Home Sale Data Questions Answered

Update (06/09/2021): PolicyMap now has home sale data from Moody’s Analytics. Read more here.

Co-authored by Elizabeth Nash

Given how important home sale statistics are in understanding an area, we wanted to answer a few questions about the housing data from Boxwood Means that subscribers will find in PolicyMap.

1. Why isn’t block group level sale data always available in the quarterly home sale updates? You’ll find that many times, only census tract level sale data is available on a quarterly basis and that you can’t see data at the block group. That’s because we suppress median home sale values for any block group with fewer than 5 sales in a quarter. In this market, we’ve seen lots of those block groups. You can see the number of sales by block group, but we don’t provide a median home sale price, as it might be skewed given the number of sales. We also don’t show percent changes by block group for the quarterly data, either, because it, too, maybe skewed given the number of sales.

2. Why don’t the number of sales posted each quarter in an area add up to the number of sales reported for the full year? The quarterly data that we post are estimates. Many times recorder offices are delayed in posting sale transactions or post transactions initially without all of the sale information. As a result, from year-to-year, it is best to look at annual, not quarterly trends in sales – and use current quarterly information as an estimate of what is occurring in your area(s). For those of you who need the historical quarterly data, we will be posting final quarterly numbers for the last few years shortly and will let you know when that is available.

3. In places where a city and county represent the same geography, why are the sale statistics sometimes different? You will also find that in some places around the country, a city and a county are one in the same. For example, Philadelphia county and Philadelphia city are the same geography; as it New Orleans City and New Orleans Parrish. Given the way home sales are recorded in varying ways across the country, you will find that sometimes the statistics for the two areas are not the same. If you encounter this, just contact us at (866) 923-MAPS or info@policymap.com and we can find out exactly why that might be occurring in your area.

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