John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Irvine, Calif., says new home sales are worse than the Census Bureau says. Here’s an excerpt from the company’s newsletter, which came out today:
Relying on data without understanding the methodology can lead to wrong conclusions. For example, the Census Bureau is reporting that new home sales are only down 6% from one year ago, which we know is incorrect. For accurate new home sales estimates, see the press releases of publicly traded home builders – all of whom are reporting sales (orders) that are down 20% - 40% from one year ago. The NAHB Housing Market Index, as well as almost every industry source we contact each month, supports the fact that sales are down 20%+ from one year ago in more than 70% of the markets we track (Texas, the Carolinas, Georgia and New Mexico are some of the major exceptions).
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.