March 18, 2016 | Mario Toneguzzi
A guide to distinguishing average, median and benchmark prices
Sellers and potential buyers in today's residential real estate market can be understandably excused if they are confused about what's happening with housing prices.
After all, for both, price changes in the market are supremely important. Plus, CREB® gathers price information that, to the untrained eye, can tell different stories.
For example, in February, CREB® reported the benchmark price in the city for all MLS® properties that were sold was $445,000, or down 3.45 per cent from February 2015. However, the average MLS® sale price increased by 2.72 per cent to $472,529 while the median price was unchanged at $420,000.
From top to bottom, that's a difference of close to $30,000.
"It's looking at values based on criteria such as square footage, total bedrooms and bathrooms, location, property type."
So what should one look at if they are either selling a home in this tough market or hoping to buy one?
A good start would be by looking at what each price category entails, said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. For example, the median price looks at every sale that has occurred in the market, ranking them from lowest to highest. The median price is the midpoint of all the sales.
Lurie said the average sale price is adding up the total dollar sum of the purchases divided by the number of total sales.