National Home Price Data Is Just Noise To Homeowners

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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