Housing Tides: Frequently Asked Questions
What is Housing Tides?
Housing Tides (“Tides”) is the only monthly report providing a comprehensive, aggregated, balanced understanding of the health of the U.S. housing and home building industry. Tides was specially designed to help people and organizations wishing to take the guesswork out of the vast amount of forecasting information that is published about the home building and housing industry, easily access the information they need in one consolidated source, and decrease the amount of time required to read through all of the available news sources.
What information is in the Tides Report?
Tides features a monthly forecast of housing permits; a monthly aggregation of over 500 articles published about the housing market in national media; a report card on the accuracy of prominent forecasters in the media and industry; and a housing health index that scores each market on its health, and ranks each market compared to others.
What can people do with Tides?
People use Tides to better understand the market risks associated with housing market health, accurately predict home building volume, and make more timely and informed decisions about investing in this industry.
Who uses Tides?
Anyone who has a stake in the current and future state of the housing market will benefit from Tides – including financial analysts, mortgage lenders, product manufacturers and distributors, home builders, economic development professionals and home insurers. Also, for media outlets that publish news and perspectives on the U.S. housing and home building industry, the Housing Tides Index is a pioneering resource that will change the way the industry is covered.
Why was Tides developed?
Tides was born out of a need to offer a substantially clearer understanding of the housing market. EnergyLogic, the creator of Tides, feels that the availability of accurate information about the state of the housing market could have helped people better understand the housing crash. It could have mitigated the effects of the housing downturn and mitigated the creation of the bubble in the first place. Moving forward, Tides will help stakeholders make better informed decisions and be better prepared to respond to market changes.
What is the geographic scope of Tides?
Housing Tides currently reflects the U.S. housing and home building industry based on analyses of over 50 national news sources. In development is “Tides Local,” which will dig deeper into local markets by leveraging information from the Tides Housing Index and economic data, as well as an analysis of local news sources.
Subscription Costs and Access
How much does Tides cost?
Tides is available on a monthly subscription basis for $600 for one user. Discounts are available for subscriptions serving up to nine users. To learn about subscriptions for 10 users or more, clients may contact Hannah Finch at Housing Tides. The Housing Tides Index is available to members of the media at no cost.
I don’t understand what is in the Tides report. Can someone explain it to me?
The Housing Tides team is available to give a live, interactive digital demonstration to provide an in-depth understanding of Housing Tides. Request a demo here.
I am a member of the media. What tools are available to me?
Media are invited to subscribe to the Monthly Pulse, an email service that delivers an updated infographic depicting the latest monthly Housing Tides Index, along with a brief executive summary. Subscribe to the Housing Tides Monthly Pulse here. We also offer expert consultations to media, and invite media to join us for a live, interactive digital demonstration. Request a consultation or a private demo.
What is your refund/cancellation policy?
For monthly subscriptions:
Housing Tides does not refund the monthly subscription cost after the report has been delivered. Subscribers may cancel at any time. If you wish to cancel your subscription, please do so before the 5th of the month, when accounts are billed.
For annual subscriptions:
If you cancel an annual membership (paid monthly or once a year) within 14 days, you will receive a full refund. Otherwise, you are billed 50 percent of your remaining contract obligation.
Key Components of Tides
What is the Housing Tides Index?
The Housing Tides Index is a monthly pulse of the U.S. housing market, offering the most comprehensive yet succinct measure of market health in a consolidated form. Giving an aggregated view of the top 41 markets across the U.S., the index scores each market on its health and ranks each market compared to others. Numbers are generated based on 18 highly selected market indicators ranging from unemployment rates and housing permits to rental vacancy and mortgage foreclosure rates.
The index helps people understand and give context to changes in market housing health, the movement of the market over time, and how each market ranks in a countrywide comparison – significantly reducing the amount of time that would otherwise be required to research the information themselves.
What are the 18 market indicators?
Labor Force Participation Rate
Housing Permits / Change in Employment Year over Year
Housing Permits / Change Households Year over Year
Existing Home Median Sales Price / Income Ratio
Median Rent List Price / Income Ratio
Construction Unemployment Rate
Rental Vacancy Rate
Mortgage Delinquency Rate
Mortgage Foreclosure Rate
What is sentiment tracking and what role does it play in Tides?
Sentiment tracking is a method for assessing positive and negative sentiment in text. For example, in housing news, the statement, “Foreclosures have fallen to the lowest level in 10 years” contains words with negative connotations, but the meaning of the sentence is positive. We built a sentiment model specifically for the housing news domain by uniquely training Tides – using natural language processing and machine learning – to assess the types of text and language associated with housing market news, and to assign appropriate sentiment to it.
The sentiment report provides an objective evaluation of text published in housing media by teasing out the words and distinguishing facts from meaning; assigns a sentiment score of between +1 or -1, based on how good or bad the news is for each article; identifies the article’s sources; provides aggregate overviews; informs readers about how reliably sources portray the state of the market; and provides a performance report on the accuracy of forecasting by source.
How does sentiment play a role in media coverage?
Journalists impart meaning in addition to the facts in their reporting – so that even if they get the facts right, they may insert their own opinions and personal interpretations into their reporting, which may distort the facts. As a result, people reading the news naturally have divergent perspectives about what’s happening, and form decisions based on information that may or may not be correct.
How does Tides forecasting help improve accountability?
Tides is based on time-tested statistical modeling methods, reasonable forecast horizons and transparency in historical accuracy. This enables meaningful comparisons across research providers and across time, creating accountability in reporting accuracy. Tides also offers a level of transparency of other people’s forecasts, holding them accountable for the accuracy of their reporting. The access and accountability of Tides renders a level of transparency within a major sector of our economy – housing – that is now on par with Fantasy Football, where every participant has access to relevant, timely data.
The Technology behind Tides
Who developed Tides?
EnergyLogic Inc. developed Tides as a solution to the company’s need for better, higher resolution data about the home construction and housing market.
Who is EnergyLogic?
Berthoud, Colorado-based EnergyLogic is a software and building consulting company that has provided expert resources, education and support to new home builders and energy raters involved in the construction of high-performance homes since 2006. The company also serves as a resource to other organizations that are influential in creating energy efficient housing across America.
EnergyLogic has deep expertise in and insight into housing – working in both new and existing homes and with a wide variety of stakeholders across all housing market sectors. As a data-driven company, EnergyLogic has a history of innovating technology for its own business needs and then offering it to the larger community. The company built the system that analyzes all residential energy ratings in the country, and the system that detects fraud in energy ratings – and now it is building the only system that provides a comprehensive measure and understanding of the health of the U.S. housing and home building industry.
What key technologies were used to create Tides?
Tides is produced with the help of machine learning and natural language processing technologies, enabling it to correctly understand and synthesize large volumes of data, translate language into “sentiment” or the author’s explicit meaning, and aggregate that information in a consolidated form that users can easily access and understand.
Did EnergyLogic work with technology partners?
EnergyLogic leveraged IBM Watson’s™ technology to develop Tides, bringing a new level of sophistication to understanding data.
Watson technology offers a vast ecosystem of cognitive tools including natural language processing, sentiment analysis, natural language classification (a sophisticated way of doing searches to find specific instances of relevant housing news) and other machine learning components to identify the most accurate forecasters and sources of information about the housing and home building market.
Are similar reports commercially available?
Research products currently in the marketplace:
- Are incomplete, limited in scope or outdated because of the way and the frequency with which their data is collected
- Rely on construction site surveys, which are time- and resource-intensive, and homebuilder projections, which are inherently biased
- Often only use one or two market indicators, such as price or number of building starts, resulting in reports that are very narrow in scope
- Are often multi-year forecasts with predictions made too far in advance; these forecasts demand considerable assumptions and are divorced from the realities of fast-changing market conditions
- Hide the accuracy of historical models, preventing meaningful comparisons across research providers and enabling forecasters to avoid accountability for the accuracy of their predictions
Will Tides put other market research sources out of business?
That is not the intent. However, Tides will put pressure on the housing media to improve their reporting practices, ultimately resulting in a more complete representation of the health of the housing and home building industry.