~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…

Shambling pretty damn far afield from affordability, at this point

Submitted by Rich Toscano on May 21, 2018 - 1:28pm
Time for a valuation update! These graphs should be familiar to regular Piggs; for anyone who'd like some background please see these two Voice of San Diego articles: how to measure housing valutions and how mortgage rates impact prices.

Onto the graphs... here is San Diego home valuation index, measuring how expensive homes are compared to local incomes and rents:

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March 2018 Housing Data

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 7, 2018 - 2:21pm
Apologies for the delay in updating the data... let's dive right in!

Home prices have been very strong so far this year, with the median price per square foot showing a big jump in February. Bear in mind that this is a noisy figure, but the fact that the single family median held firm in March strengthens the case that the price increase is "for real":

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December 2017 Housing Graphs

Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 28, 2018 - 6:14pm

November 2017 Housing Graphs

Submitted by Rich Toscano on December 10, 2017 - 6:42pm
Interpretation-wise... pretty much the same situation as last month. So, the updated graphs are presented without comment below...

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October 2017 Housing Data

Submitted by Rich Toscano on November 19, 2017 - 5:59pm
Inventory is higher than in the spring, but remains very low for this time of year:

There has nonetheless been some seasonal weakness to home prices:

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September 2017 Housing Data: looking more like 2016 than 2013

Submitted by Rich Toscano on October 8, 2017 - 4:49pm
Another quick one... the developing divergence between 2013 and 2017 has continued. Unlike 2013, when months of inventory rose rapidly off low levels, we've seen inventory rise very non-rapidly in the past few months. It looks more like 2016 now -- but lower.

Despite the scarcity, prices have leveled off:

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August 2017 Housing Charts: a break from the 2013 pattern

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 16, 2017 - 3:19pm
Hey all, mostly graphs this month but I did want to call out one interesting development.  Thus far, this year has been strikingly similar to 2013 in terms of months of inventory. But the pattern seemed to diverge last month -- and not in a way that buyers will like:

We shall see if this disparity continues. If so, it will argue for accelerating prices immediately ahead, notwithstanding the typical fall lull. This chart looks pretty (short-term) price bullish too:

Many more graphs below...

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July 2017 Housing Data Charts-n-Graphs

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 19, 2017 - 5:53pm

June 2017 housing data: prices up, inventory up more

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 10, 2017 - 4:17pm
Home prices drifted further upward in June:

But in some good-ish news for potential buyers, inventory made a bit of a comeback, with months of active inventory increasing from 1.3 to 1.6 months:

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Site changes coming soon-ish

Submitted by Rich Toscano on June 12, 2017 - 1:44pm

Be ye warned, I will soon be dragging this site into the 2010s with a major upgrade of the underlying software. A lot of things will get better, especially for mobile users. Some things may be a step back (notably, my beloved "ignore user" module is no longer available in the new version). Either way, it's necessary for various technical reasons so there's no way around it.

If anyone has requests or suggestions for site functionality, feel free to comment or send them over via email to rich@piggington.com. I make no promises about what will actually get implemented, but I will certainly consider all suggestions.

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May 2017 Housing Data: Quick Graph-Fest

Submitted by Rich Toscano on June 8, 2017 - 6:31pm
To sum up May: inventory rose, but sales rose more, resulting in even lower months-of-inventory. Despite that, single family home prices took a breather. But the price trend is still comfortably "up."

Further interpretation will be left as an exercise for the reader... ;-) Graphs below:

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Still No Housing Bubble in San Diego

Submitted by Rich Toscano on June 5, 2017 - 1:27pm
Bubble chatter has been on the rise, especially with the recent new all-time high in in the SD median (nominal) home price. In my latest article for Voice of San Diego, I make the case that San Diego housing exhibits neither the valuation nor the behavioral characteristics of a bubble:

There’s Still No San Diego Housing Bubble Yet

The article includes a chart that will be new to Piggs, showing the speed of price increases now vs. during the late-stage bubble.

(Remember, digital charts are most compelling if you print them out on paper and hold them up to a video camera -- the lower resolution, the better).

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April 2017 Housing Data: Prices Surge, Inventory Slightly Improves

Submitted by Rich Toscano on May 8, 2017 - 6:51pm
After a pullback in March, prices surged again last month.  The price per square foot for single family homes increased by 3.2% in April, bringing the year-to-date increase in that metric to 6.5%.

Here's how those prices look on a chart (note: I mostly ignore condos as they are much more volatile):

The next chart uses the 3-month average of the single family ppsf, to approximate where the Case-Shiller index will go:

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March 2017 Data Roundup: prices moderate, but inventory collapses to 2013 levels

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 11, 2017 - 4:29pm
In last month's update, we saw an unusually large one-month jump in the price-per-square-foot metric, with single family homes up 4.5%. This month, prices by that measure pulled back by 1.4%, indicating that some of the increase was month-to-month noise. Still, when you combine the two months, it makes for a robust 3.0% increase in February and March together. By comparison, last year the single family ppsf rose by 1.7% over the same period.

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Toronto, apparently in some kind of time warp, has gone full mania

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 10, 2017 - 9:51am

This really brought me back:


("Just jump in" was a thing a realtor actually said to me back in 05 or so).

It's a full on speculative mania (to resurrect a term I was fond of back in the day). Except this time, the exact same KIND of bubble burst horrifically just 10 years ago.

People just never learn... or, maybe more accurately: they never stop just believing whatever they feel like.

Just thought this would be a fun link for the old timers...

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