When a challenge isn't
"This estimate was released today by RealSTATS, which challenged University of Pittsburgh economist Chrisotpher Briem who earlier this month the new assessments would reduce property taxes for two out of three homeowners."
Anyway, just to avoid any confusion. I have put the full distribution of values I scraped from the county assessment web site online and explained in that previous post. I put my full dataset online as well exactly where the distribution comes from for those who want to look at it. Feel free to go and use it to do your own calculations. Remember, the old article being references was done at a time when the county was not releasing the assessment data even to the media even though it was central to the entire public debate at the time. The real issue here is that it is about open data, transparency and what the public should not be guessing about. There need not be any confusion or debating numbers here. In itself, figuring if your taxes go up or down need not be proverbial rocket science.
Note I used data directly from the assessment which is the basis for tax bills. I think the Realstats data is great, but I
But I don't quite see the 'challenge' part anywhere. This news item says there is an estimate that 54% of homeowners will see a price drop. I came up with 65%. We can argue over the 10% there, but the point is that there is not additional analysis saying that a majority of homeowners will see a price drop in the new assessment. Something that I suspect a majority of people still find suprising given the political rhetoric. I kind of see it as the opposite of any 'challenge'. I don't get it??
In fact, they really agree with the big point I made earlier. Per the article summarizing the realstats data "The areas in which taxes are going up are Lawrenceville, Stanton Heights, Morningside, South Side, Bloomfield, Highland Park and East Liberty". I think that comes awfully close to what I said and was quoted in the PG:
The neighborhoods where assessment increases are most concentrated include the South Side Flats, Lawrenceville, the Mexican War streets and portions of Highland Park and East Liberty. Many city and county officials have pointed to those neighborhoods as redevelopment success stories where new residents are moving in and real estate prices are rising, Mr. Briem wrote.What am I missing? I wish everyone who 'challenged' me would so agree with me? I can only speculate a bit on where the difference is from 55%, but as I said.. I based my ratio on the actual assessment data and not on an analysis of recent sales data which I suspect is what Relastats has since that is what they distribute regularly. Also as I explained, I took out parcels that were likely not habitable parcels which are a big chunk of all the parcels coded as 'residential' in the assessment data for the county.
You know what would be fun? The county distributes an actual dataset that the PG could then use to come up with a number themselves and then not get caught up in this. Why argue over a number that clearly can be calculated without too much speculation needed. Of course, it is unknown to me if the PG has yet to be able to acquire the actual data which I know they have been trying to get since December to little avail.
Update: So I've seen the Realstats report though it still isn't on their web site yet. From what I can tell he has somehow acquired the actual property assessment data, which is a big mystery since everyone I know including public officials who needed it did not have it. Though they may have it now. I think, and this is speculation a bit that Realstats is talking about a different set of issues. I was looking at City of Pittsburgh residents which at the time was clearly the only thing any of us could have been talking about since the county had only released the residential values. I think the count of residential properties in the city of Pittsburgh and Mount Oliver is close 119,100. There are another 30K or so commercial, or government parcels as well. So in the Realstats report I see he references 128 thousand parcels which I am pretty sure is talking about a lot more pacels than matters if you are talking about Pittsburgh residents and residential owners. I bet it is including commercial properties or a lot of properties that are clearly vacant in some form. So the numbers they are compiling are just not comparable to what I did and thus there are some difference between them.
Again, my data, explanation of how it was acquired, distribution of results, presumptions and explantion are all ONLINE HERE. Everyone can go poke a it and make their own conclusions. It might be good if Realstats put their complete dataset online as I have done for comparison.
If there is any difference in the final results it is because the county was not putting any of this data out at the time.. Right when everyone was getting their assessments and jumping to a lot of conclusions without much clarification from anyone out there. So it would have been nice if Realstats had put out this analysis of the actual assessment data when it really mattered, but it's great they are in large agreement now that folks have started to calm down. I would hope that with the actual assessment data we might reach a more definitive answer. It just isn't comparable to say "my numbers" are different from what comes out later. It isn't quite how this all works.