~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…

San Diego Population Grows Despite Continued Domestic Outflow

Submitted by Rich Toscano on May 17, 2010 - 7:50pm
Here's something we haven't looked at for a long time: San Diego population growth and migration patterns.

This was a favorite topic of mine back in the day when San Diego's housing bubble cheerleaders implied some sort of population explosion via their favorite catch-phrase, "Everyone wants to live here."  In fact, San Diego's population was growing quite modestly at the height of the boom.  And San Diego's supply of housing was growing faster than its population.  And domestic migration was firmly negative, meaning that more Americans were moving out of San Diego than moving in.  The mild population growth was in fact due to foreign immigration and, moreso, to new San Diegans being born.  (My little joke at the time was that even Countrywide wasn't yet making home loans to fetuses).

But I digress.  The point is that this once-popular topic has lately been neglected here at Nerd's Eye View.  Let's have a look at the latest numbers:

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org
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April 2010 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on May 7, 2010 - 7:01pm
After March's surge to the upside, the median price per square foot pulled back in April:

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Case-Shiller Price Trends Shifted in February

Submitted by Rich Toscano on May 2, 2010 - 2:40pm
Since the second half of 2009, the general trend has been for the low-priced tier of the Case-Shiller home price index to rise strongly, the high-priced tier to drift mildly downward, and the mid-priced tier to split the difference with a more tempered increase. 

February bucked that trend.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org
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Further Evidence of Improving Job Conditions

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 24, 2010 - 6:16pm
Late last year I wrote a series of posts comparing two sets of available San Diego job surveys.  The first was the "establishment survey," which polls local employers and attempts to measure the number of people working for San Diego businesses regardless of where they live.  The second was the "household survey," which polls San Diego residents in order to find out how many residents are working, regardless of whether they work in the county or not.  The household survey also includes the self-employed, while the establishment survey (as we'd expect from a survey of businesses) does not.

At the time of these articles, the two surveys were providing mixed signals...

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org
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My Day Job

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 20, 2010 - 8:51pm
A while back, in reference to my personal move into the investment world, I wrote this:

Don't worry, I'm not going to start incessantly shilling for the new business. However, I may occasionally shill for the new business.

It's actually been 3 1/2 years since I put up that post, so I guess I didn't even live up to my threat to shill occasionally.  But now, on the occasion of our having recently completed a track record of our investment performance, I thought I'd take the opportunity to do so.

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March 2010 Resale Housing Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 19, 2010 - 9:26am
As discussed last week, the median price per square foot of San Diego resale homes rallied hard in March. 

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March Data Suggests Potential Job Recovery

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 17, 2010 - 12:08pm
According to the California Employment Development Department's latest estimates, the San Diego economy added jobs in March and the year-over-year rate of employment decline fell to its slowest pace since December 2008.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org
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Home Price Rally Returns with a Vengeance

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 6, 2010 - 5:49pm
The median price per square foot of existing homes sold in San Diego County, after having gone pretty much nowhere since last fall, rose dramatically in the month of March.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org
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With Government Help, Entry-Level Homes Get Pricier Again

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 4, 2010 - 7:47pm
Last week's release of the Case-Shiller home price data for January showed that once again, prices for cheaper homes rose while those of more expensive homes stagnated.

I wanted to focus a bit more on this disparity by charting the home price tiers over multiple timeframes.  This first chart shows how much the tiers have rebounded since their respective troughs in early 2009:

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org
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Shrinking-Job-Losses Streak Continues

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 29, 2010 - 7:22pm
The February employment estimates are out and the downward revision to January employment that I anticipated did not come to pass.  In fact, the January numbers were revised slightly upward.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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Housing Bailout Nukes Launched

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 26, 2010 - 8:55am
Last month I discussed the idea of government-sponsored mortgage principal reductions, which I described as the "nuclear option" in the government's housing bailout arsenal.  As unjust and misguided a policy as this might be, I suspected at the time, principal reductions might well be on the way.

Well, the first volley of bailout nukes has been launched. 

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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Two Years in Job Losses

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 23, 2010 - 6:17pm
Last week we looked at how San Diego's various employment sectors fared during the year 2009.   Let's now widen the view a bit and measure job losses (and gains, in a couple cases) for these same sectors since the start of the recession.

Conveniently, for the purpose of this analysis, the recession is designated to have officially begun in December 2007.  So we can compare San Diego employment on that date with that of December 2009 without having to worry about the seasonal issues that arise when comparing different calendar months.

The chart below shows the number of jobs lost or gained in San Diego's major employment sectors as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Employment Development Department:

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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The Year in Job Losses

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 16, 2010 - 7:06pm
Now that the revised job data for December is in, let's have a look at how San Diego's employment sectors fared during the year 2009.

This first graph displays the number of jobs lost (and, in a couple of cases, gained) in San Diego's major job industries as delineated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org
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Rate of Job Loss Slows, But Probably Not Nearly as Much as It Seems

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 11, 2010 - 8:11pm
The latest estimates from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) indicated a decline in San Diego employment between December 2009 and January 2010.  But there is always a decline in employment between December and January, and as a matter of fact, this January's decline was estimated to be substantially smaller than usual.

And that's where it gets weird.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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February 2010 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 6, 2010 - 6:15pm
The median price per square foot was up about 1% in February, but that's a smaller amount that its January decline.  So I would characterize prices by this measure as continuing to go nowhere, as they have done since September.

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