San Diego Housing Market News and Analysis
~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:
Thanks for stopping by…
Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 15, 2006 - 10:22pm
San Diego wasn't the only Southern California region to see a home price drop in January. The median Orange County home price dropped by 6% between December and January, although the year-over-year appreciation is notably stronger than San Diego's at 9%. SoCal as a whole was down 2.1% since December. Of course, it's never a good idea to make too much of one month, especially when that month is January, but we will obviously be watching for emerging trends in the months to come.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 14, 2006 - 10:58am
This post may only appeal to those among you who are really into the global finance aspect of things, but here goes. A couple sites I read have recently discussed the "Dark Matter" theory that's become all the rage. The very short version of this theory is that since the US makes a net profit on its foreign investments, it must actually be a net creditor, instead of a net debtor as everyone thinks. The dark matter in question consists of those apparently unmeasurable assets that turn our national balance sheet positive.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 13, 2006 - 8:28pm
The Union-Tribune has some January San Diego housing statistics up. In short, prices were down from December, but still slightly positive year-over-year. Resale homes and condos did fine, while new homes once again absorbed the brunt of the price damage--the median new home price was hammered for a $104,000 loss on the month!
Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 10, 2006 - 10:21am
Will Carless at the Voice has written an intriguing piece on cluster selling. This term describes a dynamic that is apparently taking place in San Diego wherein homeowners put their homes up for sale as they see their neighbors doing the same, resulting in concentrations of for-sale inventory in neighborhoods where this is happening. Several real estate agents "in the field" have apparently corroborated that cluster selling is taking place for the first time since housing bottomed out in the 90s.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 6, 2006 - 10:58pm
I thought it might be interesting for people to see how the individual zip codes stacked up on a year-over-year basis. The below tables list each San Diego zip code's condo and SFR medians for Q4 2005 vs. Q4 2004. I'm tagging it as Premium Content because the creation of these tables required the DataQuick data, for which I pay through the nose, in addition to a substantial amount of time spent writing code to mine the data. (Forgive the excuses, but someone was recently bagging on me on another website because I charge a fee for access to certain content—so I felt compelled to explain why I do this).
Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 3, 2006 - 12:24pm
Will Carless at the Voice of San Diego released a column yesterday, hot on the heels of my own, about the building climate in downtown. Central to the story is a builder who has gotten land, designs, permitting, and everything else ready to start building—but is instead just trying to sell the project and bail out. Of course, this is just one project and one builder, but it may be indicative of things to come. One real estate agent is quoted as saying that the boom attracted a lot of inexperienced people to the downtown building game: "In the heyday, a monkey could be a developer in downtown."
Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 1, 2006 - 9:47am
Gentle Ben is now at the helm. My friend Tim Iacono said it best:
I suppose I should write a missive about how things might go down now that Bernanke has taken over the Fed... but I pretty much already wrote it back in October when they announced that Benito had gotten the nod. Good luck, Ben... you're going to need it.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 31, 2006 - 11:56pm
Below I will crunch the local housing price, sales volume, and inventory numbers to get an in-depth look at where the San Diego market stands and where it's likely to go in the months ahead.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 27, 2006 - 10:15am
The Voice has another housing-related piece today, this one on the burgeoning condo oversupply in downtown San Diego.
As Premium users learned a couple months back, downtown (otherwise known as Craneville, CA) has an 18 month inventory of condos listed for resale on the MLS. This means that at the rate at which sales took place in 2005, it would take 18 months for all the resale condos to be sold. This doesn't even include new non-MLS listed condos that may be for sale, nor does it include condos under construction that may come online for sale during the next 18 months.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 25, 2006 - 7:28pm
This article contains a review of recent mortgage rate activity, lender tightening (or lack thereof), San Diego borrower behavior, and the current and potential effects of all of the above on the housing market. Also included are some thoughts on what "asset inflation" could mean to our economy.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 24, 2006 - 10:31pm
Regarding my post on the Myth of the Housing Shortage, one commenter suggested that I look at jobs vs. housing supply instead of of population vs. housing supply. I have done so below, with surprising results:
Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 23, 2006 - 11:11am
Today's Voice of San Diego hits on a key driver of home price movements: what they refer to as "desperate sellers"—people who, for one reason or another, need to sell their homes.
To understand their importance, let us first imagine a world without desperate sellers. In such a world, a home price decline of any significance would be highly unlikely. If housing demand declined such that homes weren't fetching the desired prices, most homeowners would just take their homes off the market and stay put. They would, in the words of my friend Gary London, "lock their doors instead of locking in losses." The resulting decrease in the supply of homes for sale would balance out the decline in demand and stabilize prices.
Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 20, 2006 - 10:31am
The OC Register has an interesting piece on a surge in delinquent property taxes that has the Orange County treasurer a little worried. The treasurer, who seems like a pretty sharp guy, wonders, "[A]re we observing the beginning of a trend or is this a blip?"
People who rely on "traditional" measures of economic health, such as wage growth or unemployment, are missing a big piece of what makes the SoCal economy go: home equity extraction. Lacking a good city-specific way to measure home equity extraction, one of the best ways to get a handle on the health of a given area's homeowners is by observing rates of change of property tax and mortgage defaults. We are only now beginning to see increases, but I believe that with the amount of adjustable-rate debt out there, we will start to see a lot more homeowner fiscal trouble in 2006 and beyond.
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).
Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 17, 2006 - 10:24am
The Union-Tribune is running a great article on the state of the San Diego housing market. The article includes two sidebars that I found extremely interesting: a graphic showing appreciation by area, and a PDF file rounding up home prices for the entire county. Fellow data-nerds should find hours of amusement combing through these two files.
~Financial Market Commentary~
*Investment advisory services and securities offered through Girard Securities, Inc., member SIPC/FINRA.
~Active forum topics~
~Other bubble bloggers~
~SD Home Price Snapshot~