This is admittedly wordy... but it is statistics... I hated Statistics in school... Still, it is important stuff.
The following Market snapshot is for July 13, 2012 as of 12:00 pm CDT (Do NOT pay attention to the date here. It is not the point of the post! It does, however give a benchmark of sorts to look back in time at the past market) follow along and you will see why I don't keep this up to date more than I do... it is a good lesson in real estate pricing for you!(You wouldn't mind something free, would you?)
Today, In Garland County, Arkansas... looking at Residential, Single Family homes (which does NOT include Waterfront Homes, Condos, or manufactured homes) Here are the "stats"....
There are 587 ACTIVE listings (this has come down by about 70 since May). They range in price from the cheapest ($19,900) to the most expensive ($1.8M) (This spread has remained the same since May)
The AVERAGE price today is $200,862 (UP by about 5,000 since May). The MEDIAN price is $159,900 (UP by around $5,000 since May)
Now... does that really tell you anything? go on....
PLEASE follow along a little... I know, we are on the internet, and our attention spans have been reduced to that of a kitten, but please, press on, this really should be important to you....
First off, here is a more detailed market snapshot for the Hot Springs MLS as of October 15,2011
(please keep in mind that this is only as accurate as the data entered by the agents)
also, it is for October as you have noted. Read on a bit to find out why I don't update the snapshot often and perhaps, you will see the need for a real estate professional. Ask yourself,
"Self, Is it important to you to use up to date,applicable data to make one of the most important financial decisions you will be making? or do we just roll the dice and go for broke???"
The decision is totally yours, of course...
During the "subject" week in October, there were 47 new listings (all types), 42 expired listings, prices changed on 34 listings, 15 listings sold and 54 were pending sale.
On 10-15, 2011 there were over 614 residential single family homes (excluding waterfront) in the 3 main school districts that are around Hot Springs and the average price home was a little over $193,000.00. This number will fluctuate up and down as a search criteria is changed (so the average price for a home in the Hot Springs real estate market "depends"). This also does not include Condominiums. (do NOT draw any inferrence to the July data and make NO comparisons as the criteria is different. Comparing apples to apples, there would be 535 listings and the average price would be $201,551) This does show that that are fewer homes, AND the price is ticking up.
The 193k figure above is also subjective; for instance there are 3 homes listed as ONE dollar... don't think that's too accurate, do you?(these were homes going for auction, and the $1.00 price tells agents what is happening... the problem is that that data is "scraped" to real estate websites like zillow, trulia and others, effecting their overall data) If you change the criteria to a 3 bedroom 2 bath and larger, it changes to: 464 listings and the average price changes to $231,000. WOW!!! There are some reasons for this also.... there are some homes with land out in the country that are almost $2,000,000.00 so they drive up the average price. There are some "investment homes" that are in need of a LOT of repair, so they bring the average down... get the drift and the point I am trying to make here???
(I use school districts as a regional thing, not as a preference... )
So... is this "data" accurate? Yep, but data can do some pretty interesting things when you look for GENERAL results when you need to be more specific. For instance.... let's look at only 3 bedroom, 2 bath homes that are between 1600 and 1900 square feet in Hot Springs School District alone: 33 listings with an average price of around 130,500. Same criteria for Lake Hamilton: 26 listings with an average of $159k, with Lakeside having 23 listings averaging almost $171k. So, see? Markets vary... even "within" a "market. There will also be "sellers markets" within a market area. The entire country is not in distress like the headlines indicate. Oh wait!!! There's more....
~~~~~Median verses Average!!! ~~~~~~
OH NO!!! Bill, you mean there is more??? Yep, sure is. And you need to know it!
There are median values and average values out there, and they are not the same. The median price is the value that is right, smack-dab in the middle of the list of values...
For instance: if you organized the 31 listings (from October 2011) in Lakeside School District in ascending price, that one in the middle (#15 0r #16) comes to $167,000ish, which is lower by $8k than the average. What this means to me is that there are more listings below the the average than above it.
If this seems like a cross between budget talks and baseball commentary I don't think you are far off base (pun intended and really pathetic) One of my favorite paraphrased quotes on baseball is from Tom Sellek in the film, "Mr. Baseball"... The manager was going to trade him and Tom reported that he led the club in nineth inning lead off doubles in the month of August. Sounds a lot like real estate..... we sometimes have a bit too much info/data to wade through. (That's where having a good fit between you and your Realtor® comes in).
Can you see a need for partnering up with someone that does this for a living, pays big bucks to have up to the minute data, and looks it over on a daily basis?