An update a year ago to a multiple home-listing computer system has just been discovered to have been responsible for sending incorrect information concerning the real estate market in the San Diego, California area, according to a story in today's Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The error was discovered by an independent economist who raised questions about the data last week.
According to the WSJ, the California Association of Realtors reported that San Diego home sales in April were up about 63% from a year earlier; they are now going to be revised to showing only a 20% increase. In addition, whereas the data showed an 89% increase in home sales in May, it will now be reduced to only 6.5%.
A good example of garbage in, garbage out, and the garbage not being noticed for a long time, either.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.