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Us Census Data Usage For Picking Comp Properties

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VolcanoLvr

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Washington
Have you ever in the past, or currently, use US Census tract or block boundary info in your area as a method to search for comparable properties?

US Census data is based on "population and housing unit count" ... this from their web site.

There are some appraisers (one in particular that I'm discussing this with) who believe that census tracts/blocks reveal types of building designs which can then be translated into potential comps.

That might be the case in very dense, highly developed urban areas. But in my area, census tract boundaries encompass and incorporate many types of housing designs.
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
Perfectly worthless here. One of our blocks encompasses the fastest growing part of both commercial and residential land in Bentonville(home of Wally World Hdq.) and the SW part of it is almost totally agriculture and between the two lies the regional airport. There are no less than five school districts covered along with 4 rural mail routes, What kind of consistent "neighborhood" is that??
 

Randolph Kinney

Elite Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2005
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Census data is for lenders. It lacks many elements of comparison to determine comparables.
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
ZIP codes and Census Tracts are arbitrary boundaries set for the convenience of the government. Census tracts may or may not reflect a valid neighborhood. In the densely populated areas of the northeast, you may find unitary markets, but that is probably the only areas in which this would be valid.
 

residentialguy

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Minnesota
Use the CU tool. Oh wait, the professionals of market value are banned from using a tool that could help them become more accurate. It's used to penalize them for not being accurate.
Love you too, Fannie
 

J Grant

Elite Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
That appraiser sounds like a moron.
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
I have always found it amusing that we are asked to include the census tract on the appraisal report. That has all kinds of information we, as appraisers, are prohibited from including in our appraisal report.

People rarely consider the census tract when making a purchases. IN MY MARKET, the MLS marketing area, subdivision, or neighborhood is a much better determination of comparable properties. Sometimes it also could be school district.

When I was learning to appraise my mentor was my step brother. He has been considered the DEAN of residential appraisers in this market and for years taught appraisal for the University of Colorado. One of his tricks for finding comps was to use the grade school as a search filter. It works well in this market as there might be several different subdivisions where the kids go to the same grade school. I've even seen two different MLS marketing areas where the grade school is the common factor.
 

jay trotta

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Connecticut
Most of that doesn't work here, in my area we have villages within the Town so the CT doesn't matter, if you use that chances are you have no clue what a comp is here; we do have a Demographics pack I can and do use for my specific reasons, but most Clients don't want all that information as it could be used against them, so I've been told.
 

G-man

Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Ohio
In the Toledo market, Census Tracts do typically follow certain neighborhood boundaries. Way back in the early 2000's, I could set my PACE disks to search certain Census Tracts. Now, I use MLS almost exclusively, so it is much less of a factor. The other appraisers in my office toyed with trying to draw census boundary borders for search parameters in the MLS, but it really went nowhere.
 
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