Thursday, August 10, 2006

Cooling-Off Period

I've clearly touched a raw nerve with some of my more recent posts. Some really, really good points are being raised in the comment sections of these posts. I've spent a lot of time responding to some people's comments. I think we need a cooling-off period for a while; at least I do. Keep posting comments however. I'm just going to hold-off on publishing new posts for a little while until certain issues get worked out to my satisfaction.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Public records are just that, Public records. Details are available about mortgages, back taxes or liens at the 'recorder's office'(for free) and people do look at the records. I research them myself.
It may disturb some people to know this info can be posted, but anyone who borrows money is giving up a level of privacy. Like it or not. I don't think names should be posted, but short of that, it is completely reasonable to discuss the public domain facts. Personally, I only get uncomfortable when the level of cynicism, on any blog, gets too high. We all live in glass houses.

Aug 10, 2006, 2:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just last night I was telling my partner about how instructive I found the data you were posting to be, and how it had helped convince me that big changes were coming in the overall market. As others have said, you are simply pulling information from the public record, something that anyone with investigative skills would, and should, undertake.

Aug 10, 2006, 3:51:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Damn! 42 posts in the comments section... is that like a record or something?

Keep up the (clearly!) good work.

Aug 10, 2006, 7:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep it up, Marinite. Don't listen to all the whiners who post negative comments on your blog. If you're making them upset, you're doing something right. If they don't like it, they can start their own damn blog. Your anger is righteous and so is your cause. This country, but this state especially, has gone insane. It is far past time for the sane people to get pissed, speak out, and call bullshit when they see it. Don't let the bastards get you down.

Aug 11, 2006, 12:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I love your blog and have been checking it daily for months now. The same people who whine about how "cynical" you are will be the same ones who blame everyone else when they lose all their equity and then some.

It's hard to believe that people do not recognize how overvalued things are in the bay area. Unless you already have been an owner for at least 5 or 6 years, it just makes no financial sense to buy. I can barely balance my checkbook but even I can figure the below out...

The (simple) math:

Assuming you can "afford" a family size house 3-4 beds/2 bath 1800-2000sq ft...

The rough average cost in a nice area with good schools is around $850k. Let's assume that to really "afford" it you need to have 20% down or $170K, round to $200k for closing, misc, moving, etc. Your mortgage (30 years fixed at 6.5%) would be $4200 per month, your property tax would be around $850 (at 1.25%?) for a rough payout of $5000 a month, excluding maintenance and insurance.

So...5 big ones per month or $60,000 per year, WOW!

Putting aside the tax break for the purpose of the next rent that same house would probably be $2500 per month, lets assume $3000 per month or $36,000 per year just to make it neat.

Okay, so your paying an additional 24K per year to live in the same house...oops, you forgot to add in the %5+ interest per year in a cd you could make on the $200,000 you laid on the table or another $10,000 in income you could have. So, in reality it is costing you an additional $34,000 per year or $2,800 per month (more than double) to live in a comparable house in the same area.... Now yes you would probably get at least a $10k tax break which would bring you back to your $24K per year, but still $2k more per month to live in the same house? Why??? Especially in a market that is obviously tapped out.

So if you HAD 5k per month that you could afford to spend on just your housing expense, why would anyone in their right mind just piss it away on interest?

Aug 11, 2006, 2:58:00 AM  
Blogger jmf said...

hello from germany,

i love your blog! you are doing a very good job.

Aug 11, 2006, 7:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading various housing blogs like these for years now. As someone from the rural South now living in California for the past 8 years, I have to say that of all people, the housing mania has been rather perplexing to me due to the severe extremes that exsist within the U.S.
For example, my parents own a large 2 story house on 15 acres of land, have an in-ground pool, a 2 story workshop, an apple orchard, 2 large screened porches on the house, a rental house, 3 decent cars, and a bunch of toys like kayaks, a camper, boat, and a motorbike. Are they absolutely loaded? No. They're both public school teachers making less than 45k each living in rural North Carolina and live on a piece of property that was last valued at under 150k. The same home in California would cost millions and require the inhabitants to have jobs as CEO's, lawyers, or upper management executives.
After living here for almost a decade, climbing up the ladder, making decent money while saving all the while, me and my wife finally decided that things are uneccesarly ridiculous here. California has some major problems. They can keep them too, because these issues don't exsist back home.

For 3 or 4 years, I was really confused about why in the hell things are as stressful and out of control here. It took a lot of reading on blogs like this one, realizing that there were plenty of people like myself. People that were fairly educated, in jobs that paid decent money, yet couldn't afford the bare basics, and trust me- the bare basics here are pretty small compared to the basics elsewhere. At first I thought it was the huge desire of people to live somewhere " progressive" But as time has passed, these political motivations have taken a back seat as the overwhelming prices have covered over and made any positive aspects of living here pale in comparrison.

It is sad that I have to basically start all over again. But at the same time, I now fully appreciate what most people in my homeland take for granted, which is a healthy middle class.

Aug 11, 2006, 7:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your blog and I check it every day. Please don't change a thing. If people don't like what they read then they can read something else!

Aug 11, 2006, 7:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morality, ethics, etc are always used by people to justify things they want to remain unquestioned.

There are many people that overbought, and many that bought to flip. They would like nothing better than to unload their house and make someone else pay for their mistake. Not to mention the RE bandwagon. All these people want the music to go on, just for a little more time, for them to get off.

People like you stand in their way. And this privacy/morality stick is the only one which works right now on you. Ridicule will not work on you, because the facts are now evident to an educated observer.

But they are not evident to everyone. To me and you, they are. For the doubters, they tend to beleive the RE agent rather than marinite.

Except when they see a post like the last one - not median price, not sales numbers, not HB index - but a real house with real prices, with real sales history and real loan amounts.

Thats what your last post was - it stands no rebuttal, it tolerates no spin nor RE bull. It is what it is. The truth.

Me, I dont need convincing. But for the few who come here somehow during their earnest buy-or-not research, that post would put the point to them like a bulldozer.

And that's what worries the fake moralists- if the truth is so easily available and known, how can they unload their mistake to someone else.

God bless you, marinite. What you do is more moral than anything those guys would do.

Aug 11, 2006, 8:40:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

We have TV shows about people flipping houses for money. We've had years of newspaper articles about people making money on houses. Why, then, is it NOT okay to show people losing money on houses?? It's the flip side to the coin. Get used to it, I say. I think we'll be hearing more of these stories as the market weakens. And the public deserves to know the truth. RE is NOT always a sure thing, and losses can be very, very big.

Aug 11, 2006, 9:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa, well said.

What Marinite posted was absolultely NOTHING for which needs to be apologized. I love this blog and the insightful commentary that Marinite has brought to it over the months as this bubble unfolds.

I'm saddened that Marinite feels the need for a "cooling-off" period in light of the ridiculous comments by some disgruntled readers. The implosion of this house of cards will cause much more pain in the coming future than anything that Marinite could possibly post. Get a clue people.

And keep up the good work Marinite.

Aug 11, 2006, 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger cajun100 said...

Just rest a bit, Marinite. Some R&R never hurts.

In fact, spend a couple of those newly free hours watching international news. You'll find the "issues" debated here so hotly pale quickly in significance.

Aug 11, 2006, 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

"In fact, spend a couple of those newly free hours watching international news. You'll find the "issues" debated here so hotly pale quickly in significance. "

Great advice, amazing how the "terror plot" was uncovered, and the "news media" decided to talk about something that didn't happen instead of Israeli's(US) killing people. Far more important things in this world than money.

Aug 11, 2006, 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger wannabuy said...


I've been "lurking" on your blog for a while now and wanted to voice my opinion of your articles: I love them!

Effectively, I consider this blog investigative journalism into a defined topic. Please continue to post as any responsible journalist would. e.g., withold names/addresses of the innocent but by all means point out case studies.

I agree with coitdeck that its perfectly fine to discuss public domain facts.

The reality is that investigative journalism at its best will *always* infuriate a portion of the population who will find any reason to reign in those that are publishing information they want left in the dark.

Now Lisa sparked a thought... when do we get a TV reality show called "flippers gone bad." This week, "Bob" attempts to torch his #3 flip for the insurance money. Ok, I'd be hooked! ;)


Aug 11, 2006, 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Hanover Fist said...

My wife and I moved to Vandenburg Air Force Base about 5 months ago. When we got here we drove around and couldn't believe the prices. So, I started to try and figure out why they were so insanely high. Eventually I stumbled onto your site and I read through it everyday.

I am very grateful that you take the time to inform people what is going on and I really want you to continue.

Don't let a little e-drama get in your way.

You're doing a tremendous service by shining a light on a system gone out of whack.

So, you flipped on the light and the cockroaches are looking for a place to hide, don't let some touchy-feely hippy get you down with "but, but think of the poor cockroaches..."

Keep up the good work *thumbs up*.

Aug 11, 2006, 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Ali, in Cali said...

I agree with what everyone else has already said. We live in a world that grows more immoral by the day.... People use commen sense less and less... you are a model citizen in a world of our own vile creation: uncovering truths the liars and money hoarders would have kept hidden in the dark and sharing your light with the rest of the masses who are just looking for a voice of reason to confirm that they are not in fact insane.

Your posts are a reminder of just how muddled the truth has become, and your applied common sense is sooooo needed in the world, and the RE world especially. I personally couldn't fight the good fight against the nay-bubble-sayers nearly half so well if not armed with the facts that you share with us. Please don't let them criticize you, frighten you, or bully you into taking our livelihood away.

That being said, thanks for all you do and put up with.

P.S. I am super sad that you picked today to start taking time off to cool down. There is a GREAT article on today and I was anxious to read the response posts on my regular blogsites... especially yours if there was to be one.

Aug 11, 2006, 11:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a little off topic.
Has anyone noticed that 30-year treasury yield has been moving up since the Fed's announcement for a pause of rate hike? It is ironic, isn't it? The Fed saw some evidence of cooling economy, especially the real estate market so it pauses. However, the long-term rate actually is going up which defeats the Fed's purpose because the 30-year yield has more effect on real estate than the short-term rate.

How high will the 30-year treasury yield rise to? It would be interesting to observe.

Aug 11, 2006, 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to echo the positive comments from the other posters. I read this site every day, and it is an important counterpoint to the pr hype that we get in much of the popular press. The best information about changes in the housing market comes from looking at individual housing prices over time, since median and mean figures can hide market shifts.

You have nothing to apologize for. I hope you're back to posting again soon, since I'll miss reading the site until then.

Aug 11, 2006, 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

Has anyone noticed that 30-year treasury yield has been moving up since the Fed's announcement for a pause of rate hike? It is ironic, isn't it?

No, it's not. I think I posted an article on this predicted behavior a while ago but I cannot find it. So maybe I just read it. I think the gist of the argument was that if the Fed stops raising rates, then it will be interpreted by overseas folks as a weakening stance on inflation, the value of the dollar drops, and so to attract buyers of bonds interest rates have to rise. Or something along those lines.

Aug 11, 2006, 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey Ali, could you tone down the drama?

"a world of our own vile creation: uncovering truths the liars and money hoarders would have kept hidden in the dark and sharing your light with the rest of the masses..."

while we worry about interest rates and affordability, many folks are worrying about rockets, airstrikes, car know, the sorts of things that can really impact the desireability of a neighborhood.

Aug 11, 2006, 3:07:00 PM  
Blogger RMays said...

I've been counting . . . looks like the score is 63-KEEP IT UPs and 2-Morally Wrongs.

You are going to cool off because two people out of 63 says there is a problem with talking about PUBLIC INFORMATION?

I mean, if it was really so bad, I think instead of address YOU about it, they would contact the newspapers that print it, the county laws that allow it . . .

Nah, they don't think it's so bad. It's like the guy above said, cockroaches scramble when the lights turn on. The two "complainers" are scared of the "possibility" of lights shining on them ONE DAY.

The truth can hurt . . . especially when you make a habit of hiding from it.

They just shed some light on their "own" little fears, personality defaults . . . whatever you want to call it.

63 votes wins. Keep going!

Aug 11, 2006, 3:49:00 PM  
Blogger marine_explorer said...

We should stop lumping on the "complainers". In a way, we should encourage dissent: it keeps us honest and accountable. This blog is all about dissent, after all.

Aug 11, 2006, 6:43:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

This blog is all about dissent

As well as descent. Just have to keep it decent.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Aug 12, 2006, 9:10:00 AM  
Blogger Ali, in Cali said...


Sorry for the drama laden post. However, it seems to me that the threat of an deteriorating economy closely following on the heels of a housing collaspse IS a serious threat all it's own. Maybe it isn't car bomb and missile serious, but nationwide financial instability is vile nonetheless. Couple that with my anger that the reckless and irresponsible have greatly increased the difficulty for me to by a home for the family I hope to raise, and I get a little worked up when I think about all the lies and bad decisions that brought us here. Others, like you, get worked up about civilian injustices in foreign lands. You are right. We are lucky, overall, for we are safe: physically.

Aug 12, 2006, 5:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Don't apologize to the pothead, you are absolutely correct.

Are there more important issues in the world than affordability and interest rates? Of course! But there always has and ALWAYS will be injustices, religious fanatics, and moronic political leaders in the world....but there are 100's of other blogs on which to discuss that.

Marin real estate is what this blog is about. Keep up the good work Marinite!


Aug 13, 2006, 1:47:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

Marin real estate is what this blog is about.

Exactly. This blog is "on topic" for the topic it is defined for. The fact that this is the topic I chose to cover in this blog by no means implies that there are not other worthy, even more important, topics that could be blogged. (I am very surprised that this fact even needs to be pointed out.) Suggesting otherwise is just a lame, diversionary tactic by people who don't want to deal with the ugliness of this housing bubble, especially here in Marin for which it has been claimed is too special to be affected by the bubble or otherwise immune.

Aug 13, 2006, 5:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, I get that this blog is about the insanity of the marin RE market. But, I do think that some of the posts here get overwrought and was pointing that out.

Yes, prices are massive here. Yes, the market has slowed. Yes, many folks are priced out of southern marin. I just don't buy into the notion that nefarious forces are out to screw the average prospective home buyer or seller.

I like the blog, keep it up.

Aug 14, 2006, 2:36:00 PM  

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