Relying on data without understanding the methodology can lead to wrong conclusions. For example, the Census Bureau is reporting that new-home sales are only down 6 percent from one year ago, which we know is incorrect. For accurate new-home sales estimates, see the press releases of publicly traded home builders -- all of whom are reporting sales (orders) that are down 20 percent-40 percent from one year ago. The NAHB Housing Market Index, as well as almost every industry source we contact each month, supports the fact that sales are down 20-plus percent from one year ago in more than 70 percent of the markets we track (Texas, the Carolinas, Georgia and New Mexico are some of the major exceptions). Our grading system of the economy and the housing market is a "bell curve" model, with statistics at an all-time high receiving an "A," statistics near the long-term average receiving a "C," and the worst times ever receiving an "F." In this grading system, it is OK to be a "C"...
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