Seattle home prices a little confusing?!…

Date: Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Subject:  I’m confused …

I don’t blame you for being confused. I have copied in a couple of our key folks in hopes that they might have some idea of how to get the press to report the real story….but I am guessing they are just as frustrated as we are about what shows up…

Here are some of my thoughts.

Above is a link to the Zillow press release that was used for a bunch of articles about Seattle prices dropping 12.4% in the last year! What a shock….but upon closer examination we see that what Zillow is really saying is that their zestimates have dropped 12.4%. So there was no REAL data used for this figure just their inacurate data. If you compare the NWMLS figures (which are REAL figures) that show median prices in Seattle have been fairly stable I guess that what zillow is really saying is that their figures from a year ago were terribly inaccurate…Shouldn’t their press release have really said “our zestimates are 12.4% lower than a year ago” and then apologized for being so far off?

Then you look at Case Shiller. Their figures show a 6% drop in Seattle prices over a year ago! But wait…when they say Seattle, they really mean King, Pierce and Snohomish counties…So that isn’t accurate either…Virtually every article I have seen about this index refers to “Seattle” prices. Well it ain’t about Seattle prices. You have to look to the NWMLS to get what is going on here.

So take a look at NWMLS figures. Median prices for King County are down less than 1/3 of one percent!!! That means prices are virtually unchanged. Prices in Snohomish and Pierce are way off (8.46 off in Snohomish) so this probably explains the Case Shiller index figures.

(Click on graph for larger view)

Bottom line is I am sticking to my same story. Seattle and King County prices have been bouncing along the bottom for almost a year and a half. I think we are going to continue bouncing along here for another year but we will be influenced by three factors…

What the press chooses to print
What happens with the unemployment picture
Consumer confidence (see above two points)

Gone is the day of buying a home and thinking you are going to get rich quick.  Anyone who buys a home planning to hold it for at least five years is going to look like a genius.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…

Take care,
Dan Givens
General Manager  |  Windermere Real Estate/NW, Inc