Real-time indicator local housing prices (Part II)

Ben Engebreth, the creator of the site that provides
Dean Foust

Ben Engebreth, the creator of the site that provides "real time" data on seller asking prices, HousingTracker, which I mentioned in a posting a couple of days ago, writes in to explain a little further the methodology behind his web site. If you went to the site, it's worth taking a minute to read Engebreth's explanation of the methodology, which can be found as a reader comment in the original thread, or posted below here. Engebreth also pointed me to what's happening in the Los Angeles and Phoenix markets. He notes that in the City of Angels, the average asking price for houses in the 75th percentile--the most expensive quarter of the market--have dropped $100,000 since August (from an average of $999,000 to $899,000). And in Phoenix, average asking prices of homes in the 75th percentile have dropped from $629,000 to $559,000 just since August. The site is worth checking out, and Ben's note to me is here...

Writes Ben: "It's true the motivation for the site was the lack of timely data made available by NAR. So, what I do is -- as you said -- pull the data from the online MLS site. While the data is exactly representative of what the listed home prices are, there are still a couple of caveats. For one, the definition of 'metro areas' is kinda hazy with MLS. For Atlanta, for instance, I pull data for the city of Atlanta and 'nearby areas.' This is a rough approximation of the metro area, but certainly different from what defines the actual MSA (which NAR uses). The other issue is that a lot of MLS updating seems to happen near the end of the month. Data that I retreive +/- 1 week of the first of the month can sometimes be a little noisy. Sometimes it can be really noisy, so I usually give the most weight (in my mind) to the numbers taken on the 14th and th 21st. And finally, of course, we are talking about asking prices instead of sale prices, so that's just plain different than what the NAR reports."

"If you want to look at an interesting trend, check out LA's 75th percentile price change in the last three months. They went from 999K to 899K (10%) over a pretty short time span. That city and Phoenix are the two that I watch closely."