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The headline on this blog item is the headline of the Business Outlook column in the current issue of BusinessWeek, by my colleague James C. Cooper (pictured). I think it’s a judicious, well-balanced look at the slowing market. Cooper’s conclusion: “The numbers point to a gradual slowdown rather than a sudden crash.”
Businesspeople like to read the Business Outlook every week because Cooper makes sense of a welter of conflicting data. Here’s an example: Remember the confusing report that sales of new single-family homes rose 4.6% in May? Here’s what the Business Outlook says about that outlying statistic:
Government statistictians can say with 90% confidence that May's change from April was between -8.5% and 17.7%, so there is no assurance that May sales didn't actually decline. What's important is that, so far this year, the average of new home sales is down 10.9% from the average during the second half of last year.
If your only contact with BusinessWeek is these blogs, you're missing most of what we do. Check out the rest of the magazine at www.businessweek.com.
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.