October 18, 2006

DataQuick News: Much Ado About Nothing?

Many of those interested in Southern California Real Estate prices go to DataQuick Real Estate News. DataQuick is recognized to be one of the most comprehensive databases regarding real estate sales and median price information in California. Of course, since they are part of the real estate machine, much of their revenues come from those in the real estate industry. Each month, normally the third Tuesday of the Month, data comes out for the Southern California market. A couple of anomalies happened this month. One, the data was not released on the normal date but on October 12, nearly a week early. Second and more importantly, DataQuick has changed a very important market indicator statement in their monthly release:

“Indicators of market distress are still at a moderate level.”
October 2006 DataQuick

For the past three years however, meaning a consecutive 36 months the statement read as:

“Indicators of market distress are still largely absent.”
January 2003 DataQuick

Since January of 2003 they have had this statement cemented into their monthly release. In addition, January of 2003 was the first time they decided to word their monthly release in such a format. Now the question that many are asking is since when did DataQuick discuss that the market was showing distress at moderate levels? How can you go from “largely absent” to “still at a moderate level” in one month? Did I smoke peyote last month and slip into a dream where David Lereah was playing nice with TeleTubbies and all of a sudden the market was okay? You can go ahead and verify this yourself by clicking on the below links for October and September so you too can realize you weren't induce by mind altering substances:

October 12 Release: October 12 DQ
September 19 Release: September 12 DQ

Now this may be much ado about nothing but I think this is significant. Since sales data on real estate usually lags two to three months, due to the entire process of escrow, this is in my humble opinion an important change preparing the public for a different market in 2007. Think of the Fed releasing its minutes a few months ago. Once they inserted the holding pattern statement, the bond market went haywire and all of a sudden we drop from a ten-year rate of 5.24 to 4.7, an instant 10 percent drop. Now you may ask who cares right? Keep in mind that DataQuick provides data to the L.A. Times, local news media outlets in San Diego, and the Bay Area so they cover a large part of California. This is what the Dick and Jane consumer digest as a daily meal. If anything, they are seen as the most legit authority regarding real estate data in the state.

Like Don John in Much Ado About Nothing, can it be that someone is trying to put a wrench in everyone’s happiness? Surely those most likely to gain from good news are those closely tied to the real estate arena. But DataQuick has provided data on a down market as well when Southern California homes were being sold for loses:

1995 Archive - 1995 Archive DQNews

Is DataQuick gearing up for another 1992-1995 campaign? Or maybe my eyes deceive me and there is nothing to see here and I should lay off the peyote. So what do you think of this?


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised many did not pick up on this. The market is going down faster than I had thought. Maybe by December we'll be negative for the yr.

bubble_watcher said...

Is DataQuick gearing up for another 1992-1995 campaign? Or maybe my eyes deceive me and there is nothing to see here and I should lay off the peyote. So what do you think of this?

It looks like DataQuick is starting to 'batten down the hatches'..

Dr Housing Bubble said...


I get that sense too. If anything, they can refer to their data by saying "in October of 2006" we changed our wording to reflect the suspicion that the market would turn south. Somehow feel like CYA but the C.A.R. is also doing this predicting a -2% drop in California for 2007.