The real estate website Zillow has been making overtures to realtors in the past few years about using its information in marketing. I'm skeptical, mainly because of the accuracy of the data. In a suburban area that has been built within the past 20 years, their "Zestimates" may carry more weight, as every house looks very similar and differences are marginal, but in the city, it takes a knowledgable source to perform the comparative sales approach to estimate value. One other thing I've hated as the real estate market has slowed down over the past few years is the use of over-generalizations. The above graph is a great example of everything that bothers me. It does show trends based on average pricing, which can be useful, but often times can be mis-interpreted. For example, the drop in average pricing in 2009 for the Tower Grove neigbhorhood, as in many other areas, wasn't necesarrily due to a drop in value of homes, but rather surge in low value distressed home sales such as foreclosures or other investment homes. On a positive note, many of the St Louis neighborhoods graphed showed the rise in sale prices according to Zillow within the past year. Market value home sales have been returning, leading to this increase in average home values. The housing market is on its way to a full recovery.
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Various thoughts on the real estate market, experiences in selling and buying homes, investing, urban renewal, St. Louis Missouri fun facts.