USA’s Top Forecaster: NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun

I am slack jawed and dumb-founded. I am nearly speechless.

Here’s why: According to a National Association of Realtors press release, the NAR Chief Economist was named among top forecasters for accuracy by USA Today.

Note:  I found this press release on the NAR site, but I was unable to independently confirm it via Google or USA Today.

Apparently, I am not the only one who is perplexed by this. LawrenceYunWatch, the successor site to DavidLereahWatch, is even more miffed than I:

USA Today certainly did not do its homework. Have they read
Lawrence Yun

In September 2005 Yun predicted
"The chance of a housing price decline in the DC area is close to
zero, in my view. I anticipate that prices in DC will outpace the national
average price growth. DC prices will rise at close to a 7 to 10 % rate of
appreciation. "

As we know prices have declined significantly in the DC area since Yun’s
wrong prediction. According to the
Case Shiller Index
, since September 2005 DC area prices have fallen
8.4%.Do not trust Lawrence Yun.

Yun even recently admitted that "It is also fine for people to
point the finger at me.
In a fast changing market conditions, I
too have been off on my forecast."

The general public and media need to be aware of his spins,
predictions that have proven very wrong, and his
. Mr Yun is a paid spinner who has lost his credibility. The
USA Today should be ashamed of its shoddy work.

Can anyone find any mention of this beyond a press release? I am stymied . . . 

(Updated — thanks!)



Economist expects Fed to cut rates at least a half-point
Barbara Hagenbaugh and Barbara Hansen,
USA TODAY, March 17, 2008

NAR Chief Economist Named Among Top Forecasters for Accuracy
WASHINGTON, March 17, 2008

Ridiculous: USA Today Names Lawrence Yun as Top Economic Forecaster
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

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Housing Bust Blame Game

Back in August of 2007, we looked at the The Ongoing Impact of the Housing Sector.   

At the time, I had assigned blame for all of the problems in the credit
market to a variety of institutions and people. The blame went as follows:

    * Federal Reserve (FOMC)
    * Borrowers
    * Mortgage brokers
    * Appraisers
    * Federal Government
    * Fannie Mae
    * Lending banks
    * Wall Street firms
    * CDO Managers
    * Credit agencies
    * Hedge funds
    * Institutional Investors (pensions, insurance firms, banks, etc.)
    * And back to regulatory role of the Federal Reserve

Today’s WSJ has a front page article looking at the same issue: Housing Bust Fuels Blame Game. However, they assess blame somewhat differently, with a bit of a political slant:

Democrats are quick to blame Republicans, who were in
power during the housing bubble and subprime lending frenzy. For years,
America’s leaders failed to restrain the markets, companies, investors
and consumers from the missteps that led to the most pervasive
financial crisis in decades.

But in hindsight, the failure stretches across
government and across party lines. At bottom are two strong currents.
From the Republican president to urban Democratic congressmen,
homeownership was pushed as an overriding and unquestioned goal. And
many significant attempts at regulation were obstructed by the
prevailing belief that the economy did best when financial markets
operated as freely as possible.

While the headline writer tries to call this a "Bipartisan Failure," the bulk of the actual article is find less kind to the GOP. The Journal blamed:

* The Bush administration for cheerleading homeownership and pressuring government-sponsored mortgage lenders
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide funding for riskier mortgages.

* Congress for allowing Fannie and Freddie to invest
heavily in securities backed by subprime loans.

* While Democratic congressmen
pushed federal law to restrain sub-prime lending practices Republicans (with some Democratic allies) blocked or countered with
weaker versions;

* Federal Reserve, Chairman Alan Greenspan,
revered for not using the
Fed’s authority to more aggressively regulate lender behavior.

* California — where the country’s subprime lenders where — saw Democratic state lawmakers
refusing to impose tougher regulations on a
prized local industry.

Perhaps its bias on my part, but that list looks a little one sided to me . . .


graphic courtesy of the WSJ



Housing Bust Fuels Blame Game
Democrats Seize On Opponents’ Role;
Bipartisan Failures
WSJ, February 27, 2008; Page A1

Free version


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