Realty bites: REALTORS waking to trade association's misinformation

        I didn't think anything could get me to watch even 10 seconds of the Glenn Beck show again.  How ironic that it was a Beck rant about misinformation that compelled me to undergo visual root canal just one more time.

        Beck did a four-minute piece on his TV show in 2008 that charts National Association of Realtors predictions about the housing market against reality.  It is well-handled and must watching for any REALTOR, and interesting for the rest of us.  In short -- and you can watch it for yourself here -- Beck's timeline shows clearly that when an NAR chief economist pours forth words of optimism, the market tanks. A few times is a mistake; a long pattern of mistakes is something more than stupidity.

        First it was David Lereah, who may have been more selfish than stupid, since he was hyping the market through the NAR

If you bet your bottom dollar on NAR predictions, you may be reading this from the ledge of a tall building.

bullhorn while he was selling "Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom," his book about how to profit by buying real estate.  It hit the bookshelves in 2005, just before the market began to unravel; anyone who followed its advice is a pauper today.  Lereah passed the baton to protégé Lawrence "Little Orphan Annie" Yun, whose quarterly renditions of "The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow" have brightened the days of absolutely no one in his first two years in charge of the bullhorn.  Indeed, if you bet your bottom dollar on the NAR economists' advice, you are likely reading this from a breadline somewhere, or the ledge of a tall building.

         Most of the 1.3 million REALTORs have acted like loyal Moonies to the monolithic NAR, regardless of how obvious the economic jive has been.  Dues in the hundreds of dollars give agents permission to use capital letters in their titles.  The REALTOR designation, they believe, brings a certain luster that puts them at an advantage over non-affiliated agents like your editor, who would rather spend the money on a round of golf at Pebble Beach (although not until the market stabilizes). 

        Now, finally, REALTORS and those who watch the industry are calling for the NAR to get REAL.  One Connecticut

"I better run out and buy a house before they're all gone," wrote one commenter.

REALTOR, Linda Davis, who attended the NAR annual meeting in San Diego last week, wrote that Lawrence Yun's prediction of a 4% rise in home prices and 15% increase in sales in 2010 was "sunshine and lollipops." (Read her full comments here).  Another blog site, Wallet Pop, wrote that, "Lawrence Yun has never been right about anything."  A short comment at the Wall Street Journal's "MarketWatch" site, according to Ms. Davis' post, probably put it best:  "I better run out and buy a house before they're all gone."

        NAR rakes in from its members well over $300 million in revenues each year.  That buys a lot of influence in Washington and state legislatures, but the organization should put a little aside to purchase an honest economist.  Its members deserve at least that.


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