Pending Home Sales Down 19.6%

The hallucinogenic spin-meisters over at the National Association of Realtors are once again, misstating what their own data indicates:

Flat Existing-Home Sales Likely Before Gradual Recovery
The volume of existing-home sales is expected to hold steady through late spring, with a gradual recovery during the second half of the year as the mortgage situation improves in high-cost areas, according to the latest forecast by the National Association of Realtors.  Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said many buyers have been waiting for higher mortgage loan limits.  “The higher loan limits for both FHA and conventional loans will increase consumer choice and provide greater access to lower interest rate mortgages in high-cost regions,” he said.  “Therefore, a notable rise in home sales can be anticipated in the second half of the year."

This statement reflects a combination of wishful thinking and factual misstatements. Let’s review the specifics.

First, the Pending Home Sales Index fell 19.6% from year ago levels. This is hardly a "flat" number, as described by their PR release. This is significant, as the NAR itself notes in the footnotes to their The Pending Home Sales Index: 

"There is a closer relationship between
annual index changes (from the same month a year earlier) and year-ago
changes in sales performance than with month-to-month comparisons."

Hence, the data that matters most is not the change from December to January, filled as it is with seasonal anomalies, but  rather, the January 2007 to January 2008 comparison. That showed almost a fifth lower than the prior year’s index.

When we consider the rest of the data that’s out there, its apparent that stabilization is not the correct word:

-U.S. foreclosures hitting another record high
-Inventory at or near all time highs
-Interest rates rising

Well, at least they stopped saying "Bottom" — after two years of getting that word wrong.

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Source:
Flat Existing-Home Sales Likely Before Gradual Recovery
NAR, March 06, 2008
http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2008/flat_existing_home_sales.html

Category: Credit, Economy, Real Estate

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Why Can’t I Rip DVDs to My iPod?

Simpsons_movLegally, that is.

This is my annoyance of the moment: Why are DVDs a DRM-locked proprietary platform? When I purchase one, why can’t I use this on a convenient, portable device such as my iPod?

What a pain in the arse it is to rip a DVD: Frist, you need to use several products (MP4
Converter
, Handbrake, Ripper); 2nd, it takes forever. 3rd, and its illegal to do so.

What brought this about recently was The Simpson’s Movie — actually, more  of an extended 90 minute episode. I saw it with my nephews (with me snoozing thru parts of it).

However, going through the extras, I started listening to producer/writer commentary. Unbelievably entertaining stuff, like a terrific radio show with several very funny people cracking each other up. I would have liked to put on the iPod for the train, but no such luck.

~~~

I can rip the basic movie, but not the special audio commentary. Anyone have a clue how to do that?

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Sources:

The Complete Guide to Converting DVDs to iPod Format
Jerrod Hofferth
iLounge, November 21, 2005
http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/the-complete-guide-to-converting-dvds-to-ipod-format-mac/

Rip DVDs To Your Mac To View On AppleTV And iPod.
Alexis Kayhill
Mac360, Friday, April 13, 2007
http://mac360.com/index.php/mac360/comments/rip_dvds_to_your_mac_to_view_on_appletv_and_ipod/

Category: Digital Media, Film, Technology, Television, Video

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Foreclosure-proof Homeowners

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