Monday, September 25, 2006

What Do You Want?

I don't consider myself "obsessed" with Warren; not even a little. He just opened himself up as an opportunity to focus on Marin real estate agents whose ethics/motivations are questionable. That is an avenue that I had not explored much before. At the very least he shows that even "God's Country" has them. I think that is fair game. If I could weed out all of the depraved agents in Marin, I would.

On the flip side, the topic of slimy Marin RE agents has me thinking about explicitly promoting on this blog Marin agents who seem to be uncharacteristically honest and forthright and, importantly, who have the buyer's best interests in mind. The theory: reinforce good, honest behavior and punish bad, dishonest behavior. Unfortunately, my list is rather short so I doubt I'll make much headway on that effort.

But message received.

But please keep in mind that this blog is free. No one is forcing you to read it. I am grateful that you do, of course. This is my weblog of the Marin real estate bubble and what it means to me, what I think is interesting, what concerns me, and in general what I care about.

But having said that.... what do readers want to see on this blog? I ask this question because the first phase of this blog was to argue that there is a housing bubble (in general) and that it has "floated our boats" in Marin (in particular) as much as any other bubble market. I think there is general agreement now that is the case. But what next? Documenting the inevitable painful slide in Marin's housing market? More Marin myth-busting via poignant examples? More of the same, just minus Warren? What?

An honest question deserves an honest answer/constructive criticism.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Generally speaking, my primary interest is in the facts, or data that somehow reflects those facts. Also of interest is your interpretation of the data.

As with many other assets, fair value and the price at which such an asset trades are two different things. Most of the time fair value is unknown and we can only observe the traded price which is simply an expression of opinion by the market place. The only point I am making is that you can be right about fair value, but still lose a lot of money. So being right about a housing bubble is one thing, but only if the rest of the world agress with you within a reasonable amount of time.

Having said all of that, my interpretation of the data that I have seen points to a housing bubble ... and it has for a while. The real question on my mind since about 2001 was when is it going to end? It seems like the when is now, but all of the data we have seen so far is lagging by (I'm guessing) at least 3 months.

Back to the facts. Question One. I have read that the current median price is still hiding the full impact of the decline because either:
(a) entry level buyers have dropped out, so fewer sales in the low end of the market are closing, or
(b) only spotless homes (your phrase) are selling and the relative dogs are sitting out there waiting to close at a much lower price

These sound like reasonable hypotheses: is there any evidence to back it up?

Question Two. I have also ready that $2.7T of ARMs reset this year and $4.0T reset next year. I have never seen a source quoted. Do you know of one? I would be especially interested to see these $ numbers by zip code or county and also see the number of housing unit affected by these geographic regions. ARM resets are going to have an impact, but I would like to quantify by how much. Any ideas?

Keep up the good work.

Sep 25, 2006, 1:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog should continue to expose bad realtors in Marin. They have been promoting biased real estate picture and self interests for too long without any check in balance. Your blog provides a source to examine their conducts. Ultimately, buyers could benefit from this service.

Sep 25, 2006, 1:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Question Two by myself above. My memory served me incorrectly: it should be $1T resetting this year and $1.7T next year, at least according to a Barrons's article in June 2006.

Sep 25, 2006, 2:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm here for the info and some lollers, so far so good.

I love the sarcasm in the POS section. I wish I had that kinda

Sep 25, 2006, 4:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the sarcasm in the POS section. I wish I had that kinda wit.

I second that! We see the direction prices are headed, but it's a long wait to play out. I follow a number of bubble blogs, and most enjoy a combination of breaking news and 'attitude'. There's more compelling drama in bubble statistics than on TV!

Sep 25, 2006, 5:09:00 PM  
Blogger Tako John said...

This guy is not in Marin, but is perhaps the most honest realtor I've found:

(Go to, View Local Conditions, Salinas, CA)

I have no desire to buy in the Salinas area, but if I did, I'd use him!

Sep 25, 2006, 7:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I don't call a couple well deserved rebuttles of his rather rude comments obsessed. It's what any self-respecting person would do. Generally, people who have no real facts to support their data rely on emotional arguments and accusations (Warren).

Sep 25, 2006, 8:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't really care about realtors. All I care about is being able to buy a house in Marin at 2003/2004 prices. I look at the Marin mls now for sfr's under $600k and it still seems way overpriced to me.

It drives me crazy sometimes - these prices in Marin - you'd think all these houses all had ocean views.

Sep 25, 2006, 8:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This site is superb, just keep following your own ideas and it will continue to be so.

Sep 26, 2006, 12:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

more data, you do a good job of supplying that. Pointing out the excesses of the market is always good for a laugh. One thing missing is a recognition that there will likely be an over reaction to the downswing. Much like there was an excess of cheerleading on the way up, there is already a similar excess on the way down.

Sep 26, 2006, 9:14:00 AM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

what do I want? how about information from people that actually set policy, and affect the economy?

Sep 26, 2006, 8:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was one of the anon's who wrote to move on about Warren. I said it because it detracts from meaty and important matters that are the usual content of this blog.

I'm here for it all: facts, anecdotes, useful info, some econ 101, lollers, sarcasm, witty retorts from commentators, and a bit of schadenfreude thrown in for good measure.

Great blog, and I meant to say the graphics are always awesome.

~higgledy piggledy pop

Sep 27, 2006, 8:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you John Tako.

In Salinas we are still seeing falling prices.

My best bet it will continue till June & possibly December.

Best Regards,

Wesley Dale Franklin

Mar 31, 2007, 12:30:00 PM  

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