The San Diego real estate market sounds surprisingly strong for a weak market.

Tim Sullivan, the San Diego-based consulting firm’s founder, said that with some holders of subprime mortgages defaulting on loans that are resetting at higher rates, the bulk of foreclosures are likely to occur in the next six months and into 2008 before trailing off.

I’ll go along with that for Arizona too.

But Sullivan’s associate, Peter Dennehy, said only about 4.6 percent of sales involve foreclosures, far less than in the recessionary 1990s and a trend he called ” something to watch” but still ” manageable.”

I wonder what it was in the early 1990’s in California.

And Jack L. Haynes, executive vice president of Countrywide Home Loans, said lenders are moving to deal with borrowers facing disaster. He did not offer any specifics, but his company and some other lenders have moved to work out new repayment schedules to avoid foreclosure.

Anybody got any “work out” stories?

Prices, which had peaked at $517,500 in November 2005 and lately dropped to as low as $472,000 in January, have recovered somewhat to stand at a median $490,000. But they remain 10 percent or more below where they stood a year ago in many neighborhoods.

That’s a surprisingly small decline considering that San Diego was the West Coast poster child for the real estate boom.

His advice for how to attract buyers: ” Stage” the units to look like nicely appointed resale homes; landscape the front yards rather than offer expensive incentives or upgrades

That guy’s as smart as I am. I like him.

Sullivan’s expert on Imperial Valley, Adam McAvee, said that market is ” struggling” from affordability and commuting issues to the point where the typical new subdivision is only selling 1.3 homes per month.

1.3 homes per month! They probably look fondly on Queen Creek, Maricopa and Surprise, Arizona.