Posted by: Timothy Ellis (The Tim)

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

32 responses to “New Market Analysis Tools from Redfin”

  1. EconE

    One still needs to dig through the sales to see exactly what sold.

    I look at condos and see one sale listed as 3 separate sales at the same price. One for the unit, one for the parking space and one for the storage. I have seen parking/storage spaces that have a $psf listing that uses the square footage of the space but the price of the unit. It tends to skew the $psf average up.

    Redfin also lists commercial sales as condo sales.

    Can’s say who’s fault it is that the data is misleading…but never the less…it’s misleading. Don’t just go off the numbers and charts. Look at the Redfins data and compare it to county records.

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  2. Matt Goyer

    Past sale data is a tricky beast. If you see examples of bad sales data please email us the URL for the past sale at and we’ll filter it out.

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  3. deejayoh

    someone peed on EconE’s cheerios…

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  4. EconE

    lol DJ…

    hey…wait…is that supposed to be “antagonistic”?


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  5. Garth

    Why is it for every neighborhood I could think of the listed price per square foot is higher than the sold price per square foot?

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  6. Garth

    It actually was the reverse I saw.

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  7. jon

    Garth, I’m looking at Seattle overall, and for houses sold price is higher but for condo list price is higher. I was also surprised at how much higher the $/sq ft a condo is than a house.

    Anyway, RAL was right, the bottom of the $/sq ft for houses in Seattle was in March.

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  8. EconE

    Here are a few examples for you DJ

    purchase of two adjoining units counted as two separate $1.175mm sales. One sale listed as two.

    another purchase of two adjoining units plus two garage spots listed as four individual sales.


    parking spots…

    $4273 psf for those parking spots. Nope…that doesn’t skew anything. ;o)

    more double units…

    another ???

    unit + garage…

    unit + parking + storage…

    don’t know what this one is…but it’s not a condo.

    another head scratcher…

    Lord only knows what this one is…

    double unit…

    unit + two garage spots…

    more head scratchers…

    another unit + a $7773/psf parking spot

    a $2,345,586 1970’s 722 sf 1BR…

    Not blaming Redfin or Matt Goyer in any way FWIW.

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  9. EconE


    There are some nice examples in your spam bucket…my last post didn’t go through.

    feel free to fact check them.

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  10. Richie

    The MLS database is extremely misleading. I have seen many homes were re-listed, but the days on the markets re-set to zero. It is a clever-way to cook the book and paint a much brighter ambiance to uninformed buyers. Almost every house in MLS mingles the basement square footage, finished or unfinished as total square footage. Some houses include garage, loft of finished attics as square footage. There are no universal standards for counting the square-footage or days on the market. Worse, a significant number of houses were eventually de-listed (I say more than 70% of the outstanding listed properties nowadays; they improved the final statistics of liquidity.

    Beware of silent dogs and still water.

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  11. deejayoh

    I was JK EconE. I know there are a ton of data glitches in the tax records, but I commend the Redfin crew for putting this together. For those who are not inclined to pull records themselves it is a real asset.

    And for the questions about why sold $/Sqft is higher than asking – it’s because so many sales are not going through at the low end (according to Ardell’s comments over at RCG)

    cr@p. thats 2x today I’ve referred to her posts…

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  12. crispy&cole

    Rental story coming to a city near you:

    The Arizona Republic. “With more affordable homes entering the rental market, apartment complexes are struggling to sign leases. Between the first quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008, median rents in metro Phoenix’s median rent dropped 9.3 percent to $939, according to apartment-research firm Investment Instruments Corp. It was the steepest decline reported in the 12 largest U.S. metro areas.”

    “‘The single-family rentals are impacting our ability to rent apartments because they are directly competitive,’ said Mike Clow, senior VP for property management at Gray Clow Residential, which owns luxury apartment complexes in Phoenix and Tempe.”

    “Nicholas Ingle, director of capital markets for Phoenix-based Hendricks and Partners, the nation’s largest apartment-sales and research firm, estimates that nearly 9,000 homes are currently in the rental market, far higher than the usual 1,000-2,000.”

    “‘So many of those owners are just desperate to rent them for whatever rent they can get,’ Ingle said. ‘Those homes should be renting for so much more money.’”

    “Compounding that rental situation is the influx of condominium conversions back into the rental market. ‘We still have an oversupply of failed and broken condo conversions and most of the condo conversion units are rentals,’ said Pete TeKampe, VP, investments for Marcus& Millichap. ‘North Scottsdale actually has experienced very high vacancy rates because of the oversupply of condo-conversion units.’”

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  13. biliruben

    Great work, Redfin! Sure, there are errors, but kudos for trying, and I’m sure you’ll fine-tune. With EconE’s help of course!

    Hey Matt – can we expect CDOM any time soon?

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  14. Matt Goyer

    We are working on a CDOM feature. We hope to show you both the CDOM as well as a complete listing history for the home since its last sale.

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  15. softwarengineer


    Home selling innovation with more growth?

    Or today’s conundrum of wage deterioration [come on, I'm on Econ's side, be fair and take out the top 10% Seattle household incomes and average wages are clearly plummetting] and simultaneous growth with subsequent subprime mess.

    First time home buyers in their 20s and 30s are Seattle dinosaurs? I’d assume the top 10% of Seattle’s household incomes with the wage increases aren’t in the housing market any way [they bought in many years or several decades ago], so eliminate this erroneous moot point data.

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  16. biliruben

    Great, Matt! I look forward to it.

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  17. Steve Tytler

    While it’s interesting to look at sites like Redfin and Zillow, it’s important to remember that unlike commercial office space, residential real estate is NOT sold on a price-per-square-foot basis.

    There are MANY other factors that affect the value of a house, such as views, waterfront, location on a busy street, etc. etc.

    So take the stats with a HUGE grain of salt.

    Steve Tytler
    Real Estate Columnist
    Everett Herald
    Everett Herald

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  18. Civil Servant

    Incidentally, do we know what the figure is or approx. is for the top decile of household income? I would be grateful if anyone could point me towards a breakout of this data. Preferably in-city but per MSA would be informative too.

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  19. EconE

    While it’s interesting to look at sites like Redfin and Zillow, it’s important to remember that unlike commercial office space, residential real estate is NOT sold on a price-per-square-foot basis.

    There are MANY other factors that affect the value of a house, such as views, waterfront, location on a busy street, etc. etc.

    So take the stats with a HUGE grain of salt.

    What would be the difference?

    Should I Ignore the fact that some condo’s downtown are wishing for $700+ psf when comps are selling for $600?

    Doesn’t location affect Commercial RE?

    Try picking up an office over at Carillon Point rather than Everett. More expensive no?

    So are the houses and condos….in $’s PSF.

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  20. biliruben

    Civil Servant – I did a post on the forums looking at the Census’s Community Survey:

    Both MSA and Seattle specific (and Bellevue).

    To answer your question, 10% of households make 150K or greater in Seattle, or they did in 2005. I think there is more up-to-date info if you follow the link.

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  21. Civil Servant

    Sweet! Thanks so much, Bili.

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  22. david losh

    I’d just like to mention that this fudfon stuff is a direct result of work Tim’s done here.
    This site has become extremely relevant in the world of Real Estate and in my opinion changed the way people view properties in general.
    The fact other people copy the work is a compliment.
    A further fact is that this site attracts people in an open way, even if they get slammed in the process. I’m kind of missing that openness.

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  23. patient

    The power of the internet is slamming down on the real estate industry in full force. About time. Way to go Redfin! ( and Seattlebubble of course ). The Kodak moment ( film or digital ) is here, the ones that do not underastand, accept it and embrace it will struggle.

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  24. being patient

    I have to agree that this site has pulled me into reading it. It is interesting to read all the different opinions on this site as well as on other blogs and sites.


    Do you think that these sites make a big difference to people trying to buy or sell real estate? What I am asking is will MOST people take the time to read these blogs before making their decisions?

    For example there are a few different views on this site. However the majority of the views appear to be similiar.

    What do you think?

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  25. patient

    What I think? I think Redfin and groundbreaking sites like it will increase their market share rapidly in the next couple of years. Blogs like SeattleBubble can play a role by giving feedback from interrested consumers towards the internet brokers, that what I think. What do you think?

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  26. david losh

    After leaving the last comment it seems to me that most people would miss the concept of rodfon. There have always been discount brokerages. The difference is, in the past, the commission was paid after the transaction was done. What Kelman and others did was convince Congress to allow the commission to be disbursed at closing. The rebate can now be paid to the buyer or seller as a portion of costs to be included in the transaction.
    In the process the over all commission system was villified. What everyone had been trying to avoid up to that point was transactions going to the lowest bidder. Paying some one to do business with you works on a volume basis.
    When large Real Estate companies tried to do this many years ago smaller companies cried foul. The term was the “Wal Marts of Real Estate.”
    So the concept of radfon has always been around, Ray is correct it will change the face of Real Estate, not for the better, and now they have new charts and graphs, the concept developed by Tim.

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  27. patient

    David, I think it’s the internet that changes the face of Real Estate not discount brokers per say. It’s the power of the internet coupled with alternative business models to the old agent formula. And yes, I think it’s for the better. A lot better

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  28. david losh

    It depends on what better means. People complain about the services they receive for 6% commissions. I agree that is a high number for getting nothing. It may be better to pay less for getting nothing.
    The problem is the service people get. The consumer still gets nothing, but pays less for it. The standard then becomes nothing.
    Transparency to me means informed choices. When I look at properties people go with me. I get advice, I use agents in some cases. When I pay an agent I expect value. When I pay I want something of value. When I pay for a second set of eyes I want an eyes on value. I want knowledge, wisdom, experience, and negotiable value.
    Otherwise it’s just colored lights on a computer screen.

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  29. Ira Sacharoff

    I find myself agreeing with David Losh more and more. Does that mean there’s something’s wrong with me?
    I don’t think it’s the internet per se that’s resulting in the successes of places like Redfin or operation’s like 500 Realty…I think it’s more of a response to the fact that many people were dissatisfied getting nothing for their 6%.
    Believe it or not, there are some lazy and dishonest realtors out there, and that created the opening for a Redfin. People thought ” This guy did nothing for me for my 6%, and he’s a lying weasel to boot.”, and figured they’ve got as much brains and ability to do research as many realtors.
    That said, there are some real estate agents out there willing to do the legwork and the research , have the negotiating skill and know the ropes, and those people are continuing to do well because they’ve earned people’s trust.

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  30. “I Think I Just Had a Nerdgasm” | Redfin Corporate Blog

    [...] new neighborhoods release inspired all sorts of reactions. Many, like The Tim on SeattleBubbleBlog, lauded the new release as “a great resource for figuring out what’s going on in the hyper [...]

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  31. RickB

    Is comment #18 in violation of the comment policy?

    Also, from now on, no commercial links may be left in the body of the comment. If you want to fill in your business link in the comment form where it says “website,” feel free to do that, and it will be linked to your name. But posts with links to a business in the body of the comment will be edited or deleted. If you want to advertise your business on Seattle Bubble, you need to pay just like everyone else.

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