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NAR...GM, too..fluff the Just a fella seeking some honest info...

edited December 2011 in Off-Topic
Morn'in Coffee,

No wonder that Mr. Skeptical sometimes lives at this house, too. All Mr. Skeptical is hoping for some days is some honesty from a few folks here and there, from those in the great world beyond. However, Mr. Skeptical finds such comfort here at MFO.

I noticed the N.A.R. info blip yesterday, and Mr. Curiosity got the best of me. Some here may not care for ZH's site; but for this story, it provides the easiest to view data for this topic.

I have not performed a full study regarding this report; but must conclude in this wonderful era of high speed data crunching electronic devices; that perversion of data is either from poor data input (junk in, junk out) or someone or entity choosing to spin data into a more favorable aspect, in regards to this linked story.

I am reminded of a General Motors ad in 2010 with the CEO stating that GM had paid back the bailout loans or whatever one chooses to name the monies. This was not true. One had to wonder what part of the number system was being used to pervert a commercial tv ad to put forth such a statement. I penned a note to GM's customer relations asking how such a feat was accomplished in such a short time. I did not receive a reply.
I did eventually discover the answer for myself.

And these folks want me to buy one of their products, eh?

I am, "as honest as the day is long"; or so goes the old saying. If you were to buy my personal, used car; you would know all of the "bads" and all of the "goods" about the vehicle; and would receive a fair price request based upon this information. Six months later, you would not look back upon me as someone who had tried to pull a "fast one" on you. I could see you at the local grocery and be assured; as well as you, that we had a most sincere and honest transaction.

Aside from all of the financial problems that exist in so many circles of American life; the continued downslide of honesty remains one of my greatest concerns for the well-being of our country.

Thanks for letting me steal some of your valuable time.


Three links here for the GM "liars poker" tv commercial.


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  • I kind of find it amusing that people blame the government while NAR is a industry organization, nothing got to do with government.

    It was well known from the admissions of former chief NAR economist that numbers were made up. Having said that they changed their methodology and I hope their new one is better.
  • msf
    edited December 2011
    You're being too kind.
    Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Realtors, said the organization had been noticing that its data showed higher volumes of sales than other indicators like records of property deeds and mortgage applications. It revised its data once the 2010 Census confirmed that the group had been overcounting home sales.
    Emphasis added. NYTimes, Dec. 21.

    Not to mention that the NAR writes that its price data is also flawed (well, quoting the NAR, that it "has been subject to ... criticisms"), and they will add analysis similar to that done by Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Administration. In other words, the NAR methodology lacks what the government is already doing to track data.

    Regarding the reasons for the flawed analysis - IMHO the problem was neither intentional (though I'm willing to grant negligent) nor GIGO. Rather, the the problem was that the NAR analysis was incomplete. The NYTimes article explains the problems by digging a little deeper (see video on the NAR "benchmarking" page, linked to below.)

    For example, the first bullet item in the NAR slide copied verbatim into the blog (see slide 8 in the embedded doc at ZH) says that FSBOs declined as a percentage of total sales. Why, and so what? The methodology assumed a fixed percentage, and extrapolated total sales based on realtor sales. A reasonable assumption in most markets, but not when the market collapses and more people (as a percentage) turn to realtors for help. Incomplete information, not garbage, and not a deliberate falsification.

    I admit I'm no fan of blogs; I find they echo content (such as the NAR slides) and selectively edit out what doesn't support their viewpoint; they don't add value, they subtract. If a blog isn't adding original analysis or thought, it can at least tell me where the data's coming from. Here's the full NAR set of docs on the "benchmarking" changes.
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