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National Association of Realtor's 2010 Existing Home Sales Exaggerated 15% to 20%

During 2010 CoreLogic estimates home sales totaled 3.6 million, down 12%from 4.1 million in 2009. Sales remain extremely low relative to the last decade as sales last year were more than 50% below the level in 2005 and about 33% below the level in 2000. Although it’s been widely reported that the National Association of Realtors’s (NAR) existing home sales data fell only 5% to 4.9 million in 2010, down from 5.2 million in 2009 and flat relative to 2008, the CoreLogic data indicates otherwise. ... Historically, the CoreLogic existing sales data have covered about 85% to 90% of all NAR’s existing home sales data. However, in 2006 NAR’s sales data became elevated relative to the CoreLogic, MBA, HMDA and Census sales related data, and that trend has continued and become more pronounced through 2010. There are several reasons for the divergence, including benchmarking drift, more sales going through MLS systems due to consolidation and a lower share of for sale by owners (FSBO) home sales. Net, NAR’s existing home sales data are overstated by about 15% to 20. CoreLogic also discusses the impact of lower sales on months-of-supply and potentially prices, however it also appears the NAR data overstates the level of inventory too - so it is hard to tell if months-of-supply will be revised up

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