There's an old saying that goes something like, "There's lies...damn lies...and statictics!" That pretty much sums up my blog post on real estate market stats....thanks for reading. In actuality there is some measure of truth to real estate stats. The fun starts with where the stats are sourced and how they are broken down.
Many agents use the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to source their stats. Not a bad place to get data as it is usually local, current, and detailed. But it's also based on what the agents input in to the system...so it can be, "Garbage in garbage out." In other words, it's only as good as the agent putting it in. Were they detailed? Did they leave important info like if the seller made concessions out? Is the sales price accurate? The market time? Were there price reductions along the way so we know what the list to sale price ratio really is? You know, stuff like that.
The most important aspect to consider is, "Just where are these properties located?" Keep in mind that when you read an article on local real estate, the data is not always local. It may be county or even state-wide information. To get an accurate look at your local market, start by analyzing your specific zip code. Remember, nearly every city has multiple zip codes, so even if you are looking at market data in your city, it may not really reflect your zip code or even your neighborhood. This is where a top-notch REALTOR can come in handy as they know where to pull that exact data. *HINT* It's not always available on Zillow!
Which brings me to my next point. Just because it's on the Internet that doesn't make it true! I know the web is a great place to do research and kick the tires on real estate data. But depending on the source, you could be in for a big surprise. Many web sites are days or even weeks behind. And real estate stats change daily, if not hourly. If I come to talk to you about selling your house and I leave a Market Analysis behind, the minute I walk out that door it could be outdated! Things change quickly and one sale could affect the value of your entire neighborhood. That being said there are some good online resources you can use to get a glimpse of what is happening. I have what I have found to be the best right here on my blog. You can also go here for details on every area in S. California.
Lastly I will let you in on a little secret. One that is the ultimate measuring stick of how well your market is doing. Do what I do everyday as I am driving around my neighborhood. Pay attention to how many "For Sale" signs are posted...and how many of them say, "SOLD"! That is the true measure of what is happening in your neighborhood. If you have very few signs, then not much is happening. If you have lots of signs but none say sold, then your area has not yet corrected. If you see lots of signs that say sold, then things are moving and you should go introduce yourself to your new neighbors. If a move is in your future, ask who their REALTOR was and get that agents perspective on your area.