In fact, New Yorkers and residents of other dense urban centers always can pay little heed to the monthly report of housing data from Case-Shiller or any other single sources of information.
Their one virtue is to examine a dated snapshot of the national housing market, excluding areas such as the Big Apple, where few single-home sales occur. Case-Shiller leaves out apartment sales and its reports embrace whole Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). In addition, the sample of 10 or 20 cities is suspect in my layman’s eyes.
In the case of Manhattan, the MSA covers all the boroughs plus suburban New Jersey and Westchester County. And as everyone knows, the percentage of single-family home sales in the borough never reaches beyond the lowest digits.
I suppose investors and others who might be looking, unreasonably, at the national market for trends in the biggest cities can benefit from glancing at the numbers. But using those statistics for anything greater than a very rough gauge of what is or, worse, will be occurring in a given market is pure folly.
All that said, you may well be able to enliven your cocktail chatter by knowing (more…)