Redfin Gets Into the Monthly Data Game

Local internet real estate technology powerhouse and discount brokerage Redfin has taken a page from the NWMLS playbook, torn it out, shredded it, burned it, flushed it down the toilet, and written a whole new book from scratch on the subject of monthly data releases.

Redfin Market Report: May 2010In their first data release for the Seattle area, they dig into inventory, sales volume, and prices for King County and a number of specific cities. While the blog post contains a good amount of info, the detailed spreadsheet is where the real action is at.

In the spreadsheet they break down inventory, listing prices, sales volume, and sold prices, including price per square foot. The data is broken down by county (17 counties total), by city, and by neighborhood. Sweet!

Unfortunately, since they’re just getting started with this, there isn’t enough data available yet to generate any interesting charts, so instead here’s a quick comparison of May data from the NWMLS and comparable data from Redfin on King County SFH:

May 2010 Redfin NWMLS
Active Listings 10,234 9,497
Listings YOY -8.8% -3.6%
Closed Sales 1,690 1,766
Sales YOY +33.4% +34.6%
Median Price $384,500 $379,000
Price YOY +2.5% +1.1%
Med. $/sqft $209 -

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this new data from Redfin as it is released each month.

  

About 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.

26 comments:

  1. 1
    ray pepper says:

    I like it!!! Go Red Fin GO!!!

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  2. 2
    Scotsman says:

    Nice data- it’s good to have a bit of competition to help keep everyone honest.

    In somewhat related news Citigroup is suspending foreclosures in the GoM. What a win-win. They get to appear generous while boosting their numbers and freeing up reserves for positive investments. I’ll bet others soon follow, not just in the GoM but in other “compromised” regions as well:

    June 16 (Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc., which received $45 billion in a taxpayer-funded bailout, will suspend foreclosures in coastal areas “hard hit” by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The halt is effective starting tomorrow and will apply only to loans owned by the New York-based bank’s mortgage unit and meeting “certain other criteria,” and not debt that Citigroup services for other lenders or investors, the company said today in an e-mailed statement.

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  3. 3
    HappyRenter says:

    Why are the numbers different? What is it due to?

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  4. 4
    drshort says:

    RE: HappyRenter @ 3

    I think the Redfin numbers would include FSBO (zillow listings, etc.). I also believe (but I’m not sure) that trustee deeded sales show up as a closed sale in Redfin. I know they show up on their site, but I’m not sure they’re included here.

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  5. 5
    Jonness says:

    What’s up with Olympia? Median price is up 19% month over month. It must be the good news about State employees taking a 5% income haircut due to the furloughs. Either that or it’s a data entry error. :)

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  6. 6
    Chuck says:

    One thing the smaller-area detail really makes clear is the extreme statistical variation from period to period when only a small number of listings and sales are involved – the numbers bounce all over the place, and the results even in adjacent areas hardly seem correlated at all. Even in an area as big as King County with 2,000 or so closings a month, we see statistical variations of +/- 2 to 3% on median sale prices without a visible trend.

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  7. 7
    SammamishRenter says:

    To add to the summer drama, Senate just passed this tax credit extension… Speechless.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100616/ap_on_bi_ge/us_home_tax_credit#mwpphu-container

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  8. 8
    patient says:

    By SammamishRenter @ 7:

    To add to the summer drama, Senate just passed this tax credit extension… Speechless.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100616/ap_on_bi_ge/us_home_tax_credit#mwpphu-container

    Even if the tax credit was an absolute waste, a poisonous bait and a give away of money we don’t have to the banks the extension as such sounds fair to me. Anyone who signed a deal prior to the deadline thinking they would qualify for the credit should get it and not lose it due to dealing with slow lenders imo. That the house they signed up for will probably have lost the full value of the credit once they close can be a good lesson I guess.

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  9. 9
    ella says:

    Always verify the data. Recently 3 separate individuals have contacted the trustee listed by Redfin in their foreclosure filter. The trustee information was wrong as was the bank owner that Redfin named. I use Redfin frequently and find it generally reliable. But like all data from any source, verify by using other sources. This is not to pick on Redfin but applies to all data regardless of the source.

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  10. 10
    MacroInvestor says:

    The faster the MLS loses their monopoly grip, the better it is for everyone outside the RE industry. If you think about it, we have more information about a 10 cent candy we buy at 7-11 that we do about a home purchase. Half of the listings look like they were entered by a child, with obviously wrong or incomplete data. When will someone come up with a system that has better, standardized data, which includes title information and some sort of inspection or quality rating? Lack of transparency is what makes real estate a sleazy and risky business.

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  11. 11

    RE: MacroInvestor @ 10 – There is no way to have standardized quality or inspection data.

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  12. 12
    deejayoh says:

    By ella @ 9:

    Always verify the data. Recently 3 separate individuals have contacted the trustee listed by Redfin in their foreclosure filter. The trustee information was wrong as was the bank owner that Redfin named. I use Redfin frequently and find it generally reliable. But like all data from any source, verify by using other sources. This is not to pick on Redfin but applies to all data regardless of the source.

    Redfin just pulls data from the NWMLS – which is entered by the listing agent. Garbage in, Garbage out.

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  13. 13

    By deejayoh @ 12:

    By ella @ 9:
    Always verify the data. Recently 3 separate individuals have contacted the trustee listed by Redfin in their foreclosure filter. The trustee information was wrong as was the bank owner that Redfin named. I use Redfin frequently and find it generally reliable. But like all data from any source, verify by using other sources. This is not to pick on Redfin but applies to all data regardless of the source.

    Redfin just pulls data from the NWMLS – which is entered by the listing agent. Garbage in, Garbage out.

    That doesn’t sound like NWMLS data.

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  14. 14
    ella says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 13

    According to Redfin it is not from the NWMLS. See thread here. http://forums.redfin.com/t5/Seattle/Foreclosures/m-p/110341 It includes Redfin’s response to the issue.

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  15. 15
    David Losh says:

    RE: MacroInvestor @ 10

    Baloney, absolute utter baloney.

    Here’s how you buy Real Estate. You shop location, and drive.

    This idea you will find the magic data base is just hype from large Brokerages.

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  16. 16
    MacroInvestor says:

    RE: David Losh @ 15

    “Here’s how you buy Real Estate. You shop location, and drive.”

    Sounds like someone’s stuck in the 19th century. For any other purchase, I can go to any number of web sites and find reviews and comments on the product quality. It’s subjective, sure. But I can apply my own values to the comments. I come out way ahead of just randomly shopping.

    With a house, 99% of my drives are a waste of time. Sure I have to narrow down to neighborhoods first. But once I’ve done that, why can’t there be a floor plan, title information and a basic inspection report? Why do I have to spend a half a day just to find out something obvious is not to may taste? The furnace is in good shape, but the dish washer doesn’t work and the bathroom has a half inch of mold in it. It’s totally ridiculous. Somebody needs to see a business opportunity here.

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  17. 17
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 12 – What gets me is this: In about 1/2 of the new listings I get in my mailbox each morning, the real estate agent can’t even be bothered to have any pictures of the place. Isn’t this what a seller pays an agent to do? I find the sloppy work really pathetic.

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  18. 18
    MacroInvestor says:

    RE: MacroInvestor @ 16

    … Furthermore, Mr. Losh, the reason mortgage securitization doesn’t work is precisely because the collateral is so subjectively/incorrectly described and valued. It allows all kinds of mispricing and fraud. No offense to you and your business, but the industry is backwards.

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  19. 19
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: David Losh @ 15 – And then if you see another buyer driving to the same house, you check your pocket watch and flog your trusy mare with your buggy whip, as not to lose out on the deal.

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  20. 20
    MacroInvestor says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 17

    “Isn’t this what a seller pays an agent to do? I find the sloppy work really pathetic.”

    Agreed. Not only do they not have pictures, most don’t even have the square footage! This is because real estate agents are salespeople. Someone who specializes in describing property should do that. You should be able to easily find a floor plan, legal description/survey, title information, any convenants/restrictions, and a basic quality rating for each of the systems.

    But instead, this old-fashioned industry is run by sales people who would rather have you drive around and waste your time. And if 10 people view the property, they each have to hire separate professional services to gather this same information. Think about how archaic this is.

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  21. 21
    David Losh says:

    How do you think the Real Estate agent gets the listing?

    Look it, number one, what’s the incentive to provide you this spectacular data base? What are you buying? You’re not buying, you’re shopping. That’s a big difference. You want some one to provide you with a shopping opportunity. You are going to buy one house. Presumably you are shopping for exactly the same house other people want. You want the perfect house for a reasonable, may be even a cheap price.

    Here’s how a Real Estate agent does it. They get in the car, and drive. They attend community meetings, go to church, send letters, work the geographic location.

    You can do exactly the same thing for free. You have the edge because the seller isn’t paying the thieving Real Estate agent a commission.

    Or maybe you are suggesting that we should all submit information and floor plans of our homes, complete with inspection reports for you to puruse.

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  22. 22
    wreckingbull says:

    By David Losh @ 21:

    Or maybe you are suggesting that we should all submit information and floor plans of our homes, complete with inspection reports for you to puruse.

    If by “we all” you mean “those who are trying to sell their homes in exchange for a large sum of money from the buyer”, then yes, that is exactly what I am saying.

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  23. 23

    Matt from Redfin here. Sorry for not joining the convo sooner!

    @HappyRenter, the numbers are different because we don’t just include sales recorded in the MLS. We also include sales outside of the MLS such as a FSBO home that sells. Also, the NWMLS includes townhouses, we filter those out. In the future we’ll include townhouses as a separate tab on the spreadsheet.

    @drshort, we exclude trustee sales from this report. They should also be excluded from our site, so if you see one on Redfin let us know at techsupport@redfin.com and we’ll investigate how it snuck through.

    @Jonness, sorry I don’t know what is up with Olympia but we take great care to filter out data that is clearly a data entry error (i.e. an extra 0, or too few 0’s)

    @ella, bank-listed foreclosures on Redfin (the purple icons on the map) are not included in the listing counts for this report. And I’m sorry we’ve published bad data. If you run across any bad data on Redfin email us at techsupport@redfin.com. We’ll generally be in touch in less than 24 hours to try and correct it.

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  24. 24

    By MacroInvestor @ 20:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 17 Agreed. Not only do they not have pictures, most don’t even have the square footage!.

    You’re exaggerating quite a bit claiming most don’t have square footage. But what you’re complaining about is agents that simply don’t know what they’re doing.

    My pet peeve is agents who list too many bedrooms. Trying to claim that a 2 or 3 bedroom home is a 4 bedroom home doesn’t help sell a house. It hurts, because you mainly get people in there looking for 4 bedrooms, and they leave right away when they don’t find that.

    I once saw a 2 bedroom, 1 car garage started to be listed at a 4 bedroom, 2 car garage. I knew the tenant and he told me that people who would come by would just be in and out quickly. That place took over a year to sell (eventually being adjusted down to 3 bedrooms, 1 car garage), and most of that was prior to the peak! So not only did the agent cost their client time, they cost them money too.

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  25. 25

    By MacroInvestor @ 16Why do I have to spend a half a day just to find out something obvious is not to may taste? The furnace is in good shape, but the dish washer doesn’t work and the bathroom has a half inch of mold in it.

    You test the dishwasher when you look at a house? ;-)

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  26. 26
    MacroInvestor says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 22

    Yes, Losh, it’s called disclosure. You’re trying to sell an expensive item, and you want to do that with nothing but a sales brochure. It’s called bait and switch. You want to present what you think are the attractive points. Then the rest of us have to drive around all day and hire expensive services to investigate the reality behind that. You’re trying to make it about emotions like “love” and “happiness”, when what you’re really selling is a legal description.

    Instead of making it hard to shop for a house (and actually bragging about how hard it is), why don’t you actually try some CUSTOMER SERVICE. I’ll answer my own question — the PURPOSEFUL obfuscation is designed to make accurate pricing more difficult. (PS – this is not personal, it’s about a broken industry).

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