Accuracy of Zillow Statistics

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty

There was a recent article in the Bellingham Herald about Zillow's quarterly home report stating that the median price of a home in Whatcom County is down slightly in the past year.

This may be so, but then again maybe not.

The reportshows that the median price for single family residences sold  in Whatcom County was $278,649 during the second quarter of 2007, down 2.1 percent when compared to the same period last year.

When I look at the NWMLS statistics they sure are different that Zillows.  According to the NWMLS statistics for the second quarter of 2007 vs 2006, I get a median sales price for a single family residence of  $292,500 for 2007 vs $282,250 for 2006 which is a 3.6% increase in residential home values.

When I look at the stats for all homes, I assume they mean residential and condos, Zillow says the median home sold for $247,074 in the 2nd quarter of 2007. Once again looking at the NWMLS statistics the median  sales price for all homes in 2007 was $274,900 as compared to $269,500 for the same time in 2006, which is a 2% increase..... There is also an 11% spread between the Zillow median and the NWMLS median prices. What does this all mean?

If I take into consideration the fact that Zillow also uses FSBO's that are not part of the NWMLS data then it leads me to believe that those selling their homes on their own are leaving a lot of money on the table as there is a 5.7% spread between the Zillow statistics and those of the NWMLS for single family homes.  

What do you think?Which is more accurate Zillow or the NWMLS?

If Zillow is right you might want to think about getting the help of a Realtor if your thinking about selling your home.

Comments (25)

New Jersey Real Estate James Boyer Morris, Essex & Union County NJ Realtor
RE/MAX Properties Unlimited, Real Estate - Morristown, NJ

Yes, zillow stinks, just someplace on the web for people to waist their time.


Don't get sucked into it as you will not get much for accuracy from them.

Aug 18, 2007 11:32 AM
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

Interesting interpretation!  I've always found that FSBO's either price too high or too low.  Either way they lose!


Bob Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc. 

Aug 18, 2007 11:36 AM
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy
Thank you all for your comments, Zillow has a big following I'm sure, we need to educate the public about their accuracy or lack of it.
Aug 18, 2007 12:09 PM
Vicente A. Martinez
Prudential Douglas Elliman Licensed Real Estate Salesperson - Woodhaven, NY
Realtor, Brooklyn - Long Island - Queens Homes

When a seller tells me they got their zestimate then I know the listing is doomed. What I mean is the value that comes from the zillow zestimate is ridicously over the Fair Market Value (in this market it would be a listing heading towards the expired list).

On the other hand I usually send buyers to zillow and they are motivated to put in higher offers than I would otherwise get. It also gives them the peace of mind they need to move forward with the transaction. I guess as long as I'm not the one to post the wrong or over inflated price estimates, then using it as a tool to get the job done is the reason that sellers employ us.

Aug 18, 2007 05:30 PM
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information

Is Zillow still 80% accurate 60% of the time? That's what they were at first, and these were their words. In our resort market, where prices are anything but cookie-cutter, Zillow can't even come close. Don't see that changing.

Good post and it's appreciated. 

Aug 19, 2007 06:31 AM
Charlottesville, VA
I do not believe zillow is that accurate, it is what it is and most agents agree it is not a viable tool.
Aug 19, 2007 06:45 AM
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy
Vincent: Good thinking, it is interesting to see how you use Zillow to your advantage
Aug 19, 2007 07:49 AM
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy
Gary: Zillow comes close in our market occassionaly, I have also found them to way off at times. Thanks for stopping by
Aug 19, 2007 07:51 AM
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy
Charles: Thanks for the comment, I think the public has a different opion of zillow than we do.
Aug 19, 2007 09:28 AM
Frances C. Rokicki
Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC - Bolton, CT

I try to suggest to clients, that Zillow is one of many companies that have some sources for home sales and pricing of homes.  The MLS is another, if you go on Google, there are others.  My website company has their own, as well.  So, I explain that there is a range, but, that you really go back only 6 months on the calendar for marketing purposes, of sold homes.  With the market changes, even from season to season, doesn't this make sense?

It's a Good Life!

Fran Rokicki, Clubnet~Mentor, Broker~CT

Oh, By the Way...I am never too busy for your CT referrals!

Aug 21, 2007 01:43 AM
Arina Hanciulescu
RealtyPros - Las Vegas, NV

I've been saying for long time now that Zillow is lacking accuracy on their Zestimates. Why are they doing it? It's incompetence, superficiality or a deliberate agenda?

I submit to you to look into the previous activity of the founders of They did the same think, in their past, to the travel industry... and now they attack the real estate industry... Get the picture? 

Aug 21, 2007 09:51 AM
Faith Goguen
Mattapoisett, MA
I dont like zillows z estimate it is really low on one of my listings and aggravatest me that a possible lead willsee the lw price and totally dismiss my great listing.
Aug 21, 2007 10:27 AM
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy

Fran: You  make sense, I am not sure Zillow always does

Ariana: They do call them zestimates...........who knows where they will go

Faith: Don't let them get you down

Aug 21, 2007 10:37 AM
abka defg
Fountain Hills, AZ

Michael, I have a client whose house was recently appraised for $900,000. According to Zillow it is only worth about $458,000 and located across the street from where it really is.  I don't ever use Zillow to estimate value and wouldn't recommend them to any of my clients either.  

Aug 22, 2007 07:34 AM
Jeffrey Malburg
RE/MAX Acclaim - Roseville, MI
I've been on listing appts. that the home owners had info from zillow and it was laughable! The site isn't trustworthy at all!
Aug 22, 2007 11:58 AM
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy

Bonny:  I have had similar experiences with ZIllow


Jeffrey:  Not at all, Sometimes it's not easy convincing people of that

Aug 22, 2007 01:22 PM
Sarah Miller-Legg
Meridian Star Realty, LLC - Chandler, AZ
It's Real Estate; Done Right!
Michael, I have found Zillow to be amazingly inaccurate in both (like where DO they get this data?)  Sadly, a lot of homeowners are reading it and counting on it (to their detriment if they don't consult a professional Realtor. Thanks for the post. 
Aug 22, 2007 01:58 PM
Diana Perez
Majestic Properties - Miami, FL

Michael, with every comment posted here, it peaked my curiosity and did a google news search. So happens to be that every news from Zillow are stating how low the value of homes have dropped dramatically all over the nation.  How many agree that Zillow is more For Sales By Owner driven? My guess would be yes. What is Zillow trying to project?

Aug 22, 2007 03:16 PM
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy

Sarah: Sad but true!

Diana: They cvlaim not to be driven by FSBO market, just their own way of doing estimates.

Aug 23, 2007 06:11 AM
Diana Perez
Majestic Properties - Miami, FL
Aug 23, 2007 06:22 AM