Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
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An interesting land-price:FX6887877Price: $199,900 Sales Price History:Feb 09, 2007 $350,000 It looks to me as if the lot has been cleared and finished and is ready to build, and yet is still taking a 44% hit over the purchase price.I think the price is still too high, but it's an impressive drop for something near a metro (though definitely past walking distance).
fairfax foreclosures up 392%!!http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=25&sid=1489281
That was posted a few days ago from another source, but I'll say it here,why don't they just say "almost a factor of 4"? Wouldn't that be clearer? 392% is just a way of moving the decimal point over to make it look more impressive. But I would think that saying "almost four times as many foreclosures happened in Fairfax County as last year" would have a more visceral impact.
Hi caramy bad.. haven't dropped in for a while.. figures wtop is behind the game!
I agree cara. There is a sensationalistic aspect to the so much of their reporting - both good and bad. If I am reading it correctly, the "astounding 392% increase" (their words) was due to FFX having 50 some odd foreclosures last september vs 197 foreclosures today (Aug 08). Keep in mind this is a county with over 1 million people. Is this 197 number really that astounding?The low start number had a lot to do with it too. Lets say the Sept 07 number was only 10 foreclosures. You could now say it surged an "Astronomical, Armageddon like 1,970%!!!"
Bas - nothing against you in my comment. I have always hated WTOP!
"Why don't they just say "almost a factor of 4"?To avoid confusion?The way I read it is that foreclosures are almost 5 times as high. If foreclosures were up 100%, they would have doubled, 200% they would have tripled, 300% quadrupled and 400% quintupled.Algebraically:Let x be number of foreclosures last year.x + 3.92x = 1974.92x = 197x= 40.04, and 197 is almost 5 times as much as 40.(The ".04" round off error - it should have been 392.5%. Try this using 3.92x = 197 and the fractional remainder is too high to be round-off.)I could see the argument that 392% takes the answer beyond a reasonable precision, but you could just as easily say "up almost 400%." To someone who is used to working with numbers I don't think "400%" has any greater impact than "almost five times as high" (or, equivalently, "almost four times higher"). To me they mean exactly the same thing.Ratios are increasingly reported wrong in the media, especially when writers try to avoid percentages and fractions ... I don't think most journalism schools have a math requirement. Percentages can be far clearer when working with ratios when a number decreases. Say sales drop from 1000 to 100 (to use easy to work with numbers). Then sales are "down 90%". Equivalently, sales are "one-tenth of what they had been" but newspapers don't like to use fractions because they believe they confuse readers. Instead, it seems almost universal in the press any more to say that sales are now "10 times less." This is absurd. If sales were 1 times less (1 times = 100%) they would be zero. Two times less, there'd be negative 1000 sales. Ten times less would be -9000 sales. The "inverse of "ten times more" is not "ten times less", it's "one tenth as much".Stick with percentages and you avoid this problem.
KeithKStick with factors and you do make it clearer, obviously, since we managed to disagree on the answer. See! Percentages take thought. "There were 5 times as many foreclosures" doesn't.Percentages only make visceral sense, when they are less than 100%. "A 20% increase" unambigously implies 20% in addition. "120% more" tends to bring up the question do they mean 1.2 x Y or 2.2 x Y? And once you get above 200% you forget about that first implied 100% entirely. It's talking about percentages and factors that confuses all the numbers anyway. People forget things like that a 50% drop in price takes a 100% increase thereafter to return to the original price. But if you just used the numbers no one would be confused (or coddled).
keithk,sorry. I didn't read the final paragraph before replying. Yes, for decreases percentages do avoid a pitfall. Of course for decreases, percentages are always less than (or equal to) 100%, so aren't confusing in the manner I objected to.
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