Which phrase is more correct?
July 15, 2021 1:31 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend. It's for a real estate promo piece which lists: the number of homes sold (I guess in a certain period), the average [number of] days [those homes were] on the market, and... Average Sale Price $0,000,000 or Average Sales Price $0,000,000?
posted by TWinbrook8 to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
If you would say the "sale price" for one house is X, then the correct answer would be Average Sale price. If for some reason you live in a location where people would say "the sales price" of that house is x, then it would be Averages Sales Price. (That one sounds odd to be but there can be regional variations, I guess.) But adding "average" on front doesn't change sale to sales. Try it on car price: my new car cost $x, the average new car price is $y - not the average new cars price.
posted by metahawk at 1:38 PM on July 15, 2021

Well, Redfin, one of the largest realtors, uses "Average Sale Price," so that is clearly correct.

On the other hand, the official measure of the average price of a house is reported by the Census Bureau, which uses "average sales price," so that has to be right too.

If other people in the market are consistently using one or the other, I'd use that; otherwise either seems to be fine.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:43 PM on July 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

I work in a commercial real estate environment where we are frequently discussing average sales prices AND I am also a self-identified grammar wonk. Neither of these usages sounds weird to me and I would not blink at seeing either one as a column header in excel or in a written report.
posted by rekrap at 1:45 PM on July 15, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Professional copy editor here: People who are picky about grammar mostly avoid using plurals as adjectives, so I would say "sale price." There are exceptions, though, and "sales price" will probably sound OK to most people.
posted by FencingGal at 1:50 PM on July 15, 2021 [4 favorites]

The singular is more correct, at least in my American English experience. Think about phrasing you might see for other options: "Average tree height," "Average meeting length," and I think it becomes more clear. (It's fun to type these phrases into Google--with quotes, so it only finds the exact phrase--and look at hit counts, especially when it proves you right. "Average tree height" is more than 100 times more frequent than the plural version.)

Unless there's a regional use that differs from this you can see in local ads, I'd definitely go with the singular.

On preview: Mr. Know-it-some's find on the Census bureau is interesting! But they are inconsistent, even within a single table.
posted by mark k at 1:54 PM on July 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: okay, thanks everyone for the quick response and hat tip to the grammarian.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:02 PM on July 15, 2021

It's the Average White Band, not the Average White Bands. I rest my case.
posted by SNACKeR at 2:15 PM on July 15, 2021

"Sales" is twice wrong because it's a mistaken possessive with the apostrophe dropped. Tsk tsk! ;-)
posted by dancing leaves at 5:21 AM on July 16, 2021

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