We found – 22 articles for Bubble Hours

Consumers track the housing bubble: From Wikipedia to local “Bubble Hours”

Wikipedia_bubbleFollowing up on the recent post about The Real Estate Cafe’s yet to be released "Menu of Wikis," here are two powerful examples of wiki collaboration documenting the real estate bubble in the US and worldwide:



Don’t know who contributed to either wiki or how our bubble blog was included in the source list, but The Real Estate Cafe is most grateful.  Local residents know that making sense of contradictory statements about the housing market in Massachusetts is an ongoing challenge, which is why a number of leading bloggers in Boston are collaborating on an ongoing series of "Bubble Hours" (see posts for January & February 2006).  If you’d like to participate in the next Bubble Hour, online or in person, or would like to receive a transcript of past chats, please email us at RECafe@mac.com.  As always, your comments are welcome below or on our reader line at 617-876-2117.

Posted in Bubble Hour, Housing forecasts, Market trends, Real Estate Bubble | No Comments »

Bubble Hour: Lowest sales in 22 years drive home prices down 20% across MA

Home sales across Massachusetts have dropped to their lowest level in 22 years, sending median prices down 18-20% since January 2008. The Boston Globe and Boston Herald have already posted news stories, and blog posts (and reader comments) are being to unfold including this “must read” by a brilliant local bubble blogger. The Real Estate Cafe is deconstructing MLS data and invites readers to submit questions and data requests before our next Bubble Hour. We hosted our first “Bubble Hour” three years ago — a chat online which generated 36 pages of comments including 15 graphs and tables (follow Twitter.com/RealEstateCafe for excerpts comparing 2006 and 2009).

As in the past, we’re planning one or more Bubble Hour chats online, but are particularly eager to host a Bubble Hour OFFLINE so homebuyers and bubble bloggers can mingle informally and exchange perspectives, “MeetUp” / “TweetUp”-style. In the meantime, please post your questions below, send , or call us at 617-661-4046.


Follow Twitter.com/RealEstateCafe for scheduling options


Would Thurday, 2/26/09 or Friday, 2/27/09 work for Bubble Hour OFFLINE? In the past, we’ve experimented with Bubble Hours at Starbucks near Harvard Law School, MIT’s Muddy Charles Pub overlooking the Charles River, and last week actually did an experimental LIVE broadcast from a Friday Beer Tasting at Menotomy Beer & Wine in Arlington! We’re also eager to host a family-friendly Bubble Hour at TogetherInMotion in Arlington on Friday during open play time (3:00-5:00pm).  As shown below, We’ve already begun seeding the Bubble Hour on Twitter and FriendFeed:


BUBBLE HOUR: MA housing market lowest sales volume in 22 years. Prices down 18-20% from 01/8 to 02/09 http://tinyurl.com/0109Down20 TweetUp?



Discussion room includes photo, threaded comments, and previous posts:

Posted in Bubble Hour, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble, Savings & Rebates, Timing the market | No Comments »

“Don’t be fooled!” Boston.com readers warn each other about real estate bubble

Openingq_6Bravo, Boston.com!  Looks like Boston.com launched a real estate discussion board yesterday about the real estate bubble, at least that’s when the opening question above was posted.  As of this posting, approximately 28 hours after the discussion was launched, there have been 43 posts and a remarkable 3666 page views.  Only two other real estate discussions have had more page views, but "Important things to consider when buying" has been online for 30 days (6,968 page views or 232 per day); and the other, "Tips on moving" has been online for 22 days (6,404 page views or 291 per day).  That means that people are looking at posts about the real estate bubble at a pace more than ten times faster than any previous topic. 

That begs the question, why did Boston.com wait so long to post the discussion question?  If we are in a housing bubble, won’t more readers have been protected from potentially making the financial mistake of a life by debating the real estate bubble earlier in the housing season?  The Real Estate Cafe posted it’s own discussion question months ago on a banner ad on Boston.com’s open house search page.  It featured a photo of local celeb, Alex the Jester, and asked, "Are we in a ‘Greater Fool’s’ housing market?"

Posted in Real Estate Bubble | No Comments »

Headlines & talk shows track real estate bubble in Boston & beyond

Page1_salesslipagain_1Talk about the real estate bubble is hitting the airwaves and headlines in Boston.

Monday night, WBZ-AM radio talk show host Paul Sullivan tossed incoming MAR president Dave Wluka some easy questions on the subject.  When Sullivan opened by asking whether someone buying a home now might be in danger of buying at the height of the market, Wluka responded "no" and tried to justify his opinion by talking about supply and demand as well as constraints on new housing development.

For the balance of the hour, Sullivan missed the opportunity to probe deeper and challenge Wluka for some worst case scenarios regarding the real estate bubble, including the likelihood of foreclosures. (Sullivan ought to know something about foreclosures:  he’s from Lowell, Massachusetts, one of the communities hit hardest by foreclosures in the last real estate recession.)

In contrast, Business Week and the New York Times aren’t ducking the subject of foreclosures or other worse case scenarios.  Business Week’s story on the high number of highly-leveraged homebuyers who may be in danger of foreclosure is the first time I’ve seen Coldwell Banker’s CEO tell buyers to "look at the worst case scenario."  Robert Shiller’s predictions in the Times are the worst I’ve seen, period.  They should be required reading for homebuyers worried about falling prices.  Can you believe that graph?

Piggy Bank — Or House Of Cards?

As downpayments shrink sharply, highly leveraged homebuyers may be in for a fall

More and more homebuyers are discovering that in a bull market,
acquiring assets with other people’s money is the path to riches.
They’re borrowing a rising percentage of their purchase prices,
contributing to the housing boom. The danger is that if prices begin to
fall, people who have stretched to buy houses with 100% financing will
be under water on their mortgages and at risk of default if they have
to sell. "I always tell people, look at the worst scenario," says James
R. Gillespie, chief executive of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. But
many buyers ignore the warning.

Buyers ignore Robert Shiller stunning warning in a New York Times article this weekend, and the accompanying chart, at their own risk.  Shiller "predicts that prices could fall 40 percent in inflation-adjusted terms
over the next generation and that the end of the bubble will probably
cause a recession at some point."  Instead of pressing Waluka for his response to that or any
worst case scenario, Sullivan let time run out and Wluka told listeners
that the "The [Massachusetts] market remains quite hot…"

Within 36 hours, his rosy comments were refuted by radio and newspaper stories, including the Boston Globe’s lead story on page one (see photo above),
which quoted statistics from his own organization documenting the fact
that sales of existing single family homes dropped for the third month
out of past four in Massachusetts.  There are other signs the market is
slowing in Massachusetts including a record number of expired listings
this summer (watch for upcoming post and graph). 

Wluka is an intelligent spokesperson for the Mass. Association of Realtors
(MAR) and a credible leader for the tough times ahead.  He will serve
MAR well but he would serve the public better with some more straight
talk.  Perhaps Barry Nystedt, the President of the Mass. Association of Buyers agents, will do that Thursday at 12:30pm when he appears on New England Cable News with Kim Blanton, the author of the Globe’s lead story today. 

Instead of glossing over the serious questions raised by the housing
bubble debate (with comments reminiscent of an op-ed this week in the
New York Times entitled "Bubble? What Bubble?),
isn’t it reasonable to ask industry leaders for best case and
worst case scenarios so homebuyers and sellers can assess the risks posed
by the changing market and protect themselves from the real estate

Regardless of what industry leaders say or what local and national talk show hosts ask, consumers are clearly talking about the real estate bubble.  The Globe’s story entitled, "Home sales slip again, condos surge:  Data suggest local prices may be cooling" was the most emailed story of the day by a wide margin — more than the next six leading stories put together. 

Posted in Real Estate Bubble | No Comments »

“Bubble Hour” banned in Boston?

Craig_linebubble1_1The following message was posted to the housing forum of CraigsList in Boston, hoping to get some feedback on a proposal to host an educational seminar to discuss the real estate bubble.  Instead of getting intelligent feedback on the merits of a potential monthly series, I got flamed for spamming and the post was abruptly removed.  The proposed monthly meeting has the genuine intent of informing and protecting real estate consumer during a time of great economic uncertainty and heated debate among economists, including Alan Greenspan, about when the bubble will peak.

With Boston.com reporting that traffic on their real estate section surpassed 7 million pageviews for the first time in March 2005 and more than 1 million homes-for-sale searches, isn’t it fair to ask if consumers should think twice before rushing into an overheated housing market and to give them a forum — online and off — to learn more about the risks and benefits of buying in a real estate bubble?

To dismiss that question as spam seems to have been a disservice to CraigsList users.  If, on the other hand, my original post below inadvertently crossed the line between posting comments / content and spam, I apologize to Craig Newmark (shown in the cartoon above) and his readers and thank them for clarifying the boundaries of acceptable behavior for this Newbie.  Banned or not on CraigsList’, we’d like to know what you think about hosting the educational seminar or monthly series of "Bubble Hours" described below. 

Bubble Hour:  Monthly meeting to discuss

As a real estate consultant and newcomer to CraigsList forums, I was pleased to find considerable debate about the real estate bubble, enough that one post last year asked, “Can the RE Bubble have its own forum….PLEASE??”

Would anyone, particularly would be home buyers or sellers, be interest in attending a one time seminar, or if worthwhile a monthly meeting, to discuss the real estate bubble in person and hear a featured speaker?

I have tentatively lined up a room at a centrally located hotel on Route 128 for the evening of May 5th. If you are interested in attending, please contact me offline at recafe@mac.com

Regardless of your interest in attending an experimental meeting, readers are invited to visit The Real Estate Cafe’s blog to discuss the real estate bubble, learn how to save money in real estate transactions, get information on FSBO seminars, and a variety of other topics:


Should be interesting to hear what Alan Greenspan says today, particularly following the articles in the Boston Herald on April 19.

Bill Wendel, Founder
The Real Estate Cafe
Cambridge, MA

Posted in Real Estate Bubble, RECALL: Real Estate Consumer Alliance | No Comments »

Defensive homebuying in 2017: Can you future proof homebuying decisions?

As 2016 comes to a close, there is an uptick of activity on BostonBubble, a forum for homebuyers in Greater Boston that dates back to 2005. A self-described “lowly renter” is asking advice about homebuying in the New Year because of pressure he’s getting from relatives. Know anyone in a similar situation, or having similar conversations with your own peers about housing in a DysTrumpian era?

One renter adamantly wrote, “that parabolic up moves in prices in any market ALWAYS are an the tell of a coming crash.” We generally agree but submit that it’s more complicated than that; otherwise the “totally artificial housing market” (Robert Shiller’s characterization) would have turned down by now.  See why we thought that way during 4Q2013 via the empathy map above.

Housing Resolutions for the New Year

New Year’s is a time to look into the future, and there are numerous ways to do that. If you’re a “lowly renter” getting pressure to buy consider the following:

Short-term perspective: Rather than dismissing well-intended relatives, maybe you can ask for their empathy. Copy this Empathy Map on Google Drive, complete it and ask your relative, parent, spouse, whomever to do the same. Compare your perceptions of whether it’s a good time to buy, and maybe even share your responses here or offline in person:

http://bit.ly/EmpathyRE2017 (share via social media)

Long-term perspective: Despite the number of people in gig economy jobs, conventional mortgages are still for 30 years. Given that, read stories on the two links below:

Will half of jobs really disappear in the next 25 years?
http://bit.ly/FutureJobsShock (share via social media)

Future Proofing Homebuying Decisions

Wonder if mortgage lenders will begin rejecting or risk pricing loans based on the prospect that one’s livelihood will disappear before the end of their loan? Regardless, what impact will that have on housing expenditures (not just housing prices)?

Some say disruptive demographics will take housing down again before jobs begin to disappear. Greater Boston and New England already have a disproportionate percent of people over 60. Would you buy or sell a home in 2017 knowing that the next housing downturn will become more obvious by 2020? What are you doing to future proof your decisions?

http://bit.ly/SrSellOff  (share via social media)

As written in our previous blog post, there are already signs that the housing market is slumping. Anyone else fear that we could see another lost decade in housing? How does that influence your home buying strategy?

http://bit.ly/LostRE  (share via social media)

Meet Offline next week?

Regardless of whether you plan on buying in 2017 or hear warning bells, want to meet off-line to complete / compare housing Empathy Maps including our own from 4Q2013?  For those hoping to buy, want to learn more about “Defensive Homebuying”?

Contact us by calling 617-661-4046 or this form for more information.  We hope to host offline events, we call “Bubble Hours” over beer in 2017.  Follow #REonTap on @RealEstateCafe

http://bit.ly/REonTap (share via social media)

Posted in #REonTap, Bubble Hour, Buyer agent, Defensive Homebuying, Great Senior Sell-Off, Housing bubble, Housing forecasts, Real Estate Bubble, Seasonality, Timing the market | No Comments »

Crowdsourcing insights into a slumping housing market in Boston


December 11 will mark the 9th anniversary of joining http://BostonBubble.com, a forum for homebuyers to crowdsource insights during the real estate recession.  Over that period, Real Estate Cafe contributed over 100 posts, and two offer context for the current housing market.  Obviously, they were written pre-Trump, and one cannot underestimate the potential impact his presidency (if it is not overturned by the Electoral College) will have on the housing market.  Despite his celebrity status as a “real estate mogul,” he has NEVER developed a housing policy and his choice lead HUD, Dr. Ben Carson, has no housing experience.

Six months after warning homebuyers on BostonBubble of a changing housing market, October stats and recent headlines reveal that real estate sales and prices are falling in Massachusetts



As interest rates rise, will 1Q2017 see a repeat of 1Q2016?   Time to exercise “Defensive Homebuying” strategies so you can save money, be proactive or simply sit out because there is too much uncertainty?  If you’re inclined to buy, here’s the case for bargain hunting this time of year:



Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2016    Post subject: Prices down in 51 towns & suburbs in Metro Boston

Yesterday, Boston Globe ran a story on Peak Rents, today another indication that 2016 is turning point:

51 towns & Metro #Boston suburbs have begun 2016 on home price losing streak


Anyone want to meet at Cambridge Common near Harvard Square or Joshua Tree in Davis Square to talk about the implications of these emerging trends, and whether it’s possible or wise to “time the market.”

+ + +

Know anyone who’s suffering from buyer’s remorse, wondering if they were manipulated into overpaying in the past two years? Will we see a “Bidding War Backlash” in the next 18 months and a repeat of regrets like those in 2008?


+ + +

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2016

Rather than taking legal action two years from now, what’s the best way to be preemptive — calm bidding wars during the next 100 days?

My hypothesis: By mid-August, the pre-election pause will cool currently overheated areas expanding the count of communities with falling housing prices.

What’s your prediction?

+ + +

As the image above shows, comments on BostonBubble have dropped to a trickle and there haven’t been any updates on the news feed in four months.  So Real Estate Cafe is setting up a place to monitor REBubble 2.0 online and we’re eager to begin hosting informal “Bubble Hours” as part of our ongoing series of conversations over beer, aka #REonTap.  Our goal is to inform homebuyer clients by crowdsourcing insights from other buyers, and selected real estate professionals particularly other buyer agents. Similar crowdsourcing efforts a decade ago helped some clients save more than $100,000 off original asking prices.

Here’s what our Real Estate Bubble Map / wiki looked like a decade ago (unfortunately Platial.com went out of business so you’ll see repeated gaps), want to help us explore ways to track REBubble 2.0 this time?  Here’s what’s at stake:

MUST READ list of why Bubble 2.0 more dangerous than Bubble 1.0


Posted in "We" companies, #REonTap, Bubble Hour, Bubble map, Housing bubble, Market trends, Price reductions, Savings & Rebates, Seasonality, Sweetest Deals | No Comments »

Buy before rates rise or wait, hoping prices fall? Thank you for arguing

Thank You For Arguing Book Cover

A recent post in the WSJ says there are good reasons to argue there will be a BEAR housing market or a BULL market in 2014.  So it’s no surprise there’s heated debate on Boston.com about what’s hot and what’s not.  Here’s where we left off:

@beermeister Good counter. That’s a reasonable take on seasonality, and what’s important to buyers. Shall we take 2014 month by month, quarter by quarter in 2014, and argue about what the numbers mean and their implications for buyers and sellers?

Seasonality creates distortions

If we’re all trying to understand what’s really happening in the market, can we agree to throw out what happens between March 1 and ______, when the media runs front page stories about bidding wars, and industry cheerleaders hype bidding wars $100K over asking price as they did in 2013?

Can we further agree that full disclosure and balanced reporting on stats and underlying threats or strengths is important for informed decision making?

Media bias can create distortions, too

Maybe I haven’t had enough caffeine, so can someone compare the two links below?  Do you see the same thing I do? If so, why does the Boston Globe report on November 2013 sales and year-over-year prices, but NOT month-over-month price movements?

Boston Globe vs Mass. Association of Realtors (MAR) press release:


Excerpts from MAR

“On a month-to-month basis, the November median selling price (of single family homes) was DOWN 1.1 percent from $320,000 in October 2013.”

“On a month-to-month basis, the November median selling price (of condos) was FLAT from $295,000 in October 2013.”

In contrast, doesn’t this repetition of words in the Globe coverage give the impression that prices are still rising?

  • “prices continued their swing upward”
  • “rising prices”
  • “rapid increase of prices”
  • “prices escalating”

No wonder some locals still think we’re in a “frenzied” market, whereas others with a national perspective recently published a chart showing a plunge in sales of existing homes, concluding:

“”The slump in existing home sales has set the recovery in housing market activity back by 12 months,”…”  (See http://bit.ly/LastHurrahGraph)

Trends to Watch in 2014

Looking forward, the WSJ says there are 5 Things to Watch in Housing in 2014:

http://bit.ly/REWatch2014 (please share this link with your social networks)

What do you think will happen when December 2013 prices released in the next 10 days, and pending prices for January 2014 are released in a month?  Shall we meet offline as we’ve done with Bubble Hours in the past to discuss, present arguments and engage in civil debate about the housing market, whether signs point to a Bull market or Bear?  Real Estate Cafe is eager to continue experimenting with an “unconference” format to engage and inform homebuyers.

Towards that end, do you have predictions for 2014; and given this Redfin research, what advice would you give to potential homebuyers about buying this year versus waiting for prices to fall?

Agents Predict That Mortgage Rates Above 5.5 Percent Would Curb Sales and Price Growth in 2014


Posted in Bubble Hour, Buyer agent, Defensive Homebuying, Housing bubble, Housing forecasts, Market trends, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble, Seasonality, Timing the market | No Comments »

Will stock market losses & Zillow forecast wipe out bidding wars?

Six weeks of stock market gains wiped out in two days? What does that do to your home buying decision-making process? Will that sell-off end the “year of the over-ask offer” in the housing market, or send more paperwealth into the tangible assets, like luxury homes and condos?

My guess is that this blog post could represent the turning point, how about you?

This Cambridge Home Received an Over-Ask Offer for the Ages
http://bit.ly/OverAsk (Share this tiny URL via social media)


Thank you BBTN. Did you attend the Zillow Summit today in Boston? Their lead economist forecast price appreciation in Metro Boston in 2014 at a mere 0.9%. Inflation-adjusted, doesn’t that mean the value of homes will drop next year? Some buyers in Cambridge and parts of the City of Boston could outpace inflation, as Zillow forecasts higher appreciation in those locations. Does it make sense to cool off the “year of the over-ask” hype before 2014 turns into the year of the bidding war backlash?


Will Zillow’s conservative forecast for home price appreciation in 2014 prevent more buyers from being pulled underwater by the bidding war undertow? How does it change your home buying plans or bidding strategy?


Contact us if you’d like to know more about “Defensive Homebuying” strategies, or our “Bubble Hours,” informal discussion offline with homebuyers.  Been on the short-end of a bidding war, we’ve got ideas about how to beat them and are eager to channel “bidding war backlash.”

Posted in Bidding wars, Bubble Hour, Buyer agent, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, Housing bubble, Housing forecasts, Luxury homes, Million Dollar Markdowns, Talking offer, Timing the market | No Comments »

Want to Hangout & hack headlines about housing recovery?

Keeping a close eye on housing prices
Keeping our eyes wide open for insights into Runaway prices, we’re asking readers for links and quotes from good news stories that deconstruct the 10%+ rise in median housing prices in MA during April 2013. We’re looking for hard-hitting facts by price range and product type, comparisons of underlying fundamentals vs “artificial” factors, and counter arguements that question whether the surge in prices will be short-lived or points to a sustained recovery.

If see good content or have done your own analysis (graphs, etc), can you post recommended links here? EXAMPLE: What’s really happening with luxury single-family homes across Massachusetts? http://bit.ly/LuxLies

Would you like to meet informally online or off to cross-examine what really happening across different segments of the housing market statewide? Want to exploring how the current rise in prices looks in a broader historical context of boom / bust cycles so you can make a more informed decisions about your own home buying or selling plans?

Here are three possible ways we can begin that process:

1. Review content from one of our original “Bubble Hours” as the housing bubble was cresting in 1Q2006: http://bit.ly/Bubble0206

2. Watch a video tape from 15 years ago, May 1998, entitled, “Where are Housing Prices Heading?” and compare current headlines to the surge in housing prices during the last REAL sellers’ market in Boston.

3. Update “Haunted by the Housing Market,” our slideshow comparing housing trends and underlying fundamentals before Halloween in 2000 vs 2002. Will there be another October scare for the housing and stock markets in 2013?

If we revive our Bubble Hours through a combination of Google Hangouts as well as monthly meetings offline meetings, the mutual goal would be help build alternative scenarios about where are housing prices going over the next 2, 5 and 10 years to help potential consumers, particularly our homebuyer clients, make wiser choices.

Shall we tentatively meet informally during the next several days or evening in a family-friendly space or cafe? We’ve got some potential locations in Arlington, Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville but open to other suggestions and eager to experiment with Google+ Hangouts, too.

If you’re interested, please reply using this contact form, or by calling 617-661-4046 or emailing realestatecafe@gmail.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Recent Posts
Recent Comments
    HTML Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com