I am flummoxed by the headlines I keep seeing regarding NAR’s pending home sales index released the other day.

facepalm “Pending Home Sales Index Slips Badly in April,” says DSNews. “U. S. pending homes sales fall 5.5 pct in April,” according to Reuters. “Pending Home Sales Index Declines In April,” is Fox’s headline. Even NAR itself says, “Pending Home Sales Decline in April but Up Strongly From a Year Ago” — burying the important part in the second half of the hed.

What the heck does it take to get through to them? Month-to-month numbers don’t matter. What’s important is what happened year to year.

The headline should be: PENDING HOME SALES ARE UP 14.4% IN APRIL.

But for some reason too many news sources jump on those almost-meaningless monthly comparisons.

When the market was tanking there would be headlines like “Home sales increase in July,” even though they were actually down from year to year. Those false rays of hope were as bad as this unnecessary hand-wringing over a short-term change.

Watch the year-to-year numbers, folks.