David Lereah, former National Association of Realtor Chief Economist, seceded by Lawrence Yun, has been out of the spotlight for some time. After his reign at NAR, Lereah became a writer but has been fairly quiet for the last two years.
In 2007, Slate columnist Daniel Gross wrote, “So over the top was Lereah’s enthusiasm in the face of data, he was dubbed the Baghdad Bob of real estate.”
In 2009, TIME Magazine named Lereah as one of the “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis” stating “When the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, an industry trade group, tells you the housing market is going to keep on chugging forever, you listen with a grain of salt. But Lereah, who held the position through early 2007, did more than issue rosy forecasts. He regularly trumpeted the infallibility of housing as an investment in interviews, on TV and in his 2005 book, Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?”
That same year, Lereah admitted to CNN Money that he did spin. “I worked for an association promoting housing, and it was my job to represent their interests. If you look at my actual forecasts, the numbers were right inline with most forecasts. The difference was that I put a positive spin on it. It was easy to do during boom times, harder when times weren’t good. I never thought the whole national real estate market would burst.”
The WSJ summarized Lereah’s stint at NAR, “David Lereah, former chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, says that because the NAR represented the interests of Realtors, he was pressured to say positive things about the association’s data releases, but that he pushed back in some instances. “My forecasts were always credible and came out of our housing forecasting model,” he says, adding that he sometimes asked the public-relations department to tone down the quotes about the housing data releases they had written for him. Mr. Lereah says he left his NAR position in April 2007 when Move Inc., which has an operating agreement with NAR, offered him more money and a great opportunity to manage a new venture for the company. Mr. Lereah left the company in 2008 when Move canceled the venture.”
Where is he now?
Although Lereah’s role at Move ended a year later, he has since offered an annual newsletter at an annual cost, and more recently, he has launched the following venture: