Web site statistics update

A quick follow up to our previous discussion about using Alexa to measure how many people visit your site (or visit your competitors): Alexa is reporting “geek” sites doubled in popularity overnight. Jason Striegel hypothesizes that this is likely the result of digg users downloading the Alexa toolbar en masse on the day that a top story linked to Alexa.

That means that most sites could probably rig the stats by encouraging their readers to download the Alexa toolbar, or, as I hypothesized, the Alexa toolbar is not a good measure of readership across the entire internet whole, but of people who install whatever they’re offered (mostly internet neophytes).

Zillow, Trulia and RainCityGuide don’t seem to have been affected by the geek onslaught.  I think that many Digg readers (myself excluded) might be too young for real estate websites, no matter how geeky they may be.

Using Alexa to Compare Traffic Across Sites

Do you ever wonder how well your website and/or blog is doing in comparison to your competitors?

While there is not a great site on the web for getting accurate traffic statistics on competitors, Amazon does provides some stats based on people who are using their Alexa Toolbar. Rather than try to give total site hits (which they can’t do), Amazon gives us relative stats (as in “X number of people out of a million” visited this site). Here are some observations from some searches I did tonight:

All good stuff, but remember to take these statistics with a grain of salt. As Matt Cutts of Google discussed a while back, the type of people visiting a site can definitely skew these results greatly and considering Rain City Guide is in Amazon’s backyard, we’re more likely than most to have traffic from people with the Alexa toolbar installed.

The “starter price” condo market

Many years ago, I did a study of the “starter price” condo market and received some very surprising results. Based on Dustin’s post, I re-did the research and obtained the exact same results as I did back in Bucks County, PA some 13-16 years ago! Interesting…

The two highest months for people making decisions to buy a condo in what we might call a “starter” price range are March and July. March because first time buyers are often urged by their accountants, or simply by their tax return on their own, to own instead of rent. July due to downsizing of empty nesters or now single, divorced persons selling their single family homes in June and July and moving to a condo. Of course, every month has a mix of reasons to buy, but I find these two reasons account for the fact that these two months tend to be the highest in a yearly cycle.

Sales in June and August are not too far behind and on a quarterly basis, sales are more fairly consistent year round for condos than single family homes, with a slight drop in the last quarter. Again we are not talking about million dollar condos, we are talking about the lowest rung of the price chain.

Actual statistics of 2 bedroom condos under $300,000 (most about $250,000) within a short distance of Sundance in Klahanie.

2005 – Jan. – 10, Feb. – 14, March – Twenty eight – Sold in the 1st quarter – 52

April – 18, May – 19, June – 24 – Sold in the 2nd quarter – 61

July – Thirty, Aug. – 24, Sept. – 13 – Sold in the 3rd quarter – 67

Oct. – 13, Nov. – 9, Dec. – 15 – Sold in the 4th quarter – 37

Inventory in 2006 is way down with only 39 sold in the first quarter compared to 52 in 2005. This does not appear to be because there are fewer buyers, but because fewer people are putting their properties up for sale. However this low inventory in the resale market should not necessarily lead you to believe that demand will be high as supply is low. There is a lot of pressure on the resale markets from New construction and Condo Conversion Projects, generally. Even if the new construction or condo conversion is not in your back yard, people will drive an extra mile or two for brand new.

I have to admit that I almost fell off my chair to find the results almost identical in this scenario, to the study I did some 3,000 miles away back in the early to mid nineties.