Bubble Bear Bloggers Buy… in Seattle and New Jersey

“Tim, the seattlebubble.com blogger, bought this house [3601 Wetmore Ave, Everett, WA; 1,620sqft SFH on 6,098sqft lot] for $225K. [Seattle Bubble blog, 27 May 2011]. He expressed concern that the act of buying would be seen as “moral weakness” and “picked to pieces” by readers. He summed up rationale as “buy vs. rent was in favor of buying for the location & type of homes we wanted to live in”.
At less than $150/sqft, it seems fine to us. -ed.

HOMEOWNERS James A. Bednar and his wife, Jayne, are in the throes of renovating their first home, in Wayne. Mr. Bednar, a blogger, has been a longtime public skeptic of the real estate market.

BIG news in the virtual neighborhood: “Grim” bought a house. [from nytimes.com 12 May 2011]
For the last six years, James A. Bednar — or “Grim,” as he is known in the blogosphere — has served as a passionate advocate of cool wariness about New Jersey real estate. Through his posts on njrereport.com, Mr. Bednar convened a community of skeptics, scoffers and scavengers for “true value” during times of spiraling prices — first up, then down.
Most regulars on the blog appear to have remained renters through at least one full housing market cycle, depending on how one measures the cycling. As did Mr. Bednar.
But on the morning of April 29, as Grim, he abruptly posted the announcement that he and his wife, Jayne, were closing on a three-bedroom ranch in Wayne. “Has J. B. lost his mind?” asked Grim about himself.
There were 217 quick responses. “Now I’ve heard everything,” read one. Others asked whether Mr. Bednar would disband the blog, for which he is unpaid (definitely not, he said), and whether prices had now hit bottom (he did not answer that). But most expressed warm, if teasing, congratulations.
“I’m sure with your knowledge of the market you are getting a real good deal,” read a post from “Mikeinwaiting.” “As far as bottoms go, well, you take your chances.”
Mr. Bednar, who says he usually blogs in the wee hours, has had a full-time job as a software technician since graduating from college during the dot-com boom of the early 2000s. He withheld the gritty details of his purchase from the blog. But in an interview, he readily gave them up, saying that since he was in the habit of exposing price information about other peoples’ houses, it would be hypocritical to do otherwise: purchase price $435,000, list price $479,000 — meaning that the Bednars negotiated a 9 percent discount.

As we’ve said before, US RE is a fair buy at present. There is likely still more downside, but, looking at these purchases prices, even another fairly big leg down wouldn’t completely destroy these folks.
Vancouver, snap-shot from the future, sometime later this decade? -ed.

8 responses to “Bubble Bear Bloggers Buy… in Seattle and New Jersey

  1. How much would that Seattle house go for in a similar neighbourhood in Vancouver? $850-900k?

    • The Tim bought in Everett, not Seattle, so a better comparison is Maple Ridge or Langley. Both have about 40% higher prices, as much as one can compare.

      • Maple Ridge or Langley… if they had a deep water port with two destroyers, three frigates, one nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and a Coast Guard buoy tender.

  2. Next couple years could be a good time to buy in the US. I would wait until next year personally, or maybe even 2013. But the bottom does approach I think, despite the continuing Case Shiller decline. Then prices might just move sideways for a long time.

  3. It’s one thing to buy a multi-hundred-thousand-dollar house as a shrewd investment, quite another to buy it knowing full well you’ll likely lose money. That’s when we find out how real the “owner’s premium” is. For these bloggers it’s undoubtedly real; for most Americans… not so much.

  4. Do anyone here have experience in buying in US? What is the technicality involve. I am seriously thinking about selling here and rent in Vancouver instead. I can clear a house like that as of today.

    Damn it is very temping.

    • Just be aware the future growth is likely to be muted for a long time. You aren’t going to see crazy automatic appreciation as we’ve all grown accustomed to.

  5. yeah – Seattle is at a good price point right now , sellers are willing to go down from the asking price, and interest rates are good.

    I’ve bought in the states, but it was my primary residence, so I can’t advise regarding taxes. But certainly I know Canadians who have bought 2nd houses recently in the states.

    The US banks don’t have closed mortgages, so you don’t have these mortgage penalties – can sell whenever you want. It’s also easier & less expensive to fix-in a long term interest rate. You might want to find a mortgage broker, to help you find the best available rate.

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