The Morning Report
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For the second time since San Diego’s resale home price rally began last spring, the median price per square foot declined last month.

The prior month of falling prices was November 2009, but it was followed by a rebound in December that brought the median price per square foot to a new high.  It doesn’t appear to have been onwards and upwards, however, as the latest month’s housing activity brought San Diego roughly back down below November pricing.

Between December and January, the median price per square foot fell by 2.1 percent for single family homes and 1.8 percent for condos. As the accompanying graph indicates, these price wiggles have not been very dramatic compared to the crash days of yore.

All in all, local home prices by this measure have pretty much gone nowhere since September.  It can certainly be said at this point that the price rally that began in April 2009 is now over.  The question is whether this is a typical winter lull, to be followed by renewed strength in spring, or whether this is the start of a renewed downturn.  The answer, as I’m fond of mentioning, will be determined by how much money the federal government chooses to borrow or print in the (continued) service of the housing market bailout.

— RICH TOSCANO

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