GRE Graph Analysis Word Problem

For which of the following years was the ratio of the median sale price of a new home minus the median sale price of an existing home to per capita income least?

(A) 1960

(B) 1965

(C) 1970

(D) 1975

(E) 1980

The question asks for which year “the ratio of the median sale price of a new home minus the median sale price of an existing home to per capita income was least.” In other words, what is the smallest difference between the ratio of median sale price of a new home to per capita income and the ratio of median sale price of an existing home to per capita income.

TIP: Don’t allow yourself to be confused by complex phrasing, this question is all about being able to read the chart.

In the context of this question, the “ratio of the median sale price” simply refers to the lines of the graph; each line is a representation of the ratio of the median sale price (to per capita income), one for existing homes and the other for new homes. If all those words are confusing you, then just get rid of them:

For which of the following years was the ratio of the median sale price of a new home minus the median sale price of an existing home to per capita income least? Or,

For which of the following years was the price of a new home minus the price of an existing home least?

See how much more simple that question looks! Now all you have to do is determine the different ranges of the different options, by subtracting the … wait! No you don’t. Just look at the lines, there is no need to actually involve any math here. Since the difference between the two lines is represented by the space or gap between them, we can simply look and see for which year the gap was smallest. The smallest gap occurs in the year 1970. Therefore, the correct answer is (C).

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