Is MLS Supply Data Meaningless by Itself?

Real Estate Sales Representative with for real estate results in the Tri-Cities.

Is MLS Supply Data Meaningless by Itself?  In order to measure the total housing supply available (for sale) it is essential to know how many new homes are available for sale that are not listed on MLS, and yet when the real estate industry issues reports more often than not this vitally important part of the equation is missing. 

The new homes for sale figure can move as quickly up or down, leading or lagging MLS trends, and will of course often go counter to MLS numbers.  These are significant variable factors that cannot be ignored.

I believe the fluctuation of this big chunk of missing data renders most of the MLS analysis and commentary, at least when MLS is reported alone, as meaningless for the public.

Here is an excerpt pertaining to MLS data from an article here:

While the number of newly listed homes on the Canadian MLS declined by 6.8 per cent in June compared to the previous month, a declining trend in new listings “will help maintain the balance between supply and demand, and temper home price volatility,” says the CREA.

The national average price of homes rose 4.9 per cent across the country, on a year- over-year basis, to $342,662.

So what value is this to me or my clients in Port Moody? What does this mean, and to whom? Who exactly is this of value for, and are they paying for it?

“…Homebuying is Easy” …at least according to the commentary in this same article, which is widely circulated throughout Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley communities.

This assertion seems to be based on the supply of homes listed on MLS.  I checked yesterday and the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) showed there were 17,889 listings available on a cross property search.

So we have key data missing from the supply side, no mention of demand, and a front page headline concluding that it’s Summer time, and “homebuying is easy”.

I find this type of reporting misleading and outright irresponsible; what is your view?

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Comments (4)

Terry Chenier
Homelife Glenayre Realty - Mission, BC


Is this deja-vu all over again? This sounds like a conversation we had over lunch. I was waiting for this post.

Jul 26, 2010 06:02 AM
John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

I believe you summed it up best Yogi, "It's Economics 101; basic supply and demand!"

Jul 26, 2010 06:16 AM
Barrie Clulow
My Time Is My Own - Uxbridge, ON

John - when ever some one starts to spout statistical information I always take it with a grain of salt. Unless you have full knowledge of the data used and know that it is complete and accurate the resulting information becomes simply an opinion of the person responsible for the survey.

Aug 04, 2010 01:49 PM
John Grasty
for real estate results in the Tri-Cities. - Port Moody, BC
Your Tri-cities REALTOR, neighbour and volunteer.

No kidding Barrie, and although it can be dangerous too many people pay heed and rely on it.

Most of the MLS statistical information that comes from CREA is meaningless by itself. Commenting on it in isolation of the full market is misleading the public and irresponsible and we're paying for that crap! 

But what do I know?

Thanks Barrie.

Aug 04, 2010 02:38 PM

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