Seattle Housing Market Bottom? Not Here Yet…

When the “paper of record” says so, it must be true: “Seattle is down about 31 percent from its mid-2007 peak and . . . still has as much as 10 percent to fall.” The article also calls out the Seattle Times for its rank boosterism– er, I mean inaccurate news reporting, back in September of 2006. And rightfully so (the true beauty of the internet — the public record is exceptionally accessible): According to the Seattle Times in 2006 based on its own analysis, “If history is any indication, King County may escape [the housing bust].” Local economists Matthew Gardner (Matt, was that really the best head shot you had on hand?) and Dirk Conway chimed in as well in favor of the “no declines here!” position. Ah, 2006, when there was no shortage of optimism….

In any event, with the relative drumbeat of depressing news of late, this is looking like an increasingly accurate assessment of the local market. The current conventional wisdom as noted in the article is a “bottoming out” of the housing market by December of this year. But note that this bottom is predicted to occur only in about 75% of the 375 local markets covered by the Case-Schiller Home Price Index. Further, Seattle has historically trailed the “national” market. So perhaps its overly optimistic to think that we will bottom locally in 2011.

Full disclosure: I deleted the “according to Zillow” attibution in the quote above, so really this is just our home town boys delivering the bad news, as picked up by the NY Times. (BTW, the piece includes a nice “urban Seattle” photo — right down to the Volvo parked out front! — that thows some love at local brokerage Gerrard Beattie & Knapp — sweet free media, guys!)

Posted by Marc

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