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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Credit Crunch Data

Reality comes a knock, knocking knocking on the front door. Figures from Housing Tracker, which collects list prices by the 25th, 50th (median) and 75th percentiles.

Los Angeles:
Median Price Now: $525,000
Median Price 4/06: $579,666
% Change: -9.4%
% Change last 3 months: -2.8%

Orange County:
Median Price Now: $620,000
Median Price 4/06: $694,833
% Change: -10.7%
% Change last 3 months: -4.5%

Median Price Now: $389,900
Median Price 4/06: $435,000
% Change: -10.4%
% Change last 3 months: -4.7%

Median Price Now: $375,000
Median Price 4/06: $439,500
% Change: -14.7%
% Change last 3 months: -6.0%

San Diego:
Median Price Now: $490,000
Median Price 4/06: $537,666
% Change: -8.9%
% Change last 3 months: -3.0%

San Francisco:
Median Price Now: $597,500
Median Price 4/06: $654,663
% Change: -8.7%
% Change last 3 months: -0.4%
(note that the loss at the 75th percentile in the last three months is 4.0%)

San Jose:
Median Price Now: $665,000
Median Price 4/06: $739,333
% Change: -10.05%
% Change last 3 months: -2.9%

Santa Cruz
Median Price Now: $725,000
Median Price 8/06: $769,166 (***earliest available)
% Change: -5.7%
% Change last 3 months: -2.9%

Generally, real losses will be more than are shown in the listing prices. Consider these as a floor. Prices in some areas have been declining for considerably longer than the interval documented.

Other places of note:
Salt Lake City's flippers abscond. 3 month median price drop is 8.5%.
Washington, DC:
Median Price Now: $399,950
Median Price 8/06: $479,930
% Change: -16.7%
% Change last 3 months: -7.0% (***some of this is due to a change in mix, but prices are collapsing)
Hmmm. My guess is that calls in Washington for bailouts will continue to escalate.

Austin in Texas is still rising. Florida is generally worse off than California and the decline there started earlier.. NYC and Long Island are now falling. Boston had begun to recover, but the credit crunch turned that around in a hurry (-10.25 since 4/2006, and -5.4% in three months). Portland, Oregon's happy days are over.

Raleigh, NC, took a dip and is now rising, but this is an artifact of new building; actual pricing there is under pressure with falling sales and rising inventory. Still, it shows what a reasonable market should look like. What is the difference? Affordability. Compare the median price/median income ratio for different areas, and abruptly reality bonks the holder of the piggyback mortgage on the head. Atlanta looks good, but my friends, there are plenty of neighborhoods which are more than 10% down.

There are many areas of tragicomedy that are not documented in Housing Tracker. For example, New Jersey hardly makes an appearance, yet it is slated for despair, fear and housing horror in direct proportion to its state of delusion, which is massive.

The biggest question that all this presents to me is what happens to public financing in bubble states? New Jersey is facing a fiscal crisis of no mean proportions. It's not that there are no buyers - I looked up the housing prices for this area, and laughed myself silly. Compared to incomes, the property "values" are wildly disproportionate. When you look at the taxes on these things, you realize that the properties don't sell because no one can afford them. A lot of people couldn't afford to pay the property insurance and taxes on homes in the higher-priced areas if they were given to them as a gift!!!!

The biggest question that all this presents to me is what happens to public financing in bubble states?
MOM, have you been cyberstalking me and Tom? He asked me that question specific to California last night over on Calculated Risk. What I replied:

does Rob Dawg have a guess as to how many counties will file bankruptcy?

Hey, Tom. Perhaps Mr. Stone is recalling my ill considered youthful daliance with public service all those years ago.

There are 58 in California. Most of the rural ones will muddle along because they've been screwed by the State for so long a reamer one or two sizes larger won't matter. Most of the rich ones will screw their populace with accellerated decrepitude of all the things like roads and public safety and such. The big ones are in real trouble. They've co-opted their own future with obligations that cannot be met.

20 will stay off the radar. 20 will be stepping up and making changes. 10 will be making "Washington Monument" plays and most will unfortunately succeed. Finally I see approximately 8 needing interventions. For instance, Orange County, San Bernardino, San Diego are almost sure to need bailouts. My speciality, VenCo is on the edge. Idjits just approved an insane package of benifits and have failed again to cure the staffing problem. We have TRIPLE dippers working who just got 8.5% raises.

Honestly, this is putting me on the spot. I wasn't expecting this question for another 6-8 months and then I was hoping it would be from long time staffers in Sacramento that I know rather than people smarter than me in a blog thread.
Hello Dawg,I am NOT stalking you(wrong gender,not my style),we merely share respect for many of the same people.MOM's comment on taxes is right on regarding taxes and insurance.At the peak my exwife and I took a one year lease on a very nice house near sebastopol ca.She REALLY wanted to buy.I ran the numbers and showed her that the taxes and insurance on the place we were leasing would equal more than 90% of the rent we were paying if we bought an equivalent home,and that if we put $200k down,it would cost us 4 times as much to buy as rent.I do not think she will ever forgive me for that...
Tom - making the right financial decision for your family isn't always pleasant. I feel for you.

In real life I have seen women do this over and over again. I think the reason might be an instinctive one for women. It's very hard to explain to a man, but the need to have a space of your own is very deeply rooted and quite primitive. Without acknowledging the emotions behind it, the drive is very hard for women to ignore. It's almost like every cell in your body is telling you to get the man, get some territory, and then settle down and defend the man, the territory, and any children who pop up within it. Paradoxically, it's hardest to fight when a woman is deeply attached to her husband.

It's got to be something connected with instinct, because generally female animals act exactly the same way. They are more territorial than males.

In my experience, women who overcome this do it by cognitively recognizing that the decision to buy represents a danger to their husband and/or their children (a loss of security that could represent real danger), and invoking another set of primitive instincts to fight the first.

This does not mean women are less rational than men, but our points of rationality and our instinctive drives are different. It's a complementary difference, but it is not an easy one for couples to negotiate. If women are not consciously aware of this instinct, they are liable to react to the refusal to acquire a territory as a declaration of lack of commitment by the man.

There are a whole set of instinctive patterns that are needed to raise children and deal with infants, and the moment that you have the man they pretty much start playing out in your life as a woman. Unfortunately our culture is one that teaches us to think of ourselves as rational and cognitive beings with a complete split between ourselves and animals.

If you are raised on a farm or in a country area with a lot of experience with animals and birds, you realize that the split does not exist. We are animals with minds, not minds harbored in bodies.

This is one reason why country people tend to be more socially realistic. One sees these things in one's own self, and one realizes "oh, I'm doing that". It probably doesn't change the strength of the drive, but it does reduce the internal conflict, because at least cognitively one realizes what is going on, accepts it as natural, and deals with it without the reflexive blame and anger against oneself or another.
Thank you MOM,I agree with you on the point that we are thinking animals with very powerful instinctive drives.I believe I am lucky in that I was raised as both a city and country boy by survivors of the Great Depression who deeply respected education,but had no time for fools.
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