How Much Is a House Worth?
Try to predict the average price of a house for August 2010.
Every American who owns a house—and at last count, that's about two out of three Americans—wants to see its value rise. Lately, however, the housing market has not cooperated. In the last four years, the average sales price of a new house in the United States has declined from $293,500 to $235,300. (Here's a listing of the average sales price of a new house dating to 1995.) Next week, the Census Bureau is scheduled to release sales data for August. What will the average price of a new house be? Enter a price between $210,000 and $260,000.
Update, Sept. 24: There's good news and there's bad news. The good news is that, according to the Census Bureau, the average price of a new home for the month of August rose 5.7 percent from the previous month—to $248,800. The bad news is that the 5,443 Slate readers who tried to predict the average price of a new home were way off, as the graf below illustrates. The consolation is that it's better to be proved wrong because things are better than you expected, not worse.