The recent increase in San Diego home prices has begun to show up in the (always lagging) Case-Shiller index. 

Between January, the month for which I last updated the C-S data, and April, the aggregate San Diego home price index has risen by 2.0 percent.  This increase was enjoyed entirely by the high- and mid-priced tiers, up 2.4 percent and 2.5 percent respectively.  The low tier actually declined by .7 percent, although that entire decline took place in February and the low tier has risen since then.

Lest you think this is just the typical spring bounce at work, this graph of the seasonally-adjusted C-S index shows that even accounting for seasonality, all price tiers were in at least a mild uptrend for the past couple of months:

I expect the next couple of releases of the Case-Shiller index to continue rising, based on price data already observed and on the very low levels of housing supply for sale (both described here).

Here’s a look at some longer-term graphs to put this all into perspective.  First up, price changes since the housing bubble peak:

Here’s the more important version of the above chart, which shows house prices adjusted for inflation.  Note that while the nominal (not inflation-adjusted) bottom took place in 2009, the real (inflation-adjusted) post-bubble low was hit in January of this year.

Finally, here’s a look back to the beginning of the series starting in 1989, also adjusted for inflation.


Rich Toscano is a financial advisor with Pacific Capital Associates*.  He can be contacted at

Rich Toscano has been observing the housing market for Voice of San Diego, with the occasional prolonged absence, since 2006. Follow him on Twitter at...

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