Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Report Methodology

From time to time we get questions about the methodology behind the reports we publish.  Here's a little background:

Over the years as our clients became more tech-smart and sophisticated, our data collection has also evolved.  

Monthly Sales Reports

Today, we conduct a monthly survey of San Francisco and Marin counties residential real estate markets looking at sales and current listings.  In San Francisco our survey covers approximately 61% of all residential sales (single family homes, condos, co-ops and TICs plus 100% of 2-4 unit residential buildings).   In Marin we survey approximately 75% of all residential sales (single family homes and condos.

One of the features that sets our surveys apart from most published statistics is that we focus on the most common/popular configurations of homes (for example: 2 bedroom, 1 bath single family homes; 1 bedroom, 1 bath condos).  This gives a truer picture of changes in the market than averages that include all residential properties, especially since we have some very expensive homes in both counties that would otherwise skew results.  It’s especially helpful for buyers and sellers since it allows them to focus in just on the segment of the market their specific configuration represents.
In San Francisco we also break down sales by the ten real estate districts established by our local association of realtors and MLS. 
Sales by Price Range
Over the years we have added reports that include all residential sales in specific price ranges.  When we first started it was rather easy to develop the ranges since it was obvious that selling prices under $500k were quickly disappearing.  The next ranges, $500k-$799k and $800k-$999k, were chosen because many buyers were only able to qualify for mortgages in those ranges.   (For a while, $799k represented the upper limit for buyers who could only qualify for a “conforming” loan).  The final ranges were determined largely by what seem to be naturally occurring sales price clusters or groups.

New Listing Market Watch
All of the reports described above are done on a monthly or quarterly basis which means we’re looking back at purchase decisions that were made as much as 4-8 weeks prior to the date of the report.  We were missing a “predictive” component that would bring us closer to the current mindset of buyers and sellers.  We began to report on the “hot sheet” feature of our MLS.  This allows us to track the number of new listings in the previous two weeks as well as price reductions and the number of those new listings that go into contract within that same period.  This gives us an idea of the volatility of the market since competition is almost always a factor in the San Francisco real estate market.  Along with average asking prices for active listings which we track in our monthly sales reports and personal knowledge gleaned from open houses, brokers’ tours and other agents experiences, this information gets us as close to current as possible.

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