Don’t know how I missed this.

In February, the Globe ran a story about downtown Boston real estate sales and how they “rebounded” in the fourth quarter, 2006 (a similar story ran a couple days ago, regarding first quarter, 2007).

The February article included a graph.

You know, that’s what’s wrong with statistics. They can be manipulated to support any point of view.

The Globe graph is useless. First, it compares data from fiscal year 2005 and fiscal year 2006 – this data is totally out of date. Fiscal year 2006 ended June 30, 2006. You might as well use data from 1956; it’s as relevant.

Regarding East Boston, here’s the data from LINK, the online listing service used by most downtown Boston real estate agents (it includes all sales of condos, co-ops, and 1-to-3 family homes during the year, culled from the Suffolk Registry of Deeds).

2005: Sold — Avg. Selling Price: $398,285 — Median Selling Price: $420,000 — Avg. $/SF: $196 — Avg. DOM: 39

2006: Sold — Avg. Selling Price: $336,158 — Median Selling Price: $306,062 — Avg. $/SF: $305 — Avg. DOM: 76

So, average sales price and median sales price went down, a lot. Sounds dire!

Average days on market almost doubled. Sounds dire!

What happened?

It’s simple.

In 2006, Porter 156 was completed and the majority of buyers closed on their purchases. Over 100 of these condos were bought for less than $300,000 each. This seriously skewed the data results.

In fiscal year 2005, there were 281 sales of condos and 1-to-3 family homes.

In fiscal year 2006, there were 434 sales of condos and 1-to-3 family homes. That’s a big difference (over a 50% increase).

The average days on market number doubled, because all of the Porter 156 listings had been put into the system back when the development was under construction.

Numbers don’t lie, right? Or, do they?

(The February article is worth reading, nonetheless, for the money quote from aspiring real estate broker / mogul Matt Winterle, founder of the Boston Condo Group and member of the John A Keith Real Estate team.)

(Oh, and the amazing 14.5% increase in median sales price for Mattapan? Encouraging, except there were only 5 sales in the earlier year and 9 sales in the later year, which means there’s really not enough data to analyze, at all.)

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