Warren County Ohio Real Estate News and Observations

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say.  ~William W. Watt

Say you were standing with one foot in the oven and one foot in an ice bucket.  According to the percentage people, you should be perfectly comfortable.  ~Bobby Bragan, 1963

Statistics are no substitute for good judgment. ~Henry Clay


It's about context!  Numbers can be manipulated to present a positive or negative spin on "reality":

  • 10% of Americans are unemployed

OR

  • 90% of Americans are employed

 

  • 38 Warren County Ohio homeowners placed on the sheriff's sale list last week

OR

  • Thousands of Warren County homeowners are current on their payment and have no risk of losing their homes.  In fact, they LOVE where they live and wouldn't move!


So when the National Association of Realtors reported that national home sales for July 2010 were down 27% when compared to July 2009, are you getting a good representation of reality?  An engineer would look at the data and say it's totally faulty to begin to compare those two periods!  Why?  The number of sales is very quantifiable, immovable and unchangeable, right?  True.... but, outside influences were at work here, what an engineer would call "special cause".  This ISN'T an apples to apples comparison, more like mangos to grapes, they're both fruit, but that's where the similarity ends. 

The hand of Uncle Sam was heavily involved in influencing the numbers with two tax credits available.  Consumers rushed the home store, bought a lot of inventory off the shelves and moved up the typical summer blitz to beat the tax credit expiration deadline!  Paul is checking his pockets and notices that Peter now has HIS cash!

The Cincinnati area reported the same type data, but even worse, or so it seems at first glance!  IF you look at July only,  Southwest Ohio sales dropped 35.2% compared to 2009.  However, if you look at 2010's first seven months, Southwest Ohio is actually UP 3% overall.  Admittedly, this isn't a HUGE upswing, but +3% vs. -35.2%?  Big difference, right??  So maybe, just maybe, the market isn't all doom and gloom.  People ARE still buying and selling homes!

So the next time you hear some numbers thrown out to support an opinion, consider the context.  Remember, 1 out of 5 Dentists, DOESN'T recommend Trident gum!

Keepin' it Real in Real Estate!
Liz and Bill

REALTORS(S) Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth & William Spear
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Liz direct:  513-265-3004
Bill direct: 513-520-5305     
Fax: 866-302-8418

MailTo:  LizSpear@Go-Concepts.com

Our Website:  www.LizTour.com

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14 commentsLiz and Bill Spear • August 26 2010 08:23AM
Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
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Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say. ~William W. Watt Say you were standing with one foot in the oven and one foot in an ice bucket. According to the percentage people, you should be… more