Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics

The Census Bureau [warning pdf file] has released New Home Sales for May. All the real housing and economics blogs will have all the numbers and details but I wanted to take a moment to talk about one aspect of the reporting and methodology; revisions. Toady's release show a 1.6% drop in sales Apr-May. This because April's preliminary number of 980,000 was revised to 930,000. Were preliminary to preliminary numbers to be used May would be down 6.6%.

54 comments:

LossMitPro said...

FIRST!

~Mark

flailing forward said...

I would like to see how new signups for NRU and other scaminars track against the plunging housing market. I bet even now, idiots are still signing up for the easy money.

Benoit™ said...

M U R S T

LossMitPro said...

I often wonder how new housing sales truly mesh into the stats, considering that some builders are forced to sell below existing market values. Merced, California is one such place, where builders are offering buyers huge discounts and rebates in competition with local (preexisting) housing sales. Methinks that distorts the real numbers to some degree, but I could be in error.

~Mark

Anonymous said...

That is nothing new LossMitPro glad to see you have finally caught up and on.

You are creepy.

Jean Valjean said...

no surprise there.
I personally think Mark is pretty much a prick, mainly, I believe, because his chosen profession practically demands it.

But I believe him to be an honest prick.

And I would rather deal with an honest prick any day of the week than with a lying Snowflake.

-JVJ

Mouse And Pencil said...

Eeeeeeek! It lives! Zombie Benoit!!!!!!!!

opal said...

I was thinking along the lines of azzhole, which does not excuse being an azzhole all the time, rather than when dealing with the credit bandits.

Casey is a liar and thief and I prefer to avoid both the azzholes and the caseys.

Mouse And Pencil said...

In other news, the pricing plans for the iPhone are out:

All iPhone monthly service plans are available for individuals and families and are based on a new two-year service agreement with AT&T. Individual plans are priced at

$59.99 for 450 minutes
$79.99 for 900 minutes
$99.99 for 1,350 minutes

All plans include unlimited data (email and web), Visual Voicemail, 200 SMS text messages, roll over minutes and unlimited mobile-to-mobile and a one-time activation fee of $36. Family plans are also available.


Not bad. Better than I thought. I pay $60 a month for about the same without data from Verizon.

Damn it, I was just getting over that I was'nt going to get one...now they pull me back in...

Watch the stock soar...

(Ex) Train Wreck Watcher said...

Come now, don't fault the statisticians, it's not their fault that there are all those cancelled contracts that inevitably push the numbers down in the revisions. I mean, if there were enough cancellations on enough of a regular basis, of course they'd be able to make a statistical adjustment for it, but when the cancellations come as a surprise, month after month after month, why, there's nothing that can be done about it!

Homebuilder: We had another 1,000 new homes sold in our region for May.
Statistician: OK, 1,000 units it is!
. . .
Homebuilder: We had another 950 new homes sold in our region for June . . . but had a hundred cancellations in May.
Statistician (falls over in surprise): Well, that only makes May 900 units! But June is 950 units, construction is up!
. . .
Homebuilder: We had another 900 new homes sold in July . . . but had a hundred cancellations in June.
Statistician (falls over in surprise): Well, that only makes June 850 units! But July is 900 units, construction is up!
. . .
Homebuilder: We had another 850 new homes sold in August . . . but had a hundred cancellations in July.
Statistician (falls over in surprise): Well, that only makes July 800 units! But August is 850 units, construction is up!

LossMitPro said...

Jean Valjean @ 8:33 AM:
”…I would rather deal with an honest prick any day of the week than with a lying Snowflake.”

Thanks for noticing Jean, but admittedly I like to perpetuate the image of prick, to help hide my true nice-guy good nature... So glad to see my fiendishly diabolical plan is working. ;)

~Mark

The Dude said...

Benoit is dead in Atlanta....it's on the news. Imposter!

Anonymous said...

Jean Valjean @ 8:33 AM:
”…I would rather deal with an honest prick any day of the week than with a lying Snowflake.”

Thats assuming that you are right about him being honest. Maybe he is... but the guy totally comes off creepy. I wish the EN'ers would go about exposing LMP like they do to everything casey related.

Alabama_Swamp_Donkey said...

Pardon my attempt to stay on topic here, but has anyone looked over this yet?
http://www.realtor.org/rmodaily.nsf/pages/News2007062501

Here were the highlights.

Single-family homes: Sales slipped 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.20 million in May from an upwardly revised 5.24 million in April, and are 10.8 percent lower than a 5.83 million-unit pace a year ago. Prices: The median existing single-family home price was $223,000 in May, which is 2.4 percent lower than May 2006.

Condos and co-ops: Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 790,000 units in May from 770,000 in April, but are 6.7 percent below the 847,000-unit level in May 2006. Prices: The median existing condo price was $228,200 in May, down 0.4 percent from a year ago.

Northeast Region: Existing-home sales in the Northeast rose 5.8 percent to a level of 1.10 million in May, but are 3.5 percent lower than May 2006. Prices: The median existing-home price in the Northeast was $282,700, which is 0.5 percent higher than a year ago.

Midwest: Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 0.7 percent in May to a level of 1.41 million, but are 6.6 percent below a year ago. Prices: The median price in the Midwest was $168,800, which is 1.7 percent below May 2006.

West: Existing-home sales in the West slipped 0.8 percent in May to an annual pace of 1.18 million, and are 16.3 percent below May 2006. Prices: The median price in the West was $341,900, which is 0.5 percent lower than a year ago.

South: Existing-home sales in the South fell 3.4 percent to an annual sales rate of 2.30 million in May, and are 11.9 percent below a year ago. Prices: The median price in the South was $184,000, down 3.8 percent from May 2006.

Caseys Sex Life said...

The Dude,

It's even worse - Benoit is a murderer. Spent several days with his wife and kids bodies before offing himself. What a heinous scumbag.

Jean Valjean said...

that's because I haven't been given reason to believe he is NOT honest.

Unlike the braggadocios who blab that "respect must be earned", I prefer to respect everyone, until given reason not to.

So far Lost Mittens (couldn't resist) hasn't given any reason to believe he is dishonest.

-JVJ

R-Boy said...

No, he didn't spend DAYS with them.

According to officials, it looks like he killed his wife in a fit of rage over something (like her leaving him) and then killed his son. We DO NOT have a timeline yet because they're doing autopsies right now, but it appears that we're looking at about a 24 time window between 1st death and his suicide.

Its pretty obvious he flipped.


I used to cover pro wrestling. I knew him, had beer with him. Not one person in all the years I was in that scene had one bad thing to say about him. I guess he just went nuts. I am not excusing this by any means, but I bet it was a combination of roids, rage, and painkillers. He may have had a thyroid issue.

Benoit™ said...

Benoit is dead in Atlanta....it's on the news.

The WWE held a 3-hour tribute show to him yesterday, when the news was still describing only "a multiple homicide". They probably wouldn't have done the tribute had they known he killed half his family (his two other kids were in Canada at the time).

I've used the handle "Benoit" online for upwards of 12 years now, so not going to change it or anything. But still, the whole suicide/murder thing is deeply disturbing... :-\

The Dude said...

Now, to be fair, we don't know what happened at Benoit's house. It's a tragedy, that's for sure.

Now, somebody is on EN impersonating the beloved and respected Benoit....tacky, tacky, tacky.

Jean Valjean said...

And getting back on topic...
anyone see this ending sometime by the end of this year? Or do you fellas believe this will take a couple of years to wash away the scum/flippers?

The reason I ask is because I need to move this fall... I live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and my new job is about 30 miles from my current place.. and the price of gas alone is killing me.
It is actually cheaper to buy a condo here than to rent, so that's what I'm aiming for... but with the situation as it is.. sometimes I wonder if it's the right time.
Ideas? Thoughts? Suggestions? Comments? Donations?

-JVJ

Benoit™ said...

Now, somebody is on EN impersonating the beloved and respected Benoit....

I'm still alive and well, I'm not Chris Benoit, nor is "Benoit" any part of my real name.

The wrestler Benoit was 40 years old, an age I won't reach until 2019... :)

Stephanie J. said...

@JVJ
Unlike the braggadocios who blab that "respect must be earned", I prefer to respect everyone, until given reason not to.

Lovely. :)

The Dude said...

Benoit,

Simmer down.....we know, we know. :o)

The Dude said...

Benoit,

Simmer down.....we know, we know. :o)

Benoit™ said...

@ The Dude, I know -- just trying to ward off questions when people quickly scrolling down this thread see "Benoit is dead". heh. ;-Þ

Caseys Sex Life said...

Alright I stand corrected - so far. But anything over 24 hours is days, R-boy.

Caseys Sex Life said...

Atlanta-based law enforcement sources have told TMZ Benoit may have strangled his wife on Saturday, then smothered his son in his bed a day later. Investigators refuse to officially comment, pending final confirmation by the coroner on the cause and time of the deaths.

One source told TMZ that Benoit was texting friends during Sunday’s WWE “Vengeance” Pay-Per-View program — possibly watching the show with his son, who may have been alive at the time.

According to sources, Benoit then hanged himself Monday in a weight room inside the family home.

The Dude said...

After seeing pictures of Benoit, I'd check for massive levels of steroids. Chronic abusers have SEVERE mental issues....

Jean Valjean said...

@StephJ:
Thank you.

Caseys Sex Life said...

The Dude,


Sad but true. But wouldn't someone have rage issues continuously?? Wouldn't there have been clues that he was a powderkeg or do steroids just simmer inside you and then explode all at once??

I am from that neck of the woods and find it all very surreal and disturbing.

Johnny B. Good said...

...don't fault the statisticians

Oh, no...never the statisticians. They were just performing their magic, "Hey Ma! Look what I can do with these numbers!" They should be applauded like the contortionists at Cirque du Soleil.

By the way, 73.4% of statisticians say their work in unverifiable, so it does not matter what they say.


..anyone see this ending sometime by the end of this year

Try end of the decade. This is just the opening act. The headliners won't take the stage until summer 2008. In this case the headliners being multiple hedge fund failures, huge foreclosure numbers, dried up FCB investment in US bonds, etc.


Sure, you could probably get a good buy around the end of 2008, but your would need to wait until 2011 to 2012 until the market begins any appreciable recovery.

The Dude said...

JVJ,

Do your homework and get ALL the facts, research the DFW condo market, and position yourself to take advantage of someone's condo misery.

Don't want to sound ghoulish, but business is business. You didn't put the owners in that position; neither is it your responsibility to toss them a life preserver. Like we used to say in McD's....when the competition is drowning, shove a garden hose down their throat.

serinitis said...

Texas real estate is still being marketed at the real estate clubs in Sacramento. I expect it will take a year or two after the flippers have been stripped of their money before Texas gets back to normal

Anonymous said...

It looks like Benoit™ has offed himself and his family in Atlanta...another victim of the housing bubble? Wow.

king friday the 13th said...

bob dawg,

revisions in the housing numbers are kiddie-play compared to what the BLS does with employment numbers. You should post a topic about the "Birth/Death" Model, and how this model has been used to "create" 500,000 jobs in the last 2 months. These are jobs that don't show up in household employment surveys.


FYI, supposedly the birth/death model is an 11 parameter ARIMA time series model. With 11 parameters, you can pretty much "tweak" the inputs to get the "outputs" you want.

walt526 said...

"anyone see this ending sometime by the end of this year? Or do you fellas believe this will take a couple of years to wash away the scum/flippers?"

End of the year? Not a chance.

There are two forces that are going to drive prices down: 1) increase in defaults and foreclosures (driven in large part to ARMs resetting) and 2) tightening lending standards.

As bad as ARMs have been, they will continue to reset over the next three years. With prices failing and negative equity at origination, most will be upside-down on their mortgages and foreclosure will be inevitable if they cannot afford their higher payments (most were stretched to afford the teaser rates). And that's assuming that the economy doesn't enter recession. If there is widespread job loss, then people who could realistically afford their mortgages will default. In other words, under the best of circumstances it will be real ugly--but it could get a lot worse really, really quick.

Meanwhile, lending standards are going to get much, much tighter in response to these foreclosures and the collapse of MBS. This will eliminate a lot of potential buyers--especially if lenders insist on significant downpayments of 10 or 20%.

Prices are 20-60% too high in many bubble areas, such as my current hometown of Sacramento. In my estimation, there's an over 50% gap between median household incomes and median home prices. Through some combination of inflation, increases in household incomes, and decrease in home prices, these numbers need to come back into alignment. Because prices are sticky, that's going to take a while to work itself out.

The only way that the market will return to normal by the end of the year is if home prices decline 40%+ in six months. And that's not going to happen. Foreclosures might eventually force declines down that far in 3-5 years, but not 6 months.

Benoit™ said...

It looks like Benoit™ has offed himself and his family in Atlanta...another victim of the housing bubble?

Not yet, I got another 55 years or so in me, hopefully. heh. And I live in New York City, not Atlanta. And I bought my place in mid-2002 with a fixed-rate mortgage, 20% down, so I'm pretty pleased about the price appreciation since then. :o)

Anonymous said...

This place is boring. where have all the fun people gone?

Alright I am out of here. Last one out turn out the lights.

Back to fark for me.

Property Flopper said...

> Caseys Sex Life said...
>
> Alright I stand corrected - so
> far. But anything over 24 hours
> is days, R-boy.

Well, technically anything over 24 hours is one day. 48 hours before it's days. :)

Also - Finally caught up with all things Casey last night. It's been pretty static for so long, then I take two weeks off and suddenly he's left the wife and fled the country... I should take time off more often. :)

lawnmower man said...

Brief aside: the chap who interviewed Casey yesterday has followed up with a post basically saying "haterz sure are assholes, amirite?"

Lessons from the Haterz and Bubbleheads

Comments are open; I attempted a level-headed reply.

Property Flopper said...

> walt526 said...
>
> In other words, under the best
> of circumstances it will be real
> ugly--but it could get a lot
> worse really, really quick.

Sadly, I think this is quite accurate and possibly even on the optimistic side.

Well stated.

Anonymous said...

The haterz and the bubbleheads have created a quasi-cult mentality. They feed off one another to create a frenzy and yet they won’t stand alone. In the case of the Haterz, they have joined together to hate Casey. In the case of the Bubbleheads they have banded together to support whatever Keith has to say. It appears that these groups have drunk some sort of virtual kool-aid.

Too funny. This is exactly what I have been saying about the EN gang. so true.

Now bash me. aholes.

Rob Dawg said...

King,
Yes, the birth/death model is a farce but remember last year it massively underreported actual jibs generation so I'm not ready to be as critical. The SAAR and thrice revised housing numbers as well as the not counting cancellations however are plainly misreporting.

And walt, no 2007 is the just he start of the retracement. There's no way 8-10% from the peak of 18 months ago is going to unwind in 12. The ARM resets are the wild card. There is a one trick pony where the FBs get a refi but with worse terms in the hopes that they buy enough time to get in better shape for the next reset. The real pressure is going to come from the 2nd lienholders. Think about it. If you were the 2nd what terms would you accept? Your loan is unsupported by an asset and your borrower is at best alt-a in a tightening environment. Credit cards are charging 18% for these people. Even 12% is a risky position given your exposure.

Mouse And Pencil said...

"anyone see this ending sometime by the end of this year? Or do you fellas believe this will take a couple of years to wash away the scum/flippers?"

For CA, I'd say a decade.

The only thing that would help right now is special refis for fucked borrowers facing resets that let them stay in their houses, but the trade up/equity ATM is over, and over for a long, long time.

Without something like that propping up this state, it's going to bellyflop in a way that will shock everyone.

If this fraud of an amnesty is passed, all bets are off, that might not even help.

Every year, the CA legislation tries to find a way around Prop 13. If they manage that, we're talking generations.

Which is why I'm looking at getting the hell out of CA, no matter what, we're pretty much fucked.

mejustme said...

Oh, another question for Casey to ignore (should be worded better so please do):

Have your second mortgages on your foreclosed properties tried to collect or sue? Do you include them in your unsecured debt that you're assiduously tracking?

segfault said...

M&P--I agree--the pricing on the data plans is very fair. I'm excited! I plan to order online, since I hate crowds and waiting in long lines... Hope it'll be here sometime next week!

Stephanie J. said...

@LMM
Read your comment on the article. It is extremely well-stated; my sentiments exactly.

Mouse And Pencil said...

@segfault
I was pretty pleased at the pricing, I have many friends who are overjoyed they can afford it. I have had a horrific past with AT&T, so that's the dealbreaker for me, so i'm sitting this one out.

I also seriously wonder if the AT&T network is going to be able to handle the huge slam thats coming this weekend.

I'm also going to see how the software/hardware holds up in real world useage. I try not to buy version 1.0 of anything.

Finally, I'm waiting for Jaguar, for the integration with the OS. I have a feeling a 1.5 version may appear then, or at Macworld, that can be used with other companies, AT&T only has an exclusive on version 1.0.

Property Flopper said...

Mouse and Pencil -

Not in favor of killing Prop 13, but I would like to see it limited to residential.

For those not in CA - Prop 13 locks in property tax in CA based on purchase price. It was sold to the voters long ago on the theory that it protects poor, old widows from being taxed out of their homes.

Who sold it? Why the list of sponsors was a who's who of your major CA corporatations... the same corps who keep their property for long periods. Residential eventually turns over, corps do not.

Most of your major CA corps are paying property taxes based on 1970's real estate prices. Nice.

segfault said...

M&P:

I don't like the AT&T wiretap thing (but am already a Cingular subscriber)... No bad experiences with them other than that.

I will get version 1.0 if it's something I really want--I can still upgrade to 1.5/2.0 when it comes out, or buy the AppleCare if I want to keep it and there are a lot of reports of problems...

You mean Leopard? Jaguar was a couple of releases ago.

Rob Dawg said...

M&P,
Waiting for Jaguar? Why not wait for Leopard?

segfault said...

@property flopper:

Many states have homestead exemptions for persons over a certain age, for that very purpose. Guess CA had to come up with something that was more of a sweet, creative deal.

Mouse And Pencil said...

@Rob

...


Oof.

Yeah, Leopard. That one.

Rob Dawg said...

New post, talk prop 13 there.

M&P, no prob, I screw them up all the time as well.