USA’s Top Forecaster: NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun

I am slack jawed and dumb-founded. I am nearly speechless.

Here’s why: According to a National Association of Realtors press release, the NAR Chief Economist was named among top forecasters for accuracy by USA Today.

Note:  I found this press release on the NAR site, but I was unable to independently confirm it via Google or USA Today.

Apparently, I am not the only one who is perplexed by this. LawrenceYunWatch, the successor site to DavidLereahWatch, is even more miffed than I:

USA Today certainly did not do its homework. Have they read
the
Lawrence Yun
Watch
?

In September 2005 Yun predicted
"The chance of a housing price decline in the DC area is close to
zero, in my view. I anticipate that prices in DC will outpace the national
average price growth. DC prices will rise at close to a 7 to 10 % rate of
appreciation. "

As we know prices have declined significantly in the DC area since Yun’s
wrong prediction. According to the
S&P
Case Shiller Index
, since September 2005 DC area prices have fallen
8.4%.Do not trust Lawrence Yun.

Yun even recently admitted that "It is also fine for people to
point the finger at me.
In a fast changing market conditions, I
too have been off on my forecast."

The general public and media need to be aware of his spins,
predictions that have proven very wrong, and his
contradictory
statements
. Mr Yun is a paid spinner who has lost his credibility. The
USA Today should be ashamed of its shoddy work.

Can anyone find any mention of this beyond a press release? I am stymied . . . 

(Updated — thanks!)

>

Sources:

Economist expects Fed to cut rates at least a half-point
Barbara Hagenbaugh and Barbara Hansen,
USA TODAY, March 17, 2008
http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2008-03-16-top-economist_N.htm

NAR Chief Economist Named Among Top Forecasters for Accuracy
WASHINGTON, March 17, 2008
http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2008/nar_chief_economist_top_forecaster.html

Ridiculous: USA Today Names Lawrence Yun as Top Economic Forecaster
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
http://lawrenceyunwatch.blogspot.com/2008/03/ridiculous-usa-today-names-lawrence-yun.html

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Short Man commented on Mar 19

    C’mon…this is an early April fool’s day joke right??

    This is like naming Ashlee Simpson vocalist of the year.

  2. Dave commented on Mar 19

    LOL. More like Lawrence Yun, idiot of the year.

  3. Hal commented on Mar 19

    I couldn’t find it either, but according to this article, the rankings are based on a quarterly survey. I wonder if Mr. Yun was being honest in his survey responses, but “less than honest” in his public statements.

  4. KirkH commented on Mar 19

    I wonder if the NAR has a secret room full of real economists making accurate forecasts that they charge top dollar for.

    Given their awareness of the situation due to reports from an Army of Realtors maybe they were the first to short Bear.

  5. Winston Munn commented on Mar 19

    In truth it was rather a disappointing 5th place finish for Mr. Yun.

    The Top 5 were:

    1. Nostradamus
    2. Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder
    3. Edgar Cayce
    4. Punxsutawney Phil
    5. Lawrence Yun

    I’m pretty sure Mr. Yun thought he’d beat out Punxsutawney Phil.

  6. GerryL commented on Mar 19

    I am stunned. I can’t think of one correct forecast that he is has made.

    I think economists should be offended that he is called an economist. Just like his predecessor David Lareah he is just a marketing rep for the NAR.

  7. Pool Shark commented on Mar 19

    I believe Mr. Yun has engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

    Indeed, the powers that be have reserved solely to the legal profession the right and privilege to declare ‘night is day, and day is night.’

    On behalf of fellow lawyers everywhere, I call ‘shenanigans’ on the actions of Mr. Yun.

  8. GGervas commented on Mar 19

    I am also stymied at the sheer silliness of yun’s statements. His so-called forecasting is arrogant, and grossly biased. His numbers are always off by a minimum of 3% to 5% and I have seen even higher mis-calculations from him and nar.

    His predictions are made with a reckless care free atitude that belies a serious lack of understanding of the macro and micro economy, not too mention the public’s understanding of real vs contrived data.

    I wish other leading economists would denounce his continually inaccurate and incorrect statements and releases. He is nothing more than a shill for the nar.

    He typifies how the public view RE agents and brokers in general. His reports should be renamed: NAR- Ministry of Propaganda Report.

    Go back to sleep yun…or better yet, just go away.

  9. odograph commented on Mar 19

    I’m pleased … at a time like this, true comedy!

  10. dimitris commented on Mar 19

    Are we talking about the same USA Today that’s offered for “free” with hotel rooms?

    That’s just an ad rag, so what’s the consternation about?

  11. muddy commented on Mar 19

    USA Today does that stuff all the time. Yes, otherwise known as propaganda and not ignorance.

  12. traderboy commented on Mar 19

    “The National Association of Realtors┬« Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has been named among the top 10 economic forecasters by USA Today. Yun is ranked fifth on the list”

    turns out there was only 10 folk up for nomination

    6th was Baghdad Bob
    7th was Henry Paulson
    8th was Jim Cramer
    9th was Jimmy Cayne
    10th was Ben Bernanke

  13. Sebastian commented on Mar 19

    C’mon guys! With all the money spent on luxury real estate in the classifieds of USA Today, Yun HAS to be a top forecaster.

    Don’t you people know ANYTHING!?!

    And with that, I’m going to go celebrate the 5th anniversary of America’s greatest military victory….

  14. ottnott commented on Mar 19

    Here’s the USA Today story.
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/2008-03-16-top-economist_N.htm

    I doubt that the evaluation considered economic forecasts on housing prices and sales volume:
    HOW THE EVALUATIONS WERE MADE

    For the fifth year, USA TODAY enlisted the help of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to determine the most accurate forecasters among the economists surveyed in the newspaper’s quarterly survey on the U.S. economy.

    Atlanta Fed economist Tao Zha and Fed programmer Eric Wang analyzed the quarterly predictions to determine the most accurate forecasters. Zha and economists Robert Eisenbeis and Dan Waggoner had previously developed the methodology. Rather than assessing the accuracy of each forecast variable separately, as is commonly done, the economists used statistical methods to assess the joint accuracy of the predictions. The Atlanta Fed economists did not know the identities of those they were evaluating.

  15. ottnott commented on Mar 19

    I don’t know if this is the final version of the Atlanta Fed methodology, but it probably is fairly close (downloads might be restricted to subscribers, which would include most Universities):
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=316321

    And the forecast items evaluated are:
    T-Bill 3 = 6-month-ahead forecast of 3-Month Treasury Bills, Secondary Market (% p.a.)
    DGP = One-quarter ahead forecast of quarterly Real GDP growth
    CPI = 5-month-ahead forecast of annual CPI inflation rate (prior to 12 months ago)
    CUR = 5-month-ahead forecast of Civilian Unemployment Rate (SA, %)
    T-Bond = 6-month-ahead forecast of 10-Year Treasury Bond Yield at Constant Maturity (% p.a.)
    Yen/US$ = 6-month-ahead forecast of Yen/US$ exchange rate
    US$/Euro = 6-month-ahead forecast of US$/Euro exchange rate

    Furthermore, the USA Today rankings are not of the universe of forecasters, but only of those who responded to all 4 quarterly surveys – I’m not sure if the surveys were distributed by the Atlanta Fed or by USA Today. I’m guessing it was the Fed, perhaps an unofficial distribution by the Fed economists who developed the methodology.

  16. Alex commented on Mar 19

    This stinks of pay-ola. Seriously, someone got greased.

  17. VennData commented on Mar 19

    I saw Yun on CNBC a few weeks back and in the background was one of the biggest dive bars in town, the Billy Goat Tavern (made famous by Belushi et al on Saturday Nite Live.)

    So I do a little Googling and find the NAR HQ is a couple of blocks from me. I checked it out – 430 N Michigan Ave – and their office is for lease! As we say here in Chicago, ‘Dey’re vacating da premises.’

    This, combined with the angry refusal to donate any more money to the GOP er… a… Congressial representatives after the stimulus bill left RE with nothing tells me the orginazation is circling the drain… quite possibly in the 1/2 bath of dump on Lower Wacker.

    So maybe a buddy’s just helping buff Yun’s cv before departing for Pravda or whichever Ministry of Information has openings.

  18. Terence Burns commented on Mar 19

    USA Today was, is, and ever shall be a low-quality – if colorful! – rag. It’s so bad that if I use it to line the cat box my Maine Coon will poop on the floor. Seriously – it’s so bad it makes Fox News look intellectual.

  19. Jay Weinstein commented on Mar 19

    So I googled USA Today economist rankings…Guess who was the top forecaster in the survey for 2006? The economist at National City Corporation. Of course, NCC is only down 80% since then.

    How’s that working out for them?

  20. JS commented on Mar 19

    No online link, but I indeed saw this in the USA Today slipped under my hotel door on 3/17.

  21. portland Refugee commented on Mar 19

    No way no way no way no way……..!

    What’s next?
    Kudlow is on par with Buffett.

  22. Leawoodblues commented on Mar 19

    The next logical move for Yun will be to co-host a CNBC slot with Dennis Kneale

  23. Stuart commented on Mar 19

    Well that’s it. The whole effing universe has turned ass over friggin’ head upside down these days… Bin Laden was the humanitarian of the past decade too I guess. $@#$ retards at USA today. Contemptuous.

  24. Unsympathetic commented on Mar 19

    Perhaps the USA Today outsourced its fact-checking with someone in the Bush administration.

  25. harry commented on Mar 20

    HA.

    HA HA HA.

    no, make it ..

    HA HA HA HA HA…i just sprained my jaw !!

  26. decon commented on Mar 20

    Ya’ll are thinking about this all wrong. The ranking was of forecasts by ECONOMISTS.

    That’s like ranking toddlers on their table manners.

  27. ECONOMISTA NON GRATA commented on Mar 20

    I just got off the phone with the publisher at U S A Today and he advised me that in fact, they had rated Mr. Yum as the top forcaster. However, they used Larry Kudlow and Ben Bernake as comps and then marked Mr. Yum to model.

    Splendid, Eh…?

    Econolicious

  28. Empire commented on Mar 20

    They didn’t say he was ever right about anything. They just said he was less wrong than the other people who responded to the survey. I could say the sky is purple and still be less wrong than the guy who says it’s fish tacos.

  29. 3rdbillygoat commented on Mar 20

    USA Today? You mean that scratch-n-sniff news thingy?

  30. Red commented on Mar 20

    If the trend is ignoring fundamentals, those who predict with the trend will be right until they are wrong… So the absurd ability of the economy and housing to defy gravity made Yun look very good. Of course, now he is soooo very wrong.

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