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Press on Home Sales: Ignorant, Stupid, Lazy, or Lying?

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May 27, 2008 – Comments (16)

housing lies 2

42% Drop, and the headlines are calling it an increase? The busines press out there needs a major dose of education. 

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16 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On May 27, 2008 at 11:51 AM, anchak (99.85) wrote:

Bent....OT.... How do you embed images here....I was looking at found they use

or something for e-o-l ..... I tried ..didnt work...Help appreciated.....I wish TMF will have a small help....The Blogs are becoming a core theme of CAPS Report this comment
#2) On May 27, 2008 at 11:55 AM, anchak (99.85) wrote:

Incidentally...I agree with you....especially with the continual revisions and everything.......

However, if the sale number holds at 450k+ thru the end of summer - it would represent some sort of a bottom - from that point - I think first derivative depends on pure supply-demand and available liquidity in the economy. 

 

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#3) On May 27, 2008 at 12:06 PM, goldminingXpert (29.64) wrote:

shouldn't your title read... "Ignorant, Stupid, Lazy, And, Lying"?

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#4) On May 27, 2008 at 12:21 PM, QualityPicks (32.84) wrote:

Inventory in my zip code went down about 25% since February, and homes are moving. Yes, probably the spring selling season. The real test will come in the next few months. We'll see. I really hope prices continue down, as they are still pretty high. You have to be making $135k to barely afford entry level housing.

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#5) On May 27, 2008 at 12:48 PM, TMFBent (99.82) wrote:

I believe there's some housing moving in some places. Read an article recently on lots of stuff going to bidders in places like Vegas, but we're talking about at 30% to 50% discounts. That's the market at work, but it certainly doesn't bode well for those who think everything's going to be back to normal. If normal = current prices -30% (which I believe it does in many places yet) then we're only just beginning in many places.

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#6) On May 27, 2008 at 12:50 PM, TMFBent (99.82) wrote:

Oh, and you need to do a couple of things to embed images: first, host them somewhere public, then, use firefox to plant the embed code. (Caps blogs don't work for embeds with IE.)

I host on flickr, but you have to use the image embed code minus some of the flickr stuff, or it will always read "not available." Just use the source embed tag, and get rid of the rest of the flickr embed code.

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#7) On May 27, 2008 at 1:11 PM, TDRH (99.68) wrote:

Looks like a release from the NAR.

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#8) On May 27, 2008 at 1:51 PM, leohaas (32.65) wrote:

Month-to-month comparisons are useless. Only the YOY numbers are relevant. The bottom is in if the YOY numbers are flat.

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#9) On May 27, 2008 at 3:15 PM, guiganol (66.72) wrote:

Nice one. I never believe everything I read anymore and I had a feeling the latest headlines sounded fishy. How's it go: Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

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#10) On May 27, 2008 at 5:54 PM, DemonDoug (85.49) wrote:

Seth, a couple of points:

1. I have seen this happening with more and more alarming frequency.  The mainstream media gets a lot of criticism from everyone - the right wingers called them left wing, the left wingers call them right wing, athletes and coaches complain all the time about reporters.

But it is the business press that does the biggest disservice to truth-in-reporting.  It starts simple - with something like home prices, but the press consistently misses the biggest one, INFLATION.  If we were to look at inflation numbers yoy, there would be a much bigger uproar.

2. The question that you ask can be simplified: Is the reporting incompetent or dishonest?  My assertion in almost all cases is that you don't get to certain levels of success by being incompetent (one exception: stock analysts).  You can ask this question about any outlandish reporting or decision making.  The Fed lowering interest rates is one I've asked many times.  The intel on the decision to go to war in Iraq, etc.

3. Seasonally adjusted whatevers - this is the same statistic they used to show that gas prices went down in April.  So basically I can't trust the numbers anyway, they might as well be Russian statistics.

BTW Seth I am so glad you write about this stuff... most of these types of things are written about by economists and other bloggers like myself, as opposed to a reporter who works for a financial website.  Thank you for not being part of the zombie financial media!

 

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#11) On May 28, 2008 at 5:20 AM, monksnake (39.70) wrote:

I like the margin of errors in that report.  Guess what, I have a 100.00 CAPS Score (+ or - 82%), really I do!!!

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#12) On May 28, 2008 at 11:56 AM, reddingrunner (94.73) wrote:

More homes were sold in April than in March.  That's called an increase.  If I see a headline that says sales were up or down last month I assume they mean in reference to the previous month (the press is really quite consistent about this).  I don't assume they are comparing to last year or last decade or last century or last millennium or last geologic age...

There's plenty to criticize the press for. But you're off-base here, buddy. 

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#13) On May 28, 2008 at 1:09 PM, FleaBagger (28.84) wrote:

monksnake - your comment made me fall 27% of the way to the floor with laughter (+ or -31.7%)!

reddingrunner - it's pretty irresponsible to compare a spring month to a winter month in home sales, and if you want to find the bottom (and upturn) in the housing market, the April "increase" will lead you astray. That's more or less what all of this is about, and Seth is not "off-base." On a side note: if you're joking, that's fine. If you're just here for kicks and giggles, that's fine. But if you want to be a solid investor, taking a humble, open-minded attitude to the writing and analysis of people like Seth - aka TMFBent - and FloridaBuilder would be a very good place to start. Though I am a fine one to talk. I said pretty much the same thing about Bill Mann when he said the U.S. couldn't enjoy 10% GDP growth ever again.

Seth: + or -11.7%? I don't think I've ever seen anything reported like that before. And the April 2007 number is still an estimate? Do they ever nail these things down?

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#14) On May 29, 2008 at 1:36 PM, HatchingPlans (35.89) wrote:

best. post. ever.

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#15) On May 30, 2008 at 3:33 PM, stevemustangred (< 20) wrote:

Thanks, Seth, for providing the link to the original report.

Fleabagger - you need to take a look at the original report data for the numbers, as flimsy as they are, to make any sense.  The margins for error are based on a 90% confidence interval as decribed in the notes.  It is interesting that on a yearly basis there is a range of -34% to -50%. drop in sales comparing April 2007 to April 2008.

If I did my work with a margin of error of +/-10%, I'd be looking for a new career, probably journalism!

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#16) On June 02, 2008 at 5:16 PM, Allstar13913 (99.81) wrote:

Don't you love people who play with statistics?

And just an FYI, I'm back from my trip to Asia, if everyone's been wondering where I went to.

Mike

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