Grace Kiser and Ryan McCarthy
In case you missed it -- or were just plain confused -- this week saw the release of a bewildering number of housing indicators. The S&P/Case-Shiller Index, which tracks national home prices, reported a tiny gain in home prices for September -- for the fifth consecutive month of growth. Separately, the National Association of Realtors said that sales of previously owned homes were up 10 percent from September. And federal data released today showed a 6.2 percent increase in new homes sales in October. Got that?
For his part, Barry Ritholtz, CEO of Fusion IQ and author of The Big Picture blog, was much less circumspect in an interview with Yahoo's Tech Ticker today: "We're not even close to a bottom in the housing market," he said.
According to Ritholtz, the housing data show an "artificial move up," because the reports are largely built on seasonally adjusted numbers and because "areas that have the most foreclosures are seeing most of the activity." People buy foreclosed-on homes and then flip them, resulting in double counting and the "illusion of activity."