• English
  • Español
AGENTS: Did you know you can share a personalized version of this post? Learn more!
, ,

Cleaning Up the Negative Media on Housing

We here at KCM are often accused of allowing our belief in the benefits of owning a home to impact how we report on the housing market. We do not hide from the fact that we believe homeownership is a major piece of the American Dream. However, we still try to accurately report on the facts behind all industry news. Yet, there seems to be a consorted effort by some media to concentrate on only the negative aspects of any report which is released on housing.

As an example, when Fannie Mae released their most recent monthly National Housing Survey, DSNews ran an article titled Americans Harbor Glum Outlook for Housing and the Economy. With a title like that, you would think Americans saw both the economy and housing in a free fall.

The Economy

The survey definitely showed that Americans were troubled by the economy: 

The percent of Americans who believe the economy is on the wrong track was 78 percent in August, up from 70 percent in July.

Almost eight out of ten surveyed think the economy is going in the wrong direction. That is definitely a gloomy outlook.

The Housing Market

It is true that the percentage of Americans who said home prices would ‘go down’ ticked up compared to last month (27% from 24%). However, the study also showed that sixty-nine percent believe prices would ‘go up’ or ‘stay the same’. *

Also, 69% of those surveyed said it is a ‘good time to buy a home’. That percentage is UP three percent from last month.

How is that a ‘glum outlook’?

Bottom Line

More than two out of three Americans think that prices will remain stable or increase. Over two out of three believe it is a good time to buy. Why is the media telling us that this report shows Americans are glum about the housing market?

*We are not saying we agree with this portion of the survey. We do believe prices will soften. We are asking why the media is reporting on this particular survey and saying something other than what is actually being reported.


Members: Sign in now to set up your Personalized Posts & start sharing today!

Not a Member Yet? Click Here to learn more about KCM’s newest feature, Personalized Posts.

15 replies
  1. John Schneider
    John Schneider says:

    Why, you ask, is the media telling us that this report shows Americans are glum about the housing market?

    I’m sure you know that DSNews – upon which you base your statement about “the media’s” negative reporting – is NOT the media as it is commonly understood. No, DSNews is a trade journal serving the mortgage default industry, and as such their bread is buttered by fanning the flames of default.

    It seems to me that using their extremely biased point of view – while labeling them “the media” – is, at best, a specious argument.

    Reply
  2. John Schneider
    John Schneider says:

    Steve, I think it’s fairly obvious why Americans feel glum, and the Forbes piece that you now refer to spells it out pretty clearly.
    > Americans have a pretty dismal view of the economy these days, and who could blame them? Skepticism about the ability of regulators and lawmakers to get a handle on deficits and spending, constant worry over Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and a turbulent stock market are doing little to inspire confidence that things are heading in the right direction.
    Fannie Mae’s August survey on the housing market confirms as much, finding that more than three quarters of Americans (78%) say the economy is on the wrong track and 22% expect their own financial footing to worsen over the next year. <

    So if you are one of the 9+% who are unemployed, while you may realize that home prices and mortgage rates are at all time lows and that, from that standpoint, this may be a good time to buy a home, you also realize that you are in no position to take advantage of it. That might cause you to be glum and frustrated.
    And if you are employed, there's the economy, the economy, the dire lack of confidence in our elected leaders to steer the ship + the teetering state of affairs in Europe, that would understandably cause anyone to be reluctant to run out and purchase a home. And they may also be concerned that they could lose their job, or they can't sell the house they're in in order to buy another, or they've been burned in the past by a short sale or foreclosure and are understandably cautious. Any of those things might cause Americans to be concerned and glum and want to wait until there was solid evidence that things were on the upswing.
    The average American is dealing with issues, fears and concerns that are way more complex than you apparently give them credit for. And by continuing to ignore or trying to gloss over those very real concerns and, instead, continuing the monotonous chant of 'now is a great time to blah blah blah ', the real estate industry shows itself as blatantly self-serving and uncaring and has as a result lost all credibility with Americans.

    Reply
  3. Steve Harney
    Steve Harney says:

    @John

    Great points! If we left you with the impression that we were unaware of the true challenges facing the housing market, we apologize. We have spent the last four years flying across the country in an attempt to help homeowners, buyers and industry professionals in the hardest hit regions.

    The reason for this blog post was to help people realize that stories and headlines being written on reports, studies and surveys on the current state of real estate may not be accurate. As an example, there was nothing in the National Housing Survey that warranted a headline claiming Americans have a “glum” or “miserable” outlook on housing. On the economy, yes; on housing, no.

    Actually, survey after survey, PROVES the exact opposite:
    http://kcmblog.com/2011/09/16/a-nations-strong-belief-in-homeownership/

    To your points:
    • That “The average American is dealing with issues, fears and concerns that are way more complex than you apparently give them credit for.”
    • That we are “continuing to ignore or trying to gloss over those very real concerns”.
    • That “The real estate industry shows itself as blatantly self-serving and uncaring and has as a result lost all credibility with Americans.”

    Again, we have dedicated our professional lives over the last few years to criss-crossing the country in an attempt to right a very troubled market. In each city we visit, we are met by a legion of industry professionals (in real estate and mortgaging) dedicated to helping their neighbors and saving their neighborhoods.

    We are all very aware of the challenges that exist and the severe hardships faced by so many. That is why we get so upset when the media sensationalizes the situation by inaccurately reporting on industry news.

    Reply
  4. john schneider
    john schneider says:

    Steve, it’s fascinating how you’re able to so neatly separate housing & and economy. And while it may suit your purposes to do so, for those in the trenches it’s not so easy.

    Please tell us, is this woman glum & miserable because of the economy or because of housing >from WSJ.com> Buying and Selling Homes in Hard Times: Stuck in Miami < http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2011/09/15/buying-and-selling-homes-in-hard-times-stuck-in-miami/

    Reply
    • Steve Harney
      Steve Harney says:

      @John

      Our hearts go out to Ms. Kaiman and every other seller who is trapped in their home because of negative equity. Ancedotal stories like this are necessary for everyone to understand the pain in the country right now.

      However, we must also realize that the true number of families in this situation is less than 16%. Thirty percent of the homes in this country do not have a mortgage on them. Of the other 70%, 22.5% are underwater. By doing the math, we can see that approximately 16% of the homes are in this situation. This math doesn’t help those that are trapped. We understand that. But, we are afraid that the other 84% are being negatively influenced by sensational headlines (we are NOT talking about the story you linked).

      As far as it not being so easy for those “in the trenches”, I definitely understand. I have been on the road for a minimum of 200 days each of the last four years trying to help. I have nothing but total admiration for all those doing what they can to help right this ship.

      Reply
  5. john schneider
    john schneider says:

    Steve, you’re right, other than maybe those 16% that are underwater, what the heck are Americans worried about anyway. Everything’s honky -dory, they have no cause to be concerned about housing. And the economy, jeez, it’s that damn media stirring things up again, trying to sell more papers.
    But don’t you worry, you keep up the good work and you watch, eventually, one of these years, it will turn out to be a ‘great time to buy a home …. ‘

    Reply
    • Steve Harney
      Steve Harney says:

      @John,
      That’s not what we are saying. But, I think you already know that. Let’s work hard to rectify the situation we are in: which is the toughest real estate market I have seen in my thirty years.

      P.S. I do believe it is a good time to buy. As a matter of fact, my son Bill (who works with us) bought his own home this past year.

      Reply
  6. John Schneider
    John Schneider says:

    Steve, given that it is the toughest real estate market in thirty years, though some would say much longer, then how do you see fit to accuse the media of negative reporting. Are you splitting hairs here or what, or are you just passing the buck to the media. Yeah, that’ll play with the real estate crowd, it always does. Blame the media.
    Of course people have a glum outlook on housing – it’s the toughest real estate market in 30 years, remember.

    Reply
    • Steve Harney
      Steve Harney says:

      @John,

      Again, we are not blaming the media for the housing crisis. We are just asking EVERYONE not to create headlines from reports that are saying something different than that headline. We were using the articles regarding Fannie Mae’s National Home Surveys as an example.

      Where are the studies, surveys and academic papers that show that the majority of Americans no longer believe in homeownership? Where is the statistical evidence that America is negative on housing? We can show 10 reports that prove the exact opposite.

      There is a big difference between going through difficult times and giving up. American homeowners are definitely going through tough times. However, the SAME EXACT SURVEYS that some claim prove that we are ‘glum’ on housing ACTUALLY REPORT that, even in these difficult times, 95% of American homeowners still see homeownership as a POSITIVE EXPERIENCE.

      That was the purpose of our blog post. Report what the surveys actually said.

      Reply
  7. John Schneider
    John Schneider says:

    Steve, hold your horses, you’re shifting focus again.
    As far as I can tell no one questioned – not me and not the media that you cite – “that American homeowners still see homeownership as a POSITIVE EXPERIENCE”. No one. That’s not the issue. Americans being glum about the state of housing is, I believe, the issue that we’ve been discussing.

    But putting those quibbles aside for the moment and quoting from your article that says – “69% of those surveyed said it is a ‘good time to buy a home’. That percentage is UP three percent from last month” – and – “However, the study also showed that sixty-nine percent believe prices would ‘go up’ or ‘stay the same” And then you ask, How is that a ‘glum outlook’?

    Good Question. And if that is truly how Americans feel about housing, and according to you it sure seems that way, the big question is, why aren’t those same 69% of Americans who feel so good about housing – that’s a big majority by the way – out there buying up all those low priced homes and using those lower than ever mortgages to do it. I just can’t figure it out, can you. Or is it the media that is once again the party pooper.

    Reply
    • Steve Harney
      Steve Harney says:

      @John,

      We haven’t shifted focus at all. The original blog post we wrote that started this conversation acknowledges that Americans are glum on THE ECONOMY. That is the reason people are hesitant to jump into the housing market. We were only asking why the headlines claimed people were glum on HOUSING. You still haven’t addressed our original point.

      By the way, we are not saying that Americans still believe in housing – Americans are saying that! At least according to the Pew Research Center, Fannie Mae, the Gallup Organization, CBS News and the New York Times (as examples). And, yes, we realize they are media also.

      Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *