Here are last month’s Big Bear real estate stats. Because of the lower number of closings right after the long holiday weeks, the averages don’t mean a whole lot in some areas (no lakefronts and only 1 each in Fox Farm and Fawnskin); but the average sale and average $/sqft were up or relatively unchanged in the majority of areas that we track.
|Area||#Sales||Avg. Sale||Avg. $/sqft||SP/LP||DOM|
Below is an interesting article from the L.A. Times on the inaccuracy of Zillow’s “zestimates”. As it states in the article, the median error is 8% ($40K on a $500K house); but that varies greatly from area to area. Because these estimates are basically just a calculation of $/sqft for a given area times the sqftage of the house, they don’t really take into account the specific neighborhood, condition (age) of the house, view, lot size, etc. Therefore, zestimates are fairly accurate in areas with large subdivisions of homes that are all built around the same time, from the same types of materials, with the same kind of view; but they are very inaccurate in areas like Big Bear where homes range from 80-year-old homes in the low $150K’s to brand-new, multi-million dollar lakefront homes and everything in-between. I actually checked for myself using the homes sold in Big Bear Lake last month. The average discrepancy between the zestimate and actual sales price was 11.0%, with the largest variance being as much as 34% (on a $355K house)! There were also several mistakes regarding house sizes, addresses, and sales prices that varied from the MLS (including one that sold for $1,540,000, which Zillow claimed at $175K)!!
While websites like Zillow and Trulia are terrible at predicting values on specific homes, they are pretty good for analyzing market data and trends. For example, Trulia has some great charts for analyzing median sales prices over the last 15 years (Big Bear Lake is currently back to where prices were in the first quarter of 2005) and Zillow seems to have been doing a pretty good job of predicting future trends recently (they are predicting an 8.8% price increase over the next year in Big Bear Lake). Still, when it comes to information on specific homes in specific areas, you want to consult a local real estate professional.