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NAR Sales Data Continues to be Wrong

An open letter to the National Association of Realtors members from one of our readers.

Dear REALTORS,

With their latest press release, it seems that the National Association of REALTORS has completely given up being a credible source of housing data.  Therefore, I would strongly advise against using any of their data or information that they disseminate from their offices.  And I would definitely not cut and paste their propaganda into anything you send out to clients and customers via blogs, Facebook or any other social media platform.  It will almost certainly turn out to be incorrect if not completely fabricated.

The press release claims that sales have increase 4.3% in January.  This might be true but that is highly unlikely.  Why do I say that?  Because last month they reported sales increased 5% in their initial press release.  However, this was actually not the case as they readjusted the number for December during the current month to actually show a decrease in December sales of .5%.  So either they are massaging the numbers to tell the story they want to tell or they are incompetent.  I will go with the former.

So don’t be surprise in March when they report February sales and adjust January down., there is a chance the number you are quoting today will be absolutely incorrect.  And it is funny but it always seems to be adjusted down.  That is how a propaganda machine works.  One direction.  Late last year they had to adjust sales for 4 entire years worth of data.  The adjustment was 14% down.  No surprise there.  What was the reason the data was so wrong for so long?  Drift.  That is what Lawrence Yun, Chief Spin Doctor for the NAR called it.  Another WTF moment.

The NAR can no longer be trusted by us.  It is therefore our responsibility to report the correct numbers for our individual markets.  And we should do so with honesty and integrity.  No spin.  No propaganda.  No Drift.  It is well known by everyone that each real estate market has its own characteristics.  Real estate is truly local.  I am of the belief that reporting any national numbers for real estate sales is confusing at best and destructive at worst.  But until the leadership of NAR is changed and propaganda is no longer tolerated, we must fight to maintain our credibility despite the actions of NAR.

Tony Arko
President, Dulles Area Association of REALTORS
Un-Proud NAR member since 2004

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32 comments

  1. Thanks for the updates and the information. Great job! This will definitely help us more aware and well informed on the issues.

  2. Thought Provoking for sure!

  3. Great job you have here! You are right when you said " each real estate market has its own characteristics". I hope this letter opens the eyes and minds of others both realtors and buyers to be more vigilant and observant and not merely listen to what they read or hear from others!

    Will be checking for your future posts knowing that you are sharing valuable information!

  4. Agreed, NAR and even the local boards skew the data so much that it's impossible to know what's accurate. I know first hand that in our area, real estate sale are up with the majority being cash buyers. It would be nice if there was a site that could impartially compile sales from all areas of the country to give a more accurate picture of what's going on.

  5. Inaccurate data hurts the credibility of our entire profession. Get it correct or don't report it.

  6. Agreed with Arnold, how "each real estate market has its own characteristics". Thanks for sharing!!

  7. Agree with this 100%. There is no credibility in their news. The data will always speak for itself, it is just a shame that the interpretation can be spun to audiences who don't know better, or just take it as the truth. There should be at least three sources of data to make a proper analysis of exactly how the figures should be interpreted and the truer picture this gives.

  8. Pretty sad when the national organization that many agents are required to maintain membership is deceptive in their reporting and marketing. If you can't trust the source what happens to the source of the source?

  9. Great article! I do believe change is coming very quickly to the industry, we are indeed on the precipice of something incredible. I don't think prices will bounce back as quickly as many would ideally like, but I do think prices will begin returning this year.

  10. Look who is running this thing, a bunch of old white hairs that don't even know how to use computers properly. This country is going to be taken over by the younger generation very rapidly. If you need quality real estate leads please visit http://www.realestateleadguru.com

  11. Hopefully, articles like this will wake the NAR up, huh? They make themselves irrelevant, ultimately, if the BS continues.

  12. delmarrealtypartners

    Adjusting down….We see it every month! I too am sick and tired of NAR and the national/local medias when it comes to "housing stats." In San Diego I can show you neighborhoods that have not reached the bottom yet and a 20 minute drive puts you in a community showing nice appreciation!

  13. Great there is still freedom of speech for you to voice your point. I believe there aren’t many corrections as many institutions continue to claim. Lending is getting tougher, mortgage approval is tougher, RE prices slowly correcting and potential buyers are waiting. On the other hand we continue to help people get a lower mortgage in their jumbo or commercial property. Lowering their debt by restructuring their mortgages. Banks are happy when they see cash coming in their door.
    Mark Brundage
    Global Financial Corporation

  14. This is definitely disheartening. Many people rely on NAR's expertise and statistics in the real estate market. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Indeed provoking content but very informative. NAR must provide a reliable sales data so realtors will have bases for their sales. Thanks for giving a heads up.

  16. This is not good if your have the need of source of source

  17. The blog is really fantastic and very informative. Thanks for sharing, Keep posting.

  18. I have been simmering about this very fact for the past two years. NAR and even the local boards skew a lot of the raw data in an upbeat "were almost out of hot water" or "it's a great time to buy". While these expressions are good to use in the right context, they have no weight or meaning when dealing with the hard numbers in front of the Greater Baltimore Metropolitan Region of Maryland. Baltimore Real Estate in a very diverse market and as such the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors tends to publish statistical snapshots with a selection of data (ex.) West Baltimore Real Estate Sales increased by 4 percent last year (Data from only 2 out of 5 zip codes were used when questioned. They said that was where the highest sales prices were (not Volume) and we feel that these 2 zip codes accurately represent the West Side of Baltimore County" After that conversation I just started ignoring NAR,MAR, and GBBR statistics. Yes I am still required to pay my annual dues in order to work with a broker in Maryland.

  19. Hi I was just looking over your site and think there are other sites that are concerned with this also…one of them is http://www.realestateinvesting.com. They are upset as well over the inaccurate data being spread around. I can't believe that the NAR as a national organization can continue to report inaccurate information. Isn't there something we can do to stop them?

  20. That's very unfortunate. In today's unstable economy sometimes it's just better to take matters into your own hands and get a great education in the field. New York Real Estate Institute is having an REO Bus Tour this Saturday, March 24th, from New York City to Philadelphia where you learn lots of the tips and tools for Creative investing Real Estate and more. Register before it's sold out at http://nyrei.com/real_estate_entrepreneur/REO_BUS….

  21. Thank you for shedding light to all the riff raft of everyone promoting us to buy real estate fast and now. Is never that simple, and as we all know, healthy skepticism is good when the real estate game is so obviously rigged.

  22. Excellent observations. I write monthly real estate reports for several of our sites, and I can see significant variations even in my small corner of the Midwest. I can't believe they had to adjust 4 years' worth of numbers!!!

  23. True, our local Naples Area Board of Realtors pulls the same kind of…"stuff." The use quotes from the same brokers and manipulate the data every time to make it all look rosy. Well, now it is getting better but who believes a consummate liar. There are more sales in our area of Naples Florida this year and less on the market. Still there are more price drops every day than price increases. There may be 2 price increases and 150 price drops. Funny, they never report stuff like that.

  24. Thanks to share your information with us I agree with you.

  25. All real estate boards seem to inflate their data to constantly show progress in the market, it's just the standard way of doing things I guess.

  26. Propaganda or not, I agree that the national real estate sales data is basically worthless. Your comment that "national reporting of real estate sales is confusing at best and destructive at worst" could not have been put better. A complex and unique set of factors plays into each local market and it is naive to make real estate investment decisions based on these national numbers.

  27. I have watched the NAR stats over the last few years and it does seem to be questionable most of the time. I would agree with the post and question how the data is being compiled.

  28. Thanks for sharing it! This will definitely help us for increasing knowledge and well informed on the issues. This is absolutely disheartening. Mostly people rely on NARs knowledge and statistics in the real estate market. If you need valuable real estate leads please visit http://www.miamianrealty.com

  29. I commend the writer for this bold initiative to inform other possible users of NAR Sales Data. Bloggers really must practice due diligence in verifying the sources that they have. An inaccurate data may adversely affect the credibility of the entire article or even the author himself.

  30. The information shared here in the blog is very useful. It was shocking to know that digits provided by NAR are fake. There are very less realtors whom you trust. But everyone is not a fraud. To know real estate in true sense, visit us….

  31. Interesting read. Agree that all real estate is truly local. Especially in smaller niche markets, like ours here on Hilton Head Island, generalized national stat numbers can be confusing when looking at local inventory. Thanks for the post.

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