Monday, May 28, 2007

Difficulties in Counting Foreclosures

by Bill McBride on 5/28/2007 04:49:00 PM

From David Streitfeld at the LA Times: Getting a fix on foreclosure data

RealtyTrac's numbers tend to top all other figures because the company counts every step in the foreclosure process — the notice of default, the auction, the house reverting to the lender — separately. One house might be tallied several times as a foreclosure.

This is highly misleading, the company's critics say. A Colorado housing official recently called RealtyTrac's numbers "ridiculous and irresponsible." ...

"No one is measuring the truth," said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Economy.com. "This is a problem when formulating policy."

Zandi takes issue not only with RealtyTrac for numbers he says are too high but also with DataQuick Information Systems, a La Jolla, Calif.-based research company frequently cited in The Times, for numbers he says are too low.
I've been using the DataQuick numbers for consistency - but they may be too low.