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David Stanowski
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Real Estate Data?

by David Stanowski
16 December 2011

At the height of the housing bubble, many independent financial analysts began to question the increasingly rosy picture of the real estate market being promoted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Just before the bubble burst, the rhetoric got pretty heated.

Eight months ago, this battle between the independent analysts and the NAR reared its ugly head once again when Corelogic issued a report questioning NAR sales data. Eventually, the NAR admitted that there might be a few "discrepancies", so they have been reviewing their data. The NAR is prepared to issue revised data on 21 December.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- "If you thought the U.S. housing market couldn't get much worse, think again.

Far fewer homes have been sold over the past five years than previously estimated, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

NAR said it plans to downwardly revise sales of previously-owned homes going back to 2007 during the release of its next existing home sales report on Dec. 21.

NAR's existing home sales numbers, released monthly, are a closely followed gage of the health of the housing market.

While NAR hasn't revealed exactly how big the revision to home sales will be, the agency's chief economist Lawrence Yun said the decrease will be 'meaningful'."
Existed-Home Sales to be Revised Lower

"The housing crash may have been more severe than initial estimates have shown.

The National Association of Realtors, which produces a widely watched monthly estimate of sales of previously owned homes, is examining the possibility that it over-counted U.S. home sales dating back as far as 2007.

The data, used by economists, investors and the real-estate industry, could be revised downward this summer.

The group reported that there were 4.9 million sales of previously owned homes in 2010, down 5.7% from 5.2 million in 2009. But CoreLogic, a real-estate analytics firm based in Santa Ana, Calif., counted just 3.3 million homes sales last year, a drop of 10.8% from 3.7 million in 2009. CoreLogic says NAR could have overstated home sales by as much as 20%.

While revisions wouldn't affect reported home-price numbers, they could show that the housing market faces a bigger overhang in inventory, given the weaker demand."

"Downward revisions would show that "this horrific downturn in the housing market has been even more pronounced than what people thought, and people already thought it was pretty bad," said Thomas Lawler, an independent housing economist."
Home Sales Data Doubted
Realtor Group May Have Overstated Number of Existing Houses Sold Since 2007

Corelogic Versus NAR

Skeptical analysts have noted when comparing the ten years worth of data shown above that all of the potential errors by the NAR are on the high side which does not appear to be random.

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