Shhh, The Media Doesn't Know

By
Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA BRE Lic #01490977

 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)

No Doom Gloom Blog

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? 

What you see is not what you getThe 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.

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Re-Bloggged 2 times:

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  1. Jean Terry 04/17/2009 10:40 AM
  2. Janice Roosevelt 04/20/2009 03:57 PM
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Jeff Dowler CRS
Carlsbad CA Homes for Sale (760) 840-1360
Solutions Real Estate

Kate - I so agree. And I think more and more consumers are realizing that the info in the headlines is NOT an accurate representation of our housing market on the local level.

Pat - no question about it. Hope you are enjoying Paris too and NOT spending too much time on AR. Your buyers will be waiting for you.

Ron - I know, I know. I was trying to be fair and accurate. My bad. Good news for your area.

Lenn - right on point.

Tim - and that's why so many folks now are getting THEIR news on-line. Faster and more accurate. Newspaper readership is changing dramatically.

Scott - and that is a great example of what we can and should be doing with consumers - when talking with them, emailing, and writing on-line.

Sally and David - excellent point. We can all help spread the word.

Jeff

April 18, 2009 09:41 AM
Anonymous #46
Anonymous
Stephen

Mr. Crouch,

I can see that you're from Austin, an area I'm quite familiar with (I do some commercial real estate investing). Our company subscribes to a service called Altos Research. Are you familiar with that service? They report real estate statistics in real time, and are not swayed by emotion or media hype.

There are some interesting graphs on real-time market activity in Austin that can be found here:

http://www.altosresearch.com/research/TX/AUSTIN

The information does support your claim that the Austin market has been spared much of the downturn as compared to many other areas in the country. However, it looks as though some of the upswing has happened only in the last month, and that the area still isn't where it was as recently as 9 months ago.

Are you also aware that commercial real estate in Austin was down 56% in 2008 from the previous year? And that part of its recovery now is due to the fact that foreign investors rank Austin as their 11th favorite city to invest in throughout the entire United States? That's spelled FOREIGN investment.

Lastly, it shouldn't come as a surprise that there are sellers in every market who are still able to profit from the sale of their home. If they've owned their home for seven years or more, it's likely that they're getting out of the deal with money still left in their pockets. After all, they bought their home for $100,000, watched it appreciate to $280,000, and now can sell it for $160,000 and still walk away relatively unscathed. The ones I feel sorry for (even in Austin) are the 1,000's who paid $280,000. They can't sell, and will likely join the ranks of those who have been foreclosed upon.

Multiple offers are a consequence of bargain basement prices, and sellers who bought less than five years ago are not profiting, I assure you.

I'm not sure I would paint all of the above as a positive just yet. It all still sounds "doomy and gloomy" if you ask me.

Stephen S.



 

April 18, 2009 11:26 AM
Rainmaker
383,412
Mark Brian
Anderson SC Realtor
Silver Star Real Estate LLC

I take anything reported in the media with a grain of salt. No news sells like bad news and they know it.

April 18, 2009 01:45 PM
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Jeff Dowler CRS
Carlsbad CA Homes for Sale (760) 840-1360
Solutions Real Estate

Missy - we are seeing the same thing here. It's good that these properties are selling and the amount of activity suggests there is a fari amount of demand, at least in some segments of the local markets

Susie - well we don't want to try to reat good news if it does not exist, and we shoudl report what se see as the facts on the local leve. My griup with the reports in the media is that they are too generalized to really be meaningful.

Bill - that does seem to be the case. And I suppose as long as people understand that what they read may not always be true or accurate then it is less of an issue.

Mary - in a general sense I think that is right. I suppose there are exceptions, though.

Sandy - I can't argue with that

Jeff

April 18, 2009 07:18 PM
Ambassador
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Jeff Dowler CRS
Carlsbad CA Homes for Sale (760) 840-1360
Solutions Real Estate

Jason - how true. LIke the banks, the media doesn't sell real estate and doesn't necessarily understand it adn how it works. So they rely on reports that find without understanding the context ot what it means. Sure, there are exceptions.

Thanks, Renee. Your point about our responsibility to report information accurately to our clients is key, whether it is "good" news of not. They need to understand what is happening in teh local market and how it can affect them. Does this mean we ignore the larger issues? No, because they ultimately can mpact the local market too - increasging unployment being just one example.

Frank and Jodi - good for you! I hear from many buyers that they do not pay alot of attention to the mediae reports.

Jeff

April 18, 2009 07:28 PM
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