Making sense of jargon
For the numerically challenged, making sense of real estate data can be like trying to decipher hieroglyphics.
But for potential buyers and vendors, understanding current market trends is a necessary evil.
RP Data is one of several statistics providers offering basic free statistics via its myrpdata.com.au website and detailed data reports down to street level for a nominal fee.
Senior data analyst at RP Data, Cameron Kusher, says while a city's statistics provide an indication of broader trends, the figures hold "little relevance" to specific local markets.
"Research is definitely the key to buying a property at the right price," he said, but understanding the jargon is step one.
The median price
"A median price is simply the middle-priced sale across a list of sales arranged in ascending price order," Mr Kusher said, adding that while they provide an idea about the price of a "typical" property sold during a particular time period, changes in median prices should not be incorrectly referred to as capital growth.
"In reality, median prices can be heavily biased by a range of factors including the sample size and the types of properties."
Mr Louis Christopher, founder of SQM Research and publisher of a Home Discounts report, said that during market downturns heavy discounting was common while in upturns rates of discounting decrease. Mr Kusher said buyers should be aware of vendor discounting because it indicated how much vendors were likely to move from their initial listed price. He said vendors should also keep an eye on vendor discounting in their neighbourhood so they know what price reductions may have to be offered.
Time on market
The most recent data says that Cairns' time on market for houses is 106 days and 124 days for units, which compares with 107 and 127 respectively for the Gold Coast and 94 and 103 for Brisbane. Each suburb, however, has an individual average time on market. For buyers, the time on market average is an important tool. If a property has been sitting unsold for longer than the suburb's average, Mr Kusher said it might mean there is scope for price negotiation. Vendors should look at time on market as an indication of how long their property could take to sell.For online property data: myrp.com.au, apm.com.au, sqmresearch.com.au and abs.gov.au
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Data decoding: Understanding market trends can be beneficial. Picture: THINKSTOCK