Every month hundreds if not thousands of agents jump on the band wagon and print the latest local market reports. Most of the data that is presented comes from the same sources and the only noticeable difference is the way some agents format the data and the delivery method (print, blog, email). I began to wonder who is reading all of the reports that are published each month. Is it a buyer trying to decide whether to buy now or wait until they think the market has hit the bottom? Is it seller trying to decide if this is the right time to sell? Or is just another agent out looking for a new report format?
Up until now I’ve been a participant in this exercise. However with the market changing daily posting a compilation of monthly statistics for a zip code or county really doesn’t seem to hold much value. The phrase all real estate is local takes on a whole new meaning in the Northern Virginia market. I admit when I first started posting market reports they were at the county level, face it, it’s easy and all you have to do is look at either the MRIS or NVAR and the data is all there for you.. Then I realized that the county level was way to subjective so I went to posting information at the zip code level which took a bit more work.
In some areas of the country posting county or zip code data might be quite acceptable and provide a realistic picture of the market. In our area zip codes contain a wide range of neighborhoods. Not only is there a wide variety of home types (detached, townhouse, condo) within a zip code but a wide range of neighborhood values as well. In some neighborhoods the market is stagnant or slipping. In others in the same zip code the picture isn’t as gloomy. A market report for buyers and sellers in today’s market has to be focused at the neighborhood level to be of any value. General data is misleading and could keep a buyer from making the right decision or give a seller the wrong sense of value for their property.
So jump up and cheer there will be one less general market report next month. Instead I am going to put my focus on exploring and reporting news about local neighborhoods (both old and new), places of interest and quirky finds. I’ll leave the generic market reports for everyone else to write.