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News vs Fact – The Sky Is Not Falling In Real Estate

I’ve posted many times on the fact that negative spin is what is keeping consumers away from the closing tables. I’ve warned about polarizing consumers with political style commentary on Real Estate and the devastating effect it has on large segments of the economy- finally a journalist picks up that same ball and bats a home run…

I am sick and tired of the negative media constantly ranting about how horrible everything is in our business. It’s time for our industry to fight back against these psychic vampires who seek to suck every bit of hope and optimism out of us just to build their circulation.

Newspaper headlines and buzzwords abound, such as: “Two million people will lose their homes in foreclosure in the next two years!” “Subprime Fiasco!” and “Mortgage Meltdown.”

These are the headlines we hear every day, yet where is the positive news about the real estate market? The answer is, buried in statistics on page 15 of section 3 of your newspaper, provided you can find them at all.

Here’s a typical example from USA Today, Oct. 26, 2007, page 1B:

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New Home Sales Unexpectedly Rise

New homes sales posted an unexpected increase in September. But analysts were highly skeptical given the credit crunch and predicted further sales declines. The Commerce Department said sales of new homes rose 4.8 percent last month…”

By the way, here’s what they didn’t report. Sales in the West were up 36.6 percent. The media totally discounted these statistics. What about a different headline: “Great News! Real Estate Sales Surge Despite Biggest Credit Crunch in Decades”?

Here’s another example. In Sept. 6, 2007, article entitled, “New Mortgage Foreclosures Set Record,” Martin Crutsinger provided the following summary of a speech given by Doug Duncan, the chief economist for the National Mortgage Bankers Association. Here’s how it was reported:

“The number of homeowners receiving foreclosure notices hit a record high in the spring, driven up by problems with subprime mortgages. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported Thursday that mortgage-holders starting the foreclosure process in the April-June quarter reached 0.65 percent, marking the third consecutive quarter that this figure has set an all-time high.

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“The delinquency rate has risen to 5.12 percent … The worsening performance was driven by two factors — heavy losses in the Midwest states of Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, and the collapse of previously booming housing markets in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona … Analysts said the problems in the formerly red-hot housing markets of California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona reflected in part speculators walking away from mortgages they can no longer afford.”

This article ends with the negative media’s favorite theme for scaring their readers and/or listeners: “Two million people will face foreclosure in the next two years.”

Here are the numbers that the negative media did NOT report from Duncan’s speech:

1. Thirty-five percent of the homes in the U.S. do NOT have a mortgage.

2. Some 94.88 percent of the loans ARE performing.

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3. The foreclosure problem in this country is really a story about seven states.

4. The biggest foreclosure problems are in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. These are manufacturing states that had horrible job losses. Since 2001, Michigan has lost 300,000 jobs. These states would probably have had problems no matter what the market was doing.

5. The other four states — California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona — experienced significant overbuilding. Twenty-five percent of the foreclosures in these states are on properties that are held by investors who were speculating.

6. Only 25 percent of all mortgages are subprime, and of these, 75 percent are performing.

7. In the other 43 states, foreclosures have fallen in 2007 from 2006 (data from Michael Clawson, vice president, Central Texas Mortgage).

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read the balance of the Bernice Ross article at Inman Newsthis is only part 1 of her 2 part series

This article illustrates why I cannot justify sending Michael Cook that umbrella (I may send it as a Christmas present) I promised if the sky did fall – my fourth quarter rocked and we’re not even finished yet.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Chris Johnson

    November 18, 2007 at 3:56 am

    Ohio’s been used to forclosures for a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG time. Our market ignores ’em. Also, Columbus–home of the Buckeyes–is chugging nicely.

    What the media did was give people tacit permission to forclose. And that is shameful.

  2. Vicky Henry

    November 18, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    May I have permission to reprint the “blue part” on my website’s newsletter? I would like to get the news out!

    Thanks for the info….

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