In what can only be described as a shocking announcement, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported last month that it overstated about 3.5 million home sales in the United States from 2007 through last month.
NAR revised down its sales from 2007 through October 2011 more than 14 percent, from 24.8 million to nearly 21.3 million. The trade group said that among the reasons/excuses for the lower figures were changes in the way the Census Bureau collects data, population shifts and some sales being counted twice.
The sharp revisions could cast doubt (or further doubt depending on your opinion) on future sales numbers from NAR.
NAR said it trusts its new figures, which were checked by government agencies and CoreLogic, the California-based real estate data firm that first opposed issues with NAR's numbers earlier this year. The new figures show that sales fell in three of the past four years since the national housing market began to drop in 2006. Declining prices and record-low mortgage rates haven't been enough to boost sales.
The NAR numbers are important to economists and large corporations interested in the national economy; however, NAR housing numbers are not very relevant to an individual home buyer. An exclusive buyer agent can provide market data for specific cities and towns and even neighborhoods. That specific data is much more relevant.