Death of the ‘Realtor’?

We’re a little late on this today, but then we’ve known about it for a while:

The National Association of Realtors, a national lobby of real-estate brokers, is a bad place to get information about the real estate market.

So at least reports The Walk-Through, the Times’ brand-new baby blog about the real-estate market, in a pretty nice little smack-down.

And as always, Jonathan Miller has the definitive take:

Over the years we have relied on this near monopoly of information to gain insight as to the direction of the real estate market. Of course we recognize that this is a trade group and its purpose is to look out for its membership. However, its not the statistics that are creating the gap, its the hard sell that goes along with it.

Our question is pettier: How will Damon Darlin’s analysis go over at the Times real-estate desk? Because they’ve been relying on the NAR a lot lately:

  • “After married couples, single women now make up the largest segment of home buyers — 21 percent in 2005, up from 18 percent the year before, in contrast to single men, who make up 9 percent of home buyers, according to a survey published this month by the National Association of Realtors.”
    (The New York Times, “Our Equity, Ourselves,” Jan. 26, 2006)
  • “Sales of existing homes fell or stayed flat in all four regions of the country, while the total inventory of homes for sale dipped slightly, the National Association of Realtors reported.”
    (The New York Times, “Home Sales Fell Again In December,” Jan. 26, 2006)
  • “Part of the reason more people divide their time between homes is that more people own second homes. According to the National Association of Realtors, buyers purchased 2.82 million second homes in 2004, up 16 percent from a year earlier.”(The New York Times, “Double Nesters,” Jan. 19, 2006)
  • Maybe now the word “Realtor” can finally be scrapped, since it’s the N.A.R.-enforced term of art (which is why we try, insofar as we can control anything, to stick with the words “broker” or “agent”–not that you won’t catch us out on that.)

    - Tom McGeveran