Following up: A woeful year for forecasters

This is the time of year for economic forecasters to stand in front of audiences, speed through their PowerPoint presentations and forecast the macroeconomic future. Prediction: Most of the presentations will be “cautiously optimistic.” 

But what ever happened to last year’s forecasts? Home Channel News editors wrote some of them down, and the results again show that 2010 was a difficult year to predict. But that’s not stopping more forecasts for 2011.

• 2010 Forecast: At last year’s International Builders’ Show in January, the National Association of Home Builders, or NAHB, forecast 697,000 total housing starts in 2010.

• 2010 Fact: If December’s data is anything like last year’s, total 2010 starts will be 590,000. 

• 2011 Forecast: 708,000 starts.

• 2010 Forecast: The NAHB forecast 610,000 single-family starts.

• 2010 Fact: If December holds to form, the figure will be about 475,000.

• 2011 Forecast: 575,000 single-family starts.

• 2010 Forecast: In November 2009, the National Association of Realtors looked into 2010 and predicted existing-home sales to be 5.69 million in 2010. 

• 2010 Fact: Existing-home sales will be about 4.8 million, according to the NAR’s tally.

• 2011 Forecast: The NAR forecast 5.2 million existing-home sales this year.