Posted by Leonard Steinberg on July 21st, 2013

This month several real estate company reports were released addressing the 2nd quarter of real estate sales in New York. What astounded me (and surely many consumers) was the huge variance in the reporting. I was shocked how several real estate firms reported flat pricing even though anyone and everyone in the markets was experiencing significant price escalation and multiple bidding wars. Is the Department of State more focused on broker titles than this little item? Surely the data of sales is a little more important?

I learned that these reports are based on information gathered from ACRIS (Automated City Register Information System), the government data base……but one little detail was over-looked:  ACRIS had a severe backlog of data so the information these firms based their reports on was inaccurate. Douglas Elliman’s report analyzes a broader spectrum of databases, not just ACRIS, hence its figures were closer to the reality. Many companies ONLY use ACRIS to compile their reports, hence the inaccuracies.

Our monthly report, LUXURYLETTER, provides a blending of both signed contracts and closed sales, the only one of its kind:  while not 100% accurate, it is a much more effective indicator of what is truly happening in the markets right now. It is especially important to include signed contracts in a market where a large volume of sales are happening in new buildings that will only close and register in 12 – 30 months.

The consumer has a right to good data to help them make real estate transaction decisions, often the largest financial decision in their lives: while ACRIS only reports on closed sales (which I always believe to be insufficient when signed contracts are a more current insight to the markets true activity) if they cannot keep their systems 100% up-to-date, their data is useless and worse, misleading. Maybe everyone in government was too busy focusing on those broker titles instead of doing the work that truly benefits consumers?