San Diego Housing Market News and Analysis
March Housing Data
Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 10, 2007 - 11:04am
In case you haven't put this together from the abysmal lack of new content, I have been fairly pressed for time. So I'm going to present this month's data with a minimum of editorializing.
The size-adjusted median price, aka the median price per square-foot, was mixed for March. The mpsf (can I use that acronym, please? it will save me a lot of typing...) was down .5% for condos but up 1.4% for detached homes. Both were of course still down on a year-over-year basis...
...and from the September 2005 peak in this series (note the new low for the condo mpsf):
The plain vanilla median was up substantially for both property types:
I think the divergence between the vanilla median and size-adjusted median is likely an effect of the subprime tightening, which has restricted sales of the lower-end properties and thus shifted the sales distribution up towards more expensive homes. As always, I think the size-adjusted median offers the better gauge of actual pricing power.
I have been charting the vanilla median because that's what everyone else looks at, but the new home data (to which I don't have access) exerts such an influence that looking at the resale-only median is nigh useless even as an indicator of what the mainstream folks might be thinking. I'll probably keep charting it just for kicks, but our attention should remain focused on the median price per square foot (which is itself very imperfect but still much better than the vanilla median).
Any housing bears panicking at the increase in the median and/or the single-family mpsf should read this article.
Supply and Demand
As weak as things were last year volume-wise, this year is turning out even weaker. Again, the tightening in the exotic loan sector is probably at work here:
Inventory growth remains muted. In aggregate we are just about flat from this time last year:
However, the weaker sales volume makes for a less favorable months-of-inventory reading than a year ago:
Things should get more interesting as the spring buying and selling season picks up the pace. I expect that must-sell inventory and more potential credit tightening will be the prime movers in the months ahead. Stay tuned.
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