How to use MLS to know how the market is moving

How can you know right now what the real estate market is doing? What would you say if a client asked you about the market this month? You could probably rattle off some generalities about an increase of inventory and how sales are always lower in January and February. OR you could give them a few specific stats very quickly. Let me show you how.

Scroll Quickly: This post looks like it is a long read because of all the images, but it’s really not. It’s more of a demonstration than anything. I hope you like it and find a nugget or two of usefulness.

First off, do a “Standard” search from the main navigation bar.

standard search in MLS

Next select your criteria. If you want to do a search for the current month, enter the first date of the month in each field. Be sure to only select “1 house on lot” and “Sacramento” for county (or whatever counties you are searching). Then click “Statistics”.

2014 february search in mls

What Stats to Look For: After clicking “statistics” you will see quite a few numbers. What should you be looking for? Some of the most important ones are number of listings, number of pendings, number of sales, average days on market and median price (I take median price with a grain of salt though until about 7-10 days after the month is over since data can be VERY skewed until all the sales numbers are in). Click on the image below to see what the screen looks like when you hit “statistics” above. The image was too large to fit in my column.

2014 February so far 530

So What is Happening in February? Based on the image above we are seeing more listings than sales, but a large number of pending sales. Whenever there are more listings than actual sales, it’s a sign that inventory is increasing. Yet the number of pending sales also tells us that buyers are definitely hungry for real estate. Also, if you’ve been following trends you’ll notice that the average days on market is about ten days less in February so far than last month. This tells us buyers are getting into contract more quickly. The median price has increased so far in February, but again take that with a grain of salt until the month is over.

What About all of 2014? If you want to search data for the past two months (all of 2014), simply enter January 1 as you starting point. Keep in mind you could also search by city, zip code or even do a polygon search in MLS and then hit “statistics” so you know what is happening in a very specific neighborhood.

2014 january and february search in mls

Click on the image below to get a sense of how the market has been so far in 2014 in Sacramento County. As you can see there are far more listings than sales so far, but there are almost 2300 pending sales.

2014 so far 530

2-22-14- 7amFresh Coffee & Quick Glances: By the way, I’m sure everyone has seen and used the 24 hour market watch widget on your MLS home screen. I recommend looking at this whenever logging in because you can get a quick sense of what is happening in the market. So grab your cup of coffee, turn on your screen and take 10 seconds to scan listings, sales, pendings and price reductions/increases. Over time this can help us stay in tune with the market. Are there more listings than sales coming on the market? How many price reductions are there? This is a good temperature of real estate.

If this was helpful, feel free to forward the post.

Questions: Any thoughts? What are you seeing in February so far?

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