Monday, August 17, 2009

Media-Driven Market
By JR Hafer

Those who keep abreast of what’s happening in the world by getting their information from the news media are behind the times. The media brings us dramatic words while describing news. Words like “underwater” to describe the current negative equity situation of homeowners.

Everyone knows that “upside down” indicates that one owes more than something is worth. However, the media in their effort to be more dramatic use the word “underwater”, which indicates to us, that we may need flood insurance.

The media sometimes use data that’s three to six months old and report information as current. That type of reporting is disgusting and misleading at best, especially to those in the real estate industry who can inform you, in real time, what is currently happening. You may want to talk to a Realtor for current news on the real estate market.

Realtors know there is a time gap in reporting of the news regarding the health and condition of the real estate market. Realtors® are see the data, Realtors® feel it, they live it every day, they understand their marketing area. This world depends on the news media to give correct information. Therefore, it is a media-driven market.

News Flash! There is no flood in Polk county Florida… But there are over 50% of homeowners in a negative equity situation. Not underwater but “upside down”, in other words, they owe more than their homes are worth.

The average individual equity loss, over the last eighteen months, is 60k to 100k for Polk county residents. Their market values dropped almost 8% during the first quarter of 2009 due to short sales and bank-owned properties selling at “fire sale” prices.

Some news media outlets say: “The housing market is in a freefall and will not recover before the end of the year”. The truth is, the house hunters are trying to buy houses now, they are coming in droves, right now, but the banks have tightened their lending criteria so much folks are having a tough time getting loans unless their credit is almost flawless.

Foreclosures are historically high and unemployment is higher than most report. Much higher, even double digit levels; But when the displaced self-employed is included and counted in the reports. Another flaw of the reporting media.

The good news is: Buyers are searching for the great deals. Realtors® are seeing, in some cases, bidding situations occur due to multiple offers, which morph into bait and switch tactics and the banks are capitalizing on these situations which are increasing daily.

Between bank-owned properties, short sales and other desperate situations, appraisals will not support much, if any, increases until those types of sales clear off the books, or thin out substantially. Like everything else, the real estate market is cyclical and prices will rise again, this is inevitable.

The media reports there are encouraging signs on the horizon. But, Realtors® will tell you the signs have arrived and contracts are being written. Hopefully, the smoke and mirror politics and the government handout programs are almost over. The American public will soon realize; the government throwing money at problem isn’t the answer.

It’s time for the banks to step up to the plate and stop changing the rules. I challenge the media to ask Realtors what’s going on and report today’s statistics today.

The media have the power to make presidents, control markets and drive an industry. They depend on, politicians and Wall Street statistics, and bank data to report the news. Aren’t they the very ones who got us into this mess in the first place?
But then they would only be reporting the news rather than making it. Indeed, it is truly a media-driven market.


  1. This something all realtors and all buyers should know.

  2. Chinese Toxic drywall is going to be a gigantic issue.