The National Association of Realtors’ monthly series on sales of existing homes should come with a data-translating thesaurus. NAR does not mean to mislead, but I think its data format conceals reality. The data are useful, but only as a broad, multi-month guide to trends.
- NAR’s monthlies are annualized and seasonally adjusted. Numbers of homes sold in winter are so low, in many places less than half of spring sales, that percentage changes are magnified.
- Seasonal adjustment can be inaccurate; neither weather nor interest rates nor the economy are consistent from one winter to the next.
- Trying to collect all the sales in a consistent manner each month is a challenge.
- If TRID did slow November closings, it pushed them into December, which should elevate next month's results.