Questions about our local Massachusetts housing data

You might have read news reports that the existing home sales data issued by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has been challenged by the real estate data company CoreLogic for “over reporting sales figures”. While the economists and statisticians at NAR are looking into this potential flaw in their reporting, I wanted to explain why this will have NO impact on the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) monthly data.

Both NAR and MAR report their sales figures from data provided by Multiple Listing Services (MLS). However, that is where our similarities end.

Because NAR has to compile data from hundreds of MLSs across the country, it’s more efficient and timely to take a statistically valid sample and use statistical models to produce a final number. In Massachusetts we only have three MLSs, and as a result, we are able to aggregate the actual number of homes bought and sold on a monthly basis.

In addition, because NAR’s universe includes markets from across the country that experience different high and low selling seasons, it is important to seasonally adjust the national data to create an accurate comparison. In Massachusetts we don’t. We simply provide the actual year-over-year monthly data, the actual month-to-month data and the percent change (in addition to inventory, month’s supply and average days on market).

(Just added this video from NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun)

I hope this answers your potential questions.  Here is a link to FAQ on NAR existing home sales housing data.

The next data release to be issued by MAR is February 2011 pending home sales, Wednesday, March 2, 2011.