August 6, 2007

Deep Into A Buyer’s Market

The Great Falls Tribune reports from Montana. “The local real state market is following the state’s appreciation trend, said Realtor Jan Popa. Last year, the average selling price of a single family home was $148,620. This year, so far, the average price is $165,585. It’s not quite a hot sellers’ market, however.”

“‘Our market is turning some what, but it’s not a crisis,’ she said. ‘There are about 100 more homes in the market now than at this time last year. But we are insulated from the national bubble burst. We were left out of the boom, but that means we are getting left out of the bust too.’”

“Realtor Julie Topel-Evans says not long ago Great Falls homeowners were seeing appreciation levels of 12 to 18 percent a year. ‘That’s done,’ she said. ‘We are back at 3 to 4 percent,.’”

“Other areas of Montana, most notably Bozeman and Kalispell, are beginning to see their markets stall, said John Kunz, owner of The Falls Real Estate agency. ‘Those are the areas that saw huge increases just a couple of years ago,’ he said.”

“The Flathead area, for instance, has two to three times the number of homes on the market compared to last year, said Greg Strable, owner of Mountain Front Appraisal Services.”

“‘They are actually starting to see property values decline,’ he said.”

The News Tribune from Washington. “Known for having some of the biggest houses and miles of shoreline, the Gig Harbor area holds another, less desirable distinction: Pierce County’s largest supply of for-sale homes.”

“Gig Harbor’s inventory of such houses and condominiums stood at 9.7 months in July, according to (the) Northwest MMLS director Dick Beeson. The number measures how long it would take to sell every home that’s listed, putting Gig Harbor deep into a buyer’s market. And hundreds more homes are planned.”

“Homes listed for more than $1 million in the first half of 2007 were projected to sell in 25.6 months, according to Beeson. The area examined includes Fox Island and the Key Peninsula.”

“Developer Dave Devin is more than half finished converting 62 apartments to condos at Harbor Glen. ‘I thought once I got this thing done, the public would be coming to my door. I still haven’t generated much traffic,’ he said.”

“After listing the first ones in April, he’s sold two, with offers on two more. Prices on the three-bedroom units have been cut from $289,950 to $259,950. Two bedrooms were reduced from $259,950 to $229,950.”

“Ed Aro, agent and consultant to home builders, said newly built homes still sell in Gig Harbor. But they have to be meticulously designed and on the right piece of property, he said. ‘You can’t throw up a house and have it sell, which is what was happening the past four years,’ he said.”

“‘There are buyers. They keep coming back. There’s no urgency,’ said agent Paul Redal, who’s selling new houses in the Artondale area for $795,000 to $1.3 million. ‘Buyers are waiting to see how far prices will go down.’”

“Home owners are trying to time the real estate market, said agent Mary Souza. ‘The feeling is, ‘the market has tapped out, the market has peaked. We should put our house on the market now before we see a loss of value,’ she said.”

“Kyle Lawson, who wants to sell his 3,248-square-foot house and buy something smaller, said he’s a bit discouraged. His house, which sits on nearly 8 acres near Kopachuck Park, was listed seven months ago for more than $850,000.”

“He and his wife bought the house four years ago for $360,000 and did a $150,000 remodel. They got a new agent in July and dropped the price to $749,700, where Lawson said he thought it should be in the first place.”

“Lawson is optimistic the house will sell before summer ends. ‘It’s a matter of whether we drop the price so it’s a fantastic deal, or do we hold out knowing the market will pick up?’ said Lawson. ‘On the other hand, I’m not worried about buying in Gig Harbor. It’s a buyer’s market.’”

The Bellingham Herald from Washington. “The local real estate market continues to be a mixed bag of news these days. Realtytrac Inc. released its midyear look at foreclosures filings, with Whatcom County having 169 through the end of June. That’s up from 84 filings for the same period in 2006.”

“That’s a big jump in one year, and looking at it month-by-month, many (67) came in the last two months.”

“A mid-year analysis of the local housing market by Coldwell Banker Miller-Arnason…shows that sales of high-end homes, ones priced at more than $700,000, are ahead of last year’s pace, and last year was a record-breaker in that bracket, said Gragg Miller, administrator of the firm.”

“‘The strength of the high-end homes is obviously what’s keeping the average home price up,’ said Miller.”

“The price bracket that saw the biggest sales volume drop compared to last year were homes in the $500,000 to $699,000 range (down 27 percent) and $160,000 to $199,000 range (down 22 percent).”

“Miller said much of the increased activity in high-end home sales is taking place in the Chuckanut area, and agents are still reporting many of the interested buyers are from out of the area.”

“‘It’s hard to say whether it’s the same number of out-of-towners as we were seeing last year, but it is still the majority of the buyers these days,’ Miller said.”

The Bend Bulletin from Oregon. “A few years ago, Krishan Tinney was stuck in traffic, again, on her grinding commute from Los Angeles to Ventura County. So she called a friend in Bend to kill some time.”

“‘What are you doing?’ Tinney asked. ‘Oh, I just got off work,’ her friend said. ‘Thought I’d walk down to the river and float for a while.’ It was 4 o’clock on a Thursday afternoon.”

“A few months later, Tinney and her husband, an engineer, ditched Southern California, moved to Bend and bought a house, something that was way beyond their means in SoCal’s heady housing market. Since then, he has recruited friends to join him. Her parents have moved here, too.”

“The Tinneys sold their first house a few months ago and moved into a bigger, brand-new one in south Bend’s Renaissance Ridge subdivision. ‘We could never have done this in Ventura County,’ Tinney said.”

“Since 1988, the year the city pulled out of its last major real estate slump, the average price of a Bend home has shot up an average of 11.3 percent per year, according to Central Oregon MLS numbers.”

“Of course, the numbers are rough. Some of Bend’s average price gains have come more from increases in the construction of super-expensive homes than from the price appreciation of individual houses.”

“Still, it’s clear that the local housing economy hasn’t experienced anything like a drawdown in nearly a generation. Until, possibly, this year.”

“The inventory of unsold homes in the Bend market has swelled to record numbers this year, while sales levels for the first six month of the year have fallen back to levels not seen since 2003.”

“But working off all of those unsold houses might bring some pain, University of Oregon economist Tim Duy said. The only question is how much and for how long. ‘I’ve got to think that the world is not falling apart here,’ Duy said. ‘But prices are going to have to come down to get rid of whatever excess inventory has built up.’”

“There’s no doubt that home prices have broken beyond the city’s established trend line, said Duy, who (produces) a quarterly Central Oregon economic index for The Bulletin. The question now is, where does it go from here?”

“Justin Peterson, a 30-year-old Bend mortgage broker, grew up in Redmond. Up until this year, he hadn’t experienced a local real estate downturn in his lifetime. Now, he’s living through one.”

“Peterson and his wife bought three investment houses during the boom years of 2005 and 2006. He’s trying to sell one now to generate cash, so far without much luck. Two are rented.”

“The experience so far hasn’t soured him on real estate investing, Peterson said, but lessons have been learned. Going forward, he said he’ll be more conservative, maybe buying a property every few years rather than buying them in a lump, reducing the chances of buying at the peak of a cycle. He’ll stay more liquid, too — cash is king in a downturn, and it can take a lot of cash to hang onto houses to wait one out.”

“But for now, like a lot of other recent investors, he’s a seller. ‘We definitely haven’t lost faith in real estate, for sure,’ Peterson said. ‘We’ll just get past this correction and make our adjustments and move on.’”

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Comment by Ben Jones
2007-08-06 15:15:45

The Bend Bulletin article in the post above has some great detail from the last bust, BTW.

‘BEND — Too many ‘For sale’ real estate signs being planted on the city’s right of way has Bend ready to crack down on sign rule enforcement.’

‘The signs have sprouted everywhere this summer, due partly to a slow real estate market and a bulging inventory of unsold homes.’

‘Like many people who have moved to Seattle in recent years, Brenda Portis had little trouble finding work. Well-paying work — that’s something else again. Portis worked full time at a West Seattle nursing home until last month, tending to the needs of elderly and disabled residents. But the pay — $12.50 an hour, or $500 a week before taxes — didn’t go very far for Portis.’

‘Consider: Of the 240,000 jobs created in Washington between 2002 and 2006, almost 70 percent were in fields where the average weekly pay was less than $832 a week (or $43,264 a year). That’s the income calculated as a ‘living wage’ in Washington for a family of two adults and two children, according to Penn State’s Poverty in America project.’

Comment by Its Crazy Credit!
2007-08-06 15:42:11

ben, i think that is probably the majority of areas…if not overly educated, pickings are rather slim. and even w/degrees, nothing is secure.

outsourcing still hapening at my company- insurance

Comment by bill in Phoenix
2007-08-06 20:24:04

Crazy Credit, I have a MSCS and since the mid 1990s I assumed nothing is secure. In my opinion, the 30 year mortgage is too long. Careers no longer last 30 years. Try ten. Or at least build up enough assets to cover yourself in case your career gets shipped out.

I have nothing against outsourcing, actually. But if the big corporations want us to keep consuming, we’re going to all smell the coffee sometime and decide to save like the Asians save. Buying a house will be on the backburner, compared to saving. If the big corps don’t like it, tough, they are shipping out jobs anyway. They ship out our jobs, they ship out consumption along with the jobs. I’ve never been much of a consumer anyway, and I’m better off by not being materialistic.

Comment by awaiting wipeout
2007-08-06 22:35:12

Bill in Phoenix-
Love ya, but outsourcing is a huge problem for many out here in bubble land, and you should have something against it.

Its not about materialistic ways, its about being able to live. Many of us have had our lives turned outside down because of outsourcing. I think you’re a wise man, but you’re wrong about outsourcing.

Thank God we are paying cash for our next home, and are debt free. Bill, some of us went from middle class to barely making it, thanks to outsourcing.

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Comment by awaiting wipeout
2007-08-06 22:40:17

Bill- So you’re an Engineer. So is my husband, he’s an EE. Engineering has been hard hit by H1-B’s and outsourcing. We are big savers too, but can’t anymore.

Comment by Ken Best
2007-08-07 00:49:31

H1B visa to be increased from 73K per year to 140K,
if the new immigration bill passes.

Comment by Hazard
2007-08-07 01:01:12

I’m not an engineer nor into computers specifically. Once upon a time though I was a mathematician. And actually, I was quite good at it. And also had (still have for all the good it does) the associated degrees. But, as you say, outsourcing and H1-Bs came along and suddenly I was no longer capable of understanding what I’d spent 30 years of my life in applications that I’d worked on.

Fortunately, I worked for one company for many years that had (and still has) a traditional pension plan including retiree medical. Also I’ve recently qualified for social security and my wife does next year. Plus we were able to sell our house for top dollar at the absolute peak and moved a 1000 miles away back to our home state.

In many aspects life is good for us. But we were lucky, I know many who’ve gone thru a lot of pure misery.

Comment by Rintoul
2007-08-07 07:33:55

EE by degree here. So, what are all of your opinions on unions? Most “conservatives” I know are anti-union and yet still anti-outsourcing… doesn’t make sense to me…

Comment by ajas
2007-08-06 15:55:02

Wow, it’s a really good thing you don’t have to tell the lenders your real income… just imagine, these $43,264/yr folks would never be able to get a loan!

Haha, I read a funny thing in WSJ over the weekend. They referred to the FBs as “home borrowers” in an article! Good one.

It makes me think of the bank going “Ok, here you go little guy, here’s a home to borrow. Okay, time to give it back now.”

Comment by HARM
2007-08-06 16:16:32

“home borrowers” i.e., “money renters”.

Amazing how society views renting a house from a private LL or property management co. as a kind of social stigma, like you’ve caught an embarrassing STD or done time in the joint. However, rent money to borrow the house from the real owners (banks, hedgies, etc.), and no matter how toxic the loan or how underwater you are, you are universally congratulated with being a “winner”.

Comment by sparkylab
2007-08-06 16:31:56

I very much agree.

I am thankful for my contrarian streak every day.

When we sold last year, friends & acquaintances acted like I was moving the family into some sh*thole apartment when I said we were going to rent. Instead, it a bigger house in a better n’hood (for about 50% of the cost of buying).

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Comment by MrBubble
2007-08-06 18:00:50

Same thing happened to me. Sold in NoVA in 2005 and rented in DC for a year. After I sold, all I heard was, “So where are you buying now”? “Um. Nowhere. I’m renting ’cause I’m not stupid.” and I’d point to the Dean Baker Economist 2004 article on the wall. Then I’d get the face that people make after smelling the gas from someone who’s been to Pakistan and contracted giardia. Pure sulfur.

Comment by spike66
2007-08-06 16:45:11

It’s true, we renters are an unsavory bunch. We refuse to fund other people’s retirement. We decline to mortgage our freedom and our future on an overpriced shack in a neighborhood we might not like tomorrow. We are not inclined to tolerate loud neighbors, a deteriorating neighborhood, or an increase in vandalism–we just move. Crumbling economy–hey, we move. Third rate schools and lousy policing–hey, we move. More job opportunities across the country–see ya, we move.
Hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, groundwater problems, ruinous property taxes, influx of illegal aliens–time to make like Huck Finn and light out for some new territory.
Life is too short to carry the burden of being a housing-owning “winner”.

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Comment by OCDan
2007-08-06 17:34:06

So true. Renting means freedom. Renting means, I leave if things go south. Renting means i can look for another job or any other option without worrying about anymore than a lease break payment.

Sure home ownership can be nice, but I have certainly loved the freedom I have had in the last 18 months. It also means saving for things my family wants/needs.

I.E. at the end of this month we will be taking our 2nd vacation (1 last year and 1 this year). Owned a home, went to the Philippines twice in 13 years. Considering the cost, not a bad average, 1 every 6.5 years, but I like 1 per year now that we rent. If owning a home means taking a couple of weekend trips each year and not really going somewhere, even driving for at least a week, well then you can keep the house and mow the lawn or pay for mowing while I drive somewhere witht he kids and have some serious fun.

Comment by edgewaterjohn
2007-08-06 18:55:45

Good points Spike. Funny how just as mobility became crucial to maintaining one’s professional marketabilty - so many chose to drop anchor.

Comment by bill in Phoenix
2007-08-06 20:30:08

yeah I don’t understand why millions of people decided to enslave themselves to mortgage banks. That’s nuts! I like owning very few things and being footloose. Several times a week I get headhunters contacting me about engineering gigs around the U.S. I thank them graciously and add them to my address list. I have moved across the country within 3 days in 2002 and can do it again. Nice thing is that there is minimal downtime. The bonus is you tend to get higher pay with tax writeoffs. The excess cash goes into diversified investments so that sometime I can take three month vacations every year. My top choice is Hawaii. Secondary is the Southern California coast beachside. Perfect weather!

Comment by Home_a_Loan
2007-08-06 20:31:59

“It’s true, we renters are an unsavory bunch.”

We are also known to kick dogs, eat our young, and push old ladies in front of buses. On top of that, we smell bad, too. I’m not self-hating, I’m just sayin’s all.

Comment by South_west_stan
2007-08-06 20:42:12

Remember some of us have a PITI of $1500 a month on a house that would rent for $2000. Not to mention kids, so moving is a real pain.

Comment by FutureVulture
2007-08-06 20:56:49

We are also known to kick dogs, eat our young, and push old ladies in front of buses.

Hey, speak for yourself, buddy. I only eat OTHER people’s young. Because I don’t have any of my own. Because no one will mate with me. Because I’m a renter.

Comment by ajas
2007-08-06 21:58:14

Southwest Stan,
It’s simply a fact that a mobile workforce is more efficient and benefits both companies and employees. Of course, this is more important when you’re sub-30 and still carving out your professional foothold, and later on other things become more important…

Personally, the fact that I was able to job-hop around the country after being laid off in 2003 resulted in a series of substantial raises and more worthwhile experience. Could you imagine if I’d actually bought a place when I was in OC in 2004? HA!!!! Wow! *shudder*

What I’m saying is that even if buying were cheaper than renting, there is a certain age and level of accomplishment in your profession where it still makes sense to rent. If kids are buying up homes a couple years out of college, they are basically crippling themselves. Especially now, where the exit door is locked.

Your case is clearly different, but if record homeownership has only accomplished a frozen-in-place workforce, that is really bad news for the overall economy.

Comment by Pondering the Mess
2007-08-06 17:44:48

The hilarity grows when one considers how many apartments run by companies actually do a credit check, try to verify your income, etc. In short, there are places during the Bubble Years where it was EASIER to borrow $500K to “buy” a house than it was to rent an apartment?!

Yet we’re “bitter renters.” Oh, I AM bitter, but not for the reasons the Realtors think!

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Comment by jerry from richardson
2007-08-06 16:26:01

There’s a Congressional hearing right now on how to bail out the banks and lenders with taxpayer money. We need to flood those scumsuckers again to let them know we’re not going to bail out Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs.

Comment by GetStucco
2007-08-06 16:45:52

Now is the time for Congress to aid Wall Street in its attempt to hand the cleanup bill for the mortgage mess over to the U.S. taxpayer. I hope the Fed leadership doesn’t forget to reiterate their opposition to taxpayer-funded bailouts for the mess Wall Street made when they meet over the next couple of days.

US stocks rebound on credit hopes
By David Wighton and Anuj Gangahar in New York and David Oakley and Gillian Tett in London

Published: August 6 2007 21:58 | Last updated: August 6 2007 21:58

US stocks rebounded on Monday as financial shares gained ground on hopes that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant government-sponsored mortgage companies, would help stabilise credit markets. After falling 2.7 per cent on Friday, the S&P 500 Index rose 2.4 per cent before Tuesday’s meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers, the first since the current round of market turbulence began.

Fannie and Freddie gained 10.4 per cent and 7.7 per cent, respectively, as investors bet that their funding advantages would help them profit from the current turmoil. Because of their links to the government, Fannie and Freddie are able to raise money more cheaply than other companies that buy mortgages, either to hold as investment or to package as securities for investors. Investors were also reacting to speculation that the two companies would be given greater opportunity to buy mortgages by their regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.

The rumour that the caps on their holdings could be lifted were fuelled partly by comments made by Mike Perry, chief executive of Indymac, a large home lender, about the willingness of lawmakers and Fannie and Freddie to help the lending industry. He quoted Fannie Mae’s chairman as saying that it was “prepared to step up and help the industry”.

Comment by Groundhogday
2007-08-06 17:00:37

So does the investment community also believe in the tooth fairy, the easter bunny and Santa Claus?

Is the Xmas blockbuster this year going to be titled “Miracle on Frannie and Freddie Street”.

I don’t care how many conforming loans Freddie and Fannie buy, without ample funding for non-conforming loans (no doc, no down) this market is TOAST.

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Comment by HARM
2007-08-06 18:09:58

without ample funding for non-conforming loans (no doc, no down) this market is TOAST.

Groundhogday, realistic or not, I’m afraid that’s the idea feuling the rally today. Wall Street is betting that Fannie & Freddie will significantly up the conforming loan size limit, relax income/assets documentation standards, or both.

I don’t want it to happen either, but I also know what’s likely to happen when politicians feel cornered by a huge angry mob of likely voters.

Wall Street’s favorite mantra: “Privatize profits, socialize risks”.

Comment by Groundhogday
2007-08-06 18:48:00

I could potentially see Freddie and Fannie upping the loan size limit, but would the regulatory bodies involved really consider allowing them to invest in no doc, no down given the foreclosures that have resulted from such loans.

What I’m hearing out of Congress is a push to regulate no doc/down loans out of existence, and even Freddie’s CEO came out today against the idea of purchasing most of the bad loans out there (said something to the effect that these loans should never have been made).

Though Freddie and Fannie operate knowing they have the Govmt’s implicit backing, I don’t think they actually want to fail because if they ever have to cash in on that implicit backing, that will be the end of it.

In short, the market might well be hoping for such a bailout, but I don’t see it happening.

Comment by krazy_canuck
2007-08-06 19:06:15

That’s a great opinion, and it makes a lot of sense, but I wouldn’t underestimate the influence of the large financial institutions to push this through and extend the bubble for a little longer… Its what they do..

Comment by SDGreg
2007-08-06 20:04:29

The following is the possible sequence of events that could occur:

- Congress considers a modest proposal to bail out some of the lenders
- Costs increase as it looks bad to bail out the lenders without helping the borrowers some as well
- As this unravels more, costs of a bailout increase to the point of being prohibitive
- Slim chances of consensus erode making passage of any bailout unlikely

Having the summer recess now is a good thing as it should delay possible hasty action. As this unfolds and the scope of the carnage becomes more apparent (and bailout costs increase), reaching consensus will become more difficult.
Urgency may be greater, but consensus will be harder.

Comment by Housing Wizard
2007-08-06 20:50:37

Let Wall Street and the Lenders take their own loss and bail their own borrowers out if they want . The bagholders just want a new bagholder like Fannie and Freddie , which would mean the taxpayers .

Cramer makes me sick with his call for government bail-outs for the 7 million people he implied were going to lose their house .Let the lenders bail out their own borrowers at their own expense if they think its a better option than foreclosure . Let the lawsuits fly and let the whole mess and investment scheme that went on come out in the wash .

Comment by MrBubble
2007-08-06 23:49:17

Cramer needs someone to overtalk him with some von Mises:

“There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”

Comment by vmaxer
2007-08-06 15:40:22

‘We definitely haven’t lost faith in real estate, for sure,’ Peterson said. ‘We’ll just get past this correction and make our adjustments and move on.’”

Still a lot of denial out there. We have a long way to go.

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2007-08-06 17:29:32

That one stuck out for me too. And i agree with you.

I’ve spoken to several acquaintances recently who have lost or are losing money every month. And yet they still believe what they were told by those late night infomercials.

Comment by Arizona Slim
2007-08-06 17:33:33

You might want to share this link with them. Just for laughs:

Comment by aNYCdj
2007-08-06 15:43:36

I wanted to repost see what NYC is building Thanks to NYCboy for the tip….

This one is EVEN WORSE……the wasted space, front door opens into the Kitchen, how can you or your friends watch your plasma tv with that seating arraignment?….Hmmm where is the counter top? Do you see one? This isn’t an apartment to live in… its a damn hotel room…

2 Bathroom TUBS for a 1 bedroom……the stupidity has finally reached it pinnacle…….check out the other apartments they all seem to have a walk in closet off the bathroom.. i wonder if the bath is vented? ……………all for $2.2 huh?

Comment by Its Crazy Credit!
2007-08-06 16:02:12

no it is a little bigger than a residence inn, but not much. illustrates the lunacy of prices. truly, something that size should never be over 200k. i don’t care if it’s andre balasz. who cares?!

Comment by GetStucco
2007-08-06 15:46:30

Cognitive disconnect…

We were left out of the boom, but that means we are getting left out of the bust too.’”

“Realtor Julie Topel-Evans says not long ago Great Falls homeowners were seeing appreciation levels of 12 to 18 percent a year. ‘That’s done,’ she said. ‘We are back at 3 to 4 percent,.’”

Comment by CA Guy
2007-08-06 15:57:41

Even if Julie’s wishful thinking comes to pass for 2007, it won’t be there in ‘08. Not to mention, at 3-4% the FBs are at or below zero when inflation adjusted (depending on whose inflation numbers you believe)

Yes, it will take some more time for all of the Kool-Aid to work its way out of Julie’s system.

Comment by jerry from richardson
2007-08-06 17:47:34

Even at 3-4% appreciation the FB’s will be in foreclosure soon enough. They were counting on a cashout refi or selling to a bigger sucker.

Comment by HARM
2007-08-06 16:18:42

‘That’s done,’ she said. ‘We are back at 3 to 4 percent,.’”

Oh, you wish Ms. Topel-Evans. What “we” are back to is minus 3 to 4 percent per year for the next several years –and that’s being optimistic.

Comment by Chip
2007-08-06 17:38:00

Guess all those Montana folks were smart enough not to cash-out refi, or take out 2/28s, or get into debt troubles in any way. Yup, no bust coming for Montana!

Comment by M gal
2007-08-06 19:29:48

Note how few facts there were in the article from Great Falls. In particular, no mention of many houses SOLD last month, in what price ranges, and how far below asking… This is typical of “reporting” on the MT real estate market. All we get is the agents’ press release. And it’s virtually impossible for buyers to onfirm anything because sales info is not public information. It’s disgusting — and a big reason prices have not yet fallen. Sellers and buyers don’t know trends are down because all they see are asking prices (which remain ridiculous).

Comment by flat
2007-08-06 15:51:04

cramer calling for bail
call your congressman and tell him- you vote for bail and I’ll vote LP !
the only party w no bail

Comment by CA Guy
2007-08-06 16:02:07

God, I hate Cramer. I already tried writing to both of CA’s senators, and both proved how worthless they are. Reminded me why I never voted for either of them. All I got back was some form letter saying how they are aware that many people fell “victim” to unscroupulous lenders and bad loan terms, thereby setting themselves up to fail. No reply as to my call for a NO vote on any proposed bail outs. I WILL be voting LP in 2008. I have come to realize that neither of the main parties gives a rip about the long-term future of our nation. Dems and Repubs can both suck it, as far as I’m concerned.

Comment by VT Dan
2007-08-06 17:18:43

Consider voting for Ron Paul instead. He is mostly libertarian and wouldn’t support bail out either! He is also backed by the LP!

Comment by SeattleMoose
2007-08-06 21:11:46

“I WILL be voting LP in 2008. I have come to realize that neither of the main parties gives a rip about the long-term future of our nation. Dems and Repubs can both suck it, as far as I’m concerned.”

The lightbulb comes on…a “matrix” moment.

Comment by Aqius
2007-08-06 21:41:22

” . .. neither of the main parties gives a rip … ”

Hmm lets see; the poster is named CA Guy, and uses the term ” give a rip ” . ….. is this really GRAY DAVIS !?

Comment by CA Guy
2007-08-06 16:04:41

Don’t waste your time with congress. I already tried and got the typical form letter reply. Didn’t even acknowledge my call for voting no on any proposed bail outs. Dems and Repubs can both suck it. I will definitely be voting for Ron Paul and any other decent third party candidates.

Comment by spike66
2007-08-06 16:50:18

I wrote to the distinguished senators from NY–from schumer, I got the “victim” schtick ad nauseum, from HilBil, thanks for my support for her prez run and how much would I like to contribute?
A worthless pair of bowling balls.
I agree, Ron Paul.

Comment by jerry from richardson
2007-08-06 20:32:02

I can’t believe both parties still have so much support. What a bunch of brainwashed &^%$^$#

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Comment by Michael Viking
2007-08-06 16:54:00

I’m voting for Ron Paul. He might not be perfect, but he’s sure not status quo like typical republicans and democrats. I wish he had a chance of winning, but I’ll vote for him regardless.

Comment by Casa de Dolor
2007-08-06 18:52:16

Here’s a little politician story: About 6 months ago when the folks on this board were writing Chris Dodd about his bail-out plans; I dashed off an email that I thought deserved of a reply. I didn’t even get a form letter. Fast forward to last week, I get a phone call from Chris Dodds campaign manager for Nevada; he wanted my help on the campaign since I am a retired elected official. Oh boy what an opportunity, I ripped on him for 20 minutes.

Comment by Groundhogday
2007-08-06 15:57:20

“Other areas of Montana, most notably Bozeman and Kalispell, are beginning to see their markets stall, said John Kunz, owner of The Falls Real Estate agency.

The Bozeman market was beginning to stall in the spring of 2006. That was when inventory climbed and DOM started increasing. Everyone I knew trying to sell in the summer of 2006 talked openly about how the market had “slowed”. Now, with 2500 homes for sale in the Gallatin Valley (majority vacant), Bozeman is clearly heading over the edge.

Just talked to a Bozeman journalist last week who was advising a new hire to rent for a while rather than buy into a falling market. This is someone who experienced the 1980’s collapse and knows that Bozeman RE can rapidly depreciate.

Comment by Cinch
2007-08-06 17:01:39

I just rented a place out in Valley West for 50% less than the mortgage cost.
I didn’t know it got up this quickly i.e. 2500 on MLS? Anyhow, last I checked we have ~800 to 900 realtors. That is 1 realtor for every 3 houses.

I like to think we are a miniature Phoenix, with snow.


Comment by Groundhogday
2007-08-06 17:17:18

As of today for the Gallatin Valley MLS:

2825 total listings
1121 SFH under 1 acre
734 SFH over 1 acre (WOW!)
910 condo/townhome

Anecdotally, looking at a quasi-random sample of listings almost all of this inventory is active.

And this doesn’t even include all of the FSBO’s and builder homes not listed on the MLS. It will take a decade or more for Bozeman to absorb all of this inventory–and as the population shrinks with the construction jobs, this inventory will only grow larger.

Comment by Tango in Uniform
2007-08-06 17:41:03

I think your 734 figure includes raw land, too. Still, these are incredible figures. 900 condos in Bozeman, Montana where there’s nothing but bare land for miles? No wonder those things downtown aren’t selling.

Billings and Great Falls will have some hard times, but Bozeman and the Flathead and most of western Montana are going down big time.

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Comment by Groundhogday
2007-08-06 18:30:19

Californians relocate to Montana for open space and an improved quality of life… and choose to live in a slapped up condo in the middle of spawling suburbia. Yeah, right!

Comment by Groundhogday
2007-08-06 20:24:26


I just revised the Gallatin Valley MLS, and

734 SFH over 1 acre (I browsed through the listings and these really are SFH on over 1 acre of land)
3087 lots
1183 open and recreation land

THREE THOUSAND LOTS on the MLS!!!! That is an unbelievable number for the Gallatin Valley. GV land and lot prices are going to be obliterated on the down side of this bubble. See ya’ in 2020 Bozeman!

Comment by Cinch
2007-08-06 17:46:51

You can add one more to the list. A friend just call me and said he is putting is condo up this September. I knew this awhile back, but didn’t know the exact time that he was going to do it.

Anyway, a few months ago when he entertain the idea of putting his condo up, I show him the Case-Shiller historic house price index. It made this grownup tough guy eye watered and turn red!

He is still going to put it on the market. It is really odd mix of people where he lives. His neighbors are either old single newly divorce or young college kids.

My new place has approximately 30 existing houses with about 20 of them on sale, and no doubt the remaining would like to do the same. I’m doubtful that any of them will get the price that they are asking. Most of these bagholders are either flippers are small builders trying to unload. The average asking price is $400K!


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Comment by Groundhogday
2007-08-06 18:22:16

My former grad student lives in a 2003 Valley West condo her dad bought. He tried to sell last summer (2006) with no success. So despite my best efforts, he took it off the market in the fall planning to relist in the spring when “the market picked up again.” The guy could have at least broken even last summer by cutting the asking price. Now NOTHING is moving, most of the condos in his building are for sale, and his IO loan is due to reset next year. Valley West opened in 2003 so I’m guessing that a lot of FB in that development are attempting to bail this year before 5 year resets hit.

Comment by Cinch
2007-08-06 17:51:40

Californians think they have the most bubbly of bubbles! think again.

The most outrageous that I saw in Bozeman a month ago when I went to and open house.

Saw a leaflet for a 14000 sqft lot, asking for $235K! This is Big Sky Country, and what is underneath the big sky?


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Comment by MacAttack
2007-08-06 17:03:48

I did that here in Portland… New hire didn’t take my advice, and bought at the absolute peak.

Comment by Tom
2007-08-06 15:58:24

Stock market almost up 3% today. I guess the people figure the last few weeks was a blip. There are good buys out there : )… hehe (sarcasm).

Look at BSC and LEND. Oh, Goldman Sachs eliminated most of their stock.

I wonder if these banks went out and bought their own stocks at overinflated prices to fool the market and squeeze the shorts?

Comment by Its Crazy Credit!
2007-08-06 16:04:59

one {i} has{/i} to wonder that. i gave up weeks ago. the market is in an alternate reality

Comment by Tom
2007-08-06 16:10:51

Just heard Wells Fargo bought a bunch of their own stock. Of course, the stock is way up too : )…

Comment by Its Crazy Credit!
2007-08-06 17:02:56

exactly! :wtf:

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Comment by Neil
2007-08-06 17:17:42

I cannot figure out the market. Was it a short squeeze? Did the I-banks shoot their last load to bail out insiders?

Definitely a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot kind of day.

Yet many of the big names pulled out of Alt-A!

The fed meeting tomorrow could be interesting… or a nothing event. Sigh… I didn’t realize this was a double feature.

Got popcorn?

Comment by Hazard
2007-08-06 17:16:28

Oh I cheer for the bulls one day and the bears the next. Guess you could say I live in an alternating universe.

OTOH I pulled out of this market a few months ago and am now in T bills and CDs.

One of these days though these alternating universes will converge and the entire financial house of cards will collapse.

Comment by Dennis
2007-08-06 22:54:50

I’m with ya buddy! I too, am in T Bills. All 401K and IRA’s in money market. Let the BEARS move in…….

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Comment by Drowning Pool
2007-08-07 04:06:50

I have an embarrassing admission to make. I was attracted to BAC, WB and WM by the high yields and low price-to-book. After looking at their enormous mortgage and consumer holdings, I decided to dump em this morning after yesterday’s rally. The valuation may LOOK good, but even 10% defaults on mortgages is enough to wipe out their profits and start eroding that book value. If you are expecting 20%-30% defaults, you can see they are big losers. I kept C though, as they have a lot of other businesses.

Comment by GetStucco
2007-08-06 16:49:07

No — they are just reacting to renewed calls for a bailout. If a bailout passes, Wall Street wins and Main Street gets screwed (again!).

Comment by joeyinCalif
2007-08-06 17:32:49

So…. bailout rumors can do what a genuine bailout couldn’t do.

Comment by ajas
2007-08-06 21:17:26

Do you really think bailout rumors are enough to explain today? All they are even talking about is upping the cap (which won’t help), and upping the portfolio limit (which is insane, they are already so huge, esp compared to equity). Even if it were “in the bag”, would it explain today?

My feelings is that BSC saw their stock crack below 100 and word came down to press “the button” (witness IMB at 3:45 on friday). Either that or the word was that a cut is a done deal (which would defy any amount of insanity my puny mind can fathom).

Though financials did recover pretty uniformly. I give up, man. You can’t read the headlines and know what the market is thinking, when they wake up reading tomorrow’s headlines…

Comment by pb_2_au
2007-08-06 22:20:27

Countrywide & their ilk gets to sell their bogus “Alt-A” to GSE agencies. Freddie and Fanny put the loans on their books, or securitize and sell?

So who’s gonna buy this blighted agency paper? Can’t even find buyers for current conforming securities. Count China out! Freddie and Fanny take on all this add’l debt & risk and it disappears into their corporate finance black hole! I guess just ship back truckloads of sand in from the Iraqi desert and bury it.

And the homeowner who can’t make their payments? Meh, just deduct it from their social security!!

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Comment by Its Crazy Credit!
2007-08-06 16:06:00

[i] i mean has [/i]

Comment by Ben Jones
2007-08-06 16:11:12

If Mr Clark with the AP is reading this, he should send a link to this post over to his editors.

Comment by aladinsane
2007-08-06 16:11:15

$itting on the sidelines, with not one red Cent in the hands of those, unworthy of caring for my worth…

Feels Good

Comment by Lionel
2007-08-06 16:23:51

The information in the Gig Harbor article comes as no surprise to me. I was visiting the MIL just over a week ago and was stupified by the number of houses and vacant lots for sale. It’s a cute little town, but unless you’re wealthy or you’ve got a good-paying job in Tacoma, it wouldn’t seem a logical place to buy an expensive house.

Comment by marksparky
2007-08-06 20:18:40

The commute back and forth into Tacoma from Gig Harbor will remain a mess for the next couple of years as the old bridge is to be closed for repairs now that the new bridge has just been opened.

Comment by jerry from richardson
2007-08-06 16:32:00

OFHEO is being lobbied to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy up more of the bad subprime toxic loans. I guess the party will keep going on until even Bill Gates can’t afford a 400sf condo and then everything will blow up.

Comment by Jen Bones
2007-08-06 18:10:46

I guess the party will keep going on until even Bill Gates can’t afford a 400sf condo and then everything will blow up.

Bill: Honey, could you pass the Ramen, please?

Melinda: Talk the hand, cuz the face ain’t listenin…mmm, mmm.

Bill: What would the hand prefer: Fortran or C++?

Comment by AshlandRenter
2007-08-06 16:34:59

I was in McCall, Idaho a few weeks back. Beautiful place that’s gone completely bonkers with development.
Along the main street through town, I swear every second business was either a real estate agent, mortgage broker or title company.
Population: 2,500. # of real estate agents: 300.
Of course, it’s different there too…

Comment by Cinch
2007-08-06 17:56:27

I know it is easy to take people’s word for it on this blog, but I like to see the proof to this amazing 300 agents claim.

I love McCall, ID. Had a friend that use to live there guiding tourists (rafting and believe it or not, bear hunting).


Comment by AshlandRenter
2007-08-06 18:29:39

A retired smoke jumper whose family has lived in McCall for generations gave me the 300 number, and nothing I saw while there made me doubt it.
I agree that it’s a nice area, right next to the largest wilderness area in the lower 48.

Comment by KirkH
2007-08-06 21:04:24

It’s getting ugly in San Diego. My buddy was applying for a mortgage broker position on Friday of all days and another guy there told him that his previous employer locked the doors at lunch (for good) without notice.

They had to call the cops to get in so the employees could get their keys to drive home. Not sure of the name or size but it was in San Diego.

Comment by wmbz
2007-08-06 17:00:14

“Lawson is optimistic the house will sell before summer ends. ‘It’s a matter of whether we drop the price so it’s a fantastic deal, or do we hold out knowing the market will pick up?’ said Lawson. ‘On the other hand, I’m not worried about buying in Gig Harbor. It’s a buyer’s market.’”

This fellow has to have spent time tripping back in the 60’s/70’s and he is back at it. All over the place with his comments. He is at the nexus of the universe, it’s a buyers and sellers market in his world, and either way it’s win,win for him. Wow look at the colors!

Comment by TN Here
2007-08-07 09:24:44

& did you see the appreciation he had built into his house?


Comment by mrktMaven FL
2007-08-06 17:12:04

Yep. More of this stuff in the pipeline:

Aug. 6 (Bloomberg) — Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Global Alpha hedge fund fell almost 12 percent in the two weeks ended Aug. 3, bringing this year’s decline to 16 percent after losses in stocks and bonds.

This year’s drop in the $9 billion fund, managed by Mark Carhart and Raymond Iwanowski, follows the loss of about 9 percent in 2006, said two investors in the fund….

Comment by Neil
2007-08-06 17:21:29

Ouch… Is that a loss of 16 percent of $9 billion or the old amount? ;)

We’re starting to see hints of a “run” on the hedge funds. Most of the world’s billionaires are recent ones in Russia, China, etc. I’m not thinking they’ll hold out for more than 60 more days…

I’m betting Warren Buffet wishes he had another 20 years to clean up as this mess falls apart.

Got popcorn?

Comment by luvs_footie
2007-08-06 17:25:49

Hedgefunds………………..death by 1,000 cuts

Comment by mrktMaven FL
2007-08-06 17:35:46

Sliced and Diced to death by MBS.

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Comment by jerry from richardson
2007-08-06 17:51:01

The rich have finished fleecing the middle and lower classes. Now they are going after their own.

Comment by Tom
2007-08-06 18:41:39

Ouch, that is quite a haircut. So let’s assume it used to be about a 9.8 billion fund. Lost 800 million last year. It then loses close to 1.45 billion.

So 9.8 Billion down to 7.4 Billion??? And you pay these guys 2% commission a year? So $200 million last year and lets say 160 million this year. So that is almost another $400 million lost. Lets just say $7 Billion. Not bad to invest in this great hedge funds that just lost 30% of it’s value over 2 year.

I’m starting a hedge fund. That’s it. Who wants to give me there money? Instead of taking 20% of profits, I will take 10% and I will also take another 1% (not 2%) as a management fee. C’mon guys, that’s a steal. After all, it is a buyers market. Good deals on hedge funds.

Now Gimme!

Comment by SDGreg
2007-08-06 17:13:21

Quote from Kunstler’s post today on the Cramer meltdown:

“A lot of catered crab tidbits and mini-quiches must have gone uneaten out along the dunes as weeping men in blazers realized that ‘marked to market’ had come to mean the same thing as ‘holding a bundle of shit.’”

Comment by palmetto
2007-08-06 18:53:52

Oh, man, SDGreg, that has got to be one of the most biting commentaries on the housing bubble/hedge fund implosion I have ever read. Thanks for the link.

Comment by salinasron
2007-08-06 19:21:07

Me thinks the big bonus boys bought (vested) into their own PAP and when the SHTF they will be pennyless. The Wall Street version of the American dream ” Riches to Rags”.

Comment by AshlandRenter
2007-08-06 19:28:25

That was priceless! Thanks for the link.

Comment by rastaman
2007-08-06 17:13:57

spent a week in the new part of Big Sky, Montana this July (closer to U.S 191). whole town is a monument to the real estate boom, range rover crowd, building everywhere. but it seemed that at least 1/2 the town was for sale. Big Sky is going to take a Big Whack from this bubble collapse.

Comment by Tango in Uniform
2007-08-06 17:31:04

Billings (MT) update..

Not much new. Closed sales down 4% YOY. Inventory actually down a bit slightly YOY. Median sale price up 5%. DOM up 13%.

Median home asking price is approaching $230k or so. Still way out of line with incomes. I’m seeing tons of SFH rentals, with rents flat or possibly even declining. Much cheaper to rent.

Incredibly, building permits are up 17% over last year’s breakneck pace! Build, build build. A local builder in the upscale Ironwood subdivision is building even more spec homes for this fall’s Parade of Homes. One’s going for $1.5m. Nobody yet knows who on earth is affording this stuff.

(Note that I’m tracking two foreclosures in the super high-end subs.. and both are “owned” by out-of-staters)

Things are slow to turn, but they will turn. Realtors here say that all the “bad stuff” you hear about in the headlines only applies to California and Florida. Perhaps the panic credit crunch of this past week will speed things up.

Comment by Groundhogday
2007-08-06 19:12:11

Hard to imagine a $1.5 million spec home in Billings, MT. Just a few years ago Billings was listed as one of the most affordable places to live in the entire country. If you really wanted a $1.5 million home in Billings, MT wouldn’t you just buy a nice, good-sized piece of land and build the house yourself? $1.5 for an oversized tract home? Hard to believe the builder won’t go down with this ship.

Comment by muckdog
2007-08-06 17:36:31

We’ve been hearing that it’s a buyers market. But is it really if houses are still on their way down? Maybe there’s a time when it’s neither a buyer’s market or a seller’s market!

Comment by Neil
2007-08-06 17:38:38

Its a get out of the way market!

Comment by Chip
2007-08-06 17:43:32

That would be a narket.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2007-08-06 18:13:02

a park it market

Comment by GH
2007-08-06 18:37:43

In historical terms, this is a very strong sellers market. True prices are slightly off peak in 2005, but for the typical seller who bought before 2001, there is still fantastic money to be made. Really just a matter of getting a bit ahead of the market and pricing accordingly.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2007-08-06 19:02:52

Why sell into a falling market? Why buy into a falling market?
Unless it’s forced for some reason, ya gotta have a really good excuse in either case, imo.

Comment by GH
2007-08-06 22:45:36

Yeah, I see the point there. Prices will fall a lot further than they have now, and many are holding out hoping they will make a comeback, so if you need to sell, sooner is better than later. Sellers still command top dollar for their properties, so all things considered sellers still seem in control, although not to the degree they were a few years back.

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Comment by joeyinCalif
2007-08-06 23:17:25

it was the “money to be made” part that i didn’t get.. and here’s my thinking..

Lets say i paid $150K in 2000 and today’s fantasy evaluation is $500K.
A realistic 2007 evaluation puts it at maybe $300K.

So, I elbow my way through the 10’s of thousands of sellers and declare “I’ll sell for $300K!” and it sells. Now i gotta move and go through all the related hassles..

Wasn’t this home appreciating at about 10% a year? (i’m guesstimating). Assuming i am not forced to sell, and could carry it without any pain, why dump it? Why not just sit on the property for a couple years and wait till prices turn around..

Comment by VT Dan
2007-08-07 06:51:22

Sell it for $300K wait a few years and buy a better place or buy a place with cash.

Sell high, buy low. Why wait 5 years hoping to get back to todays prices. I doubt we will see todays prices again for at least 10 years and only if we have significant wage inflation.

Comment by kaybertoss
2007-08-06 17:41:43

A little OT but interesting none the less…..

America follows Japan’s misguided path

“Some investors have been getting rich, but a pileup of bad debts will weaken the U.S. economy and its stock and real-estate markets, echoing the Asian nation’s travails of the 1990s.”

By Bill Fleckenstein

Comment by kaybertoss
2007-08-06 18:00:25

I should add that he is calling for a recession as well.

“As to why the unwinding has taken so long to commence, only recently has the cause become clear: the mark-to-model fantasy employed by those who have bought the sliced-and-diced mortgage paper.

But the fantasy is unraveling as these structured-credit products are now slowly being marked to market. Just as virtually every subprime-mortgage lender has blown up, Alt-A lenders (the next rung up the ladder creditwise) will blow up — and, ultimately, many hedge funds will blow up, though we’re in the early days of that process.

In the years since our equity bubble peaked, trillions of dollars’ worth of debt have piled up throughout corporate America. So now, as we enter recession, we will experience not just a weak economy, real-estate market and stock market, but the exacerbating effect of a mountain of bad debt, completing the analogy to Japan of the 1990s.”

Comment by OCDan
2007-08-06 19:30:49

Debt, debt, and more Debt. I have been a lone voice in the wilderness calling for paying off or not taking on more debt.

However, only those here and some others have listened or found the truth for themselves.

Meanwhile 70% of the economy is consumer driven and we all now how many use credit to pay for the toys.

Comment by SDGreg
2007-08-06 19:46:28

“Eventually, they’re going to find out that there’s a problem in all mortgages, because people overreached to buy houses they couldn’t afford, because they believed the price would go up, as did the lenders, which is why anyone with a pulse could get money.”

He’s spot on as usual. I still think there will be a very high rate of default on all types of mortgages going back to 2004 or 2005 as well as with those who HELOC’d themselves into progressively greater debt with less favorable repayment terms.

Comment by GH
2007-08-07 06:23:45

I have been calling the ALT-A mortgages for a while now, while the lending industry lies and tells everyone foreclosures are contained to subprime.

I think the biggest single mortgage problem we have is with products with a low teaser rate that was used to “qualify” a borrower, or worse stated income loans. Even recently I have seen banner ads on major news sites proclaiming $300K mortgages for $9XX a month, which we all know reasonably is BS, so there are apparently still at least a few drunks left at the party.

Comment by Tom
2007-08-06 17:50:31

Oil and Gas plunge on economic worries.

I wonder how many hedge funds this will blow up?

Comment by Pondering the Mess
2007-08-06 17:56:28

It will be a buyers market when buyers can afford to buy houses based upon their incomes, not toxic lending. Until then, buyers beware!

Comment by SeattleMoose
2007-08-06 21:17:54

Off with his head…he doth speak the truth!!!

Comment by Neil
2007-08-07 21:53:14

Now now…

Pondering the mess, drink this…. its nice as sweet. Then all will be well.

We must not rock the boat. ;)

Got popcorn?

Comment by GH
2007-08-06 18:41:38

Toxic lending is quickly retreating. I would say in a year, if you really need to sell a house you will need to price it where buyers can qualify. there will be scant few buyers at todays prices.

Comment by Olympiagal
2007-08-06 19:48:29

Motherfuckers! With no asterisks to indicate a deference to delicate sensibilities! I am so pissed right now. Look what they did to us. I loved Bend, Oregon. It was glorious. I stood there and watched the sun shine through those tall and wonderful trees. And I love my home, in Olympia, Washington. Now I read these little tidy articles, boo-fookin’-hoo because someone wants lots of bucks to lay my lovely places even more waste. Look at Gray’s Harbor. Look at Clark County! These articles do not tell what has been done here.

Comment by joeyinCalif
2007-08-06 23:36:06

after reading your subsequent apologetic posts, i been waiting for this post to show up..

what’s ben do.. i’ve suspected posts with certain words go into quarantine..

Comment by Olympiagal
2007-08-06 19:51:44

Well, okay, not that sorry.

Comment by Olympiagal
2007-08-06 20:00:02

Oh, look–I apologized for calling a**holes what they were, which is m*therbluck*rs, and the apology for my outburst made it to the blog, but not the wrathful first bit.
Probably for the best. Again, I apologize for profaning.
But don’t come to the capitol next session and say one little word about ‘affordable’ in even one hearing, or you will find out what the polyester tag on the back of your suit’s neckline looks like, up close, and right away. As soon as we’re out of the room and past camera angle. I mean it. I am P*issed.

Comment by Olympiagal
2007-08-06 20:17:52

Okay, I’m sorry again, and this time I mean it, about the tag on your neck, seeing it backwards thing.
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
You know, anyone can walk into their state’s capitol and say stuff. I myself am often astonished at who gets let in. Really–go on in and complain about things, at length, using lots and lots of words. Happens in every state, all the time. This blog is great, but why not go in and b*itch to people who make laws? Just wear clean overalls and don’t bang on the table. That’ll help you out, I find.

Comment by Clark
2007-08-06 21:57:02

How do cities “pull” themselves out of housing slumps and such? By pulling themselves into more debt?

Ya mean its not like in the movies where the hero struggles with the arresting officers while speaking some great truth, causing the officers to stop wrestling as the hero reveals more great truth resulting in the blinders being ripped away from our leaders vision and the hero applauded and set free based on the animated contest for ideas?

Comment by bozonian
2007-08-06 22:24:49

Here’s a graphic depiction of the last few years and what’s about to happen:

Comment by sleepless_near_seattle
2007-08-06 22:54:14

Bend, OR. Ah, yes. A place where Californians can escape from it all and move next door to other Los Angelinos all doing the same thing.

I’d like a follow up story on this couple and their follower friends in 10 years. “There’s no jobs, traffic’s a mess”, etc.

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