Every month in Northern Virginia a variety of reports are published by the MRIS, NVAR, Washington Post and others to provide the public with information on recent market trends. The reports focus on comparing housing prices in a user selected zip code from the previous month and the previous year.
When the local market was moving at a frenetic pace most of us didn’t have time to look at the reports and we didn’t have many reasons to question whether there was enough data included for a buyer or seller to make informed decisions. Now don’t get me wrong there are a lot of things I would rather be doing than digging through data in the MLS, however in a market where prices are not heading up daily and where buyers are looking to make “low ball” offers knowing the data is extremely important.
That is why I have a problem with broadcasting the numbers from our local sources without providing the consumer with a few more details. So I grabbed the 22206 zip code number from the latest MRIS report and went one step further and looked at the average seller subsidy for the zip code. I think the chart gives a decent overview of what happens when you start at the macro level and begin to drill down. I think leaving out the seller subsidy is a significant error in our market reports. These subsidies have an effect on the bottom line for both the buyer and the seller. Knowing how an area is tracking (even better at the neighborhood level) can help provide our clients with a better perspective on what to expect.
So before you assume the sales numbers you are looking at are accurate ask for more details. Check to see the raw data and see how it tracks.
I’ll leave the issue with Days on Market (DOM) for another blog!