Other blogs like housingdoom have always been a bit dubious of Butler and his reports - almost as much as we've taken on the hilariously corrupt Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, and their paid REIC shill Nicholas Retsinas.
But I haven't been too hard though on Butler, because he hasn't been stupid enough to attack HP'ers, unlike "Chicken Littles" Retsinas. And he's had some good quotes now that it's too late.
That said, the biggest housing bubble in America, and now one of the biggest real estate crashes, happened right under Butler's nose in Phoenix Arizona. And when he could have been and should have been shouting at the top of his lungs in 2004, 2005 and 2006 that wild illegal fraud and rampant speculation had gripped the Arizona real estate market and doing something about it, he did nothing, while putting out misleading soothing reports, and calling bottom every chance he could.
Well, today the chickens really came home to roost, and the REIC-ad-supported Arizona Republic (don't worry, it's a real reporter on the beat, not rolodex-of-realtors-Reagor) actually did their job for a change and exposed Butler's Arizona housing reports as a total farce.
Cheers to the Republic for exposing this mess. And I fully expect Butler to admit to his glaring error, and if he has any honor, to resign immediately. ASU isn't a legit school anyway, but when the people of Arizona needed 'experts' they could trust, they got Butler. And Swann. And Reagor. And now one hell of a housing mess on their hands.
Valley home-sales reports are at odds - Trustee-sales figures skew real-estate picture
One sign of the Valley's troubled housing market is the growing incidence of lenders assuming ownership of homes.
Ironically, the increasing number of those transactions has led to a false perception that the real-estate market may be showing signs of recovery.
The confusion stems from a report on April home sales by Jay Butler, director of real-estate studies at Arizona State University's Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness.
Butler compiles a report each month on home-resale transactions in Maricopa County.
The report said home resales were up 15 percent compared with the same month in 2007, the first year-over-year increase since July 2005.
That conflicts with a report released Monday by the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service indicating a 12 percent decrease in home sales in the same period.
The reason is Butler's report does not differentiate between "trustee sales," in which banks take over properties from borrowers in default, and routine home resales.
More than one-third of the sales reported by Butler for April, or 2,025 of the 5,585 total, were trustee sales.
When real-estate consultant Scott Smith saw Butler's latest report, Smith said he knew something was wrong with the numbers. Smith, who owns a real-estate services firm and tracks area home sales "on a daily basis," said Butler's April sales figures were simply too high.
"After checking the data several times . . . there is no doubt that Mr. Butler made a big mistake," Smith said.