Monday, April 14, 2008

By request - an open thread

By popular request, I'm adding an open thread with a few ground rules.

1. Please try to reference the previous post you're commenting on.
2. Keep it civil. Attack the argument, not the person.
3. I will delete abusive posts or foul language.

That's it. So what's on your minds. Here's one to start: The cold war was neither cold, nor a war. Discuss.

Kidding...

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did I buy at the right time?
http://tinyurl.com/3296cv

Anonymous said...

Looks like a rehab. Looks great, actually. Been on the market a loooong time.

Anonymous said...

I think I see what's going on here. The original link sends you to my house on Syracuse, but directly below that shows a link to a home with the same number on Willamette. I bought the one on Syracuse in 2003. That one on Willamette has indeed been on the market forever, but my house is up a block.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the open thread, pdx outsider. I'll try to contribute what I can. This is probably the most "pleasant" non-cheerleading local blog.

Story from WWeek: "Rent: The Rise - Why your bill is climbing and why that’s likely to continue."

caryn said...

Whoops, I'm officially going to get an "identity" for posting on this blog, to separate me from anons. The 6:53 post was mine.

Another story: Don't Believe the Gloom Merchants - sadly funnay from Astoria.

Kirk Coburn said...

This is officially my favorite blog. Don't bee to quick to censor though now. ;)

Anonymous said...

I was poking around looking for recent sales data and found this on city-data:

http://www.city-data.com/real-estate/PORTLAND-OR-97209.html

Look at this recent sale: 311 NW 12TH AVE 1501: $1,099,000 on 2008-02-13 (COOP OR CONDO)

Wow! Wonder if they'll be regretting that one..

bearlee said...

Anon 8:55: Sounds like the Casey

Sometimes I wonder if there is a group of ultra rich that really don't care they lose 10-20%

Whoop de do?!?!

Ian said...

"This is officially my favorite blog. Don't bee to quick to censor though now. ;)"

don't worry i won't censor, but i will moderate if needed.

"Did I buy at the right time?"

better than buying today! just hope you don't need to see today.

caryn said...

Glad to hear there won't be censorship, but moderation. Whew! :)

Did you guys hear about the British article feeling sorry for us Americans? Well, here's, as some dude said, the rest of the story:

Original article: USA 2008 Great Depression
The saucy comeback and explanation by a blogger

caryn said...

I just reread the blogger's piece and .. wow that's mean. The point which I hope isn't lost is, don't get too depressed over doom and gloom reporting. Not everything is what it appears. Nothing's as bad, or as good, as the polarized press would like us to think! :)

Anonymous said...

Don't know how many here follow CNBC, but Fannie Mae has essentially eradicated subprime lending depending on how subprime was defined. In short min 580 to qualify.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/23914753

Anonymous said...

The Willamette Week piece is bullshit. They've been screaming about rent increases for YEARS now and not much has happened. I've pointed this out elsewhere but I must be repetitive: Rents are flat in Portland unless the area went through significant improvement or gentrification. Sure, renting a 400K condo in the Pearl is going to cost $2000. So what? There's plenty of places that charge much less. And there's no WAY rents will increase as foreclosures and empty condos come on the market. I'm talking all those stupid conversion condos on the east side that should never have been condos. When the owners find out they can only get 120K for that 190K condo they bought in 2005, they'll rent it out.

Let's not forget who pays a buttload of money in advertising to the WW. The real estate industry.

You can't trust ANYBODY to give you the straight story anymore.

bearlee said...

Re: the WW story. Funny how the article forgot to mention the Wyatt and Ladd Tower going apartment, not like it's affordable to the average 20 something moving to Portland. Also, the Lovejoy and Alexan will add to the market. Wouldn't all these new units bring prices down?

I am tired of the argument: thousands of folks are moving here to buoy our prices, rent or homes. Look at Phoenix metro: 10,000 people move to that county a month! It ain't helping them any.

skeptictank said...

What in different markets around the country.

skeptictank said...


I wish blogger would fix their bug with ref tags. Shows up fine in the preview, but doesn't close them after you post.

Anonymous said...

I was dumbfounded to see a place in NYC UWS for 350K. One of the commenters on that blog thought so too.

I think their numbers are way off.

Anonymous said...

As an apartment manager, I'm getting over $2 per square foot right now and it keeps climbing. I do expect it to level off once 2121 Belmont and others turn into apartments.

Anonymous said...

The Willamette Week piece is bullshit. They've been screaming about rent increases for YEARS now and not much has happened.

I'm gonna hafta disagree with this. Anecdotally, the 1br 1ba apartment I rented in 2004 in Beaverton for $545 is now $780. The studio I rented downtown in 2005 for $465 is now $695 but forget about renting it, it's never vacant. The 1bd 1ba I rented later in 2005 for $565 is now $895.

Anonymous said...

Forgot one - needed a place for a few months and stayed at an extremely noisy place off Burnside. Rent for a 330 square foot studio directly above a bar with a floor that shook from the noise below was $550 in Dec 2006. I could've paid $600 and been on a higher, quieter floor, but since it was temporary I didn't mind the discount. Now the rent is around $795 15 months later.

Anonymous said...

Were there improvements to the units or neighborhoods? My place in the west hills is now $725 from $715 9 years ago. Units in the complex that have been rehabbed go for $840, still not a huge increase. Of course, my experience is anecdotal too.

Anything under $600 in 2004, even in Beaverton, was a STEAL and wasn't reflecting the market of even that time.

Landlords, especially the independents, have been fantasizing about San Francisco rents hitting Portland for about 10years or more. Not gonna happen.

Perplexed said...

Yes, but developers have been selling the story of San Franciso prices to condo buyers in the core area for a year or two.

Anonymous said...

What in different markets around the country.

Interesting, but can't trust a word that person is saying, the reporting is so bad.

"In Princeton, New Jersey $350,000 won’t even get you a townhouse."

Next paragraph:

"For $350,000 however, you can own a cozy townhouse complete with 3.5 beds and 2.5 baths."

And of course, go looking for a $350,000 836 s/f space on the UWS. You won't find it.

Anonymous said...

Were there improvements to the units or neighborhoods?

No. The 2004 place received a new coat of paint, but that is literally all. Complaints abounded about there being no insulation in the walls - you could hear everything - and that goes on to this day.

Anything under $600 in 2004, even in Beaverton, was a STEAL and wasn't reflecting the market of even that time.

I lived in the more expensive of two apartment complexes right next to each other. Sorry but I think you're wrong about prices at the time. Other people I knew had even better deals on newer-built complexes, they were simply further out. Also I rented in the dead of winter, early 2004, when it's not only cheaper to get a lease than in the summer but we were still in a major recession here in Oregon.

Landlords, especially the independents, have been fantasizing about San Francisco rents hitting Portland for about 10years or more. Not gonna happen.

As it says in the article, SF prices are $1900 a month for a one-bedroom, and having looked I think even that's cheap. We won't catch up to SF but we may track where they were 20 years ago.

More importantly: What do you guys think of the idea of introducing rent stabilization? That'd be quite something for Portland, wouldn't it?

PDXOutsider said...

"More importantly: What do you guys think of the idea of introducing rent stabilization? That'd be quite something for Portland, wouldn't it?"

ack, please no.

caryn said...

A good way to check out apartment rents is rent.com. Also if you rent through them, they'll give you a $100 prepaid Visa - they're not lying. Anyway - try Beaverton, starting with all. Right now you can get a place starting at $550 for Birch Pointe. That place overlooks a nice water area but I hear it's rough. Change it to 1 bedroom and up, goes to units starting at $570. Add in-unit washer dryer, starts at $600. Look at the listings near Beaverton, rather than right in, you'll find places for under $600 - $580 for Rock Creek as an example.

Anonymous said...

March PDX numbers:

http://jeffreykempe.com/2008/04/03/march-pdx-real-estate-numbers-first-look/

Anonymous said...

"But the only good news I see in it is that bubbleheads, absent the desired price tank, will have to spend another month agonizing with a “Well, next month for sure!” In fact it means that first time buyers are struggling to enter the market, and investors for the most part are still watching from the sidelines. But trumpeted as good news, it will have the undesired effect of keeping sellers who should be dropping price from doing so.

The corollary, of course, is that the bestnews this market could use is a 5% drop in median, which will probably be accompanied by a slight uptick in pending sales. But, like the Case/Shiller drop of a couple weeks ago, it will make for front page above the fold hysteria."

Haha!

caryn said...

My goodness, people are overreacting to the downturn. Depression? Seriously?

Anonymous said...

Any apartment manager or apartment building that uses rent dot com in this market is kind of an idiot, in my opinion. We would use it back in '02 and '03 and some of the crappier places, but certainly no more. Rent dot com gives you a $100 visa, but charges me $239 for the privilege. In this market, I charge a $150 "admin fee" just to move in.

Anonymous said...

Any apartment manager or apartment building that uses rent dot com in this market is kind of an idiot, in my opinion. We would use it back in '02 and '03 and some of the crappier places, but certainly no more. Rent dot com gives you a $100 visa, but charges me $239 for the privilege. In this market, I charge a $150 "admin fee" just to move in.

Please provide a list of the fine area apartment complexes that do not advertise on apartment rental websites. Thanks in advance.

PS I've never heard of an admin fee. Cleaning fee, of course. I wouldn't move into a place trying to charge me extra for nothing.

Anonymous said...

I stayed at the Northrup Station before the rehab into a boutique hotel for $45 a night in 97 when still a 20-something flophouse. Now it's $150 a night. Was it inflation or the improvements?

Anonymous said...

That Salon article was well-balanced as are all of Andrew Leonard's pieces.

Personally, I think this financial situation is much worse than most people realize. And the worst is nowhere nearly over.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't move into a place trying to charge me extra for nothing.

Same here. AVOID AVOID AVOID! Those are the places that'll try to keep your deposit and nickel and dime you for everything. I'm still waiting on a deserved additional $57.00 from my deposit my old apartment kept for no reason. They've said it's in the mail but it never arrives. How odd, huh?

Apartmentsearch.com says they offer $200 if you rent through them. I wonder how much they charge the property managers...?

caryn said...

3:41, I have no argument with much of what he said, but there are two things that stand out to me. One, what our grandparents went through in the Great Depression is not remotely comparable to current events, just the financial machinations in the credit crunch look similar. The state of desperation many people were in is entirely unlike what is experienced today, and hopefully we never will. Two is the already well-used phrase that house prices haven't fallen this much since the Great Depression. Well of course they haven't, there was never such a runup. It's kind of shameful in my opinion that we'd compare the relatively light things we're going through today, or in 2001, to what went on in the 1930s. I think all the coverage of clearly well-off people having trouble in recent CNN articles for example is summed up by this Onion article. Anyone notice onion articles are ever prescient?

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/33902

Anonymous said...

The people like us who have time and money to post to blogs like this aren't the ones suffering. Even in the Depression there were lots of people not affected. Lots of rich people, just like today.

My parents lived through the Depression and I grew up hearing about how hard things were, how poor they were. But it struck me that they didn't lose their big houses and both had huge families.

What impresses on me about now is the panic one can see in the government and financial markets. However, it didn't stop Congress from passing a bailout that does the most to help builders and banks and little for the hapless homebuyers.

What I really liked about Leonard's piece was his railing on about how we have spent decades now catering to wealth and how that isn't the way to run a country.

I get very angry when I see these free market shysters like Paulson, Bernanke, Greenspan et al, advocating socializing the losses from their greed-based decisions. Here we bail out Bear Stearns after they gave stellar bonuses in 2006 and the top guy walks away after selling 61 million in stock. In a different world he would have had his wealth confiscated and been imprisoned for his losses. It's truly disgusting.

Anonymous said...

are you yamyam?

Anonymous said...

Yamyam is dead. A mere memory of the past. An enigma. A cliche'.

Now let's get back to discussing ideas on the blog, not the people.

Anonymous said...

It's funny you mention big houses. In looking at Portland history, a lot of the square historic homes, big by today's standards, on postage stamp lots were inhabited by middle class people. The ones on the hills and the super fancy houses were those owned by the wealthy. If you watch the movie I Remember Mama about a family of completely broke Norwegian immigrants, they live in a San Francisco victorian that would go for $3-5 milion today. Part of the lesson is that western land was cheap, as were those plentiful materials I suppose, but also that there must be a fundamental difference in how much it cost to own a home and raise a family then and now. And I'm not talking about pure dollar inflation.

Back then people raised their own laying hens in their backyards, right in the city. Farm fresh vegetables, dairy and meat were much cheaper. Now that everything is farmed by giant conglomerates and we're not allowed to keep farm animals in the city, prices of food are much more subject to control. People didn't have unrealistic expectations about what their children should have. Their children received homemade clothing and toys, and helped tend the animals and the vegetable garden. As soon as kids could walk they pitched in. No laptops, cell phones, brand name jeans and sneakers, game consoles with hundreds of games.. the list goes on. We became a more materialistic society because of the deep rooted fear of falling behind the Joneses. And here we are.

Anonymous said...

That theory has some merit but we can't blame the perceived decline in our standard of living completely on unrealistic expectations. Wages have been stagnant for decades with most of the boom time $$$ going to the top 10% (or less). We got here through overt and covert governmental policies and actions. In effect, wealth bought favorable treatment.

You must read "Free Lunch" by David Cay Johnston. It will give you an excellent explanation of how we got here. It's too easy to simply blame us for being spoiled.

Anonymous said...

Good suggestion for the Free Lunch book. I'm waiting for it from the library. The important part is to remember there are many, many reasons we are where we are and many influences got us here today. One thing I think we can all agree on: Lack of regulation or deregulation of the finance industry got us where we are both then and now. Finance should always have very thorough oversight!

Anonymous said...

Yes, but all the reasons lead back to our government's efforts to comfort the comfortable. All through the 80s and 90s we couldn't do enough to punish people for being poor. We slashed benefits and created ever more punitive ways to destroy the middle class while heaping tax breaks and praise on the upper class.

A good example is the completely wrong-headed "Foreclosure Prevention Act" passed by the Senate today. As the analyst said on NPR this afternoon, the biggest beneficiary in the bill is the home builders association. it's no secret that the home builders are big contributors to Congress. When the sh*t started slamming against the fan they told Congress the pursestrings were SHUT. So Congress, under the guise of "helping" the little guy, wrote a bill that will give SIX BILLION DOLLARS in tax breaks to home builders.

That should open up the NAHB bank, dontcha think?

caryn said...

OMG... this is funny! Late to posting it, but..

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2007/12/please-dont-des.html

bearlee said...

Too funny, Caryn. I will have to bookmark that site, being from Iowa and all! Thanks

bearlee said...

John Ross in SoWa update according to PortlandMaps tonight

177 (58.4%) sold
126 (41.6%) unsold

Of note, 2 of the 2200 square foot premium Park level condos recently sold, #413 for $825K and #311 for $760K

Anonymous said...

How much do want to bet that those aren't even primary residences? Probably someone's second or third home for when they come to Portland for dinner at 23Hoyt twice a year.

Ah, America in the New Republican Gilded Age.

bearlee said...

Re: John Ross. Though I didn't get an exact count, I would guess a third were primary residences, another third had owners in Portland area, and the last third had owners from all over: NYC, Alaska, California, NM, Washington. Quite a few are for sale again. And there always seems to be about 10-15 for rent on CL.

bearlee said...

I glanced at realty trac and noticed a lot of 'auction' homes in Portland. I do not have a membership therefore can't obtain any more info. Any of you out there give us more info? Will these homes be hitting the courthouse steps soon or where else do these auctions occur?

Anonymous said...

2121 SE Belmont is now officially apartments.

caryn said...

Hi, bubble watchers.

I spent the weekend in Bend and will hopefully post some observations later. It's interesting seeing it from the outside.

Anonymous said...

Are oil futures still a good idea?

There is no gas shortage, according to Businessweek.

Anonymous said...

These are hilarious. The 24 Worst Bad MLS Photos of the Year.

http://www.reagentinct.com/2008/03/28/the-24-worst-bad-mls-photos-of-the-year/

Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting listing...

1635 SE Harrison

Sold for $240,000 a year ago, sold for $299,900 two months later. Generously offered at $56,000 off of the appraisal for the bargain price of $339,000.

Want to guess how much it'll sell for?

Anonymous said...

I like the comment about the seller being "concerned" about the subprime market.

As long as we keep calling it a "subprime problem" we can delude ourselves into believing it only affects the infidels at the bottom of the economic ladder. Ah, reality will be so much more cruel.

bearlee said...

Ryan Frank at Oregonlive.com Front Porch is fielding questions to ask realtors on Wednesday. Anyone got anything to ask?!?!

Anonymous said...

I like how he doesn't say who these top selling agents are, or under what conditions he's meeting them. Sadly, I think no matter what we came up with they wouldn't answer directly.

Anonymous said...

Interesting piece from the New Yorker about current circumstances. From the author of "Wisdom of Crowds."

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2008/04/07/080407ta_talk_surowiecki

Anonymous said...

Well of course. When the people decided to vote conservative about 30 years ago and the country took a sharp turn to the right they were sealing their fate. That fate has led to a declining standard of living and financial insecurity for everyone but the top 10%.

I hope the people suffer, and suffer greatly for their ignorance. Then I hope they do terrible things to republicans and anyone who even looks like a republican.

Anonymous said...

Various bubble bloggers, including Tim Ellis of Seattle Bubble, were featured on NPR April 9.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89490052

accountabilitysucks said...

Clinton gutted welfare and presided over the end of Glass-Steagle.


I hope they do terrible things to americans and anyone who even looks like an american.

Anonymous said...

The republicans did those things. Clinton was too busy being sidelined to stop them.

I hope all republican burn in hell.

This morning I heard more sob stories about blue collar assholes whining about their shrinking lot in life. Too bad they started voting republican in large numbers in the 80s due to their racist mindsets. The republicans asked for their vote and promised that they'd cut off the poor (which the blue collar idiots translated to "minorities") and drop taxes.
What ended up happening is that the blue collar guys got f*cked and f*cked HARD. GOodbye cushy union job! Now many are folding clothes next to their wives at WalMart for $5.45/hour.

Let the "Reagan democrats" starve for all I care.

Anonymous said...

Check this out, from yesterday's front-page O article about local realtors.

http://www.oregonlive.com/business/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/business/1207796117127610.xml&coll=7

"If you have a listing that's on the market for a long time, do you re-list it in RMLS to get a new RMLS number?

"Here's the reality," said Brian Bellairs of the Meadows Group Inc. in Tigard. "Somebody has a listing that starts with 7,000. The current listing number is 803-something. I'm pulling 50 listings. We have an hour to show property. It's a pretty fair assumption to say that something with a listing number of 7-something, might be a dog. . . .

"I would always change it at a milestone so that right now a home that was listed in 2007 looks fresh."

Craig M. Reger of The Hasson Co. Realtors said brokers don't generally change the listing number just to change it. "Hopefully there's either a change of condition or a change in price." "

Um, isn't that freaking supposedly DISALLOWED? Or am I wrong here?

Anonymous said...

In a world where anything goes, where ethics are an afterthought, why would anything one does to make money be disallowed?

Where have you been?

PDXOutsider said...

As far as I know, relisting is a-ok in this region. SO just ignore days on the market, or add 50%.

I just posted about the O article, let's move the conversation over there.

Thanks for pointing out the article.