National real estate data helps economists identify trends in the housing market. It shapes policy and influences markets.
For active home buyers and home sellers, though, national real estate data is irrevelant. This is because national data says nothing for the factors determining home prices in any given zip code.
See, national real estate news is mash-up of data. It’s 128,203,000 homes from all 50 states. Each of these states has its own economy and there are different factors that drive home values in each
Most Americans understand this.
But, if we dig deeper, we see that within those states, there are more than 19,000 incorporated cities — plus thousands of unincorporated ones. And like the 50 states, city-to-city home values vary by economy, too.
Furthermore, each city is comprised of areas, and those areas can be broken down into neighborhoods and then sub-divided again into streets, with blocks.
It’s apparent that a random home in Alabama can’t be compared to a random home in California. Yet, that comparison is exactly what you’re getting with national real estate data and why we can’t rely on it to say “values are up” or “values are down”.
Values depend on what’s happening locally.
For buyers and sellers, the underlying goal is to meet at “the right price”. To reach that sort of price discovery, you have to look local.
It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Local real estate trends is a topic that’s too narrow to be covered by the national press. It’s even too narrow for local papers. Therefore, buyers and sellers have two places to turn:
- A general real estate website
- A practicing real estate agent
Using both sources for local data is common among today’s buyers and sellers.
National real estate news offers little value with respect to home price negotiation. Because all real estate is local, your real estate data should be, too.