On page A2 of today’s Wall Street Journal, Carl Bialik, aka “The Numbers Guy,” looked at the recent Forbes.com articles. The first one initially ranked Denver as the second worst housing market, based on an incorrect use of Zillow.com data that the online magazine thought was showing that the supply of homes in the Denver-area were rising dramatically. The reality is that the supply was dropping, and sales were rising. Bialik interviewed Hickenlooper last Wednesday. Mark Samuelson, of Samuelson & Associates, e-mailed Bialik with the story idea last Sunday.
“Fuming mad,” over Forbes
“Here’s a story about Forbes and housing stats that has everybody in Denver, from the Mayor on down, fuming mad,” Samuelson wrote to Bialik. ” Two weeks ago Forbes ran a story calling the Denver area “second-Worst Housing Market in America,” after rust-belt Milwaukee, barely better than Los Angeles. Economists here were shaking their heads trying to figure how Forbes reporter came up with the numbers that suggested we had twice as much inventory on the market as local stats show.”
Samuelson noted that Forbes later pulled the articles. He also mentioned me, describing me as the “flagship real estate reporter for the Rocky Mountain News,” (Thanks, Mark) and sending him a link to InsideRealEstateNews.com.
“The list quickly drew scrutiny from Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who called Forbes to question the results,” Bialik wrote in today’s Wall Street Journal. He quoted Hickenlooper as saying: “We were in the process of coming out of [the housing downturn].To hear that we’re lagging just didn’t make sense.” (For the article in which Hickenlooper first drew his scrutiny to the Forbes.com article, please visit Hick: Forbes has some explaining to do.)
Zillow data, Forbes response
Bialik’s column continued: ”Two weeks later, Forbes retracted the ranking, blaming a misuse of inventory data from real-estate site Zillow.com. Zillow regularly adds vendors to its database, so an increase in listed houses from year to year might reflect more listings on Zillow rather than a real-world rise in homes that aren’t selling. “It’s not necessarily a complete picture over time of what’s happening in those markets,” says Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist. After announcing the problems with the ranking, Forbes withdrew both the ranking and the retraction from its Web site. “We couldn’t rerank in any meaningful way, so we didn’t,” Paul Maidment, editor of Forbes Media, said in an email.”
The rest of the column examines rankings, such as the world’s most livable cities, and provides consumers with advice on how to determine which rankings make the most sense.
Please visit The Numbers Guy to read the entire column.
Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com or 303-945-6865< class="related_post_title">Related Posts:>