New Year’s resolution: Fact check reports of real estate “frenzy”

EXP+CAN MLS Listings: 09/26-12/18/13

Hmmm… if MLS listings are expiring or being canceled at roughly the same pace as they are selling, is there really a problem with low inventory in Massachusetts?  Or is it a problem with unrealistic prices, unreal price appreciation during the first half of 2013, and under reporting?

Please read the following bullet points and see if you think it’s time for local real estate media to remove the “frenzy” from their headlines, and allocate enough resources for reporters to dig deeper into statistics and underlying trends.

To paraphrase Henny Youngman, maybe today’s blog post read “Please, take my home!” instead of “Please, sell your home.”


After a year of frenzied home buying, sales cool in November

“With the supply of homes for sale low and prices escalating we may have reached a turning point where the recovery continues but with less frenzy.”

Admittedly, the Warren Group’s data is different that the Realtors, but the statement above needs more context to understand the magnitude of the TURNING POINT:

1. The Mass. Association of Realtors website clearly reads: On a month-to-month basis, home sales were DOWN 12.2 percent from 4,277 homes sold this past October.

2. More importantly, “This is the fourth straight month-to-month DECREASE.”  Please read that again, four times.

3. Perhaps as a result, “On a month-to-month basis, the November median selling price (on single family homes) was DOWN 1.1 percent from $320,000 in October 2013.”

4. “On a month-to-month basis, condos sales were DOWN 10.5 percent from 1,627 homes sold this past October.”

5. “On a month-to-month basis, the November median selling price was FLAT from $295,000 in October 2013.”

6. Over a recent 12 week period shown in the image above, 11,000+ MLS listings expired or were canceled or nearly 1,000 per week statewide. That’s roughly the same pace of single family sales during November.

So if MLS listings are failing at approximately the same pace as sales, where’s the “frenzy”?

Isn’t it time for the local media to exercise a more critical eye, and present both sides of the housing market as it slides into 2014?


If any homebuyers would like to meet offline to discuss November stats or get a preview of some December stats, we’d be glad to do that individually or meet as a small group with a financial planner.

In addition, if you’re setting home buying resolutions for 2014 can you let us know if you’d like to (a) participate in a collage visioning exercise offline, or (b) BETA test two new applications we’ll be offering shortly to help you “stress-test” your home buying assumption under different assumptions?

The Real Estate Cafe is always open to your suggestions about how we can serve your better in 2014.


Posted in Bubble Hour, Defensive Homebuying, Expired listings, Housing bubble, Market trends, Price trends, Real Estate Bubble, Seasonality, Timing the market, Trend analysis

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