So What if the NAR Overestimated Home Sales?

What’s old is new again.

The National Association of Realtors says it has overestimated the number of homes sold in recent years and will soon publish revised statistics based on a new benchmarking methodology.

To which I say: so what? I have yet to see relevance in their data, and I have never heard one of my clients reference their forecasts or recaps.

In other words:

If you’re surprised (really?!) the NAR overestimated sales, you haven’t been paying attention for the past decade.#realtors

Calculated Risk said in 2007 about the National Association of Realtors:

I think their forecasting model is broken.

My thoughts then are still relevant.

And CR said noted last week the NAR’s press release which stated:

NAR presently is benchmarking* existing-home sales, and downward revisions are expected for totals in recent years, although there will be little change to previously reported comparisons based on percentage change. There will be will be no change to median prices or month’s supply of inventory. Publication of the improved measurement methodology is expected in the near future.

I’m no statistician, but how can one pre-conclude that (see the asterisk up there?)

* There will be no change to median prices or months-supply of inventory. Although there will be downward revisions to sales volume and unsold inventory, there will be no notable change to previous characterizations of the market in terms of sales trends, monthly percentage changes, etc.

Earlier this year, I noted that folks paying attention to the national and local real estate markets really need to just ignore the NAR’s numbers.

The National Association of Realtors is a trade organization, whose mission is to help its members. I am grateful for what they do with respect to lobbying; someone’s gotta do it. But they are not an unbiased news (heh. do those exist?) organization. Remember that.Ardell says it extremely well:

My point is people have to stop thinking that “a NAR” is some kind of public interest group. They are a trade association supporting a business, the same as any other commercial.

(click through to read the whole thing)

Update 21 November 2011: Jonathan Miller notes that [NAR] October Existing Home Sales Conclusion Result Is Wildly Misleading … shocking. Still … So what?

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  • http://oswco.com dartdog

    Could not agree more, it is part of why I can have a business providing real stats.. The more I understand about what NAR and others do for reporting the worse it seems to be. The methods they came up with were developed back when they were doing everything with pencil and paper and phone calls, from what I see I suspect much of it is still done that way. There is no excuse with today’s tech. my local reports can be seen at http://tombrander.com I would also observe that NAR has largely become more focused on self preservation than genuine help for the industry. 

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