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Average? Median? Real??


Because so much of our life is tied up in numbers – age, temperature, salary, wealth, weight – the newspapers, television and radio news programs devote significant space or time to giving us the “news” about what real estate values are doing in our suburb, city, state and nation.

My greatest problem in trying to make sense of the headlines about house prices is that firstly there is little recognition of the fact that every single “place of abode” in the world that is owned and/or rented is UNIQUE. Even if the properties are identical to look at there are differences, even with brand new matching duplex units.

Secondly, like the share market, the buyer and the seller could easily have several dramatically differing reasons for their action in selling/buying.

When I studied statistics in the middle of the last century I thought then and still think now what a waste of time it was calculating the median of five numbers eg 13,14,15,26,37 [answer 15] and even the average of 5 numbers eg 5,10,15,20,25 [answer 15]. Neither answer is terribly useful.

Do you think you would be comfortable with one foot in a bucket of ice and the other in a bucket of boiling water? Even at about an average temperature of 50 degrees?