Real Estate Information Melt Down

Trawling the internet for real estate news, one could be forgiven for getting a little confused by the sheer volume of contrasting commentary. For example, I recently came across an authoritative article, which informed me that the number of foreclosures was still climbing, and property sales were still falling in the US. Well, there was no big surprise there. Reading this piece, I learned that poor old Las Vegas continues to reign Real Estate Broker License California as the foreclosure capital of the country. I also discovered that Texas, with a huge 35% rise during February 2010, claimed the top spot for the state with the biggest increase in the number of property foreclosures. This second statistic was the one that really caught my eye, as I had only just finished reading another article, published in the Washington Post, under the headline ‘How Texas escaped the real estate crisis’.
So how can one article claim that Texas has the unfortunate distinction of being the state with the “Property Brokerage Agreement” highest increase in foreclosures, while another simultaneously hails it as a beacon of success?
The significant thing here is that a 35% increase, in a comparatively small number, can result in a relatively minor increase in actual inventory. So, if there were only 4 houses in foreclosure in the whole of Texas, and suddenly another 4 houses appeared on that market, that would be a 100% increase – but it is still only 8 houses in total. On the other hand, a seemingly insignificant 10% increase in a market with 1000 foreclosed homes would, in reality, see a further 100 properties added to the inventory.
As it happens, it would appear that fewer than 6% of Texas mortgage borrowers are in, or approaching, foreclosure. The national average is close to 10%. Nonetheless, a gain is still a gain, and 35% is no small figure. According to , that increase resulted in Texas experiencing the highest monthly gain in the US in February. In March, however, it had fallen back again, and Florida had the dubious honor of experiencing the highest percentage of foreclosure listings. In essence, figures can be misleading, and are capable of being manipulated to strengthen, or weaken, any argument or point.
Whichever way one looks at this, it’s pretty grim news. But it is worth considering that any news, good or bad, can be presented in such a way as to make things sound way better, or indeed worse, than is the case. With this in mind, it is essential that anyone considering buying or selling a house in the current economic climate, should make a point of researching the local market thoroughly. It can be a difficult task, deciphering the reality from the fanciful. Any single news item, piece of real estate agent advice, or wise family member’s opinion, may well provide a valuable appraisal of the situation. But only a wide range of expert opinions, and amateur predictions, will allow you to look at the bigger picture and, hopefully, act accordingly.

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