Recently I listened to a great episode of the Ted Radio Hour on NPR. The episode was entitled: Can We Trust the Numbers.
Numbers and statistics tend to lend credibility to claims and assertions. But numbers can be skewed in so many ways. The cherry-picking and manipulation of raw data can be used to spin a point of view in one direction or the other. Where you get the data, how you filter it and what data points you choose to report are all ways in which raw data can be manipulated to support or refute certain claims.
Data is data, and it is important to trust facts, but it’s just as important to ask questions when presented with data….even if that data is in the form of a very pretty, professional looking chart. We need to know and understand where the data came from, the size of the data pool, the questions that were asked (or the formulas used). This is as true in real estate as it is with science, behavioral studies, and politics. Context matters.