Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Pulse of the Market?

We spend a lot of time looking at statistics in this business as do our clients when they're in the market either as buyers or sellers. We look for trends and hints as to where the market is heading.

The problem is most reports are way out of date in a fast moving market such as San Francisco has seen over the past few months. Statistics (including ours) that discuss sales prices, numbers of sales, median prices, days on market etc. all show the results of decisions made weeks earlier. Even in our fast paced market, most closings take 30 days or more after the decision to make an offer was made. ("Days on Market" only takes into account the number of days between listing date and pending status.)

Most sales reports are done on a monthly basis including ours which is just posted over on our web site

We wait until the second week of the month to pull together our numbers since many brokerages and agents aren't always as prompt as they should be in updating information in the MLS.  So, by the time monthly reports are posted, they represent decisions made as much as 30-60 days earlier.

We get more timely anecdotal reports from our colleagues informally and at our regular sales meetings.  And occasionally other brokerages report some of their findings (see Redfin's post on bidding wars in various markets including San Francisco).

We've found what we think may be a more current and reliable indicator of the "heat" for our specific market.  Our MLS publishes a hot sheet of new listings that covers the 14 days prior to the report.  It also shows how many of those listings are already in contract.  Take a look and let us know if you find this useful.  As you can see we've only started collecting data so it's a bit early to be drawing major conclusions.

But this apparent trend of a slight cooling off in both single family homes and especially condos is consistent with our own recent market experience.