Will you continue trusting the real estate trade unions' market data?

  • No. There is an obvious conflict of interest and the trade unions' data cannot be trusted. (93%, 120 Votes)
  • Yes. They are a reliable source of information. (7%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 129

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has admitted to grossly overstating its numbers of reported home sales over the first years of this Lesser Depression. After the trusted real estate data firm CoreLogic questioned the accuracy of NAR’s numbers, the real estate trade union took a second look and revised its reported home sales data down by nearly 3.5 million homes.

Original NAR reports claimed 24.8 million homes were sold nationwide from January 2007 to October 2011. Revised data shows this figure to be off by 14% from readily available recorded data, with a total of only 21.3 million homes sold nationwide over the course of the Great Recession and the still lingering jobless Lesser Depression. [For reliable, California-specific home sales volume data, see the first tuesday Market Chart, Home sales volume and price peaks.]

The trade union blames the mistake not on their internal estimations, adjustments and calculations, but on changes in the Census Bureau’s data collection procedures, population shifts and the fact that some home sales were counted twice.

first tuesday take: Purchasing your real estate data from the real estate trade unions is like asking your bookie for betting tips.

Let this be a lesson for everyone interested in real estate data to question their sources, especially when the source is a privately-run trade union with a vested interest in skewing reported home sales volume to create the appearance of a strengthening real estate market.

The trade union earns its profits from one major source of revenue: broker and agent member dues. Thus, the greater the number of real estate licensees, the greater the union’s profits. At the onset of the Great Recession, the number of individuals becoming licensed and practicing real estate dropped off dramatically.

Many of those who became licensed in order to cash-in during the frenzy of the housing bubble didn’t renew and those who would have become licensed for the first time chose a different, more stable profession. [For more information on broker and agent licensing trends, see the first tuesday Market Chart, Newly-licensed sales agent and broker populations.]

This dearth of licensees during the jobless Lesser Depression has undoubtedly affected the trade union’s bottom line. And what will get more members in the door? A momentum market — or at least the appearance thereof.

For the record: from its inception in 1979, first tuesday never has and never will use the trade union’s data. [For more real estate data, see the first tuesday Market Charts.]

Re: “Home purchases up, but earlier sales look weaker” from The San Jose Mercury News