The site has experienced server interruptions with related active link and email contact issues Jul 19 – Aug 2nd. My sincere apology. I believe it’s all fixed but may only really know if you advise me of issues/problems. Thank you.


Reader’s Email

Recently, a viewer wrote me the following,

“Given that unit sales are down July and June year to year, the focus on yet closed (Under Contracts) seems to be data in support of wishful thinking. Smoke and mirrors instead of transparency. With all due respect. “

I didn’t intend to publish my response but on reflection, I think sharing it is an opportunity to highlight some points which may merit explaining – especially given the attention they’ve received – and may help viewers more fully understand my stats, my reporting and objectives for doing this work.


Dear Viewer, Your point is well taken regarding sales. I too was surprised that actual Aspen market unit sales were so relatively close to last year (+6%) year over year, even though dollar sales have spiked +32%. (Generally, unit sales are viewed as a better indicator of market activity as dollars sales can be skewed disproportionately by a single or a few very high priced sales.)

Flat sales would be noteworthy in a vacuum, for the lack of anything else to report, but in the presence of a big uptick in under contracts (UC), they are of minor interest.

I am looking for stats that stand out, tell a story, hint at something that is going on, insights…. In my judgment, the fact that UC’s are so strong is telling us something significant. This is supported by ‘old timers’ – voices of experience – who believe that “Pendings” is the only statistic that really matters, where we are going.

Both closings and pendings are facts: a) Closings are certain evidence of past performance but, as is said often, not of future performance; b) UC/pendings are evidence of current contract activity and future closings.

If you believe that pendings are wishful thinking, that’s an opinion and one way of looking at it, but as most pendings do in fact close, the statistic is a well-used proxy for predicting future closings, and therefore market activity.

I have no interest in hyping the market, hyperbole or exaggeration. There’s no deliberate ‘smoke and mirrors’. If so, it’s entirely unintentional. I do believe I could have done better in calling attention to the fact that closings year to date are fairly close to last year as a counter point to the rising number of under contracts.

I believe my reputation is that of a straight shooter, and my goal is to stay true to the facts but if I am going to perform any analysis, the facts will be subject to my interpretation in some measure. Subjectivity is built-in to the process.

“Calling it like it is” is what some have said I’m known for. I hope so. I strive for it and especially during the recession took a lot of heat for it. It wasn’t easy as a broker saying things were awful when they in fact were. Integrity is my currency. Period.

I’d be most happy to talk through any and all of this and the stats if you’d like.

As closing, here’s a thought I grapple with all the time: “Don’t mistake the facts for the truth”, Thomas Jefferson.

Best regards, Tim