~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…

Shambling Towards (Though, More Recently, From) Affordability

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 16, 2009 - 7:10pm

It's time for a little update on the long-term aggregate housing valuation charts. (The emphasis is on the word "aggregate" -- let's just get it right out of the way these charts are based on a single home price measurement that encompasses the high end, the low end, and everything in between).

To sum it up, we've gone pretty much nowhere since the prior checkup on these numbers as of December 2008.

The home price-to-income ratio had dropped further in the early part of the year, but rising home prices and falling incomes have combined to nudge the ratio back up in recent months.

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July 2009 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 12, 2009 - 7:39pm

As discussed previously, prices on the whole rallied again last month:

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Ramsey Su: Has Real Estate Bottomed?

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 7, 2009 - 7:40am

My old pal and foreclosure guru Ramsey has penned another insightful missive that he was kind enough to let me post here on Piggington. I'll let the essay speak for itself, but I will add in regard to the conclusion that I think this shows why the Fed is trapped in the monetization game at this point (and why there is little chance that they will stop until forced to do so). Read on...

On the Radio Tomorrow Morning

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 6, 2009 - 4:54pm

Real short notice for a short (10 minute) radio segment -- I will be on KOGO AM 600 tomorrow starting, they tell me, at 7:37AM. Whether I'm coherent at that hour is another question.

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Home Price Rally Scores Another Month

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 5, 2009 - 9:54am

There was a bit of divergence in the size-adjusted median price of San Diego homes sold in July. By this measure, single family home prices were up a robust 3.7 percent from June, whereas condos gave back most of June's explosive gain with a subsequent 6.0 percent decline.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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Perspective on the Home Price Rally

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 31, 2009 - 11:34am

I noted earlier in the week (and incessantly before that) that home prices have a seasonal tendency to rise in the spring and summer even during the midst of a multi-year price decline.

That sounds like a good enough excuse to make a chart.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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Case-Shiller Registers the Home Price Rally

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 28, 2009 - 2:50pm

For the first time in nearly three years, the Case-Shiller index of San Diego home prices increased from the prior month. The index rose .4 percent between April and May, the latest data available.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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A Smoother Look at Foreclosures and Home Sales

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 23, 2009 - 4:42pm

Last week we took a look at the fact that more homes have been going into foreclosure than have been selling during 2009. I wrapped it up on this circumspect note:

For all the relief that the spring-summer rally has brought to the real estate bulls, it seems a bit premature to uncork the champagne before that orange line climbs out of the abyss.

The orange line in question appeared on a graph tracking the ratio of monthly home sales to monthly homeowner default notices. To save you some clicking, here it is again:

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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Where the Jobs Aren't

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 20, 2009 - 5:14pm

Last week we learned that the region lost almost 55,000 jobs between June 2008 and June 2009. The chart below indicates how largest San Diego sectors fared over that time period:

That chart looks a lot different from older versions in which the bubble-related sectors were the only ones racking up the big losses.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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San Diego Unemployment Hits the Double Digits

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 17, 2009 - 5:52pm

The local unemployment rate hit 10.1 percent last month, according to the latest estimates from California's Employment Development Department. The below graph shows that June's unemployment rate was notably worse than anything seen in the prior two recessions -- not that anyone was suggesting otherwise.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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Home Sales per Trustee Sale

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 17, 2009 - 8:50am

In the comments to the prior post a graph of the sales-per-trustee-sale ratio was requested. Here it is:

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Foreclosures Consistently Outpacing Home Sales

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 15, 2009 - 1:55pm

I am the first to admit that I don't know exactly how this whole shadow inventory thing is going to play out. But I am certain that it is a legitimate area of concern.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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Another Chapter in the Increasingly Boring Tale of the Shadow Inventory

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 10, 2009 - 4:22pm

This is all becoming a bit routine. I write about how little housing inventory is currently for sale in San Diego. Then I write about the apparent mountain of "shadow inventory" -- homes that have entered foreclosure, or may yet do so, but that are not yet on the market. And then I go on and on about the irony, market distortions, and general analytical weirdness that result from having so much shadow inventory looming alongside so little genuine inventory.

In my defense, sometimes I reverse the order in which I write about these things.

continue reading at voiceofsandiego.org

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June 2009 Resale Data Rodeo

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 7, 2009 - 8:36pm

Well, we sure do appear to be having a good old fashioned spring (and now summer) rally.

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Site Upgrade Plus Private Messages

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 5, 2009 - 8:29pm

I upgraded the site software to get some security patches in. If anyone sees anything squirrely, please let me know at rich@piggington.com.

I also took another swipe at installing private message functionality. It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but as far as I can tell from my quick tests they finally got it working. As you might expect from the name, this module allows people to send private messages to other piggs without having to share email addresses or identities.

So feel free to give it a whirl and let me know if you run into any problems. You have to create a login, of course... after you log in the module can be accessed via the "Private messages" link in the left navigation.

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