Home sales data: Housing GIGO times 2?

  • Using annualized sales data is a great deal like describing a Super Bowl based on events in five minutes in the first quarter.
  • Look for confirming data from different sources and see if they crossfoot. Is a year-over-year 11.0 percent gain in existing sales a true picture of growing strength?
  • The change in loan applications in the last half-dozen years does support data showing a stronger overall market, but it’s closely correlated with rates.

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Every month, the National Association of Realtors gives the count of existing homes sold (closed), and the U.S. Census Bureau designates the number of new home sales (contracts written — fallout inevitable). This week’s figures were for January. Existing sales up 0.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.47 million. Cool. Good news.