August 7, 2005


All Eyes on Home Market in San Diego: As the city's real estate upsurge begins to slow, the question is whether it signals a downturn that could spread or just a return to normal. (Annette Haddad, August 7, 2005, LA Times)

Once Southern California's hottest real estate market, San Diego is feeling a real estate slowdown. It's a trend also starting to be seen in other regions, such as Las Vegas, Denver, Boston and Washington, D.C.

Dramatic rises in home prices, particularly on the West and East coasts, have sparked a nationwide debate about whether the housing market is engulfed in a bubble that is about to burst.

San Diego has become a focal point of that discussion. Those who believe the market is about to implode say San Diego's cooling could be among the first signs of a pronounced downturn or even a possible crash in California. But housing industry leaders say the slowing in San Diego reflects the normal damping of a sizzling market that made millionaires out of many homeowners and investors. Because San Diego was the region's hottest market, it's not surprising that it's one of the first to simmer down and return to more normal conditions, they say.

John Karevoll, chief analyst at DataQuick Information Services in La Jolla, which tracks home prices, called San Diego "our statistical canary in the mine shaft."

"It is further along in the current cycle, and what happens there could predict what will happen elsewhere," he said.

After more than doubling in the last five years, jumping almost 30% in one 12-month period, San Diego-area home prices are rising more modestly — 6.3% on a year-over-year basis as of June.

What would the NASDAQ be at today if the bursting of the bubble had brought 6% annual returns?

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 7, 2005 6:18 AM
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