For a real estate agent, it's the question that never seems to go away: How hot is the housing market? Nate Sumner, a Realtor for Pacific Union GMAC Real Estate in the Marin County, Calif., community of Mill Valley, has an answer. His Marin Market Heat Index, a measure of activity in the local housing market, has been gaining steam among real estate professionals and consumers in the region. Twice each month, Sumner gives a presentation to other agents in his office to update them on the index, and he uses the index to explain market conditions to his clients. As some formerly raging housing markets have begun to slow down and even reverse across the country, home buyers and sellers and real estate professionals want to know the current state of the market, and Sumner said he believes his local index could be adapted for use in other markets, too. The index is intended as a snapshot of buyer competition for listed homes – a gauge of market intensity. To compute the index, Sumner...
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