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Cheerleader of Housing Boom Likely Under Water

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"Once one of the world's most-visible housing experts, [David] Lereah is disconnected from his old life. The former chief economist for the National Association of Realtors says the group's top executives won't return his phone calls. He says he wasn't invited to the association's 100th birthday bash last May." That's an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal profile of Lereah, once the face of the real estate boom, and now the target of much criticism. Lereah, who made a six figure salary working at the NAR, now says he was pressured to release optimistic-sounding reports. But he does admit to one mistake: He never believed there'd be a national housing crash. Meanwhile, life after NAR: He's started his own company called the Reecon Advisor, a weekly newsletter about the real estate market. While his five-bedroom home in Fairfax Station, Virginia has lost 20% of its value in the past two years, Lereah also purchased six condos during the boom. Chris Palmeri from Businessweek piles it on, writing that Lereah "ate his own cooking, buying six condos as investment properties during the boom. They’re located in formerly hot markets in Washington, DC and Florida. The article doesn’t go into detail but you can bet Lereah is under water on those."
· Realtors' Former Top Economist Says Don't Blame the Messenger [WSJ]
· David Lereah's Bad Calls Hit Home [BusinessWeek]