I suspect the media prides themselves on being on top of what's going on in the world. And certainly there are some stellar investigative reporters and documentary movie makers who do bring the reality of the world's events to us on the Internet, in print and on the TV, often as they are happening.
Such is not the case with the housing market. (graphic is a link)
Media headlines gleefully proclaim the nastiness of the real estate market, among other doom and gloom news, relying on published reports, regional statistics, and trends based on what has happened in months past as opposed to the current reality. Is it because they relish the idea of promoting the negativity, the bad news, the horror stories? Or is it because true investigative reporting seems to have eluded so many who claim to be reporters, at least with respect to real estate?
The axiom that real estate is local is widely known, except perhaps to the media at large (OK, forgive me, I admit there are exceptions). But despite much being written on-line by practitioners in the business who DO know the local market, the media seems content to continue reporting the same stuff they have been, and which seems much the same no matter what you read or where you read it.
- Does no one care about reporting what is going on locally in many areas?
- Of touching bases with the people who have the information and knowledge about what is happening beyond the headlines that scream at us from the front pages?
The media doesn't know what is going on in real time, at least if they do they don't seem to report it. Or perhaps I have been too busy, and too tired of reading the same old headlines to notice if they are catching on to the trends folks in the know...the agents, and the buyers...are aware of.
I wrote about a recent situation with a real sale that was a throwback to the days of the seller's market, with numerous offers, many above asking. I described it as a feeding frenzy. What was particularly intriguing were the comments from ActiveRain agents from other areas reporting much the same thing, and not just with one sale but multiple transactions. This is not just one example, a fluke, but what appears to be a change in the market, at least in some segments outside of distress sales. And it has an impact, or should, on buyer behavior.
Sure, it may be short lived, and not a long term trend, although time will tell. But the media doesn't seem to know what this is going on.
There is much anecdotal evidence of significantly increased buyer activity, at different phases of the buying process, in our area, and I imagine in others, too - mortgage inquiries, open house attendance, offers, showings - yet this remains, from what I have seen, hidden from the media's scrutiny. And until it reaches the level of a published report, or a press release from NAR or other real estate organizations, I suspect that will not change. And even then those reports are not real time.
We, as real estate practitioners, have the ability, and perhaps the obligation, to publicize the changes and trends we see and the statistics we have, in order for the public to really understand the realities of their local markets so they, in turn, can make informed decisions about real estate. Our posts, and social media sites, allow us to do so in real time, to provide breaking news that consumers WANT and NEED to know that may influence their choices.
We cannot, and should not, rely on the media to report this information, for they have not demonstrated their ability to do so fairly and accurately. But our own reporting can make a difference, and perhaps will, in time, influence the manner in which the media reports on the housing market in general. And the consumer will gain by receiving information that is not some generic headline with a slant that obliterates the reality of local real estate trends, but data and trends that are meaningful because they are happening now and can impact decision making.