Thursday, January 19, 2006 | When asked about how San Diego’s home prices could possibly be so high many local Realtors and analysts respond simply with something like this “Well, everyone wants to live in San Diego.”

OK, I don’t deny that they do.

But did they not want to live here five years ago when home prices were a fraction of what they are?

That’s the question that Rich Toscano asked several months ago on his popular Web site www.piggington.com. And it has been bugging me ever since.

Toscano is known as Professor Piggington online. He calls the site the “Econo Almanac for the Landed-Poor.” And people now pay him to read what he has to say. He’s that good.

And now he’ll be a regular columnist for Voice of San Diego. Those more attentive readers of Voice will have noticed that we are paying a great amount of attention to housing and real estate in San Diego. Reporter Will Carless has grabbed a hold of a beat we’ve loosely described as housing/survival in San Diego/land use and he’s wrestled it to the ground true to his hooligan heritage.

It’s been a hit: He’s explored the unbelievable increase in the area’s housing inventory. He’s described The Attack of the Realtors. And he’s gathered some thoughts from experts on where the market might head.

Why have they been so popular? Because everyone around here is talking about San Diego real estate.

Toscano will appear every Thursday, a day in which Voice’s commentary section will be wealthy in real estate discussion.

Toscano’s voice is unique, however. Unlike many real estate commentators, his interest is not in the market continuing to rise; he’s one of those waiting patiently for it to fall.

And he’s been particularly good at describing exactly why it will – fall that is.

Toscano says that slogging through the data has proven to him that home prices should have gone up in San Diego over the last few years.

“I just don’t think they should have tripled,” Toscano said.

But San Diego’s such a great place to live, everyone is flocking to America’s Finest City, and there aren’t enough houses for all of them, right?

“It’s a very flawed line of reasoning. Being a desirable place explains why it costs more to live in San Diego than it would to live somewhere in Montana or something, but it doesn’t explain the rate of change. It doesn’t explain why it costs so much more to live here now than it did five years ago,” Toscano said.

So why does it cost so much?

Tune in to Voice‘s Commentary Section on Thursdays for the best explanations and columns trying to answer that very question. And if you think you’re capable of adding two-cents of your own, send a letter to the editor or contact me to talk about getting a column of your own published.

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