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Real Estate Media Lesson: Unchecked & Mistaken = Apples & Oranges

There was an article that ran on the Bloomberg Newswire on a recently released market report by Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) [1] that seemingly contradicted the results in our study [2] for the same reporting period (was released almost 5 weeks ago).

The Bloomberg feed [3] on the article was picked up by the New York Post [3], The New York Daily News [4], The New York Sun [5] and covered in Crain’s New York [6] as far as I can tell. The New York Post version was linked to Curbed as well.

The Bloomberg article showed how one of the key stats in the report I prepare contradicted the same stat in the REBNY report…

The two reports supposedly showed the opposite trend in Median Sales Price.

Here’s what was presented in the Bloomberg newswire story that was picked up in the other papers:

Manhattan median sales price increased 6.7%.
The data source was from public record and a confidential survey from their members.

Miller Samuel/Prudential Douglas Elliman:
Manhattan median sales price decreased 4%.
The data source was from public record and collecting data from our appraisal practice.

Reality check

_Correct Stat That Should Have Been Used_
Miller Samuel/Prudential Douglas Elliman:
Manhattan median sales price increased 12.7%.

The Miller Samuel median sales price stat quoted over and over in all the articles reflected the change in median sales price as -4% compared to the prior quarter rather than the +12.7% increase over the prior year quarter like the 6.7% stat from the REBNY report. Both stats showed upward movement over the past year.

Apples to Oranges (Conclusion)

The results show a fairly wide spread albeit in the same direction. This is likely due to difference in the mix of what data was collected.

The idea that the two reports seemingly contradicted each other raised the interest level for its newsworthiness as a story, yet the key point made was in error – the two reports actually didn’t contradict.