Saturday, April 29, 2006

NYTimes Walkthrough Blog Mentions This Blog

Here is the Post:

Bloggers vs. Realtors
Categories: Agents & Brokers

The bubble boys are chronicling every word coming out of the mouth of the National Association of Realtors’ chief economist, David Lereah. Check out this new blog: The David Lereah Watch.

It’s not the most exciting blog because Mr. Lereah isn’t really a controversial figure. He’s an economist trying to make predictions to guide the members of his association. And it isn’t clear why his utterances need to be scrutinized as if they were emanating from Alan Greenspan. But Mr. Lereah has become a target for those who get giddy thinking that the real estate market might collapse. They want him to say it will.

To quote from the mission statement of the site:

Mr. Lereah tells half truths and manipulates facts and figures. He cannot be trusted as he is a paid shill.

But the blogger hasn’t found an example of that assertion yet.

I see that the N.A.R. has started its own blog offering advice to its members. Some of the posts are a reaction to the book “Freakonomics,” which suggests that agents’ interests and those of their clients aren’t always aligned. At other times, it warns agents how the media types operate:

The media’s need for balance poses both challenges and opportunities. Sometimes you may get a call from a reporter working on deadline who only wants your reaction to a story that is already written. You should expect only a small citation in the story. Make sure it’s the best possible statement by preparing carefully.

But nothing so far about those bubble bloggers. – DAMON DARLIN

Friday, April 28, 2006

National Home Sales & Price Gains 2006 Prediction

"David Lereah, the Realtors' chief economist, said he was still looking for a gradual slowdown in housing that would result in a drop of around 6 percent in home sales this year and a slowing in price gains to around 6 percent, compared with the double-digit gains in prices in recent years."

(Saint Petersburg Times April 26, 2006)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lereah on Florida Housing Market

The housing market’s chief cheerleader has a surprisingly stark message for Florida Realtors: 2006 is going to be a tough year. The region’s real estate economy must recover from a hangover wrought by a spasm of speculation and easy money, David Lereah, told Realtors at a West Palm Beach hotel today.”

“‘We’re in a cleansing mode right now,’ Lereah told about 400 people. ‘It’s gonna hurt.’”

“While Lereah compared the housing boom’s excesses to the stock market bubble of 2000, he doesn’t foresee a Nasdaq-like crash for home prices. Rather, he calls real estate ‘the new gold standard’ for safety-minded investors and predicts a period of sluggish activity followed by a return to a stronger housing market next year.”

“‘If you have a healthy local economy, it’s almost impossible to have a bubble burst,’ he said.” “For the near future, though, home sellers will have to contend with a glut of properties for sale and reduced interest from buyers. Lereah called the slowdown healthy: ‘Prices got a little too high. We got ahead of ourselves. We needed to catch our breath.’”

“Lereah dismissed widespread concerns about the lack of affordable homes in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. Lereah said, that number isn’t so steep compared to other parts of the country such as New York and northern New Jersey.”

“While Lereah is bullish on the long-term future of Florida’s housing market, he warned that hurricanes and soaring insurance premiums pose threats. ‘If we have another bad hurricane season,’ he said, ‘all bets are off.’”

[Courtesy of The Housing Bubble Blog]

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Lereah on Existing Home Sales

"It’s a good sign to see home sales holding close to the level of a strong rebound in the month before,” he said. “This is additional evidence that we’re experiencing a soft landing. We may see some minor slowing in home sales as interest rates rise, but the market clearly is stabilizing"

NAR March Existong Homes Sales Press Release

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Lereah on Economy and Housing Market

"Economic growth and job creation are providing a favorable backdrop for the housing market, but rising interest rates have an offsetting effect," Lereah said in a statement.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

David Lereah on Stuff

That's what spurred all this on in the beginning," says David Lereah, the NAR's chief economist. "It's like all the stars are aligned. The tax situations helped, but at the same time, baby boomers were entering their peak earning years. That's why we just boomed in second homes."

He thinks the trend crested in 2005. With rising interest rates, tighter lending standards and slower price appreciation, Lereah expects second-home sales to drop this year to 30 percent of all existing-home sales, and maybe into the 20 percent range.

"What's going to be leaving the market right now are the speculative investors who came into the market and were trying to flip homes," he said. "They were buying one, two, three or four properties at a time, and that was distorting the numbers." USAToday 4/8/06

Thursday, April 06, 2006

David Lereah and the 40% Second Homes

Real estate statistics indicate a record 40 percent of sales last year went to second homes.

"Historically, we were looking at a 10 percent, and now we find ourselves in the 30 to 40 percent range. That's remarkable," said David Lereah, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. WBAL Baltimore 5/6/06
Does David Lereah still believe in the soft landing?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Lereah on NAR 2005 Sales Data

Responding to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) that showed that "Americans snapped up 3.34 million second homes in 2005 -- 27.7 percent for investment and 12.2 percent for vacation. That was up 16.0 percent from 2.88 million in 2004."

The baby boom generation is driving second home sales," NAR chief economist David Lereah said in a statement.

"They're at the optimum point in life when people become interested in second homes, they're at the peak of their earnings, interest rates remain historically low and boomers want to diversify investments," he added.

"Vacation-home sales will remain strong for the foreseeable future given the fact that baby boomers are favorably positioned in terms of affordability, as well as being at the stage in life when people are most interested in making that kind of a lifestyle purchase," Lereah said

On the other hand, investment home sales are likely to decline this year, in part because of higher interest rates," he added. Still, he said the long-term outlook for second homes sales was positive "because more people will be moving into the prime years for buying a second home.
Source: 'Americans buying record number of second homes-NAR' Reuters 5/5/2006.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Lereah on February Pending Sales

Pending sales of U.S. homes edged lower in February, but a big upward revision to the previous month's data may suggest the housing market's cool-off period is nearly over, a trade group said on Monday.

The Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed in February, stood at 117.7, down 0.8 percent from January and 5.2 percent from a year ago, the National Association of Realtors reported.

January's index was revised up to 118.6 from an originally reported 116.3. That revision made January the first month the index has moved higher since rising interest rates started to take the wind out of the U.S. housing market last year.

Economists had forecast the index would be at 116.7 for February.

The Realtors' chief economist, David Lereah, said most of the cooling in the housing market has already happened.

"We can expect a historically strong housing market moving forward, earmarked by generally balanced conditions across the country and fairly stable levels of home sales with some month-to-month fluctuations," Lereah said.

"This normalization is healthy because it is taking a lot of the pressure off of the decision process for both home buyers and sellers -- pressure that was driving abnormal rates of price growth across much of the country over the last few years." Reuters 4/3/06