Most Saturdays I ride my bike around Lake Washington. Instead of using an iPod to help mitigate some of the boring stretches of pavement, I look for the real estate signs (for rent, for sale, yard sale, eviction notices, etc.) to see how the surrounding terrain matches up with the economic headlines. Over the summer, there were many, many For Sale signs on new, builder's spec homes, obviously built on tear-downs for quick turnaround and easy lending. And those signs stayed out for months, and months, in Seward Park, Renton, Kennydale, Bellevue, Juanita, Kenmore, North Seattle, etc.... until the subprime mortgage meltdown began.
A few of those new spec houses have sold. But several, I noticed this past weekend, now have For Rent instead of For Sale signs on them. And, in my equally unscientific survey, I'm seeing fewer McCain-Palin yard signs, even on the Eastside, and more Obama-Biden signs in neighborhoods you might not expect. Hard times are being felt all around the lake, from 206 to 425.
But the number of lost cat signs remains about the same. I'm not sure what that means about the economy.