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Data Wars

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While San Diego-based real estate tracking company MDA DataQuick is usually quoted by the media, a report in today's LA Times indicates that online real estate company Zillow's latest data shows home sale prices are significantly higher than DataQuick's most recent report. The two companies rely on different data: Dataquick uses median homes sales prices, which can be dragged down if there's a big inventory of foreclosures, while Zillow uses a more complicated-sounding method (a "proprietary algorithm," according to its web site) that includes looking at the transactions in a neighborhood. From the LA Times: "Using this proprietary formula, the website says the median value of homes for the fourth quarter of 2008 was $387,021 in Los Angeles County and $474,560 in Orange County. Both figures are substantially higher than the December median sale prices reported by MDA DataQuick: $320,00 for Los Angeles County and $397,000 for Orange County..." [LA Times]