Friday, September 30, 2005

Of Bubbles Past: A Chronological Listing of News Headlines from the Last Housing Bubble

There's been some confusion on the blogs about just what went on during the last housing bust in Southern California. I was there then; I lived through it, I owned property, and I can tell you it was no fun at all. Then, like here, like now, people were saying things like "housing has never gone down here before (so it won't ever go down)", "housing always goes up", "houses aren't like stocks", "we're special", etc., etc., etc.

Below you will find a chronological listing of selected Los Angeles Times articles originally published between the years of 1985 and 1997 (inclusive) culled from their archives. The similarity among headlines from then and now is quite informative.

Of course, the housing bubble of today is far, far more extreme than it was then.

1985-1986: Housing is booming, inventory is low.
Housing Starts Surge 14.9% During January, Best Gain in 20 Months
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Feb 20, 1985; pg. 1

Inventory of Housing Dips in Southland Unsold New Homes Declined by 3.2% from End of l984
DAVID M. KINCHEN; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Mar 16, 1986; pg. 1

Housing Sales Boom Keeps Inventories Slim
DICK TURPIN; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Aug 24, 1986; pg. 1
1987: Housing still booming, prices increasing, inventories low.
High-End Home Sales Push Up Median Price
Dick Turpin; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Mar 15, 1987; pg. 1

Inventory of Unsold Homes Sets New Low
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Mar 15, 1987; pg. 1

Fewer Homes, High Prices as Mortgage Rates Climb
TOM FURLONG; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Sep 10, 1987; pg. 1

Fixed-Mortgage Interest Rates Surge Woes Mount for Home Buyers, Brokers
TOM FURLONG; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Sep 10, 1987; pg. 1

Unsold Homes Inventory Drops for Third Time
DAVID M. KINCHEN; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Sep 13, 1987; pg.1
1988: People start to question the boom. Realtors assure us the boom will continue. Houses aren't like stocks afterall.
'88 Outlook Bright for U. S. Real Estate
Dick Turpin; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Jan 10, 1988; pg. 1

County's Median Resale Price of Homes Reaches $179,999, Costliest in California
JOHN O'DELL; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Mar 23, 1988; pg. 5

Unlike Stocks, Home Prices Rarely Collapse
JAMES FLANIGAN; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Aug 28, 1988; pg. 1

Southland Inventory of Unsold New Homes Lowest in Decade
DAVID M. KINCHEN; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Sep 11, 1988; pg. 10

J. M. Peters Reports Skyrocketing Sales for Second Quarter
MICHAEL FLAGG; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Sep 14, 1988; pg. 5

Limit Issue Driving Up Home Prices
Dick Turpin; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Sep 18, 1988; pg. 1

Hot Housing Sales Belie Doom Forecast
Ryon, Ruth; Los Angeles Times; Sep 25, 1988; Vol. 107, Iss. 297; 8; pg. 1
1989: Prices are very expensive; affordability an issue. Sales slow and prices drop. Mention of risky loan types.
Housing Prices in State Climb 3% in February
Furlong, Tom; Los Angeles Times; Mar 29, 1989; Vol. 108, Iss. 116; 4; pg. 1

Stock of Unsold Homes Drops Dramatically
DAVID M. KINCHEN; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Apr 2, 1989; pg. 9

How First-Time Buyers CAn Get Their Piece of the Dream
Myers, David W; Los Angeles Times; May 21, 1989; pg. VIII1

State's Home Sales Drop 14% Median Price Tops $200,000 for First Time
Crouch, Gregory; Los Angeles Times; May 25, 1989; pg. IV1

Sales of Existing Homes in State Fall During May
Furlong, Tom; Los Angeles Times; Jun 23, 1989; Vol. 108, Iss. 202; 4; pg. 1

Orange County Home Sales Drop by 22% in May
TOM FURLONG; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Jun 23, 1989; pg. 1

Realtors Tackle New Topic: How to Handle Slow Housing Market
Myers, David W; Los Angeles Times; Oct 1, 1989; pg. VIII1

Prices Drop, Sales Slow in State's Housing Market
TOM FURLONG; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Nov 29, 1989; pg. 1

Housing Affordability Rises Outside L.A., Orange County
Kristof, Kathy M.; Los Angeles Times; Dec 06, 1989; Vol. 109, Iss. 3; D; pg. 1

Survey Cites Four California Banks With Possibly Risky Realty Loans
JAMES BATES; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Dec 30, 1989; pg. 1
1990: Prices take a serious plunge. One article claims that housing booms are a bad thing and we should hope prices stay low. Increasing mortgage rates are blamed for the bust. The word "recession" is mentioned. Gloom and doom.
Home Sales in Southland Plunge in '89
Samuels, Alisa; Los Angeles Times; Feb 8, 1990; pg. D2

The Number of Homes for Sale Sets a Record Real Estate: San Diego becomes buyer's market, with 4,000 existing homes listed in January.
GREG JOHNSON; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Feb 13, 1990; pg. 2.A

Pray That the Housing Boom Stays Dead
Jones, Robert A; Los Angeles Times; Apr 24, 1990; pg. A3

Climbing Mortgage Rates Hurt Existing Home Sales
Samuels, Alisa; Los Angeles Times; Apr 26, 1990; Vol. 109, Iss. 144; D; pg. 3

California Is Nearing the Edge of Recession, UCLA Forecast Warns
Anderson, Harry; Los Angeles Times; Jun 29, 1990; Vol. 109, Iss. 208; D; pg. 1

California Real Estate Market Continues to Cool
TOM FURLONG; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Jul 26, 1990; pg. 1

Home Sales in July at Slowest Pace in 4 1/2 Years
Furlong, Tom; Los Angeles Times; Aug 28, 1990; Vol. 109, Iss. 268; D; pg. 2

Realtors Hear Gloomy Price, Sales Forecasts
Myers, David W; Los Angeles Times; Oct 7, 1990; pg. K1

O.C. Home Resales, Prices Fall Sharply Housing: Realtors group attributes slump in county and state figures to fears of recession.
MICHAEL FLAGG; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Oct 26, 1990; pg. 5

Housing Slump in California Seen Worsening
TOM FURLONG; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Nov 21, 1990; pg. 1
1991: A "dead cat bounce"? Some folks wondering if the bust has bottomed out or not. Sales are abysmal (e.g., -42%). Other parts of the country showing some signs of recovery.
Back to Basics
Inman, Bradley; Los Angeles Times; Jan 20, 1991; pg. K1

Re-Assessing When Home Prices Fall
Boyer, Jeanne; Los Angeles Times; Feb 3, 1991; pg. K1

California Still Among Lagging Areas, Fed Says
JAMES RISEN; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); May 2, 1991; pg. 1

Reading Signs--Is Market at Bottom?
Inman, Bradley; Los Angeles Times; Sep 8, 1991; pg. K1

County's New-Home Sales Plunge 42% for Quarter * Real estate: New figures indicate the market is sputtering again after a brief recovery. The inventory of unsold houses rose by 15%.
GREGORY CROUCH; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Oct 4, 1991; pg. 5

Home Sales Decline in California
Los Angeles Times; Nov 26, 1991; pg. D1

Home Sales Decline in California Housing: The drop in mortgage rates fails to spur sales in the state, but sales of existing homes across the country edge up in October.
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Nov 26, 1991; pg. 1
1992: No one is buying; housing is an investment that no one will touch. Desperate political efforts being made to encourage house buying. Rock bottom prices and lower mortgage rates encourage some purchasing. The year ends with some buying. Another "dead cat bounce"? It's not clear.
Move-Up Home Buyers Pretty Much Left Out Real estate: While Bush's plan may boost first-time purchases, it does little to dispel caution in the other key housing sector.
JUBE SHIVER Jr.; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Jan 30, 1992; pg. 4

Home Sales in State Fell 6.2% in 1991
Shiver, Jube, Jr.; Los Angeles Times; Feb 12, 1992; D; pg. 1

Spring Thaw Real estate: The local housing market is showing signs of recovery. More realistic selling prices and reasonable interest rates have helped to spur sales.
PATRICIA WARD BIEDERMAN; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Mar 26, 1992; pg. 1

Housing Starts Increase 6.4% to 2-Year High * Economy: A strong surge in apartment building leads the way, providing economists with more evidence of a sustained recovery.
JUBE SHIVER Jr.; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Apr 18, 1992; pg. 1

June Home Sales 3.5% over May but Trail 1991 Figure
Los Angeles Times; Aug 2, 1992; pg. K1

August Housing Starts Rebound 10.4%, U.S. Says
Marshall, Matt; Los Angeles Times; Sep 23, 1992; D; pg. 1

California Home Sales Surge
Myers, David W; Los Angeles Times; Nov 25, 1992; pg. D1

Sales of Existing Homes in California Rise Again
Myers, David W; Los Angeles Times; Dec 24, 1992; pg. D1
1993: It's definitely a buyer's market. Some people are saddened by the fact that current prices are 50% of what they were in the 1980's. The housing bust in Southern California is clearly negatively impacting the California economy and the national economy at large. Sellers are desperate to sell (and some people taking extreme measures like putting huge "for sale" signs on their lawns for passing planes to see). Folks who waited out the boom to buy at the bottom are being handsomely rewarded for their patience. Proof-positive of the contrarian investing style -- be greedy when everyone is fearful and fearful when everyone is greedy. The "slump" may be ending.
Long Southland Housing Slump Finally Ending?
DAVID W. MYERS; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Feb 10, 1993; pg. 1

Housing Market Warming Up After 3-Year Slump Real estate: Optimism returns to Southland with rising sales. Number of homes on market is down.
DAVID W. MYERS; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Feb 10, 1993; pg. 1

A sad Westside story: Home prices have declined up to 50% since late 1980s
Myers, David W; Los Angeles Times; May 28, 1993; D; pg. 1

Couple Put Up a Big Sign of the Real Estate Slump Housing: They write `For Sale' in huge letters on their lawn, hoping to attract attention from passengers in planes and jets on flight path to LAX.
DICK WAGNER; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997; Apr 29, 1993; pg. 8

Home Sales in County Climb by 3% Real estate: The market bucks the downward trend of neighboring areas. But analysts say don't be too optimistic.
STEPHANIE SIMON; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); May 28, 1993; pg. 1

It's a Buyer's Market as Peninsula Home Prices Tumble Real estate: Younger families are taking another look at an area that was once beyond their economic grasp. This could revitalize the school district.
TED JOHNSON; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997; Jun 24, 1993; pg. 3

Home Sales Up 6.3% in State, 4.6% Nationwide Real Estate: Analysts credit low interest rates and say buyers are beginning to think that prices may have bottomed out.
DAVID W. MYERS; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Jun 26, 1993; pg. 1

California's real estate slump deepens
Miller, Greg; Los Angeles Times; Jul 27, 1993; pg. D2

Southland home values lead U.S.--Downward
Myers, David W; Los Angeles Times; Aug 4, 1993; pg. D1

Bottom Line: Housing Market May Be Mending Real Estate: Despite a three-year slump, experts say prices are stabilizing, especially for homes under $500,000.
PATRICIA WARD BIEDERMAN; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Aug 22, 1993; pg. 1

Buyers Seek Bargains as Home Prices Keep Sliding Real estate: La Canada Flintridge emerges as bright spot with a nearly 21% increase in sales over same period last year.
ANDREW LePAGE; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Sep 2, 1993; pg. 1

Sitting on the market: After the cash, owners adjust to the region's housing slump
Myers, David W; Los Angeles Times; Sep 20, 1993; D; pg. 1

State's bargain hunters boost new-home sales to 3-year high
Myers, David W; Los Angeles Times; Oct 1, 1993; pg. D1

Home Sales Rise Sharply in State, Nation Real estate: Size of increase surprises housing analysts. Median price in California is down 4.3% from 1992 figure.
DAVID W. MYERS; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Oct 26, 1993; pg. 2

Jump in new-home sales spurs hopes of long-awaited revival
Myers, David W; Los Angeles Times; Nov 3, 1993; pg. D1

Drop in Southland Home Sales Slows in First 10 Months of '93
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Nov 28, 1993; pg. 4

U.S. home sales hit 14-year high
Myers, David W; Los Angeles Times; Nov 30, 1993; pg. D1

Slump in O.C. Housing Market May Be Ending Real estate: November figures show a major year-to-year increase in the number of units sold. Median price still sags.
JOHN O'DELL; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Dec 21, 1993; pg. 1
1994: Housing begins its comeback. People who had the intelligence to wait for the bottom are buying now at great values. Even rising mortgage rates are not shaking the recovery.
Bright Spots Some Areas Showing Signs of Recovery After Four-Year Slump in Home Prices
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Jan 16, 1994; pg. 1

Lenders scramble to keep housing comeback alive
Myers, David W; Los Angeles Times; Mar 30, 1994; D; pg. 1

First-Time Buyers Who Waited Spark Housing Rebound Real estate: After years of ice-cold sales, the city's Westside market is finally starting to heat up.
SCOTT SHIBUYA BROWN; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Jun 5, 1994; pg. 10

Home Sales Up 24% From Last Year
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Jun 26, 1994; pg. 6

June Home Sales Best in 5 Years Ventura County Is Leader
Jack Searles; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Jul 26, 1994; pg. 8

Rising mortgage rates shake but don't break state housing industry
Lee, Patrick; Los Angeles Times; Oct 7, 1994; pg. D1
1995: Some parts of the Southland are recovering others are not. People with "negative equity" are in despair.
Home Sales Rise 10.5% in State, Hit 5-Year High
JAMES F. PELTZ; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Feb 9, 1995; pg. 1

Southland Home Price Rebound Fails to Appear
JESUS SANCHEZ; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); May 22, 1995; pg. 1

County Home Sales Slide 20.4% in May
DAVID R. BAKER; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Jun 13, 1995; pg. 1

Home sales surge 19% in May, raising doubts of rate cut
Mowbray, Rebecca; Los Angeles Times; Jun 30, 1995; D; pg. 1

Study of Homeowners Finds `Negative Equity' a Problem Real estate: Nearly 5% owe more than homes are worth. Impact hinders the state's economy, experts say.
DEBORA VRANA; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Jul 6, 1995; pg. 1

O.C. Real Estate Sales Drop Property: Preliminary figures for July suggest the county's housing market is still in a slump.
DEBORA VRANA; Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext); Aug 1, 1995; pg. 1
1996: A tentative recovery is still in the making.
State's housing market finally in turnaround
Sanchez, Jesus; Los Angeles Times; Oct 25, 1996; pg. D1, 1

O.C. homeowners more confident
Fulmer, Melinda; Los Angeles Times; Dec 3, 1996; pg. D.2

Ready to fly? Region's housing prices on rise, moderately
Sanchez, Jesus; Los Angeles Times; Dec 29, 1996; pg. D.1
1997: Finally, housing has recovered.
Southland Home Sales Are Unseasonably Hot Real estate: In O.C., October sales were 46.5% higher than last year. Median price of $208,000 was highest since 1994.
E. SCOTT RECKARD; Los Angeles Times; Nov 14, 1997; pg. 1

Median Price for O.C. Homes Surges 10.5%
E. SCOTT RECKARD; Los Angeles Times; Dec 10, 1997; pg. 1

And the rest, as they say, is history.

If you wish to repeat this search, go to the LA Times website, click on the advanced search tab. The key words I searched on were "california housing real estate" between the dates of 01/01/1985 and 12/30/1997.

15 Comments:

Blogger jixau said...

This is very cool. It provides a very nice historical context and a reasonable baseline to look at current stories. It would seem that we are now getting near the plateau stage looking at the current stories. Some maybe equivalent of late 1988.

I lived in SoCal during that period and so can relate. The key point that I remember is that most people stopped moving up the RE ladder and stayed in their home and rode out the downturn. A few of course who were caught in the aerospace/defense downturn had to sell and move out of state.

Did SF Bay area prices mimic what happened in SoCal or was that period different?

Oct 1, 2005, 3:11:00 PM  
Blogger jixau said...

Does anyone know where actual home sales data can be found for the SF North bay area - specifically Marin and Sonoma counties?

I looked at Zip Realty and if you put an address of a property for sale you get recent sales as part of the comps.

But what I am interested is a transaction history of properties say in a zip code over a time period. So ideally I can enter a zip code and the period and it will give me all sales transactions in that period. I can then build a transaction history for each property.

Oct 1, 2005, 3:17:00 PM  
Blogger Van Housing Blogger said...

Hi Marinite,

this is great. Thanks a lot. I'm going to post about it over at my place. I did a similar series for the Vancouver market, if anyone is interested.

link

Oct 1, 2005, 5:28:00 PM  
Blogger Chip said...

Thanks for the nice work. Copied it over to a WP doc so I can pull it up from time to time and chuckle at the deja vu.

Oct 1, 2005, 8:21:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

Thanks for the encouraging words. I'm glad some people find some value in my little corner of the web.

Oct 1, 2005, 8:43:00 PM  
Blogger marin_explorer said...

"Unlike Stocks, Home Prices Rarely Collapse"
"No one is buying; housing is an investment that no one will touch."


Very interesting chronology! Somehow it has a familiar ring--I wonder why?

Based on the quotes above, can we assume there was a healthy amount of speculation prior to the bust--and by how much? This could give us a basis for comparison.

Oct 3, 2005, 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TOO excellent! This headlines listing has got to be the single most effective argument against buying into the current real estate bubble that I have read/heard/seen (and I am an all-too-avid bubble junkie). Seriously, Marinite, you need to post this elsewhere. Heck, I'd cut and paste it myself onto Ben's blog, but I feel like I'd be jumping on your toes. But, please, get this out there! It's just a thing of beauty, not to mention super-instructive.

Oct 10, 2005, 8:45:00 PM  
Blogger Marinite said...

anon -

((blush)) Thanks! I sent the owner of The Housing Bubble blog an email with a link to this post. I will let him decide if it is worthy or not as opposed to pasting such a long post into one of his comment sections.

This listing of news headlines is necessarily more brief than what was available in total. I encourage you and anyone else who is interested to repeat the archive search and get the full list. Ditto for any other media sites that have archives.

And share it with anyone you know who might be interested in it.

Oct 11, 2005, 3:13:00 PM  
Blogger backstairs said...

I just posted it for you on Bens blog. This is well worth sharing.

Nov 1, 2005, 9:56:00 AM  
Blogger Fanta said...

" Desperate political efforts being made to encourage house buying." Don't you think the gov put in some remedies to preserve home values in general since the last debacle? Or did the speculators just push up to the limits of the guarentees and that is what makes this "more extreme"?

Nov 17, 2005, 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Marinite said...

Don't you think the gov put in some remedies to preserve home values in general since the last debacle?

That's wishful thinking in my opinion. And banking on something like that seems foolish. But then again, the government does make use of the Plunge Protection Team to keep DOW stock prices way over valued from the historical average P/E of about 20. And every time gold seems to start rocketing in price someone always seems to come in and sells a crap load of gold to depress the frenzy. But stocks, gold, etc. are easy to target in this way; houses are not. But who knows? With the market manipulation the fed has been engaging in for the last four years I guess they could try subsidizing housing too. But I wouldn't bet on it especially since the Fed has made a point of forewarning house owners of what's to come.

Nov 18, 2005, 2:16:00 PM  
Blogger Ali, in Cali said...

Marinite said:

"I'm glad some people find some value in my little corner of the web."

I'd bet you'd be surpised how much we value your posts. I was in Marin today, driving through on my way to an engagement photo shoot, and I saw it through a new lens all thanks toy you (yes, the pun was intended). Too fun... Too fun...

Speaking of too fun... chip said:
"Copied it over to a WP doc so I can pull it up from time to time and chuckle at the deja vu."

LOL! Great idea!! It would also make a great e-mail forward to stir the debate...

Aug 22, 2006, 8:33:00 PM  
Blogger Ali, in Cali said...

oops... "all thanks to you..."

Aug 22, 2006, 8:34:00 PM  
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I'm usually not a fan of Gehry's work, but this is an exception. Using wood as a wrapper imitating structure is not only novel, but ties the space down through the use of a consistent, inviting, and non-distracting material palette. Perhaps Gehry is more suited to small-scale projects Laptop battery.

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