Every day we are bombarded with stories both about the rebound in the housing market and the horrors that yet await us. As a real estate professional, I wade through these stories, comparing them with what I know to be true about the consumers in my market. I look at my local employment and job creation numbers and I make a determination about how to answer when I am inevitably asked, "how's the market?"
The problem as I see is that most consumers have neither the interest, nor the patience, to wade through and evaluate all of the news and speculation that is out there (most catch an occasional news story or article). As a result, the are petrified! I have seen/heard more than one expert tell them they would be stupid to buy right now. Why? Prices are down and interest rates are down. That sounds like a good scenario to buy as far as I am concerned!
I read a report today that dealt with my own market, the Washington D.C./Suburban Virginia area. This report shows that job creation is up, unemployment is down, Listings are up and Contracts are down (specifically in Fairfax County, other counties had statistics that were specific to their counties). The report indicated that buyers were out there and they were interested in purchasing homes. There was no conclusion as to what would get them to make a purhcase. I followed this report with a story from MSN that called the housing market a "horror" and estimated that it will take 10 years to recover. Obviously, a huge contrast between the two sources.
I realize that we all have to make a living (reporters included), but how about some responsible, well-researched, thoughtful articles? It would be fair to present some facts and confess that you really can't predict the future. Why scare people into immobility about their largest personal investment? SOMETIMES PEOPLE JUST NEED A NEW HOUSE! I am not saying people should proceed without caution, but isn't that always true when you spend that much money?
The National Association of Realtors has been accused of being overly optimistic. I think if you really look at what they are saying, they are making an effort not to be negative while at the same time reminding people that their house is more than just an investment.
Finally, every market is different, so those who are writing about the general "real estate" market are not doing anyone any favors...each area has its own pros and cons to deal with and "general" articles should be so vague as to really be pretty light reading!
P.S. It would be great if writers could refrain from using words like 'horror' in their housing articles! I am sure it generated a lot of hits, but it was an unfair way to characterize the real estate market!
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