There are a number of tools that are at our disposal to help us sort through the befuddling, and sometimes misleading statistics out there. One resource is The Thing, sponsored by MAAR (The Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors). It is an interactive analytic tool that can narrow in on specifics you want to know about: a great “thing” to have in your arsenal of market information. Here you can manipulate geographical region by city, zip code, neighborhood, etc., and choose up to 2 break-outs (price range, foreclosure, property type, new construction) for comparison. There are 10 variables to choose from (new listings,pending sales, closed sales, average sales price, median sales price,average price per square foot, % of original price, days on market, months supply, home sales).
I think that this analytic tool is easy to use, self-explanatory and comprehensive. It will answer your question, “How’s the Market?,” no matter what your interest.
For example, if you are a potential buyer, the price per square foot stat might be of particular interest. If large home tops your list of “must haves,” comparing neighborhoods of interest based upon price per square foot could help to determine where you can get the biggest home for your buck.
If you are a contemplating selling your home, average price, % of original sales price, and days on market would be valuable stats to look at. They will give you a realistic expectation of what homes sell for, and how long it might take to sell,based upon real market data in your particular neighborhood.
In any case, I think one very important break-out is the foreclosure, short sale, traditional sale distinction. By separating the traditional from the distressed properties, you can get a more accurate picture of what is happening in the market…you might even find encouraging news!!!