Real Estate is Local…But HOW Local?

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California, Inc. CA DRE #01490977

We’ve all heard the phrase that real estate is local. Realtors use it often, and with good reason.


Real estate markets vary widely, and making generalized statements about what the real estate market is doing can be risky. But we see that all the time in media reports…as if what’s happening in one area is a reflection of the housing market in another region.


And reports often lag behind the reality of the market. It's certainly true these days as the market keeps shifting.


moneyThe talk about national averages suggests the same conditions exist in every housing market of the country, and we’re all the same. Or at least those not in the real estate business might draw that conclusion. Those in the know, know better!


How often have we heard “it’s a sellers market” or “it’s a buyers market?”


But the real estate market is not always that simple or generalized in a particular community or area. Once you start looking at specific neighborhoods, various price ranges, and other issues, you may see a mix of buyer, seller, and balanced markets.


I’ve observed it in Carlsbad where I live, and other communities nearby where I work with buyers and sellers.


And of course market shifts occur over time, and sometimes quickly.


So how local IS local when talking about real estate market conditions such as average list and sales prices, inventory, days on market, price per SF, and so on?


It can vary from one neighborhood or subdivision to another, and within a neighborhood. One street may differ from another street depending on supply and demand and what’s popular. Does one side of a street have great views? If so, expect that to differ from across the street even if the houses are the same.


New home communities may be very different from resale properties in the same general area. Condos and townhomes are different from single family detached homes, and might vary amongst themselves when you compare different complexes.


Are you in an area where there are high rise condos? You might pay more the higher you go, and each building can be different for a host of reasons – amenities (e.g., pool, spa, exercise room), views, the presence of a concierge.


Oceanfront homes at Terramar in CarlsbadInterested in living west of the freeway in my area or close to the ocean…guess what, the prices can go way up! Want a view? Yep, that impacts pricing as well, but views vary.


Don’t forget about the impact that local schools and their reputations can have on prices and desirability. The list goes on and on.


The bottom line? To achieve the best understanding of what the local market conditions are all about, and what they mean for your buying and selling decisions, you need to work with a Realtor who knows and understands the nuances of the local real estate market.


And you need to consider the particular local market segment that is relevant to your specific search interests – the area(s) you prefer, the price range, the type of property (e.g., townhome vs. single family detached home).


Searching for homes on the MLSIs it complicated? Well, it may feel that way, and that’s why you need the best professional guidance and advice you can get.


And in this competitive market it’s even more important if you want a successful sale or purchase. Especially given the competitive bidding and rising prices.


Is real estate local? You bet it is. Real estate is actually hyper-local, as we say!


And your Realtor will help you understand how, so you can make informed decisions about YOUR real estate.

Posted by

Jeff Dowler, CRS
Certified Residential Specialist / Realtor®

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Comments (49)

Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

 Waterfront.  Beachfront. Golf course frontage.  Backs up to National Forest.  Forever views.  Etc. etc.

     So many "localisms" affect the desirability and value of real estate, even in the same town or area.

    Nice reminder for Buyers, Jeff!

May 24, 2021 01:12 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Location, location, location. I had some clients who wanted to live in a specific neighborhood.The dividing line was 6th Ave and I found them the perfect house on 7th but on the wrong side of 6th. The same houses on the right side of the right  side of the street sold for $100k to $200k more but the stigma existed. My people bought the bargan house and 3 years latter sold it and made $400k profit Jeff Dowler, CRS 

May 24, 2021 02:16 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

That's a great analogy Ed Silva 

So very true Grant Schneider  and the word "location" covers a lot of nuances, depending on the area!


May 24, 2021 09:05 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

I suspect we all agree Kat Palmiotti  AND also understand our local markets!

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD  Plus the neighborhoods can change over time, too, right?

Steve Schultz  Thanks for stopping by!


May 24, 2021 09:08 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Adam Feinberg  None of that surprises me from what I have hear about Manhattan!

Thanks Hannah Williams  You are so right!

Thank you for the kind words Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP 


May 24, 2021 09:14 PM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Real Estate is local and these days a little Loco! Thank you for timely post!

May 25, 2021 12:49 AM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farm & Commercial Land Broker-Auctioneer Serving Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Hey Jeff Dowler, CRS Great article.  My "local" market that I work stretches over 100 miles...yes there are many differences and nuances throughout that area.  

May 25, 2021 07:56 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Jeff all I can say is you are preaching to the Choir and hope the Congregation is reading your post. I always compared Real Estate to Micro Markets you know since today is National Wine Appreciation Day I bring it in parallel. There are huge differences in where Wine is made with good reason just like there are price differences in Real Estate. Loved your Post, Endre

May 25, 2021 09:02 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thank you for the kind words Dorie Dillard Austin TX 

Laura Cerrano Thank you for your thoughts!

Kevin Vitali I remember how different things were when I lived in Cambridge and listed and sold there. You raise a great point!


May 25, 2021 10:49 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Carol Williams  Hyperlocal is a great way to describe it.

Well said Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate That sums it up pretty nicely

That's a great story Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS and a good example of local real estate.

Debra Leisek  Loco is a good way to describe it. And perhap real estate has become even MORE local as a result.


May 25, 2021 10:56 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks, Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker  I can just imagine how much variety they must be in that much local market.

Hi Endre Barath, Jr.  I think we all are well aware of how truly local our individual markets are, and how they can change. I think the wine analogy is a good one!


May 25, 2021 11:00 PM
Erik Hiss
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Worthington, OH
You can trust me for all your real estate needs!

Local info is key to a great listing. Talk to neighbors, friends, etc to get the best well rounded info for what you're selling!

May 26, 2021 05:46 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

This is why I get so annoyed when I see agents in this county brag that they "Know the county inside out." With 1,920 square miles, several lakes, and numerous towns, that is simply a lie.

May 26, 2021 07:24 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Yes real estate is local but there are some universal truths--I talk about that with my husband when we watch Million DOllar Listing!!

May 26, 2021 12:22 PM
Paddy Deighan MBA JD PhD - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

the internet has certainly expanded the reach of all real estate agents as well as the definition of "local". However, I still believe it is important to utilize an agne that is truly "local"

May 26, 2021 03:55 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
CEO of Vision Drive Realty - Coastal San Diego

Spot on Jeff Dowler, CRS I have this very conversation with all who inquire about:

"how's the market?"

My standard response is: "Which one?"

May 28, 2021 08:37 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Erik Hiss  That's an excellent point and a great idea!

Marte Cliff  And they probably claim they are specialists!

Hi Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR So true!


May 29, 2021 05:36 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Agree Paddy Deighan MBA JD PhD  I think it's in everyone's best interests.

I do the same Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets It's important and makes a difference!


May 29, 2021 05:40 PM
Greg Mona
Hague Partners/72SOLDHUB - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Great points, Jeff, and yes, it can come down to something as local as what side of the street, and even which PORTION of the street! I live in a large MPC, and our crown jewel is a large lake surrounded by homes. The exact same home on the water as across the street can get $500K to $1M more, just because it sits next to the water, has a dock, etc. Hyper-local is the catchphrase for this type of price fluctuation for what is otherwise a very similar product.

Jun 02, 2021 02:07 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Excellent points and great example Greg Mona  We see the same thing here...being on the water adds tremendous value, and if you have steps to the beach, even better!


Jun 04, 2021 01:13 PM