It is a FACT - ALL REAL ESTATE IS LOCAL.
Beginning with the introduction, ACTIVERAIN moves into the business of national real estate market statistical reporting: "The largest real estate social network ActiveRain Corp surveyed 1,835 real estate agents and real estate brokers in the US and Canada to understand if the real estate market and economy are poised for recovery in 2012, both nationwide and in local markets."
SEE: Real Estate Recovery Or Not? 2012 Predictions by the Pro's Infographic by ActiveRain.
OPINION vs. FACT BASED REPORTING: I am of the opinion that statistical reports compiled by opinions of a small number of real estate agents has no significant value in terms of accuracy. Opinion is not data. Accurate statistical reports may be compiled with the use of data. However, that may also be manipulated.
That said, while the sampling is far too small to have national significance, it is interesting to see a report using real estate agents as the source. We do, after all, live in these markets and experience the effects of the forces that move markets for good or bad.
My first thought on reading the report was, "Mmmm, is ActiveRain moving into the sphere of National Real Estate Market Forecasting??"
If so, compiling and publishing these reports may have some national significance, although the opinions of the average real estate agents has, to date, largely been ignored. So, even a small sampling is interesting reading. Agents also have access to real estate facts through the data contained in our MLS systems. When I compile statistical reports from my MLS, it's based on FACTS of actual closed sales, current listings, etc. There is no opinion involved. Which leads me to the question of "How did the NAR get it so wrong". I've yet to figure that one out.
CROSS MARKET AVERAGING. Another problem I note with most published real estate reporting by national companies is cross market averaging.
EXAMPLE: Washington D.C. is not one market. It is a geographical area combining several states and numerous counties of which all represent diverse real estate markets. I have yet to see an accurate published report of any real estate market for Maryland or Northern Virginia. Until or unless the data used is county originated, it is virtually useless.
THE OPINIONS OF ACTIVERAIN REAL ESTATE AGENT MEMBERS has value. We are at the source. We live the dynamic relationships between agents and real estate services consumers.
I have yet to see a home buyer or seller make a real estate transaction decision based on a National Statistical Market Report. Sadly, some of the most prominent web sites used by consumers also contain the highest percentage of innacuracies. Yet, consumers rely on the reports because they have no understanding of how the reports are compiled and, to a consumer, "if it's published, it must be right".
WHAT DO REAL ESTATE AGENTS THINK? I believe that, if limiting their opinions to their individual market places, opinions by even a small sampling of real estate opinions will be more accurate than the existing national reports seen on the Internet and relied on by marketing companies, real estate publications and the Congress of the United States. Our opinions have value even though we have no national voice. If ActiveRain can make our voices heard, that would be an important force in real estate reporting. "What do real estate agents think?" could be an important question.
Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988. Serving home buyers in Maryland and Northern Virginia where each state and each county is a different real estate market place.