VoiceofSanDiego.org

Articles that I have written for VoiceofSanDiego.org, a local news publication that provides continuing coverage of San Diego housing and economic issues.

Still Bleeding Jobs

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 20, 2009 - 3:05pm

February proved to be another brutal month for San Diego's job market, according to the EDD's latest estimates. The region is estimated to have lost 37,900 jobs between February 2008 and February 2009. This is a contraction of 2.9 percent.

Early in the downturn, the losses first showed up in the sectors with the most exposure to the housing bubble: construction, finance, and retail. By now, however, job losses are quite a bit more widespread. This is evident in the following graph, which shows the year-over-year change in employment for the three most bubble-exposed sectors, the remainder of the economy, and all sectors in total:

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Mortgage Defaults Hit All-Time Highs

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 18, 2009 - 3:46am

A record number of San Diego mortgages went into default last month. 3,705 homes entered this initial stage of foreclosure, surpassing the previous high of 3,601 default notices delivered in April 2008.

Trustee sale notices, which occur later in the foreclosure process, remained well below their records, but since they lag default notices it is reasonable to expect that they will rise soon as well.

The following graph shows that the default respite enabled by a late-2008 change to state law was short-lived:

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1990s Level Unemployment, Only Much Faster

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 5, 2009 - 9:43pm

Today the California Employment Development Department revealed, unsurpringly, that San Diego's job losses have been severe. The latest update included a revision to last year's data, which painted a bleaker picture of recent months than had previous releases. (This is also unsurprising, given some of the statistical jiggering that takes place with the job numbers).

The graph below shows the year-over-year rate of change for the three hard-hit sectors related to housing, as well as the rest of the economy and all sectors combined. Remember, this is a rate of change graph. So if a line turns up but is still below zero, as in the case of finance, that means that the sector in question is still shrinking, but just not as quickly as before. And if a line is below zero but flat, as in construction, that means that the sector is still losing jobs, but is doing so at a steady rate.

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Yet More on Decelerating Home Price Declines

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 3, 2009 - 10:43pm

Well, people continue to ask questions about those home price rate-of-change graphs so I thought I'd put up a few more.

Some people wanted to see a longer-term view that showed the year-over-year price change during the boom as well as during the bust. And some wanted to see the actual price index alongside the rate of change. The below graphs offer both. In order to keep things readable I gave each price tier its own graph:

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More on Decelerating Home Price Declines

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 26, 2009 - 10:46pm

People seemed to find the rate-of-change graph in the prior post interesting so I thought I'd follow up with a look at how all the individual Case-Shiller price tiers have been trending.

The results are found in the accompanying graph...

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Low-Priced Zip Codes Still Selling Fastest

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 20, 2009 - 4:50pm

After last week's note on the topic of dramatically disparate buyer interest in different property types I thought I should update the stats on which zip codes have seen the biggest increases in sales activity. To change it up a bit this time, I sorted the list of zip codes based on January 2009 median price instead of sorting zips by growth in sales volume as I had previously. (The median price is a flawed indicator, for reasons often discussed here, but it's the only thing available at the zip code level and besides, it is good enough for gauging the kinds of broad trends we are looking for with this study).

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Foreclosures Still Outnumber Home Sales

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 16, 2009 - 4:15pm

Housing sales volume has been improving of late, as I noted last week. But now that foreclosure activity has bounced back after a temporary lull that resulted from a change to state law, the number of existing homes going into foreclosure each month is once again higher than the number being sold. That was the case in December, anyway, when DataQuick recorded 3,004 existing house and condo sales compared to the 3,315 mortgage default notices recorded by the county. Default notices dropped to 3,055 in January, but while the January DataQuick numbers aren't out yet, other data indicates that sales will also be lower than they were in December.

Here's an update of a chart we've looked at from time to time as the housing bust has progressed. The orange line on the graph divides the number of single family home sales in a given month by the number of mortgage defaults that same month. The idea is to get a rough idea of how demand stacks up against potential "must-sell" supply. (Condos are excluded from the chart simply because I could only get my hands on historical sales data for single family homes, so the trend changes in this ratio are more important than the absolute number.)

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Another Housing Market Disparity

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 12, 2009 - 8:28pm

San Diego resale housing activity logged its strongest January in three years:

And inventory declined somewhat, leading to a months-of-inventory figure that was just about half of what it had been in January 2008...

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Mortgage Defaults Piling Up Fast Once Again

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 10, 2009 - 8:47pm

3,055 San Diego homes entered the foreclosure process in January. This is down from last spring's record-setting levels, but not by much in the grand scheme of things.

The continued onslaught of mortgage default notices makes it clear that the three-month plunge seen in late-2008 was the result of new foreclosure rules, not of any sort of market improvement.

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New Year, Same Home Price Trend

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 5, 2009 - 6:22pm

Few would have believed, back in the boom days, that a 1.6 percent monthly decline in the median price per square foot for homes sold in San Diego County would be considered a pretty good month. But here we are.

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(data rodeo coming soon)

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Employment Trends Through 2008

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 3, 2009 - 5:41pm

Humor me for a couple more graphs so that we might expand on last week's post on employment.

First up is a graph showing how the various employment sectors (not just the housing-related ones that I like to single out) fared in the year 2008:

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San Diego Employment Growth in Pictures

Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 29, 2009 - 8:46pm

Continuing with this week's attempt to be light on words and heavy on pictures, here is a look at year-over-year job growth for each month over the past two years, ending with the most recent estimates as of December:

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November Case-Shiller Chart Extravaganza

Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 27, 2009 - 11:44am

I've thrown a lot of words at Nerd's Eye View readers over the past week; this week I'll try to stick mostly to pictures. Mostly.

What follows is a roundup of charts depicting the latest (that would be November) Case-Shiller home price data for San Diego.

First, the decline from the November 2005 peak:

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No Deflationary Spiral Forthcoming

Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 22, 2009 - 3:36pm

Over at VoiceofSanDiego.org I've put up a two-parter explaining why I believe a protracted period of deflation is an exceedingly unlikely outcome.

No Deflationary Spiral Forthcoming, Part 1
No Deflationary Spiral Forthcoming, Part 2: Counterpoints

(These articles comprise a very slight retooling of the "US Government Won't Choose Deflation" piece linked to at the upper right of this page -- so if you've already read the original one, there's no need to slog through these too).

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Mortgage Defaults Come Roaring Back

Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 13, 2009 - 1:22pm

As discussed in previous installments, a recent change to California state law inserted an extra 30-day waiting period at the beginning of the foreclosure process. Sure enough, mortgage defaults plummeted when the law went into effect. But a couple of months came and went without a commensurate rise -- was something else at work?

Apparently not...

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