San Diego Housing Market News and Analysis
Analysis of the (primarily) San Diego housing market.
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:
Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 5, 2006 - 7:43pm
Inventory growth appears to have flattened.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 17, 2006 - 8:25pm
I was just re-reading Catherine MacRae Hockmuth's excellent piece on her personal decision to become a renter. And I was pretty blown away by the volume (lots) and tenor (highly emotional) of user comments.
Catherine has already addressed some of the comments in a followup article. My purpose today is not to address any specific point, but rather to take note of the fact that her article created such a firestorm.
Let's try a little thought experiment. Imagine if Catherine had written that article in the year 2000. Would anyone have gotten lathered up enough to accuse the author (and, in one case, the entire Voice staff) of immaturity and ignorance? Would they have scornfully written off the author as a new and well-deserving member of the permanent renter underclass?
Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 16, 2006 - 3:18pm
When home prices rise, homeowners tend to spend more money. In some cases their newfound real estate wealth emboldens them to save less and spend more, while in other cases they actually borrow against increased home values to increase their spending money. In either scenario, the net effect is that people buy more stuff.
This so-called "wealth effect" is a widely acknowledged side effect of asset market booms.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 10, 2006 - 10:18pm
After getting hammered last month, the median prices for both SFRs and condos were up... the latter slightly, the former somewhat dramatically:
Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 2, 2006 - 10:23am
San Diego inventory continues to climb, although the rate of growth slowed a bit last month:
Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 27, 2006 - 5:15pm
During the Take 5 taping, my counterpart from SDAR frequently mentioned that today's low rates (in comparison to those in the 80s) are a good reason to buy. There was no time for me to address this topic on the show, but it gives me a good opportunity to rehash some related thoughts that I wrote for the May credit market update:
Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 23, 2006 - 10:19pm
"Hold off on that panic attack," suggests a piece in today's LA Times. The implication of the article's title and opening-paragraph reference to Chicken Little suggests that those who expect a housing price decline are simply being emotional.
The article proceeds to trot out the usual suspects for this week's round of "permanently high plateau"-style nonsense. There is a new tack, however. While acknowledging the signs of trouble in San Diego, the article attempts to distance Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California from our fine city:
"Peculiar?" What seems peculiar to me is the idea that overbuilding of downtown condos could somehow be responsible for a decline in overall sales volume. Aside from the absurd idea that increased supply would cause a decrease in demand, the fact is that downtown is far too small to have any measurable effect on countywide stats. (To put this argument in perspective: ziprealty.com shows 759 homes listed downtown versus over 20,000 listings countywide).
Have a look at some graphs I put together late in 2005:
Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 21, 2006 - 1:05pm
As suspected, there has been a fairly serious media response to the first year-over-year decline in median prices.
We've known for a while that home prices were on the decline, thanks to the Shiller index and to numerous examples of specific properties selling for less than their prior purchase prices. But I guess that there's nothing like having it all wrapped up in a single stat like that (despite the previously noted issues with using the median to gauge actual pricing power).
Despite the recent spate of concerned commentary, including some backpeddling by no less than the chief economist of CAR, there are still plenty of optimists out there. As my man Calculated Risk has helpfully charted, California real estate salesperson licenses are up 14% over last twelve months. Brokers licenses are up 8%.
So not only are there still plenty of buyers, there are actually still plenty of people who are bullish enough on real estate to actually be entering the field.
That's optimism. And it underscores my point that, despite a recent directional shift in pricing momentum, we are just at the very beginning of the housing bubble aftermath. This correction will probably not be over until sentiment is almost universally pessimistic on housing. As the continued rush into the real estate industry clearly demonstrates, that day is still far in the future.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 17, 2006 - 9:15am
I was interviewed in an LA Times article running today: For San Diego Real Estate, the Skies Are Not So Sunny. (I'm on page two.)
Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 13, 2006 - 9:37pm
Since I mentioned yesterday that I was surprised at the sanguine tone of the UT article on the median price drop, I must in fairness mention that (as suspected) they came out with an expanded and more gloomily-titled piece today.
While I'm here, I can't help but comment on a couple of sections from the article. This:
...is simply outrageous. The "normal cycle of decline" is pictured here:
Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 12, 2006 - 1:30pm
The Union-Tribune reports that, as predicted here last week, year-over-year medians have gone negative. As of June 2006, the median price of a San Diego home was down 1% from a year prior. The median was down 6% since its peak last November, representing a loss of $30,000 on the median priced home.
Get ready for all the pundits to claim victory on their "soft landing" forecasts. Prices are down 1%, and that's a soft landing—get it? Of course, this interpretation requires you to pretend that prices have fallen as much as they are going to, despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 7, 2006 - 11:46am
I'm on vacation with Mrs. Piggington so I'm going to make this quick. MLS data shows that for the first time, median prices for both condos and single family homes have gone negative year-over-year.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 3, 2006 - 1:13pm
I'm breaking radio silence, finally, after having sequestered myself for a week and a half to cram for a securities licensing exam. (The exam manual suggested studying for 4-6 weeks vs. my 1.5 weeks, hence the cramming). Anyway, said exam was successfully passed yesterday, so I can close the door on that particularly onerous 10-day period of my life and get back to writing occasional content for this site.
I did check the forums from time to time during my absence, and now that I have a minute I wanted to revisit a really interesting article someone posted. The USA Today article, entitled "Buyers in more markets find housing out of reach," chronicles the plight of a San Diego postdoc who bought a home with 100% financing, whose PITI eats up 70% of her take home pay, and who has among other things taken to selling her fertile eggs in order to make the mortgage payments.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on June 24, 2006 - 6:30pm
I just came across this blurb from George Soros' latest book:
Nothing qualitatively new nor surprising to readers of this site; it's just always nice to have one of the world's most successful financial market players land on our side of the debate.
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