The Metro Study people do an excellent job with interpreting and reporting on home sales and many things real estate related, but their latest findings for the Northern Virginia housing market is another prime example of how much is too much.
This report shows that, for part or all of 2014, new home construction was down but used home sales were up; while the number of overall home sales were down, yet the median price was up.
We can take statistics like these and make a case for just about anything, and that is the problem. For now, let's take real estate investors out of the equation and focus on consumers purchasing a home for their own use.
Quick. How many people, including yourself, do you know who have read market statistics and THEN decided to purchase a home?
If you answered more than zero, I'd be extremely surprised. Seems to me that personal preference plays an even bigger role.
However, many of the so-called experts choose the statistics which best fit their approach and run with them, which overall is not helping when it comes to real estate. Maybe it does in pro sports, for example, when the team negotiates by illustrating only those statistics which shows a player in a less productive light while the agent has every statistic to show that player in every superior and productive category.
You can't take statistics like these and make it appear that "people are buying pre-owned homes instead of new ones" based on sales over the past two years. Yet, I am not arguing against that while pointing out that new construction is down.
It so happens that I had the experience of watching my current home being built, and I know a couple, married for 35 years, which has moved into new construction every time. I could also name other friends and family members who would "never go with new construction because there are always problems".
Official statistics are NOT necessarily a true reflection of the pulse of a local real estate market, even though they are too often "reported" as if they are. But neither is the barrage of comparative statistics.
Let's use the Northern VA report as an example. Metro Study reports that Northern Virginia MLS sales numbered 38,691 units for 2014. That looks quite impressive. Then you read that this sales number is down 6 percent from the previous year. The 6% decrease makes it appear to some that the desire to move to or within this same area is reduced. So is this a good or a bad report?
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