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NAR and Florida Realtors to Create Repeat Sales Index: Why?

September 4, 2012 | 6:00 am | |

Last week the Florida’s state Realtor association announced they are developing a repeat sales index for tracking the state’s housing market. NAR is doing the same thing on a national level. My first thought was, huh?

The new Florida Realtors Real Estate Price Index will use data from the Florida Department of Revenue to chart home prices for the state and metro areas during the last 17 years.

Why create yet another housing index?

NAR has been sharply critical of the repeat sales methodology for years – and now to suddenly create one because it works better? Damaging logic and once again undermining NAR’s credibility and branding.

The motivation for the creation of a new index seems to be the popularity of the Case Shiller Home Price Index which has been a thorn in NAR’s side since it was introduced a number of years ago. Ironically, NAR enabled Case Shiller to thrive from NAR’s own inability to become a neutral trusted advisor of the exclusive housing data they publish. The culture at NAR Research enabled the two most recent chief economists Lereah and Yun to consistently interpret the numbers with an almost cartoonish glowing angle that has caused severe damage to the NAR brand.

In other words, Realtors and their associations have long ago missed the opportunity to be a reliable provider of real estate stats, but that’s really ok. After all, the association is a trade group and any stats they produce are, by definition, tainted even if they aren’t. Case in point: NAR just revised their Existing Home Sales stats after data provider CORElogic discovered there was a significant error and pressured them to do a revision. NAR had double counted about 2M sales since 2007.

What is a repeat-sales index?

A repeat sales index measures the difference in price from sales that recently sold and their prior sale. New development is omitted because those units have never sold before – a huge characteristic of the Florida housing market. Of course if the property was gut renovated, doubled in size, torn down and rebuilt, a repeat sales index does not know this. A repeat sales index is also subject to the same skew in housing type that a hedonic (i.e. Existing Home Sales) index is and is therefore adjusted using varying formulaic methodologies.

A repeat sales index does not reflect true seasons in housing. Yes there is a nominal difference between their seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted trends, but it does not show the spring rush and winter doldrums as they actually occur. There seems to be a need by economists to show a steady line rather than a seasonal visual a consumer would better understand.

Whats wrong with the Case Shiller Index?

I’ve been quite critical of the Case Shiller Index since I began this blog in 2005 namely because:

  • it is 5-7 months behind the market;
  • it excludes co-ops, condos and new development.

I do admire Robert Shiller and Karl Case as pioneers in this field but the CS index was NEVER intended to be a consumer tool used to measure housing. It was meant to be the basis for allowing Wall Street to hedge the housing market. A logical goal indeed, but CS was conceived before it was feasible to “game it” i.e. many economists and analytics firms can now accurately project the results of the index in advance. Not a good thing for investors who want to bet on it which explains why such limited trading actually occurs.

There are a lot of housing indices these days. There are also many new data companies that can do analytics a lot better than Realtors can because they only do analytics for a living. Without neutral commentary, how do more housing indices by NAR or Florida’s association make the picture any clearer to the consumer (and Realtors)? Instead I think the Florida association should be focusing on ways to help their members be more successful.

Case Shiller Index [Standard & Poor’s]
Existing Home Sales [NAR]
Florida Association of Realtors [Home Page]

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[Interview] Stan Humphries, Chief Economist,

December 15, 2010 | 2:00 pm | | Podcasts |

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[Interview] Ilyce Glink, Author, Blogger, Columnist, TV Reporter, Talk Radio Host, Think Glink Publishing LLC

August 20, 2010 | 11:26 am | | Podcasts |

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[The Housing Helix Podcast] Travis Waller, CDPE, CRS, RE/MAX, Distressed Property Realtor

June 11, 2010 | 2:33 pm | | Podcasts |

Last January I moderated a distressed property panel at the Inman Real Estate conference in New York.  One of the panelists was Travis Waller, a sharp real estate agent from New Jersey who spoke with great clarity on his specialty, distressed real estate.  In this podcast we have a great conversation via Skype on what life will be like after the end of the federal tax credit for first time and existing home buyers, how banks are coming to grips with property disposition, differences between short sale and foreclosure transactions, marketing distressed property, to name a few.

It’s great insight from someone who deals with distressed property first hand.  Follow Travis on Twitter.

Check out the podcast.

The Housing Helix Podcast Interview List

You can subscribe on iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my other blog The Housing Helix.

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[Interview] Travis Waller, CDPE, CRS, RE/MAX, Distressed Property Realtor

June 11, 2010 | 2:24 pm | | Podcasts |

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Everyone is Pulling for Joe Ferrara, Please Help

May 12, 2010 | 6:21 pm | |

Earlier this week, Scott Forcino, Joe Ferrara’s close friend and business partner told me that Joe is very sick. Joe has an aggressive malignant brain tumor. He is in a hospital ICU undergoing treatment, chemo/radiation and he has a speech pathologist. I think the symptoms became more serious in the past month.

Although I am married to a cancer survivor I still only have a small inkling of how tough this must be for Joe and his family.

Join Friends of Joe Ferrara

It took me a few days to collect my thoughts on Joe. A lot has been written about this unfortunate situation over the past week – which is completely awesome and shows how much we love Joe – its all been said better than I ever could. A special thanks to Jay Thompson for leading the effort to get the word out to help Joe and his family.

Donate to Joe’s Medical Expense Fund!

Right now we can all help Joe by donating what you can to help out his family from the incredible medical costs they are facing. Please help.

I will only think positive thoughts about his health and his future.

I first ran into Joe back in the prehistoric days of real estate blogging circa 2005-2006 when I started. A formally trained lawyer, he was a fountain of ideas in the social media space and along with Rudy Bachraty, they co-founded Sellsius Real Estate and began cranking out content on their Sellius Blog. He embellished a bit too.

My first interaction with Joe was after he made a presentation in Atlantic City, I blogged about their real estate concept here on Matrix and quipped that the bad link on their logo was probably a good sign of their focus on content quality rather than bells and whistles. Joe sent me a nice note commenting on how the bad link had been fixed and the relationship began.

He has been a fixture at Inman conferences and other social media gatherings, genuinely happy to help people find their way in an easygoing style.

I have to chuckle about his Blog USA tour back in 2007. I was the first stop on his cross country RV trip from Boston via New York to the San Francisco/Inman Connect conference. He and Rudy were supposed to arrive at my house at 9pm but didn’t get there until much later, 2am I think – they didn’t want to wake me so they slept in the RV in my driveway. We did a 6:30am video interview of me walking around my house – a bit surreal but fun. Next door to my house the movie Revolutionary Road was being filmed and we asked the film crew on the way out where Kate and Leonardo were – LOL. We took the RV from Connecticut to Manhattan – right to the front door of my office building – Joe promised door-to-door service – and then took off for California (the long way). A month later – as I walked into the Inman Conference in San Francisco – I happened to walk next to their famous Blog Tour USA RV and smiled in amazement – they made it!

Last October I interviewed Joe for my podcast, The Housing Helix. It was a fun conversation – and as usual, he was full of ideas. Please have a listen.

We’re pulling for you Joe!

[The Housing Helix Podcast] Phil Tesoriero, Gelip Inc. Consulting,, Foreclosure Guard, NYC Firefighter

March 22, 2010 | 5:00 am | | Podcasts |

After moderating a foreclosure panel at the recent Inman Real Estate Connect conference in New York, I thought it would be great to have a conversation with one of the panelists, Phil Tesoriero principal of Gelip Inc. Consulting. A former New York City Firefighter, his experience includes rehabbing REO’s and distressed properties as an investor and contractor, working as a sales agent specializing in the sale of HUD and REO properties and owner of a real estate brokerage firm, Phil now helps real estate professionals with the sale and management of distressed real estate.

You can find out more about Phil’s services at (Hint: its all about short sales) and his new product

Check out the podcast

The Housing Helix Podcast Interview List

You can subscribe on iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my other blog The Housing Helix.

[Interview] Phil Tesoriero, Gelip Inc. Consulting,, Foreclosure Guard, NYC Firefighter

March 22, 2010 | 12:01 am | | Podcasts |

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[Trulia] Price Reduction Report – January 2010

January 18, 2010 | 8:48 pm | |

[click to expand]

Trulia released its Price Reduction Report for January and the results are interesting. Actually Trulia released the report last week, but between the NYC Inman conference and a timed out web server, I am finally posting it along with my backlogged items.

The report has shown price reductions trends on homes that have at have had at least one reduction.

The total amount slashed from home prices also dropped to $21.2 billion compared to $24.7 billion in December, a 14 percent decrease. The average discount for price-reduced homes continues to hold at 11 percent off of the original listing price. This was also the second straight month where inventory levels have dropped for single family homes and condos across the United States.

This is the lowest level of total deductions since the the metric was established in April 2009.

Its important to note that this isn’t a loss in home equity, but the discount off of what sellers would like to sell their properties for in aggregate. The decline in this metric suggests that sellers are either adapting to the new market by pricing closer to market or they are less resistant to buyer demands. In other words, the rising demand for housing since early 2009 has created less incentive for sellers to capitulate. However, make no mistake – housing remains weak.

IMHO, I think its a combination of both but more of the former (pricing more accurately).

Luxury Market Acid Reflux
What is not surprising at all, is that the aggregate discount for luxury properties (>$2M) is actually rising. They account for 2% of all listings on Trulia, but account for 24% of the total dollar declines. Therefore one would assume that if luxury listings were excluded from the mix, the month over month decline in aggregate listing discounts would be substantially less.

Jumbo mortgage financing anyone?

[FCIC] Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Is In Business

January 18, 2010 | 8:11 pm | |

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I am coming up for air after the productive and engaging Inman Real Estate Connect conference last week. I got to connect (no surprise there) with a lot of great people connected with real estate and lead three panel discussions on foreclosure related topics.

One of the things I have been following has been the activity on this new Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission or FCIC to those in the (alphabet soup) know.

Aside: kudos to the web designers for all the new dot-gov web sites such as Simple to read and navigate. Yay! is something readers of Matrix should pay attention to.

Not because this effort will result in some sort of punishment for those who strayed from the straight and narrow (its a wide road). Since the financial crisis was a systemic breakdown, I would guess we will see something like this happen again in our lifetime, but hopefully not on the same scale because its human nature.

However, I recommend following this site to observe how the government will systemically explore what happened even though it was an important contributor to the breakdown. Sort of a government introspective while simultaneously protect their turf and save face. All the participants of this endeavor will no longer be in power when the next crisis hits. That’s why regulatory reform is so important.

My hope is something good comes out of the vetting process – it usually does – and we place logical constraints in place to prevent the scale of this sort of breakdown from happening in the future.

If its a slow evening for you, I recommend watching the C-SPAN versions of the January 13-14 hearings and review the associated documents.

Here are some sobering charts presented by the commission.

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[The Housing Helix Podcast] Rick Sharga, Senior Vice President, RealtyTrac

January 15, 2010 | 1:58 am | | Podcasts |

After moderating 3 foreclosure related panel discussions at the Inman Real Estate Connect conference in New York yesterday, I sat down with Rick Sharga of RealtyTrac (who was one of my panelists) to discuss their foreclosure business and the trends they are observing. I interviewed Rick last fall and always find him to be an endless source of insight and clarity on the distressed asset market. RealtyTrac released their most recent report yesterday so the timing was perfect.

Hint: 2010-2011 = Peak Foreclosure

Check out the podcast

The Housing Helix Podcast Interview List

You can subscribe on iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my other blog The Housing Helix.

[Interview] Rick Sharga, Senior Vice President, RealtyTrac

January 15, 2010 | 12:22 am | | Podcasts |

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