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A new social phenomenon in an intense housing market: 'Are you interested in selling?'

Nicole Brodeur, The Seattle Times on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Uh ... no.

Days later, I received a hand-addressed envelope with no return address. Inside, a letter from a managing broker at Windermere.

"My customer is interested in your specific property," she said, then laid out the terms: Buyer will pay all commissions. Property to be sold "as is." All-cash buyer.

I get that it's bad out there, that people are doing everything short of spending their nascent retirement savings for a two-bedroom house with a patch of grass out front.

Rents are at record highs -- $2,000 for the average two-bedroom. Home prices in Seattle are growing twice as fast as in any other U.S. city. One uninhabitable place sold for almost half a million dollars.

But would you mind if I finished living here before you start packing up my books and hanging your flat-screen?

"Tell me about your house," my colleague, real-estate reporter Mike Rosenberg, asked when I told him about this social phenomena sprouting from Seattle's short supply of housing.

He's been writing story after story about the insanity out there, including the record-breaking price increases for three months in a row. He followed the sale of one West Seattle house that showed him what little power home-shoppers have. And his Reddit AMA earlier this month logged 193 comments, with an additional 170 on the Seattle Times website.

"It was," he said of the response, "overwhelming."

He called the current market "the New Normal," and doubts the bubble will burst. People are paying their mortgages on time, they're putting down big down payments. Prices may dip a bit, but don't hold your breath.

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