The San Diego real estate market, which showed considerable strength and resilience throughout the economic recession, exhibited minimal movement and general lethargy in the first few months of 2011. In the S&P Case Shiller Index, which San Diego had remained at the top of for almost a year, showed San Diego median prices increasing just 0.1% year over year. On one hand, San Diego was one of only two metropolitan areas (the other was Washington D.C.) to show an increase in median price year over year. On the other hand, San Diego’s median home price actually dropped by more than one percent on a monthly level, falling 1.2% in January 2011 compared to December 2010 (the most recent figure for which comprehensive statistics are available from S&P Case Shiller). Home prices nationwide seem to indicate that median prices have either bottomed out or that the housing market may be moving towards a double dip recession. The month over month decline for San Diego properties also strengthened a larger trend in the region, since San Diego also saw a monthly decline in December of 2010 compared to November 2010. San Diego does continue to be one of the healthiest markets compared to the national average, but it also is much weaker than it was at its peak.

Foreclosures seemed to show positive trends in San Diego in February 2011, but upon closer inspection of the data a fall in default notices may in fact indicate that lenders are overwhelmed with distressed properties. On the surface, there were 1,373 notices of default (the first step of the foreclosure process) sent out to San Diego homeowners in February, representing a decrease of about eleven percent from January 2011 and a fall of more than one third from year ago levels. Actual foreclosures changed less in February 2011, decreasing by about six and a half percent from January and dropping by a little less than eight percent from last year. However, it is unclear to what extent these figures have been affected by the robo signing scandal, the residual influence of government stimulus programs, and the increased popularity of short sales for distressed properties. On a positive note, this month did mark a fifth straight year over year decline in the number of foreclosures.