Zillow's quarterly reports – If you average stoopid numbers can you get meaningful data? Maybe.


While my mountain man is off communing with nature, I am reviewing Zillow‘s quarterly statistics for San Diego County. What’s wrong with this picture?

Zillow’s quarterly statistics, or Zindexes, are out, and you can see the score card for San Diego County here. The Zindex is a measure of the median Zestimate for a given area. Now, I am still grappling with the logic. If we agree that Zestimates are generally (and often grossly) inaccurate, would the median of the same give a more meaningful, global picture of market trends? At first blush and after an exhaustive study of their figures (Daughter #2 two and I just finished yet another satisfying dinner of local take-out fare, and the dog looks like he can “hold it” for a minute or two more), the answer appears to be “maybe”.

As is often the case here, let’s take Scripps Ranch. Our Zindex is $666,595, which includes all homes, attached and detached. That feels about right. Our quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year changes are shown as -1.3% and -3.0% respectively. Again, this is sort of right, but by my experience, a little on the low side.

At least, Scripps Ranch is fairing better in the popularity contest (most frequently searched on Zillow). We ranked number 10, behind the likes of La Jolla (can’t afford to live there), Rancho Santa Fe (can’t afford to even visit there), and 92121 (think UCSD). Of course, the other coastal communities of Carmel Valley and Del Mar cooked our goose. Joining us in the inland “in crowd” were Rancho Penasquitos, 4S Ranch and Poway.

One new feature which I like is the breakdown by size of home (small, medium and large). Although these categories are not strictly defined, Zillow is showing that higher priced homes in San Diego County have been less affected by the market correction. This correlates with the old adage that the little guys (condos) are the first to fall. So go the condos goes the market, and certainly the recent subprime mess has had a little something to do with this trend. And then there is the obvious – Gazillion dollar home buyers are less affected by silly things like loans and overall affordability than the rest of us.

Not to mention, gazillion dollar home buyers probably have dog walkers on staff. Which reminds me…

(Editors note: If you think I am going soft on Zillow because they bought me, you are wrong. I am still without a complete set of beer glasses, those cheap-skates).

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