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Don’t be overly impressed by reports on the Census Bureau report today that sales of new one-family houses in April rose 4.9%, seasonally adjusted, from their level in March. Economist Ian Shepherdson of High-Frequency Economics notes that the Census Bureau simultaneously revised downward sales in the past five months. Also, Shepherdson points out, the number of new homes available for purchase rose nearly 27% from April ‘05, the biggest rise in 33 years, while the year-over-year price increase was under 1%, the smallest increase since 2003. His bottom line: “In short these data stink; don’t be fooled by the headline.”
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.