There is one thing about data you can always count on. Two people can look at the same set of data from the MLS and come up with two different interpretations.
Yesterday I pulled up a search of a West Springfield (VA) neighborhood to update a market report and community profile. I ran a CMA and found 12 closed detached homes in the neighborhood. The average sales price number was $446,223. Today I re-ran the numbers and discovered another property had settled yesterday. The sales price of the property was low and as you would expect the new average sales price number for the neighborhood was now down to $432,283.
Another local agent just reported an entirely different set of sales numbers and suggested that home sales prices were up in this West Springfield neighborhood over last year. No matter how many different ways I ran the numbers, I couldn’t get the data or the average sales prices to match their calculations or to see a positive trend in the sales prices.
So how do consumer decide who trust or what set of numbers to believe? Either one of us could be right or we both could be wrong. You have the abililty to look over sales number provided directly by the local Northern Virginia Association of Realtors for general trends. Though these numbers aren’t broken down by neighborhood they can be viewed by zip code. If the average sales prices in your zip code are down by, in this case 13%, then chances are the average sales prices in your neighborhood are still on the negative side as well.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home and you see a market report that catches your attention by all means you should ask the agent (s) to bring the full set of the data they used to come up with their numbers. See if they look right to you before you decide.