Posts by: ARMLS

STAT Market Update: February 2015


Each month Tom Ruff of The Information Market gives his stellar commentary on the housing market. Tom is armed with Pending data, which others do not have access. His insights are below. Read the full issue of STAT for the accompanying graphs.

Tom Ruff

Tom Ruff

January plays an important part as a precursor to our prime selling season as the highest average number of monthly new listings occurs in January. With an average days on market of 96, these new listings coming on are the seeds for spring and summer sales.

The 14 year running average for new listings in January is 12,769, this year we saw 10,888 new listings in January. The lowest average number of monthly sales occurs in January, where the 14 year running average for home sales is 5,067 and this year we saw 4,784 home sales in January 2015.

These numbers do not factor in the growth in housing stock and population throughout the 14 year period, so it’s not what we would call great. In reality, our market continues in a leisurely fashion highlighted by low demand and low supply.

Pollyanna vs Reality
From time to time there will be a set of numbers within STAT that just jumps at you, this month it was the dichotomy of list prices and sale prices. Over the past year we’ve repeatedly discussed the remarkable stability in our home prices. When we removed all the distressed sales and compared only the normal sales between December 2013 and December 2014, we saw the price per-square-foot rose only slightly, 1.7% from $133.10 to $135.41. When we compared January 2015 prices to December 2014 prices we saw a 1.2% decline in the median sales price and a 0.6% decline in the average sale price.

As we continually state, these monthly anomalies are in no way an indication of declining prices, but only reiterate the remarkable price stability in our market. However, they do amplify the growing disparity between the price of properties listed for sale and the price at which properties are selling.

In January the median list price increased 5.4% over December and the average list price increased 7.6%, widening an already existing gap. This gap becomes even more noticeable when we put the numbers side by side. The average list price in January was $354,500 while the average sales price was $255,000. The median list price in January was $230,000 while the median sales price in January was $194,700. Why is the average list price so much higher than the average sales price? If the property being marketed is listed too far above market expectations, reality will manifest in the lack of showings and/or offers leading to a price change.

Ivy Zelman Ain’t No Pollyanna
Too often in STAT we write about the national pundits and their outrageous studies with headlines sculpted as click-bait, often times promoting personal agendas. Other times we see silly analysis by Ph.D.s with strong mathematical backgrounds but no practical real estate knowledge. In this month’s STAT I’d like to share the thoughts of a national analyst I respect, an analyst that gracefully blends numbers with common sense and practical insight – Ivy Zelman. In a speech delivered to the Building Materials Holding Corporation, a multi-state building materials supplier, she demonstrates that really good real estate analytics is both science and art:

 “Going forward, the easing of credit ‘will be a tailwind.’ In addition, the Obama administration has been taking steps to make qualification terms easier because it concluded its policies were holding back housing.

A paucity of first-time homebuyers is putting brakes on the entire housing market, because you need those newcomers coming in and buying homes so that the people living in them now will have equity to trade up. People age 20 to 30 accounts for two-thirds of all incremental growth in new housing.

Here’s one example of pent-up demand in this cohort: At the housing market’s nadir, 14% of people aged 20 to 34 lived in multigenerational homes. The historical average is 11%. If we were to get back to that average, there’d be 800,000 new household formats every year.

still-live-with-parentsMillennials aren’t all that their reputations suggest. There’s a view that they are unlike their parents and want to stay in multfifamily units close to downtown. ‘If you look at who lives in a home by age, lifestyle dictates. When you get to a certain age, 70% to 80% will want to live in a single-family shelter. It has to do with love and marriage.’ Of married households, 80% live in single-family detached home.

Rising rents (they went up 3% to 5% nationwide last year, and even more in the West) will increasingly push people toward buying homes. At the same time, people age 20 to 34 have seen double the growth in jobs than the nation has as a whole.

Are student loans really that big a problem? For those who have defaulted on those loans, yes. But a study by the New York Federal Reserve Bank found that the largest share of loans being given to people with student loans are to people who have those loans and are paying them regularly. Also, keep in mind that about one-third of student loan debt is for people over 40., 40% of student debt is related to graduate programs, and nearly a quarter of under-35-year-olds are debt free.

The effect of foreclosures on credit is declining. Seven years after a foreclosure, you can qualify for a mortgage again. So expect roughly 400,000 people to join the group of potential buyers each year.

Consumers think conditions are tougher than they are. You don’t need to pay 5% to 10% of a home’s price as a down payment; you can get a loan with a 3% down payment. “Why doesn’t the National Association of Realtors put out ads that say you can buy a house with 3% down? There’s a huge gap between perception and reality.”

Enough said.

Pending Price Index
Last month our Pending Price Index (PPI) projected a January median price of $195,000 with the actual median coming in at $194,700. Looking ahead to February, the ARMLS Pending Price Index projects a median sales price of $194,822. Prices are expected to remain flat. Sales volume for January was nearly identical to sales volume in January 2014, final numbers showed 4,784 this year compared to 4,797. January 2015 had 20 business days while January 2014 had 21.  With both the number of pending sales contracts and the number of UCB listings being greater than last year at this time, it is anticipated that February 2015 sales volume will exceed the volume of 5,474 of February 2014. We may only be taking baby steps at this time but our market is modestly moving forward.

RPR Mobile for iOS & Android


Many Subscribers have taken advantage of the RPR product from NAR. A few months ago, the offering got even better with the release of their cutting edge mobile app for iOS and Android smartphones/phablets/tablets called RPR Mobile. is where you’ll find all the details but here’s some summarized features below from NAR:

RPR gathers all available data on a property and organizes it for your benefit. Add your local market knowledge and you’re set.

From MLS and public records to mortgage history and school attendance zones, RPR has the data your clients want.

Add your own notes and photos to any property. They’re private to you, but you can easily include them in your reports.

Customizable reports for any property are available from your smartphone. Send reports directly to your clients, with your branding, with almost no effort.

Check it out RPR Mobile here.

Mobile Torque is an ARMLS® blog post series dedicated to advancing mobile and educating Subscribers on mobile and mobile MLS access.

Subdivision vs. Subdivision Name

There are two Subdivision fields in Monsoon. Learning them both can be very helpful:

Garden-Ex1Subdivision is a default field in the Tax Search. It is a auto-complete box where you type at least three letters and select a choice. You can only make pre-determined selections but you select multiple Subdivisions.

Subdivision Name can be added using the Add/Modify link on a Tax Search. It is a text search box where you can type the subdivision name. This field also takes a wildcard symbol, * (an asterisk). Think of it like Google, where the Subdivision pulled must match what you entered but can match in different ways. For example, if you wanted to search Garden Lakes but wanted to make sure Garden Lake was also included in your results:


Using the wildcard gives you 15 results in our date range, 14 results without the wildcard.

Data Integrity Form & Notices Changes

Tell a friend, there are some new changes happening with the Data Integrity report form and notices:

New Form
If you’ve reported an error today, you’ll notice the form now opens in a new window and has a different appearance as we’ve upgraded our systems. The Monsoon tax system also now has a form to report data errors as well.

New Emails
The appearance, subject lines and email address used to send data integrity notices will soon also be changing. Subscribers will benefit from emails that are mobile optimized and easier to understand. The new email address to white-list is: A sample of the new courtesy notice design is below:


These new changes will ensure a better user experience for our Subscribers and better data.

Exterior Stories & Interior Levels

Two required fields often give Subscribers trouble, Exterior Stories & Interior Levels:


Exterior Stories = 6
The Exterior Stories field under General Property Description should include the entire building the unit resides.

Interior Levels = 2
the Interior Levels field reflects the number of stories of the unit itself, not of all units.

Find The Map Code Grid Faster

The Map Code/Grid field is required when entering a listing in flexmls. Many use the ARMLS Grid Map Foldout on but there is a quicker way to look up the Map Code/Grid.

From a Map Search – use the Locate Pin, type the address and then click Locate. Select “Use This Location” from the white map bubble.

In the Overlays menu in the top right of the screen, select Map Grid. You will then need to zoom out to see the map grid boundaries. The red letter/number combination is the Map Code Grid needed in flexmls. See the image below.

The Top 10 Violations of 2014


With 2014 complete, it’s time for our Top 10 MLS Violations of 2014. In 2014, the Data Integrity department addressed 18,322 violations. See the 2013 and 2012 lists. You can read up on each rule on this page:

Rank Violation Name Violation Type
1 Self Reported Non-Penalty
2 Access Codes Found in Wrong Field* Penalty
3 No Exterior Photo of the Front of Dwelling* Penalty
4 Contact Info in a Photo Penalty
5 Contact Information in a Public Field Penalty
6 Open House /  Showing info in Public Field Penalty
7 Sold/Leased Price Incorrect Penalty
8 Dwelling Type Incorrect Non-Penalty
9  Special Listing Conditions Non-Penalty
10 Incorrect in Closed Status (False Sale) Penalty
* These violations are system detected  by our monitoring compliance software.
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