Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

I spend part of the day yesterday at Real Estate Bar Camp, held at Seattle’s Lake Union Armory (very cool building which I’d never been in on the South Lake Union waterfront — Soon to be the new Museum of History and Industry). 

One of the sessions I sat in was hosted by Stan Humphries of Zillow — he presented on the data that is available on Zillow, and the “State of Seattle’s real estate market” — at least as it can be evaluated from behind a computer screen.  Zillow has lots of data behind its site, most of it culled from County Assessor’s public records.  It allows a user — for FREE — to sort the data in a variety of ways — by area, and by a number of different criteria.   From the Zillow home page, click on the LOCAL INFO tab at the top.  

One of the criteria I hadn’t seen before is as shown below in this graph — the percentage of homes sold at a gross gain in sales price, compared with the prior sale.  The figure has been steadily dropping since early 2008, but still — 87% of homes that sold last month (or last quarter, I can’t quite tell) sold for more than their prior sale.  That doesn’t mean a profit was made — the homeowner may have remodeled or otherwise upgraded the home, and of course, there’s the costs to sell that are typically around 8% of gross sales price — but still I think it’s interesting.  Not EVERYONE is losing money…in fact, it appears in Seattle, that 86.4% of the sellers are still making some…

 

seattle home values

 
http://bit.ly/KVFd0

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