Discrepancies in Home Sales Data

They say that “number don’t lie” but what if the numbers fail to match up. In this case the numbers relate to the number of nationwide foreclosures versus nationwide home sales. The real estate data from analytics firm CoreLogic recently released a market report which stated that the National Association of Realtors widely overstated the estimates of reported home sales estimates.

CoreLogic reported that existing home sales totaled 3.3 million in 2010, down 10.8 percent from 3.7 million in 2009.

However the NAR numbers show the 2010 year-end count of total existing home sales at 4.9 million, down just 5 percent from 5.2 million in 2009. Quite a difference.

Why the discrepancy in home sales data?

CoreLogic aggregates and counts public records of deed transfers from courthouses all over the country. They benchmark the info against all alternative sources available, including bank filings under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), loan source information from MBA, and statistics from the Census Bureau.

On the other side of the balance sheet, NAR relies on MLS data in calculating its sales estimates.

Although both sides have inherent flaws in the systems of calculation (such as all cash sales and non-MLS transactions) it may be more of who has interest in the numbers. CoreLogic seemingly has no interest in way the numbers turn out however NAR definitely maintains a vested interest in the way the numbers look. Bad numbers means bad housing news and that can’t make NAR and its Realtors happy.

Like a corporate quarterly report or the IRS audit, people can always display numbers to play in their favor but does anyone else find this number discrepancy to be interesting?

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Filed under Foreclosure, Mortgages

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