What’s Behind The Numbers?

First of all, I didn’t make these numbers up. What I have done is make calculations from thousands of transactions downloaded for the Houston Association of Realtors’ (HAR) Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Thus it is important to understand that the underlying data are not mine. Just the various ways I choose to portray them are. It is also important to know that the opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for my company, Heritage Texas Properties, nor HAR.      

Data Disclaimer:  I have tried my best to work with accurate data. That being said, I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the underlying data because they are input by the legions of individual listing agents for the most part. (My company, Heritage Texas Properties, and a small handfull of others have a staff to do this work and there aren’t many mistakes.) HAR is one of the largest local Realtor organizations in the U.S. with more than 20,000 members. Thus there are likely to be typos and other inconsistencies which can skew the data. HAR puts out the following disclaimer:      

Information contained on the computer print-outs of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) of the HOUSTON REALTORS® INFORMATION SERVICE (HRIS) is furnished by MLS. Participants for dissemination to other MLS Participants, for their exclusive use, and should not be relied upon by Buyer/Tenant or any other person. There is no express or implied warranty by HAR or MLS as to the accuracy of such information, which should be independently verified by Buyer/Tenant or such other person. MLS does not verify the information and disclaims any responsibility for its accuracy.      

When I find an anomaly, I research it. If it is an obvious typo, I fix it. For example: if a listing originally came on the market at $5,900,000 and ended up selling for $545,000, there is probably something wrong. I will check the HAR archive report documenting that specific house’s listing history. If the price was changed to $599,000 to correct the typo, I change the original list price in my database. If it is not obvious what happened, I leave it alone or find a way to tag it as an outlier. Outliers can seriously alter the results of calculations giving everyone the wrong impression about markets or neighborhoods.  Other times, I will simply delete the record, though this is rare. Most of the time, the errors are simply typos.      

Non-Disclosure State:  Texas is a “non-disclosure” state meaning a homeowner does NOT have to reveal the price they paid for their home to anybody – including the appraisal district. I will not reveal this information either. This is a public blog and what you or others have paid for a specific property is between you and your Realtor, and no one else.       

Your Comments are Appreciated: Finally, if anybody reading this blog notices any unusual numerical relationships, please bring them to my attention. I will look into them and get back to you.

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