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More Accurate Home Price Data on Tap for Florida

Florida is believed to be the first in the nation to get its own home sales price index, a labor of love for the state real estate group’s chief economist and a more accurate measure of property values in the recovering market.

The index, which is similar to the widely trusted nationwide Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller report, is scheduled to launch in September with regional and countywide information that takes into account every residential parcel in the state.

Realtors have long complained the current method of reporting monthly median homes sales prices doesn’t offer a true measure of increasing and decreasing values. The median, which means half of homes sold above the price and half below, can be greatly influenced if a large number of either distressed properties or luxury homes sell in one month.

Florida’s new index, created by the Florida Realtors, is considered a “repeat sales index” that will combine Florida Department of Revenue data with prices of individual properties sold over time. The index will be released quarterly with data going back to 1995.

“This is definitely the thing we’ve been waiting for and it will be much more reflective of what prices are doing,” said Bill Richardson, district sales manager at The Keyes Co. in Boca Raton and a past president of the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. “It’s truly something we’ve needed.”

“All of the measures have strengths and weaknesses, but a repeat sales index is probably better than a median price on an aggregate basis,” Moloney said. “We’re looking at developing one on a national level but it’s not quite ready for prime time yet.”

Finding better ways to measure Florida real estate sales has been a goal of Florida Realtors Chief Economist John Tuccillo since he was hired last year to lead the group’s new data and analysis department. Tuccillo is the former chief economist for the National Association of Realtors and has led his own Sarasota-based consultant’s firm.

While the general public may prefer a median sales price that reports an actual dollar figure to an index, which is a mathematical calculation designed to normalize time-series data, the index is considered more accurate.

“This is really the first of its kind in the nation,” Tuccillo said about the index. “We’re pretty proud of it.”

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