VoiceofSanDiego.org

Articles that I have written for VoiceofSanDiego.org, a local news publication that provides continuing coverage of San Diego housing and economic issues.

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...

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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:



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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...

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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.



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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...

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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:



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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.



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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:



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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:



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No Double Dip For San Diego Yet

Submitted by Rich Toscano on June 1, 2011 - 12:04pm
The median price data had indicated some home price stabilization through March, but the latest release of the Case-Shiller index suggests otherwise.  I'll talk a bit more below about the strengths and weaknesses of the CS index, but first let's have a look at the latest data.

The media has made much of the fact that the national Case-Shiller index hit a new post-boom low, officially ushering in a "double dip" in nationwide home price.  But while San Diego prices did drop in March,  the CS index indicates that we still held up above those 2009 lows:



(more charts plus some thoughts on the Case-Shiller index below)

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Job Market Faltered in April

Submitted by Rich Toscano on May 20, 2011 - 5:27pm
The California Employment Development Department's latest estimates indicate that, after adjusting for seasonal factors, San Diego employment declined slightly in April.  The EDD also revised the estimate of March employment downward.

Between the March revision and the April decline, there has been effectively no job growth since February:



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Low-Priced Home Whackage in February's Case-Shiller Index

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 26, 2011 - 6:44pm

Home price data that is more timely than the Case-Shiller index has suggested that San Diego prices, on the whole, may be undergoing a bit of a spring thaw.  So I don't make too much of the fact that February's Case-Shiller index (which is calculated based on sales that took place in December, January, and February) declined by 1.3 percent in aggregate.

It is interesting, however, that the low-priced tier of the index dropped as much as it did.  After weathering the recent fall/winter lull better than the other tiers, the low-priced homes were spanked for 2.7 percent in February.  The middle tier was down 1.4 percent and the high tier by .5 percent for the month.



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San Diego's Job Recovery Strengthens

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 16, 2011 - 10:28am
March was good to San Diego's job market, according to the Employment Development Department's latest estimates. 

San Diego employment was estimated to have risen by .8 percent for the month, which the following chart shows is actually fairly brisk for recent times:



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Across-the-Board Declines in January's Case-Shiller Index

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 7, 2011 - 10:10am
As always, the Case-Shiller index of home prices arrives with a fairly major lag... 



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Employment Improves in the New Year

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 28, 2011 - 1:36pm
Because the January and February job numbers were released so close together, I decided to just cover them both in one update.  I'm going to jump right in with the seasonally adjusted data, because unadjusted January employment is always very distorted due to temporary holiday jobs disappearing.

Total seasonally adjusted San Diego employment increased slightly in the two months since December, growing by 5,700 jobs or about .5 percent during that time.



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