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After their worst month ever, San Diego resale home prices were offered a respite in March, at least according to the median-based price indicators.

For the month, the size-adjusted median price was flat for detached homes and down a mere .4 percent for condos. I guess that’s what passes for a spring bounce these days.

Since March 2007, the size-adjusted medians were down 19.6 percent for detached homes and 20.6 percent for condos. However, recall that early 2007 saw artificial strength in the median-based indicators as the “subprime mortgage crisis” (eventually to become “the mortgage crisis”) skewed median prices upwards. Because the March 2008 number is compared against an artificially strong March 2007 number, the net effect is that year-over-year median price changes are now overstating the annual rate of decline. This will continue to be the case until later this year.

From the peak of the data series in September 2005, the size-adjusted median is down 25.1 percent for detached homes and 28.3 percent for condos. A volume-weighted aggregate of both property types is down 26.3 percent.

The less informative “plain vanilla” median was down 2.3 percent for detached homes and up 4.9 percent for condos. From the combined peak in September 2005, the vanilla median is down 25.9 percent for detached homes, 22.7 percent for condos, and 24.9 percent in aggregate.

As usual, these countywide figures mask some pretty serious disparity among San Diego’s different regions. For those interested, a recent column explored why some parts of San Diego haven’t declined very much and whether this will always be so.

— RICH TOSCANO

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