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Several years of home sales data under scrutiny

Estimates of existing homes sold over the past five years from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) may have been overblown, the trade organization announced on Dec. 15. 

NAR said it plans to downwardly revise sales of previously owned homes going back to 2007 on Dec. 21, when it releases its monthly home sales report.

Characterizing the adjustment of previously released numbers as “a year-long re-benchmarking process,” chief economist Lawrence Yun explained on the NAR website that a series of errors may have led to over-counting home sales, including relying on data from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and outdated 2000 U.S. Census numbers. 

NAR hasn't revealed exactly how big the revision to home sales will be. Yun did say, however, that the decrease will be “meaningful.”

“For the real estate business, this means the housing market's downturn was deeper than what was initially thought,“ Yun said. 

According to Yun, NAR became aware of the upward “shift” in data during its most recent re-benchmarking process this year. With the help of the government, economists and real estate groups, the NAR will release revised numbers on Dec. 21 at 10 a.m.

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