Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Lies, damn lies and statistics

As requested, another photo from Cocoa Beach. Springtime means the oleanders at the Cocoa Beach golf course are blooming.

This post was going to be about manipulating statistics to serve a pre-determined purpose, but, in researching data for my examples I found so many errors from all my sources that the point seems moot. Here are the sales of residential properties in Cocoa Beach over the last 6 months according to Melissa Data. These are actual closed sales during each month and the average sales price. [note: the MLS reports 21 closed sales in March, not 18. Who are we supposed to trust?]

Month____transactions_____average price

02-2006 ________25____________$338,000.00
01-2006 ________28____________$443,000.00
12-2005 ________33____________$332,000.00
11-2005 ________49____________$406,000.00
10-2005 ________28____________$364,000.00

Differing agendas could claim a 28% rise in average selling price from February 2006 to March 2006 or a 24% decline from January to February. My point is that a reader should take all statistics relating to home prices and sales with a grain of salt and a little skepticism. And, as I have stated in the past, mistrust any numbers coming from the Brevard County MLS. I think I can now expand that to include all sources.

Now for a totally unscientific observation of our market; it's slow. With sellers clinging to last summer's prices and buyers looking for steals, finding an acceptable middle ground is difficult and often impossible. If you are selling, consider that your property may be worth less than you think. Buyers are scarce right now, so, consider every offer no matter how unattractive. Remember that an offer is an invitation to negotiate. If you are buying, don't become married to your lowball offer. It's not necessary to steal a property to make it worth owning. This is still the best little beach town in Florida and now is a great time to be a buyer.