THE BASIS POINT

NAR: Investors Fuel Existing Home Sales To 8-Month High. But Is NAR Overstating Sales?

The National Association of Realtors reported today that existing homes sales were up 2.7% in January and up 5.3% from a year ago. Investors bought 23% of existing single family homes, condos, townhouses, and co-ops in January, and 32% of all existing home sales transactions were completed with all cash. NAR said the median existing home price was $158,800 in January, down 3.7% from January 2010 and a 9 year low according to Bloomberg. This price stat is consistent with yesterday’s latest S&P Case Shiller home price report.

What’s not consistent is whether the NAR is reporting sales volume numbers correctly. There’s evidence that they may have overstated existing home sales by up to 20% in recent years. Here’s money manager Barry Ritholtz and real estate trade publication Inman News on NAR’s alleged overstatements.