Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baghdad Bob Makes a Comeback

Back in 2006, I suggested to a fellow blogger that the then Chief Economist of the NAR was akin to "Baghdad Bob", would say anything to perpetuate the real estate bubble regardless of the facts. We both made some posts on our blog about the similarity, and the name caught like wildfire. We know know by his own admission, that David Lereah didn't believe what he was telling the public. But he was paid by the NAR and he had to talk their book to the public. In essence, he was a company shill. A charlatan. For those of you that might not know Mr. Lereah, he authored the following two books.

This book on the left written in February 2005, right before the bubble burst. The one on the right (hard to tell the difference, isn't it?) was written in February 2006. Right at the top of the bubble. Lereah was famous for calling us non believers as "Chicken Littles".

One his more famous quotes was, "With sales stabilizing, we should go back to positive price growth early next year" —Lereah, NAR August 2006 existing home sales press release, September 25, 2006 .

Not to be outdone by his predecessor, current National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun addressed his fellow Realtors in Coral Gables at the 2009 Real Estate Congress last week. Much like Lereah, Yun's predictions have been also completely wrong. Yet that doesn't seem to deter him from telling the faithful followers of the NAR what they want to hear. Good times are ahead! Yun, who never saw a housing market he didn't like, made the following observations.

On the current residential housing market, Yun continues to dispense with the Kool-Aid: “It looks like we’re now in a recovery process, particularly in boom-and-bust markets.” Sound familiar to Lereah in 2006?

How he can come up with that conclusion given the following statement he made at the same conference is any one's guess: “Unfortunately, foreclosures will continue to increase.”

Asked about his predictions of the past, Yun replied:“I didn’t think there could be a housing bubble. In hindsight, I was clearly wrong.”

So, Mr. Yun, you admit to not seeing the housing bubble despite the obvious warning signs, despite a number of other highly respected economists, bloggers, and media personalities warning about it? But now we should believe you because?

When a man has been dead wrong as much as Yun has been yet continues to talk the same nonsense, he earns the name "Baghdad Bob".

Congratulations Mr. Yun, you've earned it!

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