Scott Van Voorhis is out today, with what he considers a breaking story.
The monthly home sales reports put out by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors for years have been the main indicator of the health of the Bay State real estate market.
And as recently as last fall, the trade group was crowing about near-record sales.
However, other data, collected by a respected local publisher and real estate data firm, paints a different picture.
Basically, the issue is, the Mass Association of Realtors doesn’t include all sales, when it reports data, each month. It doesn’t go to each county’s registry of deeds office to tally its numbers. It never has. (Does it simply take MLS’ numbers? I don’t believe so, but I really don’t know where their data comes from.)
Meanwhile, The Warren Group, publishers of Banker & Tradesman, does go to each county’s registry of deeds, and tallies up all the sales, including FSBOs and direct developer-to-buyer sales.
MAR’s data is incomplete. The problem is that, according to Mr. Van Voorhis, this incomplete data has somehow been used to skew the number of sales and sales prices, over the past eighteen months (and, beyond) to paint a prettier picture of the overall real estate market, in Massachusetts.
I don’t know if I necessarily distrust everything that MAR says. I don’t think it’s a dishonest organization. However, I have always taken what they say with a grain of salt. I really don’t care what they say. It’s just background noise, to me.
Mr. Van Voorhis, on the other hand, is aghast.
I think his story doesn’t just reflect poorly on MAR, but on him, and the media, as well. It’s been no secret that the numbers have differed. We all knew that the organizations were reporting data from two different sources.
C’mon. Do a little bit more reporting. There’s lots of news out there.
Source: Mass. home sale data MAR-red – By Scott Van Voorhis, The Boston Herald
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