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Lies, Damn Lies, and Real Estate Statistics!

As a political science major at U.C. San Diego, I was subjected to two classes devoted to Statistics.  Almost 200 hours of class plus additional time trying to figure out what it all meant. –    The most important lesson I learned, beside the fact that I could have skipped the classes and learned the same thing for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library, is that most people who use statistics, use them to LIE! – Heck! – One of the most popular books in the history of Statistics is called, “How to Lie With Statistics” by Darrell Huff

That brings me to today’s real estate market – Between The Media, Realtors, Financial Analysts, Politicians, and Website Snake Oil Salesmen, consumers are drowning in a sea of statistics.   I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers, but I can definitely tell you that if you want to know if now is the right time to buy or sell your house, than you should probably not spend too much time looking at charts.

Here’s a chart for you –  Southern California Housing Inventory (Click to Open in a Separate Window) courtesy of our friends at and the Wall Street Journal.  It tells you that more homes are listed for sale and they are spending more time on the market.  Hooray! – Does it tell you why?  Does it tell you anything about homes in your neighborhood? Does it tell you anything useful?  – In my opinion, the answer to all of these questions is NO.

What it does tell you, and what almost any real estate related statistics tell you, is that you need to figure out what’s right for your individual situation.  Talk to professionals – A real estate professional, a mortgage professional, a tax professional.  People who’s job it is to sift through the mountains of statistics and help you make the best decisions for you and your family.

My colleague – Jay Thompson – The Phoenix Real Estate Guy may have said it best,  “As a real estate “consumer”, be careful letting other people interpret data for you. You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet — unless it’s on this blog of course, he says dripping with sarcasm. In fact, it’s probably safe to assume the conclusion someone reaches from their “statistical analysis” is nothing more than their opinion that is loosely based on some data set. There is certainly nothing wrong with expressing an opinion, just be aware that’s what it is — an opinion. Do your due diligence, seek out varying opinions and analysis before reaching your own conclusions.”

If you want to look at charts all day long, I’d be happy to point you to thousands of them.  If you want to make smart San Diego real estate decisions, enjoy your family, and enjoy living in America’s Finest City, then feel free to connect with me and we’ll make it happen.







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