By Steve Jones
RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist reported this week that he has discovered the reason his company’s median home sales prices for Horry County this year differed so much from those reported by MyrtleBeach-based SiteTech Systems.
Because of an inquiry about the differences by The Sun News, Blomquist said, “… we discovered that for some reason (that we are still investigating), our source of the data in Horry County has only been supplying us with a couple dozen to a few dozen sales per month since about January.”
In contrast, he said that the company saw an average of 900 sales deeds for Horry each month in 2013. The low volume meant that a few large-priced sales could skew the medians higher.
RealtyTrac, which reports and analyzes real estate date nationwide, said the median price in Horry jumped by tens of thousands of dollars from February to March and stayed at the same level in April.
But that wasn’t the only place a 10-year RealtyTrac survey of median prices in counties across the U.S. differed from locally-generated data. It also had significantly different dates for the highest and lowest reported median prices since the 2008 financial meltdown.
Additionally, RealtyTrac’s median sales prices were generally lower than those reported by SiteTech, but Blomquist said that variance isn’t much different than it sees with locally-generated data in other markets.
While RealtyTrac’s discovery of information shortages this year could explain why it said that March was the highest month for median sales price in Horry County while SiteTech said it was in 2010, it wouldn’t explain why RealtyTrac said the lowest median sales price was March 2013 while SiteTech said it was in 2011.
Neither company could say why.
RealtyTrac and SiteTech collect data differently, but are getting essentially the same information. But RealtyTrac also figures in some sales (mobile homes, for instance) that SiteTech doesn’t use to compute its single-family home median sales price.
Those discrepancies could account for some of the differences, but likely not all.