Morning Headlines: There Isn’t Actually a Housing Bubble Yet

Though it seems as though we’re back in a bubble–or at least moving in a spherical direction–there are plenty of factors that suggest otherwise, according to MarketWatch’s Ruth Mantell, who’s performed a thorough analysis of relevant data. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when bubbling (ahem) with enthusiasm about the market. All is not as it seems.

  • 1. Housing inventory is low, which drives sale prices up. And yet those prices are still down by about a quarter from peak prices. Homes continue to be undervalued.
  • 2.  House flipping is much more prevalent now, which indicates a “speculative” market based on a combination of high numbers of distressed properties and tight inventory. It’s not a sign of stability.
  • 3. Mortgage credit continues to fluctuate uncertainly. After what was seen by the Fed as an overreaction–tightening up too much–mortgage-credit availability was up in May and June. Still, it’s much lower than 2007.
  • 4. Despite tight inventory, construction is taking time to rebound. “Builders finally saw a light at the end of the tunnel. But as they approached the light, it turned about to be a 40-watt bulb, not a 100-watt bulb.”

For more analysis and links, read  “Why there’s no housing bubble…yet

As for other news and notes, here you are…

• Once again, the Philly Business Journal sucks the marrow from to give you the area’s 50 most expensive homes.

• The exquisite and much fetishized Lynnewood Hall gets a battleground update in the Inquirer.

Someone got a SEPTA tattoo. That someone is either to be admired or pitied. One thing’s for sure: a tattoo means they’re getting there.

The New York Times reports with an interactive map that whether you rise to another income level doesn’t depend only upon the whims of your boss. It’s also about where you live. Philadelphians have a smaller chance to rise than do those who live in Scranton, Allentown and Reading–and lots of other places, too.

20 people are homeless after an enormous fire on the 2800 block of Memphis Street yesterday. The cause seems to be arson.