Statistics September 18, 2008

Real Estate Stats Aren’t Skewed in South Lake Tahoe

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, there’s been a theory proposed by a few South Lake Tahoe real estate agents, myself included, that home prices haven’t dropped as much as the statistics show. Perhaps there’s been more activity in the lower price bands. After all, it’s been much tougher to get a jumbo loan this last year. Additionally, the majority of foreclosure and other distressed sales have occurred in the lower price bands.

If there actually was more activity in the lower price bands, this could skew the all-important median sale price. I did a little data mining recently to see if in fact the theory was true.

What affects median sale price more than anything? Square footage. So I decided to break sales up into two categories – homes up to 2,000 square feet and homes above 2,000 square feet. If speculation was correct, we’d see an abnormally large amount of homes sold below 2,000 square feet in the last year. See the table below for the results I found. Percentages in parentheses represent the decline since the previous year.

  Sales 0-2000 sqft. Sales Above 2000 sqft. Median Price 0-2000 sqft. Median Price Above 2000 sqft.
Sept. 2007-Aug. 2008
Sept. 2006-Aug. 2007

As you can see, the results of my data mining actually show the opposite of what was speculated. If speculation was correct, there wouldn’t have been such a big drop in sales of homes up to 2,000 square feet. Moreover, the decline in median price would have been greater in higher priced homes. Instead the opposite occurred.

When it comes to South Lake Tahoe real estate, the median sale price continues to stand as one of the most accurate indicators of the state of the market.