Austin Real Estate Stats – 2009 Midyear Breakdown by Austin MLS Area

Below are the Austin real estate market mid-year stats broken down by MLS area. I break the stats down by area each quarter because the macro stats I post each month don’t tell the entire story of our market. Location and price range factors are important, so each quarter I break down the overall stats into the specific MLS areas and compare them to the same time period (first 6 months of the year in this case) from the year before. You can check the areas in which you are interested to see how they are holding up, but even within each area there are pockets and submarkets that will defy the greater trends, for better or worse. Here is a quick summary.

For all of Austin, per my previous stats post a couple of days ago, the average sales price is down about 3% and the median sales price for all of Austin MLS sales combined is up slightly (0.08%). Not bad when viewed in context.

Of the 44 Austin Metro MLS areas tracked below…
11 had an increase in average sold prices, exactly 1/4 of all areas.
11 also had an increase in median sold prices (though not the same exact 11)
7 of the MLS area saw an increase in average sold price per square foot.
4 of the areas saw a decrease in days on market (homes selling faster)
6 of the areas saw a decrease in median days on market.
3 areas saw an increase in the three main metrics – avg and median sold, and price per square foot – areas 7 (South/Central/Zilker), 8W (Westlake/Eanes), and area SC (far southeast Caldwell County). I think SC is an anomoly because I know of nothing that would be driving demand way out there.

The fastest selling areas are 5E (East) SE (S. East), 10S (South) and NW (Northwest), all of which had average sold days of 51.
The slowest selling areas, all having average days on market greater that 100 are areas 1B (Central/Tarrytowm – 118), GTW (Georgetwon West – 114), HD (Dripping Springs – 118), LN (Lake North – 131), LS (Lake South/Lakeway – 122), PF (Pflugerville – 114), RN (River North/Steiner Ranch – 102).

As you can see, these slower selling areas are scattered to the four corners of Austin, and central. Interestingly, area 7, adjacent to 1B, is a fast selling area. We can generally say though that all of faster selling areas are closer in and most of the slower selling areas are further out, which is what I’d expect.

OK, on to the chart below. If you are unfamiliar with Austin MLS Areas, a map is at the bottom of the chart. As usual questions and comments are welcome.

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Does MLXChange MLS Software Calculate Price Per Square Foot Properly?

I have have been critical of our new Austin MLS System called MLXChange since it was first placed into production in Austin in November 2007. It produces what I believe to be incorrect data. I was contacted yesterday by a product manager from MLXChange because they saw my last blog article showcasing some of the bad data. In that article, I mentioned that the price per square foot is not calculated correctly by the system.

The product manager was very nice and I enjoyed our conversation. She wanted to explain to me how the average price per square foot numbers are calculated and that, in fact, the numbers are calculated correctly. She is right on a certain level. That is, if one understands and follows the formula being used by MLXChange, it can be argued that their number is a mathematically correct.

But I maintain that the method being used by MLXChange to calculate average price per square foot is not the correct formula. I’m not smart enough to articulate it in a scientific or mathematical argument, but my intuition and instinct tells me I’m right. I’ll do my best to explain below and I hope a smart reader can chime in and offer a mathematical or statistical point of view and explanation of why two different methods, each of which seems correct independently on face value, produce different results.

So let’s look at an example that illustrates the MLXChange formula versus the method I believe most of us would use, and the method I believe makes the most sense. I’ve created a small sample set of data, shown in the chart below.

Price Per Square Foot Calculation Method

Square Feet
Sold Price
Sold $ per SQFT
House 1
House 2
House 3
House 4
House 5
MLXChange Avg
My Average

What is the average sold price per square foot of the 5 homes shown above?

MLXChange computes the Average Price per Square Foot by adding together all of the individual price per square foot numbers (the five psf numbers in the far right column) and dividing by the number of sales (five). This produces a result of $82.12 per square foot as the average price per square foot of the sold homes in our sample set.

I compute the average price per square foot by taking the average sqft size of all homes (1400) and dividing it into the average sold price of all homes ($112,000). My result is $80 per square foot. That’s what you would see on a stats chart that I manually produce and post regularly on this blog.

The two methods, in this particular example, produce results that are 2.65% different. 2.65% is not an insignificant amount when pricing a home. It’s a bigger gap than the List/Sold price difference on most sold homes in Austin. It’s a $5,300 difference on a 2500 sqft home at our example psf rates. Would you like to sell your home for $5,300 too little? Would you like to pay $5,300 too much, based on your Realtor’s CMA, produced by MLXChange?

Let’s dig deeper into why I think the MLXChange method is flawed.

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Austin MLXChange MLS Software Still Falls Short

Marketlinx MLXChange Software

I just finished running my stats for my Austin Rental Market update. This month I only had to report three listings to the Austin Board of Realtors which had bogus and incorrect data. Check the screen shot above to see the sort of thing Austin Realtors deal with on a regular basis.

Hopefully if you have an agent running a Market Analysis for you, he or she is keenly aware that the data from MLXChange cannot be trusted. It needs to be double checked before you rely on it. How would you like to go into an important math test with a calculator that spits out bad answers? Well, imagine trying to be an effective Realtor with an MLS System that spits out bad data.

As agents, we really have to pay attention to the MLS data from MLXChange. I always have a calculator at my side when crunching numbers because the MarketLinx MLXChange MLS system for Austin cranks out unreliable results. I could make 10 screenshots like the one above with other examples of miscaluculated data, the most frustrating of which is incorrect price per square foot calculations.

Those price per sqaure foot amounts you see above?… they are incorrect. I should have circled those in red also for the screen shot. Divide the average square foot Sold/Leased price by the average square foot amount from the colums to the left and the number is way off. They’ve had 6 months to fix this and it still produces incorrect values.

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