Home prices up 317 percent!! (Or, why you should take stats with a grain of salt)
Here's a housing market that had a seemingly rip-roaring February: Kent County's average sale price soared 317 percent.
If I thought sellers in that Eastern Shore county were actually getting more than four times the amount that comparable homes sold for a year ago at a time when prices overall are falling, I'd be rushing out there to write a story. But here's a clue that it's apples-to-pizza -- well, besides the ginormous $96,000-to-$400,000 jump: Nine homes changed hands in the 20,000-person county last month. (A year ago? Eight.)
It's not just about the skewing that can come with averages. The median price jumped 158 percent. The thing is, people have the unhelpful habit of buying the homes they want rather than exactly the sorts of homes that sold a year ago, so price comparisons can get hairy.
Take Kent County in November, for instance: prices dropped 60 percent.
While we're having fun with statistics, there's always Somerset County, another small jurisdiction on the Eastern Shore. The number of home sales there rose 125 percent in February vs. a year earlier -- from four to nine.