The story of David Lereah, the NAR's former chief economist, reflects the highs and lows of the US housing bubble. Back in 2004, he was the chief cheerleader for the NAR, talking up housing, and promising everyone the future of eternal price appreciation. His books were bestsellers and as a speaker he was in constant demand.
Like house prices, his economic forecasting gradually departed from fundamentals. However, house prices were the first to begin a correction. As a bubble began to burst, Lereah's forecasts became increasingly absurd. He called the bottom no fewer than four times. As each month produced more and more depressing data on the housing market, his optimism was irrepressible. Each NAR press release protested that the current slowdown was only temporary and that things will improve shortly. However, his credibility began to diminish and this reflected upon his employer, who weren't prepared to look foolish for his sake.
It looks like David Lereah blamed the housing crash on the weather just once too often. The NAR leadership realised that he had to go. While the precise details of his departure are a matter speculation, it is not hard to imagine a gentle conversation where David is asked politely to leave in a media friendly manner.
In some respects, Lereah's departure marks an unprecedented degree of public accountability. In the past, Lereah could safely make his absurd comments without any fear of losing his job. Today however we have the housing bubble bloggers, who unlike the mainstream media, are prepared to question self-interested commentary from pressure groups like the NAR. Lereah and the NAR were held to account for what they said, and where they were found wanting, the bloggers demanded the truth. Ultimately, the bloggers made Lereah a liability for the NAR that his why Lereah was pushed out.