All of our ShowingTime MarketStats products use a live data approach in reporting. While we have used this approach for years, it seems as though a month doesn't pass by where we don't receive questions regarding it.
So, we figured this would be a great opportunity to discuss our methods. First, let's start with a brief explanation of the two most common reporting methods, frozen and live.
Using a frozen method for data means that once a report is created, those figures will remain ‘frozen’ or unchanged, regardless of any changes or updates that have occurred since.
The live approach means the numbers from previous months reported in the current month’s report are refreshed and recalculated using the most up-to-date information.
For example, in September we reported 1,105 pending sales and 3,197 active listings for a city in Louisiana. When October reports were released for the same area, those same figures were 1,092 and 3,309, respectively. The housing market is fluid and changes constantly; our method ensures the accuracy of what is going on and reflects the current state of the market.
An added benefit of the live approach is that if a listing gets added or changed, or a sale falls through after the month is over, the data will reflect those changes. With frozen data, these changes wouldn’t be reflected in future reports.
Not reflecting changes like this is unfortunate for any sized market, but is particularly noticeable for smaller areas. Another benefit of using the live method is that it’s much easier to answer questions regarding reports.
Frozen data will match the MLS at the exact moment it is pulled, but once a change is made, it will no longer match. This would make it particularly difficult to give a detailed explanation to a member about why the median sales price was $250,000 for an area versus $275,000.
ShowingTime has given this a lot of thought over the years and is committed to this philosophy, even though it can occasionally cause some confusion. Our objective is always transparency in data methodology. If you have any questions, please contact us for more information!