National Home Price Data Is Just Noise To Homeowners

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September 30, 2016

The housing prices in Phoenix doesn’t have much impact on Cleveland residents, of course. Therefore, housing prices that take the nation as a whole into account don’t have much meaning for owners.

Jonathan Smoke, the chief economist of, argues that there is no such thing as a national housing market. Homes are unique, so physical attributes, interior styles, and location can cause a house’s value to vary wildly from other similar homes. Even houses within a certain market can have contrasting values.

For example, the Portland area’s July index was up 12% over last year. But even that reading for Portland won’t help a Portland buyer understand how her favorite neighborhood is trending. … In July, according to data, the median list price across the Portland MSA was up 16% over last year. But by ZIP code, list price appreciation varied from up 29% in 97211 in Portland to down 9% in 98660 in Vancouver, WA. Depending on where you live in Portland, an increase of 16% could be wishful thinking, or it could be way understating the appreciation.

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