Data, data everywhere, but what should you believe? Are we on, in the middle, or at the tail of a deflating real estate bubble? Is there a Florida real estate bubble?
The largest real estate social network ActiveRain Corp surveyed 1,835 real estate agents and real estate brokers in the US and Canada to understand if the real estate market and economy are poised for recovery in 2012, both nationwide and in local markets.
There is A LOT of conflicting data emerging about the 2012 real estate market and 2012 real estate transactions. Case-Shiller has emerged as the leading index of real estate values. The Q4 2011 S&P/Case-Shiller index (1) shows continuing declines in real estate values with quarter over quarter declines of 1.1-1.2% and annual declines of 3.0-3.4%. RealtyTrac is the leading source of foreclosure data. On January 12, 2012, RealtyTrac published (2) surprisingly good news showing a 33% decline in the number of homes in foreclosure from 2010 to 2011. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence is projecting a modest 4.7% increase in real estate transactions with a 2.0% increase in real estate values in 2012 vs. 2011. But, on December 19, 2011, NAR was forced to re-state historical homes sold data (3) due to “upward drift” of their core homes sold benchmarks, which historically have been based on feeds from the multiple listing service (MLS).
So what should you believe? Nearly all data on real estate transactions and real estate values is historical; it does not forecast the future and may not reflect the situation in your local market. Real estate is inherently local, so if the national real estate market is in decline or on the mend, what does that say about your local market? Does a national real estate bubble portend a Florida real estate bubble? Or a bubble in Fort Myers, or Sanibel Island specifically.