~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…

January 2013 Housing Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 18, 2013 - 5:18pm
Home prices pulled back in January, despite increasingly tight inventory and robust sales.  Supply and demand will be discussed later; first, some graphs on prices. 

The median price per square foot fell on a month-to-month basis by .9% for detached homes, 6.4% for condos, and 2.3% in aggregate.  The graph below shows that such huge moves occur somewhat routinely for condos, so as always, it makes more sense to pay attention to the detached home line in blue.

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December 2012 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 21, 2013 - 7:06pm
The median price per square foot rose again last month.  Here are the stats...

Month to month:
  • 1.9% for detached homes
  • 1.4% for attached homes
  • 1.8% in aggregate
For the Year 2012:
  • 12.6% for detached homes
  • 18.0% for attached homes
  • 14.0% in aggregate
Here's a look at this price measure since the March 2009 trough:

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November 2012 Housing Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on December 16, 2012 - 6:03pm
Alright, let's take a look at the resale data for November...

Our old friend the median condo price per square foot continued its volatile ways, up 7.4% for the month!  Though that's after getting spanked the prior month.  That would be the volatility, which is why I prefer the much more reliable detached home median price per square foot, which was actually flat for the month.

Here's a look since the March 2009 trough.  Note that both series are now very close to their prior post-crash highs during the 2010 stimulus-fest.

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October 2012 Resale Housing Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on November 19, 2012 - 7:29pm
Prices flattened out or maybe declined last month, depending on how you want to look at it... while the much less volatile detached home median price per square foot actually rose by .3%, the condo median ppsf declined by 3.3%, leading to an aggregate decline of .5%.

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September 2012 Resale Housing Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on October 8, 2012 - 12:38pm
Inventory dropped again, prices rose again, and "The Chart" continues to do a bang-up job in indicating home price directionality...

Here's inventory, lest people thought last month's rise was the start of a new trend:

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Case-Shiller: Prices Up But Still Near Bottom

Submitted by Rich Toscano on October 7, 2012 - 2:39pm
The Case-Shiller home price index is the most accurate measure of aggregate prices, and as such it is great for long-term comparisons.  It also provides a useful distinction by breaking the price data into three tiers of expensiveness.

The downside is that numbers are very "stale." The recent September release, for example, only has price data through July, and that figure actually is calculated from sales that took place as early as May.

Because I haven't done much in the way of long-term comparisons, and because there was little of interest in the tiered data (all three price tiers have been acting very similar to one another), I haven't done a CS update in a while.  Let's check in on the most recent numbers.

The recent increase in prices that I've been occasionally documenting is clear in this chart of prices since the post-crash (aggregate) bottom in 2009.  For the year-to-date throguh July, the aggregate index is up a bit over 5 percent, and the low, mid, and high price tiers are all up similar amounts:

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org
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August 2012 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 9, 2012 - 4:09pm
After taking a breather in July, the median price per square foot rose again in August:

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Piggington going down for maintenance Fri afternoon

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 30, 2012 - 5:48pm

Dear Piggs --

The site will be down for a while tomorrow afternoon so that I can move it to a new server. I'm not sure exactly when or for how long, so this warning is slightly useless, but better than nothing I guess.

Apologies for any unintended boost in productivity this may cause.



OK, the move is all complete. If anyone has any troubles with the site, please email me at rich @ pigg or PM me.

I wish to thank user afx114 for all the help on this. In addition to being a longtime loyal pigg, afx owns a hosting company called bit-box, which I am very happy to have as the new host for piggington and my other sites too. The guys at bit-box run a tight ship, their customer service is amazing, and the prices are very reasonable. If you are looking for a hosting provider, check them out.

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July 2012 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 21, 2012 - 11:03am
After a pretty steady rise for the year to this point, home prices (as measured by the median price per square foot) largely flattened out in July:

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June 2012 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 15, 2012 - 6:40pm
It was more of the same last month, as months of inventory remained very low:

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Case-Shiller Index Starts to Register Home Price Bounce

Submitted by Rich Toscano on June 27, 2012 - 6:01pm
The recent increase in San Diego home prices has begun to show up in the (always lagging) Case-Shiller index. 

Between January, the month for which I last updated the C-S data, and April, the aggregate San Diego home price index has risen by 2.0 percent.  This increase was enjoyed entirely by the high- and mid-priced tiers, up 2.4 percent and 2.5 percent respectively.  The low tier actually declined by .7 percent, although that entire decline took place in February and the low tier has risen since then.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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May 2012 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on June 23, 2012 - 2:41pm
Apologies for the tardiness of this month's rodeo.

I'll start with the chart I've been watching most closely -- months of inventory (inverted) in blue, and annualized monthly price change in red:

Months of inventory is now at the lowest level in many years, and as foreshadowed by the above graph, prices have been on the rise.

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April 2012 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on May 14, 2012 - 6:18pm
Inventory has remained super tight, and as the historical relationship depicted in the following chart would have predicted, prices have been on the rise:

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My Day Job - Year-End 2011 Edition

Submitted by Rich Toscano on May 11, 2012 - 8:09am
My company, Pacific Capital Associates, has recently completed the third-party examination of our investment track record for 2011.  (For background on this, see my inaugural explanation of these annual performance updates).  Here it is, in chart form... you can click on the chart for more detail and loads of fun disclosures:

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March 2012 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 15, 2012 - 6:56pm
Due to time constraints I am going to do a graph-only version of the rodeo this month.  Except for this part, I guess. 

I will quickly note the following:
  1. The median price per square foot did rise last month, as the low months-of-inventory figure suggested might happen
  2. Months of inventory (final graph) is 30% lower than last year, and the lowest it's been in at least 6 years (as far back as my data goes for this series)
  3. If the typical historical relationship between months of inventory and prices is still in place, inventory at these levels strongly suggests near term price rises
  4. Housing bears please note the use of the phrase "near term" before flaming me in the comments

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