So there I was at the National Association of Realtors headquarters this morning, ready for the usual press conference on the monthly existing home sales numbers, but before the 'spiel' and the charts, the PR team passed out two interesting papers: “Fact Sheet” they each blared across the top in bold print.
One sheet explained the NAR’s research coverage, and noted how long the organization has been running each number, like “Existing single-family home sales and monthly annual rates, and median prices since 1968.” The other sheet was titled, “Housing Series and Comparisons.” It gave the NAR sample coverage of homes and then compared it the U.S. Census Bureau, Freddie Mac , OFHEO and S&P/Case Shiller, the other popular number crunchers of the housing market.
I asked: Why the papers? Well it seems they’ve been getting a lot of calls, not from the folks sitting there in the room, but from others. Who? They wouldn’t say. I asked why they seemed to be on the defensive. “Criticism of the national data, not local. The trend of inquiries has been rising,” Walt Molony of the NAR told me.