Housing Prices
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How to read this map | Back to: Housing Prices Special Report

How to read this map

Step 1: The map is interactive. You can use the zoom tool on the left and the borders of the map to navigate around. Each neighborhood that has been shaded is clickable, and will give you the median prices and number of sales for the last seven quarters in those areas. So find an area you are interested in and click on it. If the area you are interested in is clear, that means there weren't enough sales -- 10 sales in a quarter -- to analyze.

Step 2: Look long, look short. The long-term outlook is rosier than the short term. Comparing the 3rd quarter this year to the same period a year ago, prices are still generally ahead. But comparing the 2nd and 3rd quarters this year, the numbers in most areas are headed down.

Step 3: Take a deep breath. There's no way to sugarcoat the downtown in this year's housing market. But if your neighborhood is on the extremes – cold or hot – a spate of expensive sales could have skewed the analysis. The numbers are a measure of what is selling, not a measure of how much your house is worth. Be sure to look at each quarter and how they compare. If you see spikes, that means something else is going on.

Step 4: Take another deep breath. How you read this map depends on where you are in this market. Longtime homeowners should remember that prices are double and triple where they were just five years ago. And if you're not selling, the current "correction" should not hurt. But houses that are on the market now could be in for a rough ride. Expert says that if you don’t have to sell a house now, don't.

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