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Classified: Measuring The Real Estate Market

This is a “thinking aloud” post that came to me when I was forwarded the announcement of May advertising revenue of the New York Times [1]. The New York Times stats cover total advertising, not classifieds and total ad revenue is down for May (print down/Internet up). However, it gave me the idea to chew it over with Matrix readers.

After filtering out the idea that print advertising is declining and Internet ad sales are rising (duh), I wonder if total classified advertising sales can be used as a leading indicator to predict how a local real estate market is faring. If this is being done already, I am not aware of it.

The conference board already does this with the job market in their monthly Help-Wanted Advertising Index [2]which provides a metric for print and online ads.

It seems logical that a rising real estate market should see weaker ad sales as properties tend to sell with little effort. It follows then, that a weakening real estate market is good for classified advertising because sellers want agents to cover all the basis to compete with a higher number of competitive listings.