We Are the Champions

Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 18, 2006 - 10:28am

The latest PMI Risk Index is out. I think these reports are hopelessly optimistic—for instance, after an unbroken winning streak in which prices more than tripled despite the lack of any demographic reason to have done so, San Diego is designated as having only a 59% chance of seeing even a tiny price decline. The reports do have some utility, however, in that we can at least get a sense of what the mortgage insurers think are the relative risks between different areas. We Southern Californians should be unsurprised to see that, as with China's Olympic swimmers, our artificially pumped-up home team has dominated the winner's list. For your convenience I have assembled a table below that shows both the PMI Risk Index results for local areas along with a column indicating each area's level of housing valuation relative to historical average (see these valuation charts for more background).

PMI Risk Rank
PMI Chance of Decline
Piggington's % Over Historical Value
San Diego
Orange County
Inland Empire
Los Angeles

(category: )

Submitted by gunbuster on January 18, 2006 - 1:11pm.

Ever since Enron, there have been greater controls installed to make corporate officers, investment bankers, and others accountable for their actions as they defrauded investors with rose-tinted outlooks on the future.

After the real estate bubble, will we see a demand for accountability on behalf of some of these economists, appraisers and other crooks?

Submitted by barnaby33 on January 18, 2006 - 2:30pm.

Intuitively that chart feels wrong. If they feel that San Diego is 64% overvalued, how can they say that its only 59% likely to decline? Ultimately by declaring something overvalued they are claiming that there is some fundamental mean value that things MUST revert to, or even decrease below. Is the 59% chance of decrease predicted over a certain limited time span, say 3 months, or is it for the whole year? Does the 59% include reversion to the mean, or just a minimum of some reversion?

Submitted by gunbuster on January 18, 2006 - 3:32pm.

PMI's figures are for the likelihood of a price decline over the next two years. They don't indicate anything on the measure of the scale of the correction.

I've no doubts that there will be a decline, but the question is when and how much. It's possible we could see flat prices for a little while, but I doubt that we will be able to return to the norm through the powers of inflation or increasing wages alone.

Submitted by ARMwrestling on January 18, 2006 - 9:25pm.

Wow. Inland Empire 70% overvalued by the Piggington index.

I don't think the "everyone wants to live here" argument has ever been applied to Riverside or San Bernadino without a drum riff following immediately thereafter. With all due respect to our friends in those counties of course.

So why are they paying Honolulu prices for Phoenix living? And why did it all start six or seven years ago? You have to ask these questions sometimes. What's for sure is there's no lack of buildable land in the Antelope Valley.

Submitted by Blissful Ignoramus on January 24, 2006 - 11:08am.

So why are they paying Honolulu prices for Phoenix living?

Because that's what they can afford.

People not only want to live in Southern California, some have no choice, and the Inland Empire still provides that at a price far lower than you'll find in the more desirable parts of the LA basin. And prices aren't quite to Honolulu levels, nor is life there completely comparable to Phoenix.

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