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Zillow Data Raising a "Huh?"

The February 10th Morning Eye took a look at the accuracy of everyone's new favorite plaything, Zillow, as it related to pricing for five Orange County properties sold in November-December 2005. For three of the properties, the data was fairly accurate - between 2.1 percent high to 0.8 below the actual sale price. For two other properties, Zillow was on a different planet altogether.

For these two homes, Zillow.com's estimates were way off: · 8.4 percent low for a Tustin home that sold for $760,000 on Nov. 1. Despite the length of time since that transaction, Zillow.com said the home was last sold in August 2003. It estimates the value at $696,109.

· 36.4 percent high for a Yorba Linda home (above rigtht) that sold for $850,000 on Nov. 2. Surprisingly, Zillow.com cites that November sale price, but estimates the home value at $1,159,064.

A Curbed reader emails in his own take on Zillow (after the jump) and gives it a mostly big thumbs down.
"I have been practicing real estate in the Hollywood Hills area for the past seven years and was very curious about Zillow. Although the site is fun to play around with, it isn't very accurate. First of all real estate is a business that is based on numbers AND emotions. Pure data does not always figure into the reasoning behind a sale or a purchase. Furthermore much of the data is very misleading. I found myself laughing at what this site reports to be the value of certain properties. Some properties were way overvalued and some under, mostly over. I find it very concerning if the public counts on this site to value their home and not their real estate professionals. We are the ones who are in the trenches everyday viewing property and making informed decisions as to a homes pricing in the marketplace. I understand why the creators of Expedia think that they will change the industry, but in all actuality this industry is so much more than data. Making reservations for your vacation is one thing online but buying/selling a home is a people based business and is far more complicated than buying a hotel room for the night. As I always told my students in real estate school, selling real estate is 25% data and 75% psychology."
· Zillow.com has lots of work to do [Morning Eye]