You might have heard a real estate commentator, analyst, or even broker or agent utter a relatively recent addition to the real estate lexicon, the adage that real estate is hyperlocal. It is usually used to indicate that all markets are not the same, and do not operate in the same direction at the same time. This was the basis for the widespread belief that it was impossible to have a nationwide real estate recession, because markets are so different.

While that was clearly an overgeneralization, it is the case that we’ve seen different markets hit their peaks and troughs at different times and to widely varying degrees, based on the peculiarities of their local market. Las Vegas homes have lost about 60 percent of their value since their peak, while homes in Pittsburgh, Pa., have lost less than 1 percent of their value, on average.

That’s hyperlocal.

Nature offers an interesting parallel to this real estate phenomenon: microclimates. Wikipedia defines a microclimate as "a local atmospheric zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. The term may refer to areas as small as a few square feet (for example, a garden bed) or as large as many square miles." An urban gardening book I just reviewed defines microclimates as "small areas that experience their own weather conditions," and goes on to explain that even in your backyard, "there are tiny climates that are each affected by sun and wind exposure, soil type, and houses, fences and other landscape features."

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