Are Humboldt properties shaking off t...

Are Humboldt properties shaking off the slump?

There are 39 comments on the Eureka Times Standard story from Nov 17, 2008, titled Are Humboldt properties shaking off the slump?. In it, Eureka Times Standard reports that:

Despite months of dusky gloom in the national housing market, there is a ray of light, however dim, for home-hunters in Humboldt County.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Eureka Times Standard.

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Berkeley, CA

#1 Nov 17, 2008
Trust a realtor or mortgage broker when pigs can fly.

Arcata, CA

#2 Nov 17, 2008
thank a grow house near you for keeping property taxes high.

Eureka, CA

#3 Nov 17, 2008
Strange article.It starts off sounding like Humboldt home owners and home sellers are in luck because the market here is holding.Then it swerves to home buyers are in luck.
JK Cosworth

Arcata, CA

#4 Nov 17, 2008
Realtor talk. When house prices are skyrocketing it's "time to buy" or you'll be left behind, and there's no such thing as over-valued. When prices are falling like a rock, it's "time to buy" because "affordability is up" and previous prices were over-valued.

Translation: It's always time to buy.

United States

#5 Nov 17, 2008
Ha! They'd had told you guys the same thing at the height of the housing boom!

The HSU study was much more accurate.

United States

#6 Nov 17, 2008
how is it shaking off a slump if pries are still falling? I think the T-S has shown a complete lack of understanding of the current economic malaise.
ED Denson

San Jose, CA

#7 Nov 17, 2008
If I followed this article correctly, the good news is that real estate prices are falling? Talk about making lemonade when life gives you lemons. I suppose the message is that every cloud has a silver lining etc? I think you should notify Bush and Obama that they've got the idea wrong. The international economic crisis is being caused by real estate being too valuable, so strong measures to wreck the market are what's called for. Right?

United States

#8 Nov 17, 2008
Housing prices falling is indeed great news. And they have much farther to fall, especially in Humboldt. San Diego, Sonoma, and Monterey counties now have median home prices within $20,000 of Humboldt county's median...which suggest the correction here is just getting started since these other areas have historically been much higher priced than here (as recently as 2005, median home prices in those other counties were nearly double what they were here).

People here have depended on home equity and "rich" folks from San Diego to bail them out; that won't happen anymore as the attractiveness to move here from SoCal is now reduced given this area's similar home prices now. And, those who spent phony equity are losing thousands every week.

But what do I know? I sold my house in 2005 when it became clear this was a bubble. My estimation is that Humboldt is a laggard, and the 50% drops in median home prices that have already happened in San Diego, Sacramento, Monterey, and Santa Rosa will happen here within the next couple of years. Thus, when the median is back down to around $150,000-160,000, that will be consistent with economic fundamentals here. In the meantime, I'll sit back and enjoy the show: renting and stashing away $4,000 a month in savings.

Stockton, CA

#9 Nov 17, 2008
You can have a house in Shelter Cove, just sell your soul to the utility company, grow dope and keep you payments up.
Ivan the Terrible

Arcata, CA

#10 Nov 17, 2008
Tom Hiller... the same guy that flamed the HSU economics professor for doing an paper on falling home values last year? For calling his research, theories... or is that a different Tom Hiller?

Please, prices will continue to fall, Humboldt was behind the curve on the price increase, it will be slightly behind the curve on the decrease.
The Dude

United States

#11 Nov 17, 2008
Anonymous wrote:
thank a grow house near you for keeping property taxes high.
Naw. Thank the college. I've lived here my whole life and the grows weren't always here. Most of the kids that go to HSU are from out of the area. Many are from larger metros where rent and mortgage payments are much higher than they are here. When some 19 year old kid's parents hear that they can buy a 5 bedroom house for little Jimmy to live in while he goes to college, and that the mortage payments will only be $1800/month they exclaim "but a 2 bedroom apartment in San Francisco goes for that!"

/Not to say that little Jimmy isn't going to grow in that house...

United States

#12 Nov 17, 2008
Hehehe! Not even in your dreams!

Eureka, CA

#13 Nov 17, 2008
Well, I certainly hope everyone read the very last sentence of the article.
"If you have the money, this is the time to invest."

In other words, if you've lost your job and are barely keeping up with your rent or the payments on your house after losing the job you've had for 15 years, you're hosed.

Real Estate agents count on people who can sell their homes elsewhere and come here to retire with tons of money in the bank left over. That's where they make their money.
There is no economy to support an influx or property sales otherwise.

Mountain View, CA

#14 Nov 17, 2008
unanonymous wrote:
how is it shaking off a slump if pries are still falling? I think the T-S has shown a complete lack of understanding of the current economic malaise.
Home prices that have been overvalued since the housing bubble began to inflate are finally beginning to drop to more realistic prices, which is a signal that the housing market is beginning to stabilize. The T-S got it right -- because property values are falling, investors and first-time home buyers can enter the market and lend it stability.
Nice use of the word malaise though...
Arcata Rebel

Lubbock, TX

#15 Nov 17, 2008
Real Estate agents do lie to serve their interests but the next 6+ months will be the best historical time to buy real estate for along time.

Of course you need money and credit always the rub.

Arcata, CA

#16 Nov 17, 2008
The next six months will hardly be a good time to buy. Knifecatchers thought 2006, 2007, and 2008 were good times to buy as prices began to drop--and they have all lost money. Jobs here are being slashed. As for Southern Californians moving here, that is coming to an end for now--what attracted them were cheaper prices. Prices in San Diego county are comparable to Humboldt county. Equity locusts down there can't sell their houses, and even if they could, there is no incentive to move to gloomy Humboldt given the relatively similar prices here now.

Face it: if you bought anytime since 2000, you're a chump and paid too much. As "investors" and those holding multiple properties begin to get desperate for cash, they will have little choice to unload their extra properties...we're already seeing it now. After holding steady around 20-25 foreclosures the whole year, in the last month they've spiked to around 45 in Humboldt county. This is just getting started. Do you really think Monterey or San Diego can fall 50% from the top and Humboldt won't? Get real. The opportunities to buy will be in 2011 or 2012; with the Dems in Congress and the White House, bailout after bailout will be directed towards attempting to artificially prop up home prices. They've already spent $3 Trillion towards this--and failed. This is unstoppable and represents a sea change in the nation's whole concept of debt-leveraged spending. Better try to live within your means!

Arcata, CA

#17 Nov 17, 2008
Many analysts invert this home ownership problem to disguise what is actually happening. The usual claim is houses are too expensive, or over valued, or over priced. Then some reason is given for that - foreigners from San Diego, crooked banks, agents etc.

The real problem in ownership is this: Working people's wages are TOO LOW to afford homes.

1. Homes are not built substantially differently than they were 25, 50 or 75 years ago. If anything, better automation tools, like nail guns, would drive housing prices DOWN. So, the item in question hasn't changed much.

2. This culture has been "mobile" for a long time - at least since WWII. So, blaming it on outsiders moving in is interesting, but not supportable.

3. Wages - now here is where it gets interesting. Just go look at the historic blue collar wage charts after adjusting for inflation. You'll see a flattening out, or even a decline over 30 or so years. This is often hard to detect because it is disguised by inflation.$3/hr. 30 years ago has become $18/hr. today, but wait -- the purchasing power of $18 is now less than $3 was then.

It's in the interests of the Establishment to keep this idea hidden from view. They simply are taking larger and larger pieces of the pie and don't want anyone to see that.

So, either houses will have to be made like tar-paper shacks as they do in 3rd world countries to make up for low wages, or you are going to have to do something radical to get your lost wages back up.

Arcata, CA

#18 Nov 17, 2008
Time Capsule

In 1955 my father earned $85/wk in a blue collar job. He bought a small 3 bdr. house for $4,500. I'd call it an average neighborhood, average condition. So, let's compute: He had to pay "52 weeks of labor" for the house. Roughly, 1 years worth of gross income.

Shift to today. A median small 3 bdr house is going to be about $200,000 or so. Now, divide that by "52" and you would need to be making:$3,800/wk to experience the same "affordability."

In 1955, that $85 he made also paid for food and clothes for 4 kids. My mother did not work at all.

Was that house much different from these old houses in Eureka? No. Not at all. In fact, really darn similar.


Since: Dec 07


#19 Nov 17, 2008
Sean Garmire - Did you get your information off of a web site; or, did you walk into the Assessor's Department for Humboldt County to get information. Also, the word "recent" is used in the article. Is this the period dating back to FY 2000?

As far as equations - they do not necessarily take into account intangibles, variables, anomalies, etc.- not a realistic indicator for lumping home ownership with home values and incomes(in general) while excluding "already locked in" land values; and, while excluding "already locked in" structure values; and, while not seperating the "power of wealth" based upon "market share" of the "revenue created in a certain localized economy", where the "value of the dollar" or "the cost of inflation" being transferred, is different such that ["your money" = "$ 1.00"] the value of your money may get you more in one area versus another area (hence the bay area affect of sell really high, purchase something less expensive that yields more overall value)

Keys to understanding home ownership = include as many factors into the same equation that can be itemized to be more identifiable to the sources of home ownership.

Quote from article = "The index also shows housing in McKinleyville is at its most affordable since March 2005. Property affordability had been trending downward in McKinleyville since early 2000. In September, according to the index data, 18 percent of households in McKinleyville could afford property in that town. "

Response = go in to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors / Clerks Dept. and pick up an assesment application for property tax reduction based on the downward valuation of real-estate since FY 2000.

Jeffrey Lytle
McKinleyville - 5th District

Lubbock, TX

#20 Nov 17, 2008
Why do the news outlets bend over and take it from the realtors every few months? Is it because they are a newsrag's bread and butter for advertising?


The realtors are so far up you asess that they must be sitting in the same chair as you writing the story.

Give the real news, you know, the real story. Housing is crashing and it has a long way to go.
Humboldt is always late on the trends.

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