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After analyzing several years of data, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has announced that it overestimated the number of existing homes sold between 2007 and 2010 by 14.3%. This means that 2.9 million fewer homes were sold in the United States during that time period than previously thought.
The NAR said the benchmarking study, typically done every 10 years, was undertaken after real estate groups began questioning some of the trade organization’s monthly home sales reports. A series of errors led to over-counting home sales, including relying on data from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and outdated 2000 U.S. Census numbers.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said the downward shift in the numbers indicates that the housing market took a deeper dive than initially estimated.
But the new report, completed with the help of the government, economists and real estate groups, contained some good news. According to the NAR, the inventory of unsold homes is lower than initially thought, which can increase demand among buyers. For November of 2011, 2.58 million single-family homes and condos were for sale, down 18.1% from a year ago.