A story in the Wall Street Journal this morning caught my eye. Headlined "Source of House Data Skews Loan Losses," by Marshall Eckblad, it talked about the effect the source of data has on companies’ financial reporting. My Dollar Sign column in the May/June 2008 issue of ONLINE was about real estate information sources. One of the frustrating things about writing the column is the fixed length. I’ve got 3 magazine pages, which doesn’t always allow me to mention every single thing I’d like to — and in this case it was these two sources of housing data that got "lost on the cutting room floor."
One of the sources mentioned in the WSJ article is governmental, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, and the other is private, the Case-Shilling Index from S&P. The OFHEO data presents a more optimistic picture than does Case-Shilling. If you want a good comparison of the two sources, the OFHEO published a research note last year, complete with charts and graphs. I certainly wish I’d had the space to include those two sources. Maybe I’ll write myself a letter to the editor.