How Relevant Is The Case Shiller Index To Washingtonians?

Yesterday the Case Shiller Index released it’s most recent figures that cover the housing market through the month of June. With the report showing a 5th straight month of overall price growth nationally, it has some saying that the housing market has finally turned a corner. For anyone who lives in Phoenix and has experienced a 14 point gain since June 2011, that is an understatement. However, those in Atlanta who have seen a 12 point decrease during the same time period may see things a little differently.

The Case Shiller index can be a great tool in the right context, but is the Case Shiller index relevant if you live in Falls Church? Or if you live in Arlington? As a generalization of the market, the index can be helpful. In generalizing, though, hot and cold markets are muted by inclusion, most notably by the inclusion of one another. The same is true within each locality included in the index, such as our own Washington, DC region which incorporates data from each of the following counties in our area:

District of Columbia DC, Calvert MD, Charles MD, Frederick MD, Montgomery MD, Prince Georges MD, Alexandria City VA, Arlington VA, Clarke VA, Fairfax VA, Fairfax City VA, Falls Church City VA, Fauquier VA, Fredericksburg City VA, Loudoun VA, Manassas City VA, Manassas Park City VA, Prince William VA, Spotsylvania VA, Stafford VA, Warren VA, Jefferson WV

With the incorporation of such a vast geography within the Washington DC Metro Area I can’t recommend that anyone base any lost sleep on the index, or any news related to it. That is not to say that some of us in the DC Metro area don’t have reason to lose sleep, I’m just saying we should let other, more granular resources tell us that.

So, if you are in Falls Church, Arlington, Alexandria, or even McLean and want to know how prices are looking, you need to see a report that covers that specific area. Even then, you are only getting a general idea unless you have a specific market analysis done on your home, but at least you will have a more meaningful understanding.

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