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Is The National Association Of Realtors Trying to Hide The Sales Crash?

Given the various state/local MLS sales reports available for July, it seems INCREDIBLY likely that existing home sales last month were down a boatload from June’s pace. Every local realtor report I’ve seen showed a drop in sales from a year ago, with most showing YOY sales declines over 20%, and some reporting sales declines of over 40% from a year ago. (See last page for “raw” data) Yet amazingly the “consensus” forecast for existing home sales in July calls for a SAAR of 4.65-4.66 million, which would be down just 9.3-9.5% from last July’s seasonally adjusted pace. Of course, since this July had one fewer business day than last July, that would imply a larger YOY decline in unadjusted sales, but only to about 10.5-10.7%. With so many state and/or local MLS publicly reporting YOY sales declines massively higher than that, how can the “consensus” be as high as it is? Even if an economist were willing to put out a forecast for existing home sales, but were unwilling to actually “do the work” in compiling local sales data, one would think that that economist would look at the pending home sales index – which plunged by 29.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis from April to May, and then fell by another 2.6% from May to June! How would these drops be consistent with a monthly seasonally adjusted decline of just 13.2% - 13.4%? Well, er, uh … they aren’t! One forecaster (no names!), after hearing about the local sales data, suggested that the NAR “just won’t” publish a sales number that low, and will probably “smooth” the number over the next several months!!! I very much doubt that!!!

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