Hockey Sticks

By Dave Fratello | August 21st, 2007
After you've seen "An Inconvenient Truth" – perhaps the best film ever about graphs & charts – one image lingers: That of Al Gore mounting a cherry-picker to rise up and show the off-the-chart peak of a graph depicting the sudden, sharp rise of global warming.

Just as the climate crisis has its "hockey stick" graphs, so, too, does housing.

This week, readers of Time magazine are presented with one such graph, depicting the rise in home prices since the 1950s – adjusted for inflation. (Click here for the full Time story.) This probably gives the data its broadest audience yet.

Your humble correspondent recognized the Time chart as a slimmed-down version of one the New York Times ran somewhat recently, presented here as well. (Click to enlarge; it's worth it.) The chart goes back to 1890. Yes, 1890.

We don't actually do much in the way of "bubble talk" here, despite the subtitle for the blog. (We're pretty micro-focused.) Let's just say this: It's no surprise to anyone that home prices in MB have doubled – or more – in the last several years. What's striking is to see how unprecedented the comparable national trend has been.

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