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San Diego resale home prices took a big hit last month, at least as measured by the size-adjusted median price. By this metric, the typical single family home price declined by 3.6 percent and the condo price by 3.0 percent between October and November. This is the worst single-month performance since the home price decline began.

Since peaking in September 2005, the size-adjusted median price is down 15.8 percent for single-family homes and 18.3 percent for condos.

As has been discussed often lately here at the Nerd’s Eye View, these aggregate figures tend to hide significant differences in the behavior of different housing submarkets. I think it’s interesting to know what’s going on in aggregate, and I certainly like not having to wait another two months for the release of the three-tiered Case-Shiller numbers for November. However, it’s important to remember that just because the median price per square foot among all detached homes sold in November declined by 3.6 percent, that doesn’t mean that every home’s market price declined by 3.6 percent. Homes in the stronger areas certainly declined less, while other homes certainly declined more.

The plain-vanilla median price once again proved its uselessness by giving signals that conflicted with anecdotal data, the size-adjusted median, and even the median price itself. In contrast to the 3.6 percent drubbing endured by the size-adjusted median price for single-family homes, the plain-vanilla single family home median rose by 1.9 percent between October and November. Not all is well in Vanillaville, however, as the median price for condos declined by 4.4 percent that same month.

I continue to think that the plain-vanilla median should be ignored and I only report it here because so many pundits continue to use it as their primary price metric. Back to reality, it seems that San Diego’s home price decline has, on the whole, started to pick up the pace.

— RICH TOSCANO

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