Alan J. Heavens, Real Estate Columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote an excellent piece recently that was featured in May 24th’s paper. The article described the difficulty facing the real estate professional or the potential home buyer or seller when trying to interpret the endless stream of home sales and price data being publicized. Two major players, the National Association of Realtors and Standard & Poor’s, readily admit that the data they collected could overstate price declines.
For experts like Kevin Gillen, research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Vice President of Econsult Corporation, this is no surprise. It seems that many of the national and regional housing indexes real estate professionals and consumers use are prone to overestimate both the downside when things are down or conversely the upside when things are going well.
The good news for the Center City buyer or seller is that national housing data is not nearly as relevant as local housing data. Anyone buying or selling real estate in Center City knows that real estate in Philadelphia has always been a local business that can vary greatly by neighborhood and sometimes even by street block. It is essential that anyone buying or selling in Center City recognize that a decrease in a national or regional price index does not mean that homes for sale in Center City have decreased the same amount. In fact, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in an article in April that ago that prices in Philadelphia had not decreased from March 2007- March 2008. All of this suggests that it might be worthwhile to take the catastrophic real estate news that is publicized every day with a grain of salt.