How much are home prices down? Pick your number
You might think a simple question like "how much have home values dropped" would get you a simple answer. Sorry, no.
Reports out within the last few days have very different figures for the loss in home-sale prices in the Baltimore region -- the city and nearby suburban counties.
Real estate data firm CoreLogic puts the drop at 1.7 percent in September, compared with a year earlier. Clear Capital, another data firm, calculates a loss of 6.4 percent for a slightly longer period that includes that month -- July through October, compared with a year earlier.
Both firms track repeat sales of homes over time to try to capture the real change in value, but CoreLogic is looking at single-family homes while Clear Capital says it also includes condos.
Zillow, meanwhile, says its "Zestimates" of homes' value -- not just recently sold homes -- suggests a 4.1 percent price drop in the Baltimore area in September compared with a year earlier.
And Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, which runs the local multiple-listing service, says the average price of all homes sold in the Baltimore area in September fell less than 1 percent from a year earlier. (October numbers are due out on Thursday.)
Some of it is about different ways of measuring, especially when you're comparing repeat-sale methods with the oft-criticized Zestimate and the average of everything that sold. (The sort of homes that sold this month aren't necessarily much like the homes that sold a year ago, for instance.) But it's interesting that CoreLogic and Clear Capital are fairly far apart.Buyers (and would-be sellers) who are watching the prices of comparable homes like a hawk are in the best position to say how values have dropped in specific areas. What are you seeing out there?