Despite a modest 1.7% rise (after dropping 1.5% in December), Pending Home Sales missed expectations of a 2.0% rise - the 5th monthly miss in a row.
It appears NAR's chief economist Lawrence Yun, whose specialty is revising the script to goalseek any desired outcome until the deviation from reality is so massive the NAR has no choice but to do a massive backward-looking revision, has flip-flopped yet again: On existing home sales, NAR blamed the drop on lack of supply (bizarrely, just as prices dropped at the same time ) while on pending home sales, NAR says buyers overcame lack of supply.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says for the most part buyers in January were able to overcome tight supply to sign contracts at a pace that highlights the underlying demand that exists in today's market. “Contract activity is convincingly up compared to a year ago despite comparable inventory levels,” he said. “The difference this year is the positive factors supporting stronger sales, such as slightly improving credit conditions, more jobs and slower price growth.”
At least he didn't blame snow in the seasonally-adjusted winter like he did for months in a row one year ago. Then again, there is always February...
In the meantime, the narrative spin must go on:
Yun also points to more favorable conditions for traditional buyers entering the market. All-cash sales and sales to investors are both down from a year ago1, creating less competition and some relief for buyers who still face the challenge of limited homes available for sale.
“All indications point to modest sales gains as we head into the spring buying season,” says Yun. “However, the pace will greatly depend on how much upward pressure the impact of low inventory will have on home prices. Appreciation anywhere near double-digits isn't healthy or sustainable in the current economic environment.”
Wait, realtors complaining that the 10 or so ultra-luxury houses for which there is some flipping demand have priced themselves out of the market? Unpossible.
And the best part - NAR forecasts:
Total existing-homes sales in 2015 are forecast to be around 5.26 million, an increase of 6.4 percent from 2014. The national median existing-home price for all of this year is expected to increase near 5 percent. In 2014, existing-home sales declined 2.9 percent and prices rose 5.7 percent.
And when the housing rebound fails to meet "expectations"... just blame groupthink.