Some weekend housing and economic stories to read while you’re burning your car for insurance money:

The strain and stress of short sales took top billing in the North County Times yesterday, and also in the Union-Tribune’s Home section.

Does crime go up when the economy goes down? Today’s LA Times reports suspicious car fires or clear cases of arson spiked in the first quarter as owners try to cash in on their insurance. This reminded me of a great story a couple of months ago in The New York Times about a “flotilla of forsaken boats” by owners looking for an insurance payout — giving a whole new meaning to the term “underwater.”

Rich Toscano took a look at a 2009 spring rally — two months of gains in home prices adjusted for house size — but he’s not convinced the rally is here to stay. Speaking of the unknown, Jim the Realtor stopped by and took some mysterious footage of a development in Encinitas that hasn’t yet sold any units.


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