Real Estate Surveys on the Condo Market-Can You Rely on Them?

22 December 2010

 In the past month, I have been asked by a research company, a big five accounting firm, and an economics group to participate in real estate surveys. Each survey was 20 minutes long. Two would be over the phone and one was an email questionnaire. I asked each of them what they were paying me. The answer was nothing – one said you had a chance – read one in thousand odds for a gift certificate. I declined to participate in all three saying I do not work for free!! My point is that no busy real estate person has time for this. But somehow these surveys get a few hundred respondents. Then the statistician states that these answers are accurate within a couple of per cent. That’s true if the sample responses are truly representative of the entire group – in this case real estate professionals. The problem is that only those people who are not busy answer these surveys! If they are not busy, it stands to reason that they are not active in the real estate market – could even be part timers – and then what is the validity of the survey? Makes one wonder why they do surveys, if there is a question as to who is responding to them. Oh, I forgot, there is such a thing as a survey business. And of course publishing some of the results gets you good media coverage and a name for the survey company and the sponsoring company. Surveys like this are just another example why people get the real estate market wrong!!