There's Always More To The Story

By
Education & Training with The Lones Group, Inc.
The Lones Group, Inc.

There's Always More To The Story

Recently one of my clients forwarded an article to me about unemployment in their area.  The gist of the article was that jobless claims are up in the Kennewick area.

When the contents of this article hit my client's marketplace (Kennewick, a town in Eastern Washington), he told me the article had people so concerned that it felt as though the residents were running amok in the streets in fear of Godzilla. It was very much an atmosphere of doom, gloom, and fear.

As you can imagine, this made me absolutely crazy.

The whole picture of what's happening in Kennewick is very different. In fact, Fiscal Times recently named Kennewick as the #1 city people are moving to in a recent article.

So here's the question - what is the truth about the Kennewick area?

The article talking about increases in unemployment discounts - or completely ignores - the many other factors that make this area a phenomenal place to live. Great health care (three hospitals - and folks, that also translates into great employment opportunities).  Wonderful weather (300 days of sunshine each year!).  Superb wineries (which support a $350 million tourism industry). Fantastic opportunities for outdoor recreation.

And there are employment opportunities in the area. Don't let one media source fool you into thinking the area is sinking into a huge recession. Yes, employment is an important indicator of a community's health. But it's only one measure of the desirability of any given area. And of course, employment fluctuates over time. It's not a static measure of an area's performance. Before you panic based on one measure of economic health it's important to take a more global look - one that includes other measures of performance.

Actually, the article about Kennewick reminds me of an article written about the Seattle real estate market a couple of years ago, when it was reported that the area had record low rates of depreciation. Yes - home prices did depreciate in Seattle, just as they did in almost every community across the country. What the article didn't report was that, since 1976, homes in the Pacific Northwest have appreciated an average of 6.9% per year. So let's put that article in perspective. Many years of strong appreciation, followed by a year or two (or even three or four) of depreciation still equals a good thing. In fact, a very good thing.

In Kennewick, unemployment claims are up. But I think the reporter hurriedly glossed over the fact that unemployment numbers were lower in this area for several years due to the enormous amount of stimulus money eastern Washington communities received as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Prominently featured was a story about a woman, aged 62, who has been out of the work force since she last worked as a nanny - 11 years ago. The reality is that anyone who has been out of the work force for over a decade would likely struggle to find work in most communities in the United States today. Using this woman's story to make an emotional point about employment opportunities in Kennewick is an example of the kind of bias in reporting that tugs at readers' emotions rather than allowing them to assess the situation based on the facts.

In time, no one will remember this one biased article about Kennewick. It will fade away, and likely will be forgotten.

What won't fade away are the fundamental attributes of Kennewick. It is a thriving and growing community. I've long said that this part of Eastern Washington will continue to grow at a healthy pace. It simply has too much going for it... and with housing very reasonably priced, homeowners get real value for their housing dollar.

If I was a betting person, I'd be "all in" on the future of Kennewick.

Next time you read an article that predicts gloom and doom based on one or more factors, I encourage you do look at the numbers carefully before buying in to the hysteria.  Do a little research of your own to uncover mitigating factors.

More importantly, I hope that you will challenge the information. Touch base with the reporter and ask questions. Write to the editor and share your point of view, backed up with data you may have. It's important for every one of us to take action when we discover inaccuracies in reporting.

Do you have a favorite "scare story" that you read about your area?  I'd love to hear it!

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings over two decades of experience in the real estate industry. With expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, branding, new home project planning, product development, and agent/broker training, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things "real estate". With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

The Lones Group, Inc.
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  1. Sharon Denning 08/03/2012 09:36 AM
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Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Washington Benton County Kennewick
Tags:
real estate industry news
real estate advice
news
kennewick
industry reporting
industry news
inaccurate reporting
eastern washington

Comments 21 New Comment

Rainer
80,436
Ben Gerritsen
Vintage Lending, NMLS ID: 287106

Although unemployment is important to some people, the perception that people have is more important in choosing a place to move to and plant their roots. Great research and insights.

August 01, 2012 08:42 AM
Rainmaker
150,294
Denise Lones
CSP, MIRM, CDEI - Real Estate Coaching & Branding
The Lones Group, Inc.

Joy - thanks for the comment.  We do indeed need to be cautious.

Gary - your perspective is spot-on!

Tamara - so nice to hear from someone who used to live in the area!  Washington does indeed have lots of boom/bust cycles, as do many communities.  And with elections coming up at all levels of government many of the stories we are reading definitely have a slant or bias to them.

Benjamin - I appreciate your comments, and I'm glad you enjoyed the article.  

August 01, 2012 11:47 AM
Rainmaker
870,319
Adrian Willanger
Profit from my two decades of experience
206 909-7536 TheHomeFunnel.com

Hi Denise, I would have to go back a long way to the days when Boeing was seemingly the only game in Everett. When Boeing burped the Everett economy would go into a severe panic.

 

Best

August 03, 2012 09:46 AM
Rainmaker
150,294
Denise Lones
CSP, MIRM, CDEI - Real Estate Coaching & Branding
The Lones Group, Inc.

Adrian, that's a perfect example ... the whole "Will the last person in town please turn off the lights" mentality.  And yet, over time, real estate in the Puget Sound has been an excellent investment.  Thanks for chiming in Adrian!

August 03, 2012 10:45 AM
Rainmaker
337,261
Debbie Cook
Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc

I learned early in my career not to believe anything they say about real estate in the Washington Post or on TV.  They do not have their pulse on the real estate market, they report things about 8 months behind what's really happening in the market and they just LOVE anything negative!

August 05, 2012 03:52 AM
Rainmaker
150,294

Denise Lones

CSP, MIRM, CDEI - Real Estate Coaching & Branding
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Join Denise Lones each week as she looks at the world of real estate and the world at large from customer service to the importance of listing presentations in a one-on-one style. Denise has more than 20 years of experience as a successful agent, broker, trainer and coach. Denise is someone in the know when it comes to real estate.