May Real Estate Prices Increase 2.2% as Inventory Continues to Fall

Who needs another home-price index? For years at Redfin, we focused on serving customers, not calling the market. As a local broker, we couldn’t really say what was happening nationwide.

But now that Redfin covers about as many markets as the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index, we are publishing our own monthly report on prices, sales volume and inventory: the Redfin Real-Time Price Tracker. Our goal is to offer the deep data access and market insights of a local broker, but on a national scale.

As brokers we know which way the market is headed before anyone else does. We have direct access to the local Multiple Listing Services real estate agents use to list properties and record sales. And of course as real estate agents we have first-hand experience with home-buyers and sellers, capturing far-flung customer activity in a central database.

This means that, ahead of any U.S. government agency, media company or analyst firm, the inaugural Redfin Price Tracker already has May 2012 numbers, on prices, inventory levels and sales volume. And the Tracker can be more accurate too, just because Redfin double-checks each sale against county records when available, comparing numbers from the MLS and then reconciling the two.

Long-term, the Price Tracker is only one part of our effort to give customers a complete view of the market. Last week, we published a quarterly survey of more than 1,000 active home-buyers working  with our agents,  the Redfin Real-Time Home-Buyer Tracker. Later this summer, we’ll probably start publishing a weekly measure of the number of Redfin customers beginning a new home search or requesting  a listing consultation, so you can see what a wild roller-coaster ride this whole business really is.

For the full report including data tables, charts, and a downloadable spreadsheet with historic data, visit the Real-Time Price Tracker in Redfin’s Research Center.

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