopped to install a lawn sign at the vacant house next door. I said hello, and asked how it felt to be in the most profitable business in the U.S. now. He laughed and said business is great! “Today’s my Friday” (actually Saturday) and I thought it might be a little lighter, but I have 30 signs to install”.

Also received a Call from the SoCal Zip Realty lady asking if we were still interested in buying in San Diego (I didn’t know we ever were). I told her we had sold our house and were happily renting and waiting for the housing market to come back to earth. To my amazement, she launched into what I thought surely had to be extinct RE marketing lines. “The market down here is still great! We have a lot of people from San Jose an other parts of the bay area buying”. “This area is so desireable, I don’t think we’ll see declines here”. “I’m still real positive on real estate I have several investment properties myself”. The declines in the early 90’s were only in certain areas, and due to job losses in certain industries.” Unbelievable!! I think we may need deprogramers to help these people out. The clear and present danger in the market hasn’t phased them so far.

Comment by Mo Money
2006-08-26 13:28:44

McMansion Owners shocked by Utility Bills

P.S. Freind of mine bought a McMansion a few years ago, he is now getting killed by Property Taxes, water & sewer Bills, Utilities and is forced to shop at Wal-Mart to make ends meet. He was never rich to begin with but when you buy a McMansion you are perceived to have money and get soaked as a result.

Comment by mad_tiger
2006-08-26 13:43:39

“…a 5,700-square-foot house with central air conditioning…”

Yup, that’s going to be expensive. I know folks with a 2000 sq ft house that run up $450/mo a/c bills during the summer so $1320 for one month for this guy is not a surprise. Still a lot of money though.

Comment by Davey Jones
2006-08-26 17:36:12

I live in Mobile, Al and my electric bill last month was $179. And we have a large house 3000+ sq ft. We do have dual heat pumps and shut off the bed rooms and a/c for them during the day. And reverse that at night.

What are these people doing? $1320 is incredible.

Comment by mad_tiger
2006-08-26 18:51:49

This table is kind of interesting. May 2006 cents per KWH by state and sector. Alabama was 8.79 cents. California Residential was 14.15 cents. Not enough to explain a bill of $1320 but significant. Hawaii topped everyone at 23.26 cents per KWH.

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Comment by mad_tiger
2006-08-26 19:27:15

“When Lujan, who lives in San Martin, heard of the tier system, he groaned. His electricity use rose from 3,046 kilowatt hours in June, when the bill was about $600, to 4,236 kilowatt hours in July.”

So this guy was paying about 19.7 cents per KWH in June and 31.3 cents per KWH in July. That’s a lot higher than the 14.15 cents per KWH in CA from the DOE’s table for May 2006. Must be either seasonal or San Jose is higher than the CA average or they really do ramp up the rate per KWH as you consume more.

Comment by ajh
2006-08-27 00:39:38

The top tier for SoCal Edison is over 40 cents per KWH.

Comment by GH
2006-08-27 01:22:23

Here too in San Diego, after around 1000KW Hours you are looking at around 40 cents per KWH. Our summer bill runs over $500. I have heard up north where hydro power is common, rates run around 8 cents. Another nail in San Diego’s coffin as far as affordability is concerned.

Comment by rms
2006-08-27 13:35:16

I live near the Columbia River, and our power comes from a Public Utility District (PUD) that own two hydroelectric dams. Residential power rates are something like $0.042 per kwhr. Our 1550-sqft all electric home with central air/heating costs roughly $80 per month at the summer’s peak, and $110.00 for the winter’s low, and spring and fall come in at roughly $65.00. We never factored energy into our move when we left CA for lower cost living; it has been a unexpected benefit.

Comment by Oaktown
2006-08-26 13:55:08

That guy used 4236 kilowatt hours in July! How is that even possible? We live in the Bay Area also and used 300.

Comment by realestateblues1
2006-08-26 17:49:54

I have a small townhouse, and I used 1100 kWh in Florida.

Comment by miamirenter
2006-08-27 03:31:54

w/1300 sq ft apt, my usage ~1300 kwh in summer

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Comment by michael
2006-08-26 14:45:38

Just got our electricity bill for July. $109. We had a lot of
days in the 90s in July so it’s not a big surprise. Power company is going to drop rates 15% due to stranded costs
being paid off and a drop of a penny per KWH in their
costs. I’d guess that the big drop in natural gas might
explain it.

BTW, there’s a segment on microhomes on ABCNews on now.
They’re homes under 1,000 sq ft. A lady has a 700 sq ft
home and her average utility costs are $100/month. It’s
hyperefficient in terms of space usage. The lady appears to
be single.

The show says that they’re being built all over the country.

The lady also suggests that it’s for people that are comfortable with living simply and that it isn’t for everyone.

Comment by lizziebeth
2006-08-26 15:09:54

My old Mcmansion was just hard to keep clean! I will never live in a Mcmansion again!

Comment by sm_landlord
2006-08-26 15:42:30

If you live in a McMansion, you need a McStaff, and McMoneyTree to pay for it all. I have to wonder what people are thinking about when they buy more than they can afford. Maybe they need to have a McBudget.

OMG! I can’t afford to run the air conditioner!

You mean it costs $500/month to keep the pool at 85 all winter?!?!

I can’t afford solar, I’m already at 103% LTV!!!

So nouveau.

Comment by Mo Money
2006-08-26 13:30:36

Consumers begin tightening belts

Comment by Groundhogday
2006-08-26 13:47:21

Many of the luxury condos in Bozeman (built, building and preconstruction) are now marketed as “shell only.” Is this common on the high end? Sort of looks like the developers are low on cash and desperate to get out from under these white elephants.

Who in their right mind would want to buy a 3/2 condo shell in Bozeman, MT for $500k to $1million?

Comment by Mole Man
2006-08-26 18:21:02

Until recently I had only seen this in two special settings: Small to medium multi-unit buildings in boutique settings where the landlord might want to customize to target particular tennants, and lofts where it is expected that minimal treatments plus some stuff just for character will be going in. When the loft craze first started a prized option was to get two unbuilt units next to each other, knock the wall down, then build a palace. I am really hoping some of these end up on the market for “pennies on the dollar” as they are really nice and when first finished were mostly to be found at under a half million, just to show how much the market has changed.

Comment by Mr. Fester
2006-08-26 22:10:42

Am I the only one to notice the irony of “mole man” in a loft? In any case, good luck in gathering the spoils…

Comment by Carlsbad renter
2006-08-26 19:35:20

I grew up in Billings, now live in San Diego. Grandparents still live in Churchhill area. I couldn’t believe the cost of housing up there when I couldn’t find a single good engineering job anywhere remote. I can only guess people are cashing out down here and moving up there (I can’t blame them for that). Buddy of mine was on the Belgrade volunteer fire department up there. Whenever he asked someone what they did for a living, they always responded “construction.” Seriously? WTF? Absolutely no engineering jobs that pay anything up there. Zoot is the only software company. Aunt and Uncle (who also live in Churchill) say it is “tele-commuting.” I thought “to what?” I think it is going to get really, really ugly up there and in Billings. At least, Wyoming has the oil, coal, and gas to prop up their housing prices.

Comment by incessant_din
2006-08-26 14:02:18

Lots of open houses in Livermore, CA. Real Estate shills are getting desperate, but there are lots of people looking to find a ray of hope for buying.

A couple of weeks ago, the local chamber of commerce put on a home buying seminar at a local large employer. The room was packed (I figured 200+ people), with a full demographic spectrum, age-wise. They were telling people about how they should think about what payment they can afford, then trying to show that a $500K house is affordable for buying. Same old tripe, renting is throwing money away, yada yada… They were doing OK with the crowd that wanted to believe, until they started talking numbers. They ran a case where they showed that accounting for deductions, it would only cost something like $200 more per month to buy a $500K home than rent at $1800/mo. Of course, I had to call the guy on the numbers not adding up, and it sounding like an I/O scenario, and he sheepishly had to admit that was the case. I threws in one quick jab, replying that this case is just throwing money away since you’re renting from the bank. I think that helped to embolden others to ask some tougher questions, but it was obvious that there was another contingent (maybe 30% of the audience) that was still looking for any ray of hope.

I sent Ben a raft of low-res pictures that I took of open house signs in Livermore last Sunday, I hope they made it. Starting to look like SoCal in the East Bay. We need a Gary Watts to tell people to hide their signs, so that they don’t panic the herd.

Comment by JWM in SD
2006-08-26 14:43:44

The real estate shills will try to perpetuate this as long as they can but I really think the jig is truly up now. The MSM is really beginning to tear into the story becaus they can’t ignoe anymore without looking bad later on. I admire your courage in challenging the idiots at that seminar on their numbers. Personally, I think it’s time that we (the realists) take off the kid gloves we’ve been treating the FB’s, GF’s and permabulls with out in the open. For the past year, I’ve made it a point not to bring up house prices ( I live in San Diego) because so many here in SD are very much tied to their beloved houses physcologically. Raining on their parade could have proven to be rather confrontational. Now, with the mainstream media beginning to report on the slow down almose every day, I feel emboldened. A year ago I would have been laughed at, now I’ll probably get a lot of icy stares when I bring the subject up. Hey, somebody has to burst their bubble right?

Comment by incessant_din
2006-08-26 15:22:53

I just had to be careful because I didn’t know the mood of the audience. When people are desperate for any glimmer of hope, it’s wise to be careful, especially when it involves your co-workers. A few others felt the need to speak up and challenge some of their assertions, and I’d like to think I gave them permission to speak by breaking the ice. I doubt anybody rushed out of that seminar ready to make a full price offer on a house.

Comment by Mr. Fester
2006-08-26 22:42:50

That is the key point. By bringing up the topic, you might prevents someone from hurling themselves into deep hardship. Might as well try to help those we can, because so many others have conflicts of interest. Good for those folks that you showed some ba@#$! with that slimeball.

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Comment by imnotafb
2006-08-27 09:21:09

What’s a FB? I’ve been trying to figure this out for some time now. I did a search in google. The only thing I that really fit is: “Fart Burner”?

Comment by imnotafb
2006-08-27 09:22:10

It’s really bugging me.

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Comment by incessant_din
2006-08-26 14:06:25

I don’t know about Denver’s upside, but my hometown’s namesake in Colorado is experiencing something that I haven’t seen for a while.

Does anybody know what the deal is with Livermore, CO? I was tooling around some realty web sites, and darn near all of the Glacier View Meadows subdivision is for sale. Lots of the houses are obviously vacant, and the build dates run from the late 70s to recent, which seems odd for a specuvestor rout.

I tried finding some dirt on the sub, and all I found was some report about Uranium showing up in the well water. I wonder if it’s a mass panic because of that, or something else. Please advise.

Comment by crash1
2006-08-26 15:07:00

Livermore has been a sort of bedroom community for folks in Fort Collins that like mountain living. It’s kind of an artsy, eclectic bunch of people, with a few loners and retirees thrown in . I think the high cost of gas and commuting is hitting towns like Livermore. The nearest real town in Fort Collins, 30 miles away. There are no jobs or any kind of commerce to speak of, and it’s a long way to work and the grocery store.

Comment by incessant_din
2006-08-26 15:24:18

Is it really that simple? I find it hard to believe that interest rates or gas could cause old and new houses to go up for sale all at once. Maybe they are at the tipping point.

Comment by larenter
2006-08-26 14:19:13

I was out today in Valencia and there were open house signs everywhere!! It was truly a hoot! The corners were so full in some areas that the realtwhores had to put the signs along the sides of the road. I thought everyone wanted to live here???? I remember when they used to just have open houses on Sundays. What happened to that? We aren’t going to buy for at least a year or two. Who knows maybe we can score a deal in La Canada??? They are already marking houses down there by the $100’s.

Comment by incessant_din
2006-08-26 15:32:10

Send pictures to Ben!! This is the kind of stuff we need to show all the “it’s different here” people.

Comment by larenter
2006-08-26 17:29:14

Will do… It’s quite funny!

Comment by david cee
2006-08-26 16:11:37

The Labor Day Massacre is weeks away. Everyone involved in real estate knows that any buyers left after school starts are the bottom of the food chain…and since the investors are gone..
I smell CRASH…open houses every day thru Labor Day

Comment by Capt Haddock
2006-08-26 14:28:58

I don’t understand why there isn’t more discussion of the Manhatten market here. One broker has monthly market reports. According to those the median price dropped more than 7% from June to July of this year.

The drop in median prices from the peak in June, 2005 ($831,000) to July, 2006 ($747,000) is over 11% in nominal dollars and would be over 15% in real dollars.

The newspaper stories don’t seem to reflect these numbers, although the Times is covering the national bubble more than it has.

11% price drop in one year would seem to be a rout to me. There is a record number of condo developments and conversions continuing to come online so I don’t see a reversal soon. When I speak real estate-related folk here it’s all prices-don’t-go-down-in-nyc. Whistling past the graveyard.

Comment by manhattanite
2006-08-26 15:09:32

“When I speak real estate-related folk here it’s all prices-don’t-go-down-in-nyc.”

i’ve tried warning some friends and neighbors. they just don’t seem to get it. fuck’em! let them ride it right to the bottom — it will take about 3-5 years.

Comment by manhattanite
2006-08-26 15:13:11

“When I speak real estate-related folk here it’s all prices-don’t-go-down-in-nyc.”

i’ve tried warning some neighbors and friends, but they just don’t seem to get it. fuck’em! let them ride it right to the bottom.

Comment by flat
2006-08-26 15:20:11

not one negative word in the Wash Post
chineese firewall my asssssssss

Comment by Mole Man
2006-08-26 18:31:31

The Chinese build some of the most amazing walls imaginable.
This one should prove to be about as useful in the long term.

Comment by John
2006-08-26 16:09:57

Anyone else notice the DC condo market has officially tanked? I was looking at the early sunday edition of the Post, and I’m seeing something that hasn’t been around in years…the $100s K studio, the $200K 1br, and the $300K 2 br. Not a lot yet, but some. Actually the listings are hilarious…desperate sellers coming in at what I listed. New condo developers pushing the limits of “promotions” to avoid lowering prices ($25-$50K “promos”), and some bulldogs refusing to budge (some idiots at 2020 Lofts in Ust who are holding out for $100-$200K profits after 3 years).

Comment by eastcoaster
2006-08-26 17:15:49

I posted before about a neighbor in my apartment bldg. Married, 3 boys under the age of 5 - all crammed into a 2BR apt. She was going to offer $150K on a home listed at $206K and I said if she was successful, I’d be very inclined to start tossing lobs around town. Well the house in question reduced their price to $199K. I figured it’d be worth a shot by them at that point. But, they decided instead to buy a house in York, PA. It’s about an hour and a half/2 hours from where they currently live (and will have to commute to for their jobs). Got a new house for $130K. Said it was appraised at $163K - somehow got some great deal from the builder. So that’s that!

All I know about York, PA is there are a lot of printing companies there as I’ve had to do press checks there in the past. A few people have commented that it’s not a great area to live in. But, I’m not moving there so not my problem. But I feel bad for this family because they just couldn’t hold out any longer. Now two parents have long commutes. God only knows who will watch the kids. And - the real kicker - their rent was only ~$750/month and they haven’t been able to save a penny in three years. Now how are they gonna’ swing a $130K mortgage and 3-4 hour/day commutes?

Again, all because they caved. I advised them to find a 3BR rental around here - they just had to buy. It’s a shame. They’re only in their 20s and the husband has already filed for bankruptcy in the past. Crazy world.

Comment by michael
2006-08-26 17:47:44

I think that you have to teach this stuff to your kids when they’re teenagers. It seems pretty hard to tell them this stuff when they’re in their 20s and 30s. Then after a few hard knocks, they listen to you again. Our kids are teenagers and have already figured out that we know more than they do. At least when it comes down to financial, college, math, english and science. We’re not so good on
youth culture stuff.

Comment by sjrnv
2006-08-26 17:54:27

Here are a couple of items I found interesting related to the Las Vegas market. I still see optimism in the media here, but my eyes tell me different. Homes in my fairly new, hillside neighborhood in Henderson are sitting for months. The next-door neighbor has had one person come to an open house, the place was put up for sale in June. She refuses to budge on price, saying the the real estate agent has told her the market is going to pick up steam in a few months and she will “outwait” the buyers. I told her the other day I’m thinking of putting my place up for sale, same model home, and I intend to be 15% lower than her price of $345k as I want to sell and get out, not wait around for months while prices drop further. She thinks I’m nuts, and said I’d be ruining every one else’s sales price if I went that low. I told her that wasn’t my problem as I think 99% of my neighbors are AHs anyway. For a neighborhood with houses going from the mid 300s to over a half million, I may be the first in a long time to have the number “2″ at the start of my asking price. I don’t have a mortgage, so have a lot of flexibility and may rent for awhile before re-buying. Or if California goes to pot, maybe go back there to live.

Here are the articles I mentioned, they are from the local CBS TV affiliate here in Vegas:

Local Homebuilders Offer Incentives That May Disappear Soon

Aug 25, 2006 07:53 PM PDT

Local Homebuilders Offer Incentives That May Disappear Soon

We’ve all heard about the housing market slowdown.

There are about 20,000 resale homes on the market in Las Vegas and another 50,000 potential new homes. This situation also provides an opportunity.

New homebuilders are offering some pretty incredible incentives.

Home prices hinge on a function of supply and demand. At the moment, the supply of new homes being built far exceeds the demand.

That’s bad news for reselling a house, but good news for a new home buyer.

Amstar homes president and owner David Mcentire says continued job growth in Las Vegas means the buyers are there, just scared to take the plunge.

The media “single handedly destroyed the confidence of the buyers out there. We helped you in that regard by producing so many homes,” Mcentire says.

That means incentives. A buyer walking into an Amstar home community can expect $20,000- $25,000 in financing incentives, help selling a current home paying up to 3 percent of the realtor commission, and Amstar will pay to move you into your new home.

But the sale prices are not expected to go down.

Most new homes builders will offer some incentives. Mcentire says the price of new homes will not be reduced for two reasons. He says land prices and the second reason - homes are selling, even at a slow rate but they are selling.

Builders also responded by slowing construction. Building permits are down.

Mcentire believes the supply will meet demand in about eight months and the incentives will be gone.

Homebuilders say buyers should act now because incentives may soon disappear and interest rates could rise making the price of that dream house out of reach.

(Note: I looked at a couple of Amstar’s developments in my area, one started in the 400s, the other well over 2 million.)

The next article is about a mortgage scam going on here:

Mortgage Fraud Ring Dupes Las Vegas Home Sellers

Aug 25, 2006 08:20 PM PDT

Mortgage Fraud Ring Operating in Las Vegas

The FBI has identified Nevada as one of the top ten mortgage fraud hot spots in the nation.

According to the FBI mortgage fraud costs lenders more than $1 billion a year.

So, what if someone offered you hundreds of thousands of dollars more than your asking price on your home right now, even in this dismal housing market.

It may sound too good to be true but home buyers eager to sell are getting dragged into a ring of local mortgage fraud.

A man we will call Jeff got an offer for way above the asking price for his house. He won’t show his face because he’s afraid there’s something shady going on.

“My realtor came to me, they said they are just kind of strange, they want a whole lot of money back at closing,” Jeff says.

The buyer wants $120,000 at closing.

“It’s a scam,” Scott Gillespie, Republic Mortgage loan officer, says.

Gillespie says a buyer is never supposed to get cash back - especially not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“It’s a scam to put money in their pocket, they make no payments and that is how they have made their money.”

The conspiracy starts with the realtor who identifies a low priced property. The appraiser, who’s also in on the scheme, inflates the value on paper. Then the broker, who’s in on it too, combines all the fraudulent information into a loan application and submits it to the lender.

“If the broker is not being honest the broker is weeding out the information that just makes the transaction look open and honest and is providing the end lender with just enough to make it look like it is an up and up deal,” Gillespie says.

They tell the lender the extra money is for repairs but once the deal is closed they never pay the mortgage and walk away with the cash.

“Could the seller be dragged in? They could,” Gillespie says.

After Eyewitness News told Jeff what was going on, he asked us not to show his face and said he would drop out of the deal.

I hope there were of interest to this group.

Comment by dvo
2006-08-26 23:12:20

The media “single handedly destroyed the confidence of the buyers out there. We helped you in that regard by producing so many homes,” Mcentire says.

Huh? I don’t think ’single handedly’ means what you think it means, Mr. Mcentire. Now go be Owner and President of Amstar Homes, will ya? You must be very busy…

Comment by Doc
2006-08-26 18:05:54

Charlottesville, VA. About 2 hrs south of DC. One county north of us has experienced a 59% drop in sales July 06 vs 05. Yet, CVille keeps going relatively strong. No big drops in prices or in sales volume despite large inventories. This surprises me…

Local employer who has put on many new staff in the last few years is the National Ground Intelligence Center - US Army facility that hires loads of contractors to sort through satellite feeds and support the troops in Iraq. I wonder what will happen when the US pulls out; a loss of a few hundred high end jobs could shake the local economy (Cville is small).

Anyone else out there with Charlottesville insights?


Comment by polarbare
2006-08-26 18:37:59

As a potential buyer in the north Dallas area, I’m pretty much at a loss. Most of the infomation out there is about the coasts (where the bubble has/is about to collapse). I don’t think anyone knows what’s going on here, as values haven’t risen like they have elsewhere, but there is the specter of multiple foreclosures lowering prices, and the overall economic effects of the bubble on the rest of the nation.

In addition, there are reports that the market here is undervalued (not sure where they got that from), and I keep wondring if specuvestors are going to swoop in and try make money here. Any thoughts?

Comment by mongo78
2006-08-26 20:36:10

Out and about in north San Diego county today, observed the following:

1) Lunch in the Cedras design district in Solana Beach, every store advertising sales (50% off or more), crowds light. Salespeople very pleasant and courteous.
2) Drove up the 101 to Oceanside. Girlfriend observed that there were a ‘disturbing’ number of houses for sale.
3) Visted Sam’s Club and Fry’s Electronics in Escondido. Got good parking spaces at both stores, little or no wait in line at Sam’s Club. Fry’s was a little busier.
4) Two general observations - we have noticed a distinct decline in service in restaurants in the last six months - several times we have overheard the waitpeople talking about being understaffed due to the inability to hire new help. Also, two fellow employees who drive from north county (San Marcos and Temecula) observed Friday that traffic has been noticeably lighter recently.
5) Several units in my community of about 50 twin homes in Scripp’s ranch have gone on the market recently, priced in the low 500’s (around $285 per sq ft). Two sold within 30 days, one or two others are still on the market. On the other hand, I haven’t seen any other ‘SOLD’ signs in the surrounding single-family neighborhoods, at least not in the last month or so.

Comment by oc-ed
2006-08-27 06:52:55

To me it looks like signs are being pulled from yards. The listings are still there on properties I watch, but the signs have come down. I smell a rat or maybe a whole pack of rats taking advice from a very desperate local rat, Watts. Prices are holding with MOM appreciation at 0.0 for 92626 and 8.1 for 92627 as per the OC Register this am. I am seeing some large homes in the rental listings on craigslist, 4 and 6 bedrooms.

Comment by speedingpullet
2006-08-27 08:11:10

I’m noticing - on the 50 or so houses I’m tracking on Zip here in L.A - that 5 properties have increased the List Price. I’m guessing that its a last-gasp attempt to sell them at 2005 prices, before they go off the listings next weekend, after Labor Day.
Looking forward to see what prices they’ll be come next spring, when they go back on the market…

Comment by diceman
2006-08-27 09:14:26

Here in Vegas, the song remains the same. Inventory is now over 24,000; a 50% increase in less than a year. I don’t know how much prices have dropped but I imagine the decline is significant.

Comment by Dennis
2006-08-27 21:53:03

“Wake up! Centex Homes just made the American Dream affordable again. Neighborhoods in Southern California.”

ANYONE AND I MEAN ANYONE with a brain would NEVER agree to any loan package being offered here. It is STUPID, as you are taking on more debt by the day. How about the builder reducing the property value to about $300,000 as that is all they are worth and letting the buyer put dow his 20% and do a 30 year fixed!

I hope the builder eats these!!!

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