Housing market

Analysis of the (primarily) San Diego housing market.

January Housing Data

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 8, 2007 - 10:27am

There is no question that the San Diego housing market is showing a bit of strength. The real question is: what does it mean? Let's have a look at the stats and discuss...


The size-adjusted median price, aka the price per square foot, increased from the prior month for both detached homes and condos:

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Assorted Things

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 2, 2007 - 10:16am

Well hello there. I felt compelled to check in because I've been feeling guilty about my recent habit of exclusively linking to my voiceofsandiego.org articles in lieu of writing proper Econo-Almanac-only content. I don't mean to make a habit of it. But I've been occupied with other pursuits, and at times like these I need to meet my Voice obligations first, lest editor Scott Lewis administer one of the savage beatings for which he's so well known. (Incidentally, one of the aforementioned pursuits was setting up a website for the financial advisory firm I joined. The site will include occasional articles on finance and investing, so some Piggingtons may find it of interest).

Alright, I realize that the most inane possible genre of blog post is the one where you apologize for not writing more blog posts, so let's move on. There are a few items worth noting...

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December Housing Market Data

Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 9, 2007 - 10:17am


It was another down month as measured by the size-adjusted median price:

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Lereah: Housing Has Bottomed

Submitted by Rich Toscano on December 28, 2006 - 10:03am

Well, he finally came out and said it outright:

NAR Chief Economist David Lereah said the data held "mixed news" but it broadly signaled a stronger housing sector with inventories and sales stabilizing.

"The housing contraction has bottomed," he said.

So there you have it -- with an apparent lack of any doubt or question, Lereah called the bottom on December 28, 2006. Remember this one for the history books, my friends.

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The Case-Shiller Index

Submitted by Rich Toscano on December 14, 2006 - 9:06am

Last week's NY Times piece on home price metrics (login required) prompted some forum discussion on the accuracy of the Case-Shiller home price indices, which I use for all my long-term price charts. It ends up that I looked into their methodology a while back and have been meaning to write about it -- so now seems like as good a time as any!

To start with, let me quote from an old voiceofsandiego.org piece as a means of reviewing the problems with the median price:

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November Housing Data

Submitted by Rich Toscano on December 6, 2006 - 10:24am

There are no big surprises in the latest batch of housing stats, so I don't have a whole lot to say that the charts don't say themselves. Let's have a look.


My preferred measure of home price changes, the median price per square foot, was down on the month for both property types, with detached homes notably smacked down after the prior month's attempt at improvement:

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Historical Home Prices, Payments, Rents, and Rates

Submitted by Rich Toscano on December 1, 2006 - 2:09pm

OK, here is the whole series: home prices, monthly payments, rents, and rates, for as far back as the complete set of data goes.

The first chart displays the percent change in inflation-adjusted San Diego prices, payments, and rents since 1977. The second chart displays the same information in nominal terms. Mortgage rates are indicated on the right axis in both charts.

At this point I am clinging to a shred of hope at least a few minutes will elapse before someone asks for a followup chart.

I kid, I kid. OK, onto the good stuff:

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Before and After: Rents, Prices, Payments

Submitted by Rich Toscano on November 28, 2006 - 10:34am

Here are the pre- and post-1990s correction rents, prices, and monthly payments as requested by a couple of commenters:

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Big Profits, Little Relevance

Submitted by Rich Toscano on November 15, 2006 - 1:06pm

The permabulls are drooling all over themselves with glee about a recent study indicating that the median San Diego home seller in recent months collected a tidy 91% profit on his or her home. Of course, this doesn't include transaction costs, improvements, or cash-out refis along the way... it is just a comparison of prior sale price and recent sale price. Even considering all that, though, 91% sure isn't bad.

But this is all a waste of perfectly good permabull drool, because the statistic in question has nothing positive to say about the future disposition of home prices.

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October Housing Data

Submitted by Rich Toscano on November 9, 2006 - 11:28am

The following slew of charts depicts October's housing market activity here in San Diego. Executive summary: the slow grind downward continues apace.


From the prior month, median prices declined 2.7% and 1.3% for detached homes and condos respectively.

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Population Followup

Submitted by Rich Toscano on October 30, 2006 - 12:33pm

Some folks didn't cotton to my conclusion that the DOF population data was probably better than the Census Bureau data, so I thought I'd clarify my reasoning.

I do not pretend to know much about the ins and outs of tax returns vs. driver's license issuance or for that matter any of the other methodological differences between the two organizations' figures. Nor do I really care to take the time that would be required to dig into it (for reasons that are explained below).

I mentioned in the last article that positive job growth belied a population decline. This was, for me, the deciding factor. Let's look at those numbers:

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September Prices and Sales

Submitted by Rich Toscano on October 20, 2006 - 8:34am

It's time for the belated monthly sales data roundup. Let's dive right in...

Median prices were down year over year for all involved:

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September Inventory

Submitted by Rich Toscano on October 3, 2006 - 8:36pm

It definitely appears that inventory has peaked for the year:

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August Home Sale Data

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 15, 2006 - 11:39am

As we've all heard by now, year-over-year median price comparisons continue to decline. Here's a picture of resale median prices:

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Inventory Growth Takes a Breather in August

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 5, 2006 - 7:43pm

Inventory growth appears to have flattened.

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