Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Covering Real Estate: Resources, experts

May 16, 2012

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There are plenty of resources to help make sense of the real estate market. Photo: Flickr user CoffeeGo

By Jonathan Lansner

A plethora of groups and companies track the real estate market. Since the math involved is part science, part art, it’s suggested you look at a range of data sets to provide your audience with the proper perspective.

Don’t be afraid of conflicting trends, just try to do your best to explain the data differences and look at long-term trends – year-over-year stats – for a more comprehensive market view.

Try to find experts in your local community who may track the markets you watch in intimate detail. Here’s a sampling of national data providers, many of whom have regional slices of their statistics


Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller: Perhaps the most widely watched monthly price index, although it only tracks 20 major markets and is weeks behind other data reports. S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices

National Association of Realtors: Trade group that follows pricing and buying activity on a national basis (monthly) and 300-plus regional basis (quarterly). National Association of Realtors news releases

CoreLogic: Private company that follows pricing on a national and regional basis (monthly). CoreLogic: Research and Trends

RealtyTrac: Widely quoted private data tracker of foreclosure and default data on a national and regional (monthly) basis. RealtyTrac: Press ReleasesFORECLOSURES / DEFAULTS

CoreLogic: Private company that follows of foreclosure and default data on a national and regional (monthly) basis. CoreLogic: Research and Trends


Census follows several construction-related statistics:
Guide to data sources from the U.S. Census Bureau: Construction
U.S. Census Bureau: Construction spending on national and regional basis monthly.
U.S. Census Bureau: Building permits, indicator of builders’ future intentions.

National Association of Home Builders: Trade group that survey developer optimism on a national and regional monthly basis. NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI)

Associated General Contractors of America: Trade Group that provides quick analysis of national and regional construction jobs data. AGC of America Press Room


Freddie Mac: Government mortgage investor that tracks mortgage rates on weekly basis. Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey – PMMS

Mortgage Bankers Association: Trade group that tracks new mortgage application on a weekly basis. MBAA: Press Center

National Association of Home Builders: Trade group that tracks house shopper affordability – Housing Opportunity Index — on a national and regional quarterly basis. NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI)

Jonathan Lansner is The Orange County Register‘s business columnist and real estate blogger. Since 1986, he has covered the Orange County economy — and its real estate scene — as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Register. The “Lansner on Real Estate” blog was launched in March 2006.

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