Get Smarter: Ignore the National Real Estate Market and Use Local Tools

by Alex Stenback on December 22, 2011

November Housing Inventory Lowest Since 2004

I’ve been telling you for a while that there is no such thing as a “National Real Estate Market” and that if you really want to understand what is going on, looking at the local picture (wherever local happens to be for you) is crucial.

Call it confirmation bias if you will, but here’s an excerpt from Calculated Risk (by far the best Macro Coverage for real estate on the web, bar none) today that should ring familiar to regular readers:

“…it is location dependent now – although I expect to see some more price declines on the national repeat sales indexes. Some areas have a significant backlog of distressed homes, and there is no rush to buy in those areas. In other areas, prices have probably already bottomed (or are close enough that there will be some attractive prices.)

So where to find the best local data?  Start with your local real estate organizations.  Be cautious – Levels of transparency vary, and you do need to get beyond the headlines and press release bullet points, which almost always have a little topspin – these are trade orgs, after all.

In Minnesota, we are fortunate to have a set of local Realtor Orgs that do a great job with transparency, hit a mostly straight ball, and put the date into multiple formats to help both realtors and homeowners make better sense of it all.  We are lucky to have them, really, as a resource.

My personal favorite’s, data wise?

1.  The monthly skinny video, which provides a nice flyover of the prior month’s real estate activity, with good insight on what to take away from the raw numbers.

2.  The Thing: For the analytical-at-heart, or those that want to dig deeper into local housing market trends.  You can search and filter sales data by zip code, city, school district, property type, price band and more. The Thing, if you will forgive the phrase, is The Shit.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ray C December 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm

The Thing IS the Shit, thanks for that. So much awesome data!

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