Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Addendum to latest Hurriyet column

I got quite interesting comments to my latest Hurriyet column via email, which deserve to be shared with my readers.

First, a couple of readers note that the home sales figure was low compared to last year because of a "base effect". The argument is that last year's figures were extremely high because of the cut in title fees in March 2009, which led to many transactions that had already happened to "officially get registered". There was indeed a funny spike last year, as you can see in the picture below:
However, I doubt it is so simple: For one thing, although the yoy fall was 25.2 percent, home sales fell 7.3 percent qoq as well. So it is useful to look at alternate explanations. 

A news article that recently appeared in Hurriyet (unfortunately in Turkish only) relays views from sector professionals: According to them, the main reasons for the fall are the "summer effect", the "Ramadan effect" and the "Referendum effect".

To gauge the first two, we can  look at past data. Unfortunately, home sales data goes as far back as only 2008, making a statistical seasonal adjustment impossible. Nevertheless, you can see that although home sales did decrease during the third quarter of 2008 as well, the fall was rather small. Therefore, with the very limited amount of data I have, the home sales fall last quarter seems to be too large to be explained by seasonality alone. 

As for the referendum, there is no way of knowing for sure whether there was a referendum "wait-and-see" effect, but I would doubt it. For one thing, a "yes victory" was more or less in the bag, with most polls pointing at at least a small yes outturn.

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