Good News in a Bad News Headline

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Woodland Schmidt - Hart, MI

"March Housing Construction Drops 10.8 Percent"

By now you've probably seen headlines like this one. It's dramatic, it sounds like the world is ending for real estate, and it is just the kind of dramatic overstatement that makes me gag when I read the news. But have you actually READ the article? I've linked it to the headline.

Believe it or not, there's actually a lot of good news in there. The article explains that the percentage is based largely on the fact that multi-family home starts (apartments) are down, but in fact, single family home starts have stabilized. Here are two excerpts from the article which belie the headline:

"The much larger single-family sector actually stabilized in March at an annual rate of 358,000 units, the same level as February when single-family starts managed a small 0.6 percent rise."

"The bad news is that home construction is still in the tank. The good news is that single-family activity may finally be stabilizing," - Joel Naroff, an economist at Naroff Economic Advisers

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So why the mixed message? No, wait, scratch that. Why the completely misleading, borderline outright lie of a headline? The answer is simple: bad news sells.

The media has adopted an attitude that no one wants good news. I am a fan of Fox News, which is where this article comes from. However, they are often just as prone to adopting this attitude as anyone else.

As a Realtor, I find it encouraging that apartment starts are down. This means that people are buying homes, and are less interested in renting. With low interest rates and low prices, the consumer is realizing that renting is not their only option.

Now, more than ever, it is extremely important that we perform as real estate educators, and not just salespersons. We have to counter this type of negativity, and make people aware that the sky is truly not falling.

Somebody get on the phone and tell Chicken Little he can come out, we're going to be OK. All we need is a healthy dose of reality. We've seen an increase in home sales in West Michigan real estate, and I'm doing my part to make sure the word gets out. You can help by reblogging and linking this blog to everyone you know.

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  1. Donald Bradbury 04/20/2009 08:57 PM
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Topic:
Real Estate Market Trends
Location:
Michigan Oceana County Hart
Groups:
Coldwell Banker Group
Realtors®
West Michigan Real Estate
Greater GRAND RAPIDS, MI Real Estate
Kent County MI Real Estate
Tags:
real estate market
media
housing starts
realtor
west michigan

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Rainmaker
792,599
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg Homes
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg IL Real Estate - Northwest Suburbs of Chicago

It's really a shame about that whole media process of 'bad news sells'.  Of course, we also look to the tabloids to see what celebrities have fallen on their faces this week!  Oh yeah, that's positive!

April 21, 2009 05:54 PM
Rainmaker
1,238,536
Charles Stallions
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services

So where are you going to get your news. It's a fact and the folks that read the stuff spread it. It's like the folks that watch reality TV, Okra and Dr. Pill, it is said therefore it is true.

April 21, 2009 09:31 PM
Rainmaker
200,156
Nancy Milton Holtzscher
Edwardsville/Glen Carbon, Illinois Broker, REALTOR
RE/MAX Preferred Partners in St.Louis' Illinois suburbs

Great post, thanks. Having been in the news business many years ago, I am compelled to mention that the guy who writes the story doesn't write the headline. Some copy editor who probably just scanned the story penned the first headline he could think of and moved on. That's not to excuse, just to explain. There's no vast media conspiracy...they're just overworked and looking for the easy solution, which leads to bad headlines all the time. Now with so many newsroom staff positions being slashed by the beancounters, we can expect this to get worse instead of better.

April 22, 2009 05:15 AM
Rainer
19,981
Tim White
Coldwell Banker Woodland Schmidt - Hart, MI

Nancy - Thanks for the insight into the news media. It's always nice to get another perspective on things.

April 22, 2009 12:57 PM
Rainmaker
653,583
Joetta Fort
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder
The DiGiorgio Group

Hearing the news that new home starts had dropped 60% sounded like excellent news to me!  I figured that would kick the sales of existing homes into gear plus create motivation for new home buyers to get off the fence. And guess what?  It did!  So, what they 'meant for evil' turned to good.

April 27, 2009 11:55 AM
Anonymous
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Tim White

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