Questions and answers about IAR’s MarketStats changes
What’s changing with the housing data provided by the Illinois Association of REALTORS®?
- We’re moving IAR MarketStats to a new service called 10K Research and Marketing, a Minnesota-based firm that is a division of the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®. The change allows us to provide additional information we had not previously been able to give to members, and it allows us to provide it in a more visually-appealing format. We also will provide a sortable online database for members. Midwest Real Estate Data LLC uses this service, so many of our Chicago-area members are already familiar with the reports.
Has the methodology changed?
- No. We pull data on the 7th of the month. The data is compared to previous year data the same as it always has been. Through the process we worked to make sure there was continuity on how we gathered and compared the data. We choose the seventh of the month because many MLSs require their members to have the data in by then. We have to work with 21 different MLS systems statewide and have the data analyzed by our partners at REAL. That takes time, so the seventh has always worked well from an operational standpoint.
What new data will I get?
- We currently provide data on median prices and sales for most of Illinois’ 102 counties, for the nine-county Chicago market and for the city of Chicago. Now we’ll add average time on market and inventory information for most counties in the state. Plus, we’ll provide charts outlining emerging trends.
Is anything being taken away?
- We will no longer report the average price on a monthly basis, but will continue to report the median price. The median price (half of the homes sold for more, half for less) is seen as a better measure of home affordability by many experts and the media.
How does 10K work?
- Under our old system, Multiple Listing Services (MLS) had to upload files. The process could be time consuming and it added work to getting the numbers crunched each month. 10K has worked with the state’s MLSs to automatically access the databases and extract the information, eliminating the uploading step in many cases.
Will the date the data is extracted remain the same?
- Yes. We pull the data on the seventh of every month.
Are there differences in the data from one platform to another?
- Yes, but they are small. We worked extensively throughout the year with our partners at the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) at the University of Illinois to compare the data collected under the old system and the new. What we found is that in terms of sales and median prices there were some minor differences.
For example, when comparing sales data through the old system and 10K we saw deviations of one to two percent, typically. Considering that there are 8,000-plus real estate transactions in any given month so far this year,that’s a pretty close match. From a statistical standpoint, REAL has assured us that after numerous checks, it is comfortable with the deviations. (The comparisons REAL did are represented in the charts above.)
What accounts for the differences?
- Several factors can be at play here. We work with dozens of MLSs across the state. Although all have the same basic reporting categories, there may be slight variations in how the MLSs define the categories or enter the data. Additionally, over the past several years many MLSs have upgraded or changed their software. Every time changes of that magnitude happen, there’s a chance for subtle shifts that might affect reporting.
IAR went through a year-long process with 10K to get ready for this transition. IAR and 10K worked closely with nearly two dozen different MLSs to identify potential problems and come up with solutions. As an added check on our work, our partners REAL combed through the data to make sure we were getting as accurate a snapshot of the housing market as possible.
When can I see the new service?
- The first release with the new service will be Dec. 20 when we release November numbers. We’ll have a new set of webpages established to guide you through to the information you want.