Monday, June 6, 2011

What the numbers tell us, and what do we do with that?

Numbers. Added up, multiplied, calculated as a percentage of another number, and re-run through any number of filters. Usually this is done to measure something, project something, prove a point, or to tell a story.

If you are a hockey fan, and more precisely a Vancouver Canucks fan, you may have seen the stat I did this morning, that when it comes to the final round of Stanley Cup Finals and one team is up 2-0 over another in this best of seven series, the team that is up has gone on to win the cup 42 of 46 times. I want to believe, and I don't want to jinx them!

(just 30 minutes from the start of game three as I write this, I can only imagine the energy in the heart of Vancouver tonight)

Then there's the other side. When the numbers being published by the experts and pundits don't agree with your reality. That's the case for me right now, with the prolonged and some are predicting double dip in the US housing recession. In the media, it's all dire and sad news, one depressing prediction after the next.

Perhaps it's just me, but the energy in the American people doesn't seem to jive with this. No question, it's still scary out there, and the term "jobless recovery" seems painfully accurate for many. But the continued crunching of numbers to show the same negative story is getting me, and many others down.

For our business, and in our communities, we have had some stellar home sales results not only during the first quarter, but the past 30 days as well. One community posted its best sales result ever since opening in 1991, another posted its best month since March 2006. And yet another posted the biggest increase in a 30-day period since June 2007. Many others are way up over this time last year, with one community already 3 sales away from their total annual sales pace last year, with still half a year remaining.

So here's the thing. Numbers point the way, sometimes even paint the way. But they can also lag reality sometimes. I hope for the Canucks tonight that's not the case. And I hope for the US housing market our strong sales are joined by the same on the part of many others, so we can put the bad news tales behind us, and adjust to a long-term more sustainable though still positive and optimistic reality. At the very least, I am hoping for a little more curiosity and deeper analysis beyond the first layer of economic indicators. The results are there - you just have to look for them.

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