Be careful what you believe, not all agents tell the truth.

Friday, February 17, 2012 by Ed Mead

Why does anyone bother to use the discredited currency that is statistics. Listening to Ed “Wallace” Miliband (You think that’s bad, try the prospect of Prime Minister Balls) sparring with Dave at PMQs not only are the figures meaningless, but they’re often not even understood by the leaders themselves. Indeed aforementioned Ed used a stat referring to how the NHS is now treating less serious cases within the target time period, and Dave actually missed the fact that this was good news. What he should have said is thank you.

Such is the case with property stats and although we all know the national figures are fairly meaningless things aren’t helped by publicity hungry agents releasing simple stats and presenting them as earnest and salient facts.  

This week a medium sized agent in London released a headline quote saying “Record 18 buyers chasing every central London home” which is just plain untrue, gives agents a bad name and makes our jobs much more difficult. Twitter was ablaze with their PRs pushing the headline, and of course the journalists were on the phone. I told them, in no uncertain terms, that this statement is at best disingenuous and certainly knowingly misleading. How can anyone simply divide the number of buyers registering by the number of instructions and extrapolate such puerile statistics. Surely just knowing that 18 times as many buyers as sellers were registering would have given the same feeling without the sensationalist headline.

D&G can hardly be accused of being PR shy, but at least we try and be upfront, publishing monthly in our London Barometer how many properties we take on and how many buyers. This gives interested parties a reasoned and balanced set of stats that are compared with previous months on a like for like basis. Indeed it’s not too much to suggest that D&G is probably the ONLY agent that actually provides useful and straight talking data about the central London market and the areas immediately surrounding it.

At a time when spin has been recognised for what it is we should be very wary of allowing ourselves to be swayed by dubious evidence presented as persuasive fact. Given the negative reaction on social media sites about Murdoch’s upcoming Sun on Sunday perhaps people are finally getting fed up with commercial outfits using utter bull***t to market themselves and are now perhaps looking for a little more substance to back up what they’re told. At D&G we call it fluff busting, and if the public asked just a few more questions when presented with demonstrable guff those peddling it would have to up their standards to compete.