The question was asked on my number-crunching post last week of why I do not include condos in most of the statistics that I post here. Since that is a valid question that other people may be wondering as well, I thought I would post the answer where it will gain more visibility.
I choose to present this particular dataset for the following reasons:
1) SFH prices tend to be less volatile than condo prices.
Since 2001, the YOY change in SFH median price has ranged from 0.35% (Mar-01) to 20.00% (Oct-05), a total spread of just under 20 points. Condos: -5.21% (Aug-02) to 22.08% (Jul-06), a total spread of over 27 points. The maximum month-to-month change in the SFH YOY figure was a 6.32 point drop (April to May ’01), with 10 months experiencing a greater than 5 point change from the previous month. Condos: a 21.54 point jump (Dec-01 to Jan-02), with 19 months experiencing a greater than 5 point change.
2) Consistently quoting SFH figures provides an easy comparison.
The monthly reports in the newspaper often seem to cherry-pick whatever statistic supports the “angle” that they chose to take for the story. By picking one dataset and sticking with it, I feel that I provide the readers with a better baseline for what’s really going on.
3) Frankly, I’m just more interested in SFH’s.
I make no value judgments regarding any person’s choice of whether to buy a condo or a SFH, but for me personally, I’m just not all that interested in condos. That is not to say that a condo buyer and a SFH buyer are “not equal in [my] eyes,” or that condo purchases aren’t “worthy,” just that what goes on in the condo market doesn’t interest me as much. That being said, I do have a number of charts of the condo numbers in the Seattle Bubble Spreadsheet, which is always available to anyone who bothers to click the link on the sidebar.