~Welcome to the Econo-Almanac~

I started this website in mid-2004 to chronicle San Diego’s spectacular housing bubble.  The purpose of the site remains, as ever, to provide objective and evidence-based analysis of the San Diego housing market. A quick guide to the site follows:

  • New visitors are advised to begin with the Bubble Primer or (if wondering about the site name) the FAQ list.
  • Housing articles I’ve written are found in the main section below.
  • Discussion topics posted by site users are found in the “Active Forum Topics” box to the lower right.
  • This website is an avocation; by day I help people with their investments as a financial advisor*.  Market commentary, an overview of our investment approach, and more can be found on my firm's website.

Thanks for stopping by…

September 2011 Resale Housing Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on October 19, 2011 - 5:45pm
The median price per square foot of San Diego resale homes was down .2% for single family homes, up .8 percent for attached homes, and up .2% in aggregate in September.  Let's call it flat for the month:

(category: )

Case-Shiller Index Rose in July, But Underlying Home Price Pressure was Down

Submitted by Rich Toscano on October 2, 2011 - 1:52pm
The Case-Shiller index of San Diego home prices rose by .1 percent in July:

However, the seasonally-adjusted version of the same index fell by a full 1 percent...

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

(category: )

August 2011 Resale Housing Data Rodeo - With Words!

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 20, 2011 - 9:42am
Well, I didn't say the words would be interesting or anything.  But there are some.

The median price per square foot took a bit of a hit last month, falling for both detached homes and condos and down about 3% overall.

(category: )

San Diego Continued Modest Job Recovery in August

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 19, 2011 - 5:25pm
Readers may note that when discussing job data, I always refer to the Employment Development Department's "estimates."  The monthly job numbers everyone discusses are very much estimates, and are subject to frequent and sometimes large revisions.  (Data nerds might be interested in my examination of one particularly huge downward revision back at the start of the recession). 

The unusually robust seasonally-adjusted monthly job increase reported for July has, alas, been revised downward.  The EDD apparently overstated July employment growth by nearly 5,000 jobs.  However, local employment did still increase very slightly in July, when adjusted for seasonal factors.  And according to the latest estimates, it increased in August too.

Let's start with a look at the seasonally adjusted series, which gives the better idea of underlying job market strength.  The trend here is clearly one of fairly steady, if modest, growth:

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

(category: )

Face for Radio, Revisited (on radio today at 12:35pm)

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 16, 2011 - 8:14am

I will be chatting with my pal Scott Lewis today on KOGO AM 600 from 12:35-1:00PM. Join the fun if you can...

(category: )

Bouncing Along the Bottom with the Case-Shiller Index

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 3, 2011 - 4:56pm
Last week's release of the Case-Shiller index showed an increase in aggregate San Diego home prices in June:

However, the seasonally-adjusted version of the index shows that once the typical early-summer strength is adjusted for, prices actually declined...

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org
(category: )

July Resale Housing Data (Chart) Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 29, 2011 - 10:46am
A chart-only edition of the July rodeo follows below.  Summary: prices very flat in the aggregate, but months of inventory creeping up a bit.

(category: )

Local Job Market Strengthened Again in July

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 28, 2011 - 5:05pm
July was a good month for San Diego's job market, according to the Employment Development Department's local employment estimates.

You might not know it from looking at the raw numbers, as employment actually decreased between June and July.  But that is a seasonal effect that takes place each year, largely as a result of school getting out.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

(category: )

Oops -- Were We Supposed to Buy Foreclosures With That $70 Million?

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 24, 2011 - 4:03pm

Hi Piggs -- Apologies for the lack of content; I've become rather buried with that pesky day job once again. I'm going to try to get some material up this weekend.

In the meantime, I think many Piggs might be interested in this recent article from Will Carless at the voiceofsandiego.org:

The Housing Commission’s ‘Trojan Horse’

Back in the depths of the housing bust, the San Diego City Council ordained that the Affordable Housing Commission could start buying foreclosures.

At the time, I argued against this policy. Exactly how does spending taxpayer money to create artificial demand render homes more "affordable?" (Affordability being an outcome which, presumably, should desirable to a group called the "Affordable Housing Commission.") It doesn't, of course. I felt this was yet another bailout-style intervention that used taxpayer money in the pursuit of preventing homes from becoming affordable again.

Well, as Will's article makes clear, my argument was moot. The commission didn't use their money (and the reduced oversight they got as part of the deal) to buy foreclosures, but instead bought apartment buildings (not in foreclosure) and lent the money to developers to build more "affordable housing" apartments.

Regardless of what one thinks about what they originally said they were going to do, the point is that they didn't actually do it, which is fairly messed up. What makes this more messed up was outlined in Will's original piece, which makes it clear that the "affordable housing" they were funding was actually quite swanky and immensely cost-ineffective.

Enjoy these interesting and frustrating reads...

(category: )

Spring Home Price Bounce Masks Underlying Weakness

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 26, 2011 - 6:53pm
Today's release of the Case-Shiller home price index showed a small (.2 percent) aggregate price increase in May for San Diego:

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org
(category: )

San Diego Job Growth Defies National Weakness

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 24, 2011 - 12:54pm
June's nationwide employment growth was famously dismal, with the entire US economy adding just 18,000 jobs for the month.  Fortunately for us San Diegans, things looked a lot better here at home.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

(category: )

June 2011 Resale Data Rodeo: Taciturn Edition

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 23, 2011 - 4:36pm
Hey Piggs -- I've been an extra busy bee this month, as the utter lack of new content would suggest.  I'm coming up for air to post a quick rodeo, but this month I'll let the graphs largely speak for themselves.  While nothing very interesting happened in the data last month, I will just note the following:
  1. Prices have been pretty weak considering seasonality, but
  2. ...the months-of-supply figure has been remarkably stable and rests at a level that probably precludes much in the way of downside.
Now, enjoy the soothing silence of the graphs to follow...

(category: )

Case-Shiller Up in April, But It's All Spring Bounce

Submitted by Rich Toscano on June 29, 2011 - 6:47pm
As foreshadowed by the median price data, the Case-Shiller index for San Diego home prices rose in April.  Here's a look at the CS index since the start of the rebound that began in early 2009:

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

(category: )

Job Growth Resumes Its Upward Slog

Submitted by Rich Toscano on June 22, 2011 - 7:33pm
San Diego employment increased in May, according to the Employment Development Department's latest batch of estimates. 

Let's look first at the seasonally-adjusted figures, which give a better read on month-to-month changes.  They show that employment was estimated to have increased in May after a languid start to the year:

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

(category: )

May 2011 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on June 13, 2011 - 7:04pm
All the gloom and doom about the national market notwithstanding, the median price per square foot of San Diego resale homes nudged up again in May:

(category: )