Real Estate 28 Dec 2006 07:37 am

New-Home Sales Up…Maybe…Sort Of…Not So Sure

by Sean Hackbarth

Man shrugging

Data that November new-home sales went up did enough to affect the bond and currency markets. But the government isn’t even sure they got the numbers right:

The government cautions that its housing data are subject to large sampling and other statistical errors. Large revisions are common.

The standard error is so high, in fact, that the government cannot be sure that sales increased at all in November.

It can take up to six months for a trend in sales to emerge.

That didn’t stop Bear Sterns economists from spouting,

Although no doubt this report was boosted by the mild weather in parts of the country, the pickup in sales and decline in the number of homes for sale provide further tentative evidence that the housing market is stabilizing.

Economists’ reputations continue to improve.

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