Have you heard of the new plan to close California’s $19 billion budget shortfall?  If not, here is a link to a nonpartisan report by a public radio station, 89.3 KPCC.  Here are the basics of the new plan: 1) increase income taxes 1 percent for all Californians, except for those in the highest income… Read more

Data from the National Association of Realtors shows that existing homes sales in the United States fell 2.2 percent from April to May.  The seasonally adjusted annual rate fell from 5.79 million to 5.66 million.  According to Briefing.com, the consensus estimate for May was 6.10 million existing home sales.  In other words, learned economists and… Read more

Today, an article appeared in the Los Angeles Times business section claiming that the “Worst may be over for commercial real estate”.  The article is well written and certainly worth reading.  While we hope that this prediction will come true we have serious reservations. It is true that a tremendous amount of money has been… Read more

On Wednesday the US Census Bureau reported that year-over-year new home sales increased 47.8 percent in April.  This is the second consecutive month new homes have increased.  On the surface this is great news.  Perhaps the housing market is gaining some real momentum.  However, if we dig a little deeper we discover that this is… Read more

Kirk Lesh April 16, 2010 Foreclosures continue to plague California’s residential real estate market.  In the first quarter of 2010 California Notices of Trustee Sale (i.e. a notice of foreclosure) rose 10.7 percent.  Nearly 90,000 notices were sent to California home owners in one quarter.  The situation is worse in Ventura County, where Notices of… Read more

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce released its advanced retail sales report for September.  This is always a good report to read.  It provides useful information regarding the willingness of consumers to spend. Consumers are still keeping a watchful eye on spending.  Total retail sales declined 5.7 percent compared to last year.  Industries experiencing the… Read more

Year-over-year home prices continue to decline throughout California. The weak economy, job losses and lack of available credit are the most cited reasons for the decline. There is another reason that has not garnered a lot of attention. Government intervention, such as foreclosure prevention programs and foreclosure moratoriums, is prolonging the housing slump. There is… Read more

Home ownership rates in the United States continue to decline.  This may seem bad, but it is actually good news for the residential real estate market.  Before the housing market can stabilize the home ownership rate must reach a level the market can support. The U.S. home ownership rate peaked in 2004 at 69.1.  As… Read more

The Fed announced that it would stop purchasing U.S. Government debt by October 2009. This is an important decision. The purchases, designed to lower long-term interest rates, have been a “lifeline” for cash-strapped companies and households. The FED is assuming that the recession is over and excess liquidity can be withdrawn from the economy. If… Read more

Be wary of pundits who claim that the worst of the financial crisis is behind us. We have yet to feel the full impact of problems in the commercial real estate sector. The decline in economic activity has lead to higher vacancy rates and lower lease rates. Together, these factors reduce the cash flow generated… Read more