July 31st, 2008
We all see different things in different objects. Data though – data is supposed to be cold hard facts. You’re not supposed to be able to twist data around for your perverted pleasure.
So. The other day, I made mention of a Forbes article which points to over-inflated property values in the Outer Sunset district.
And today, I read the news from the National Association of Realtors. The article is aimed at REALTORS – NOT at the general public.
Their take on the SAME data that Forbes provided?
That the Outer Sunset is a Neighborhood Where the Bubble Hasn’t Burst!
Pardon my French but WTF?
Two completely different viewpoints taken from the EXACT same data.
The article from REALTOR.org reads:
In a report for Forbes.com, Hotpads.com, an aggregator of rental listings, produced a price-to-earnings spread for each ZIP code in the country’s 40 largest cities by comparing rental costs with buying costs for similar properties, based on number of bedrooms, location, and price per square foot.
A price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E, expresses how much a buyer has to pay for each dollar of return. Buyers in high P/E neighborhoods pay a huge premium to live in the area relative to how much it costs to rent a similar property there.
A high P/E can simply mean a neighborhood is overpriced, but it can also indicate where buyers have gambled that the area will ultimately appreciate further, turning an overpaying buyer into a smart investor.
I added the emphasis – because this is where I get thrown for a loop.
So? Which is it?
Well – I’m not sure. Frankly, even I’m confused.
And each party has different motives.
There’s no denying that bad news sells. Is Forbes manipulating the data?
And there’s no denying that if consumer confidence falls further, real estate prices will continue to fall. So it the National Association of Realtors trying to spin Forbes article to make things look more peachy-keen?
My verdict? It’s a combination of both. And neither. The real answer is that NO ONE HAS THE ANSWER.
If you need to buy a home, and plan to stay AT LEAST 5–7 years, then chill out. You’ll be allright. Prices will appreciate enough to make up for any market slowdown that’s going on now.
But if you are looking to buy for the short term – then stop and back away from the mortgage. I can’t think of one good reason to buy unless you like throwing away your hard earned money.
Want more answers? Contact me. I’ll try to walk you through it. But as you can clearly see – no one has a crystal ball, and even data doesn’t give us enough insight for us to draw any real conclusions.