Lawrence Yun's snake oil cure for the shanks

    Consider you are out playing a round of golf.  You dead-shank every other shot on the first eight holes and triple bogey every one of them.  Then, from the fairway on the par 5 ninth, you shank yet another approach shot into the woods.  The ball hits a tree and bounces onto the green and into the hole for a birdie.  Would you say you had corrected your swing or were just lucky?  If you were Lawrence Yun, you'd say that hitting the tree and bouncing into the hole was a sign that your swing was just fine and more birdies lay ahead.  
    For those unfamiliar with Mr. Yun, he is the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, which essentially means he has a real estate
Even when he is negative, Yun cannot help being irrationally positive.

license to kill logic and sell snake oil optimism to any real estate agents or homeowners naïve enough to trust him.  His predictions are dangerous for anyone planning their real estate business or house purchase plans around them.  He was clearly mentored by his predecessor, David Lareah, now retired to Florida where, we can only pray, no one in his community is seeking his advice about the housing market.  He too was a shameless huckster.
    The most recent irrational exuberance by the NAR was a response to the February report on home sales, released Monday.  "...the improvement [in sales] is another sign that the market is stabilizing," said the unsinkable Mr. Yun, who for balance added the limp caveat that existing home sales won't show a "notable" gain until the second half of this year.  Even when he is negative, he cannot help being irrationally positive.
     Is he kidding?  In February, existing home sales rose for just the first time since last July.  Compared with the same month a year ago, February sales were down nearly 24%.  And median home prices dropped by more than 8%.  A ton of new condos are coming on the market in cities like the already suffering Miami and Las Vegas and lenders are acquiring more new foreclosure properties faster than they can sell the ones they already have.  Mortgage lenders are tightening their criteria for loans, and corporations are starting to slow down their transfers of existing employees and their hiring of new ones.  In the face of all this, by what logic does anyone, let alone an economist, see a "notable" turnaround just four or five months from now?
    When I used to watch my kids play peewee soccer, I marveled at how their coaches could keep encouraging the kids on the team no matter how many times they kicked at thin air or ran toward the wrong end of the field.  Mr. Yun, I suppose, would make a good little kids soccer coach.  He has no business coaching anyone about economics.  It would be nice if the Wall Street Journal and other respected media outlets would finally understand that and stop using him as a source.

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