Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In praise of Lawrence Yun

As Robbie Whelen notes in the Wall Street Journal, it could not have been fun to be Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors chief economist, today. As Whelen notes, he must "toe the line between housing industry economist and housing industry motivational speaker."

I think Lawrence does this well--he is clearly on the side of the people who pay him, but he also takes his positions honestly. I assume that he had something to do with NAR's decision not to advocate for an extension of the home buying tax credit. More important, he is in charge of the data that NAR puts out, and bad days like today essentially prove that the data are credible (full disclosure: I, along with Orawin Velz and Kevin Thorpe, helped design the methods by which the Existing Home Sales data are produced, but I have nothing to do with the monthly estimates that NAR puts out). I am guessing that one or two members of NAR wish he would fudge the data, but he does not.