Friday, May 05, 2006

Signs of the Bubble ....?

An article in today's Seattle Times talked about Kirkland-based Merit Financial laying off most of its 300 employees and considering filing for bankruptcy protection. Ironically on their website, the last press release posted was about Merit being named one of the fastest growing private companies in Washington state.

My thoughts on this subject are many.

Number 1 - I don't like to see anyone fail (or lose their jobs). I wish they would have kept growing and employing many people.

Number 2 - What caused Merit to get to this point? Was it unplanned or poorly managed rapid growth? I know that can get out of control very quickly and I've seen it many times.

Number 3 - Was the real cause of Merit's apparent demise the slow down in the real estate market? This is a very real possibility, despite the fact that many (if not most) brokers and agents are still burying their heads in the sand and ignoring market signs. With interest rates on the rise, it is my belief that there will be a large reverse towards a buyers market, with more inventory and prices leveling back down to more realistic rates.

The Times article talked about how 95% of Merit's business were refinances, which have all but dried up because of the higher interest rates. To me, this is an early stage sign that the market is about to turn in a big way.

I fully recommend that if you have a house or any property that you are considering to sell, that you do it as soon as possible. If you do not catch the "leveling market" this spring and summer, you may have waited too long. If you need some help looking at your options - or in selling your property, please give me a call. Joe Kennedy 425-455-LIST.

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