Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Pied Piper of Doom's perfect (contrary) record stays intact: house prices edition

- by New Deal democrat

As reported yesterday, the Case Shiller housing index, which bottomed on a seasonally adjusted basis in January, has turned positive YoY as well. This by the way is a good example of how YoY data lags seasonally adjusted data, since the YoY turn has come 5 months later than the seasonally adjusted bottom.

All of which means that the predictions of the Pied Piper of Doom have once again proven to be almost perfect indicators - of the exact opposite. In February he wrote:
Statistically speaking, perhaps the most underreported story on our economy, right now, concerns the “shadow inventory” nightmare that currently exists throughout the U.S. housing market. This has been further exacerbated by many years of misinformation (i.e.: ongoing overstatements of home sales figures) provided by the “ethically-challenged” National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Throughout the mainstream media, and even amongst some of the more normally-credible sources on our economy in the blogosphere* [*NDD note: this was a swipe at Bill McBride a/k/a Calculated Risk, as is clear below], we’re now hearing about how the housing market is “modestly improving.” Frankly, this is total propaganda; statistical “improvements” have been nominal, at best; since virtually all of these “reliable” sources are still, to this day, all but ignoring (both statistically and editorially) this extremely pertinent, albeit inconvenient, reality.
He went on to quote an article by Michael Olenick published at Naked Capitalism, and disseminated Olenick's insult of perhaps the nicest economic blogger there is:
The normally astute Bill McBride of Calculated Risk has joined the chorus of cheerleaders to argue that an alleged decrease in housing inventory means that house prices are near their ethereal bottom.
He concluded by taking one more swipe at CR:
Here's the link to the top story over at Calculated Risk, this morning... Case Shiller: House Prices fall to new post-bubble lows in December …and here's McBride's most recent piece on new home sales… New Home Sales: 2011 Still the Worst Year, "Distressing Gap" remains very wide by CalculatedRisk on 2/24/2012 12:09:00 PM (The shadow inventory issue is not mentioned in either piece.)
He rivisited this prediction of ongoing Doom one more time in March:
All of those “housing-has-bottomed” memes you’re now reading about (which conveniently don’t even reference, let alone discuss or acknowledge, an unreported massive “shadow inventory” in U.S. housing that’s not covered in the common metrics used nowadays in the MSM, or even in the blogosphere), HERE’s the latest from Michael Olenick, a favorite of Yves Smith over at Naked Capitalism: “Beware of Housing Market Cheerleading.”
Alas for the Pied Piper of Doom, the Case Shiller seasonally adjusted bottom of January 2012 was reported in March literally within days of his later screed. In fact, the Index is now up 3.5% from its January level, meaning that it has outpaced inflation as well. Further evidence of the bottom is that almost every other housing price index has followed a similar pattern.

He's stayed away from predictions recently, which is really kind of a shame, because he became almost a perfect bellwether.

Just not the kind of bellwether he thought.