The Housing Market Has Been Worse Than We Thought

CNBC is reporting this morning that the National Association of Realtors will be revising housing data for the past five years because they were overcounting the number of homes sold:

Data on sales of previously owned U.S. homes from 2007 through October this year will be revised down next week because of double counting, indicating a much weaker housing market than previously thought.

The National Association of Realtors said a benchmarking exercise had revealed that some properties were listed more than once, and in some instances, new home sales were also captured.

“All the sales and inventory data that have been reported since January 2007 are being downwardly revised. Sales were weaker than people thought,” NAR spokesman Walter Malony told Reuters.

“We’re capturing some new home data that should have been filtered out and we also discovered that some properties were being listed in more than one list.”

One would’ve thought that the NAR’s numbers were accurate, or at least mostly so, given that they’re the ones selling the houses. In any case, while this may not impact prices so much the revision is likely to make some headlines since it will make the slump that the housing market is in seem all the much worse.

H/T: Rick Moran

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Fiona says:

    I can’t say that I’m particularly surprised, but then again I’m pretty much a pessimist who thinks the housing market has yet to hit bottom and is not likely to recover for many years to come. Prices were inflated to unrealistic heights during the boom. While they’re returning to earth there’s still plenty of wiggle room especially given high unemployment, stagnant or declining wages, and a tough credit market.

  2. john personna says:

    I really hate these “worse than we thought” style headlines, because I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp of it. I read Calculated Risk, right?

    Geez Louse, does ANYONE believe NAR after their confident 2008-2009 predictions of a swift and mild price adjustment?

  3. john personna says:

    I went looking for traces of those 2008-2009 predictions, and found there is a thing called the Lawrence Yun Watch.

  4. Hey Norm says:

    It doesn’t take this revision to know the market is soft.
    The big problem with this, of course, is that housing and construction typically lead us out of recessions. Until that engine gets running again we are going to remain is a slow, long, slog…and austerity and tax cuts for the rich aren’t going to help at all.

  5. bandit says:

    Worse than who thought?

  6. Neo says:

    Since most comparisons are year over year, you have to go back a way to get grounded.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Housing Market Has Been Worse Than We Thought

    No sh*t, I could have told you that a long time ago. Wall Street all but destroyed my industry.

  8. john personna says:

    Good graphic at TBP:

    US Housing Prices Mirror Japan’s Experience

    The projection showing improvement in mid-2012 might be optimistic.