With all the snarky observations I've been making about the hissing housing bubble, you might expect me to have a "Booyah! Told you so!" ready for this monthly update.
I don't. That's because I don't really want to see any of those poor folks out there who bought high -- and continue buying higher -- to get crushed. It's also because this month's widely reported housing market "cooling" just might be anything but.
As I've noted before, the new-housing sales numbers from the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department are prone to very large errors. In fact, the January figures, which were reported as showing a 5% drop from December, are subject to an 11.5% error, which means, according to the fine print that the newspapers don't want to report, that "it is uncertain whether there was an increase or decrease."
In other words, any investors who time a sell of homebuilders Centex
If you need further confirmation that things are not as simple as they seem, check out the existing home sales numbers from the National Association of Realtors. They show a 2.8% decline in existing home sales compared to last month, and 5.2% decline from last year. But the sale price of homes rose 11.6% year over year. How does that make any sense? The only thing I know for certain is that I'm not the only one who's uncertain. (Whether the rest of them will admit that is another question entirely.)
Investing in companies that ride macroeconomic trends is never easy, and that's nowhere more evident than in the housing sector. Make sure your investment, whether it's in a roof over your head or a company that provides them, is based on more than those monthly numbers. They're contradictory already, and they might be 180 degrees off.
For related Foolishness:
- H stands for both Housing and Hiss.
- The housing experts change their tune.
- Home prices help the California Dream go bad.
Seth Jayson is just not that impressed with Zillow. At the time of publication, he had no positions in any company mentioned here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here . Bank of America is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Fool rules are here .