Markets & Economy

Realtor.com’s new economist won’t tell you ‘It’s a great time to buy or sell a home’

Jonathan Smoke eager to work with NAR, but is 'not your typical economist'

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In the fall of 2006, as the world hurtled toward a financial crisis precipitated by loose mortgage lending practices that fueled one of the greatest housing bubbles in U.S. history, the National Association of Realtors launched a $40 million advertising campaign advising consumers that "It’s a great time to buy or sell a home." As it turned out, it was a great time to sell a home, if you could -- prices in many markets had already peaked, and inventories were climbing. But many who bought at the tail end of the boom soon found themselves underwater. A 2006 ad that was part of a $40 million NAR marketing campaign. That's the subtext of the question Realtor Magazine Senior Editor Graham Wood puts to realtor.com's new chief economist, Jonathan Smoke. "There have been criticisms of the 'now is the right time to buy or sell' message that many economists have touted," Wood asks Smoke. "Do you agree with that messaging, or will you take a different approach to communicating ...