What’s Your Opinion About Sentiment Surveys?

What’s Your Opinion About Sentiment Surveys?

15:43 PM, 10th August 2011, About 13 years ago

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"Surveys of a survey"

Around a quarter of UK landlords are feeling more optimistic about the prospects for their property portfolios, rental income and yields, according to a sentiment survey by a buy-to-let lender.

The findings of the Paragon Mortgages research come at the same time as those of another sentiment survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors concludes the housing market is ‘flat’.

Sentiment surveys are based on asking a pool of people their opinions on the same questions and then collating the responses.

Besides Paragon and RICS, plenty of other sentiment surveys are published as ‘opinions’ or ‘confidence indicators’. The reports are often compiled around consumer or business feelings about economic factors.

The Paragon Mortgages survey report – available for download- does not cite the number of landlords taking part, making validation of the data difficult.

RICS does publish the details of the surveyors taking part in their survey.

According to a survey of sentiment surveys conducted by the Reserve Bank of Australia, these reports are of little value, other than grabbing headlines for the businesses and organisations that issue the data.

The report authors John Simon and Ivan Roberts explain that looking at historic economic data gives the same results as many sentiment surveys.

“Business and consumer sentiment receive widespread media coverage and are closely watched by market economists despite their limited success as leading indicators. There is little evidence that the surveys tell us anything we didn’t already know,” said the authors.

“Thus, there is reason to suspect that surveyed respondents’ forecasts offer little more information about the future path of the economy than a weighted average of lagged economic variables.”

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