What’s the median house price for Bendigo?
It may seem a straightforward question, but the reality is more complex.
Currently, depending on which real estate website you’re scrolling through, estimates can differ by up to $25,000 – from $370,000 to $395,000.
And that’s just the ‘live’ data.
Older data – depending on who conducted the report and where the statistics are sourced from – can also produce conflicting results.
As Dr Diaswati Mardiasmo, National Research Manager for PRD Nationwide explains, some websites have a different methodology for collating the data.
Realestate.com.au, for example, has the most up-to-date ‘live data’, but the reality is the figures are not completely accurate, Dr Madiasmo said.
“Some of the information (in the live data) includes agents’ advice – and it’s possible some of the sales haven't settled and are still in contract period,” she said.
Some sales naturally fall through, making reports which consider long-term averages – like the state government’s Victorian property sales report – more reliable, according to Dr Mardiasmo.
The Victorian property sales report uses ‘settled’ three-month old data.
Its latest report released last week puts Bendigo’s median price at $361,000 for the September quarter 2017 – a drop of 7.7 per cent from the June quarter 2017.
Additionally, unit prices were at $292,000 – an increase of 17 per cent from the previous quarter.
‘Settled’ data was traditionally more accurate or usable for researchers like Dr Mardiasmo.
“You could get a number of quick sales in a suburb or an expensive house or plot of land sell which could skew the figures,” she said.
Agents, home owners and indeed purchasers, want more up-to-date information, but Dr Mardiasmo said the figure, in reality, should only be used as a rough estimate.
“For us in real estate it gives us a good benchmark, to be able to say this is where the trend is, and advising people they need to adjust their expectations accordingly,” she said.
“They (purchasers) need to know what the median house price is to understand whether they can go to that place.”
Old data, same problems
Some older data however can also be conflicting.
According to the 16th QBE Australian Housing Outlook report in June 2017, the median house price in Bendigo was $334,000, and was unlikely to increase by more than four per cent over the next three years, QBE Lenders' Mortgage Insurance chief executive Phil White said at the time.
Dr Mardiasmo said some reports – not necessarily the one mentioned above – group data, rather than separate individual postcodes – for example a median house price in Kennington would be bracketed under ‘Bendigo’.
Advice for house hunters?
Given the swathe of conflicting reports, Dr Mardiasmo urged anyone considering a particular are to consider the long-term average house, or unit price of the suburb as context to the ‘live’ data on real estate websites.
Victorian property sales report