Friday, November 6, 2009

The affordable college towns

I always try and point out what I find to be positive research as it relates to real estate since there doesn't seem to be enough in this turbulent market.

Now Coldwell Banker has released some of its data researching housing prices in college towns across the country. I'd bet the ranch that you would not have guessed that Akron OH came up as the most affordable college town. I never would have, either.

And while this is a good thing for the agents who will be sharp enough to use this in the higher ranked cities, I give a writer in Austin TX credit for incorporating amazing public relations skills into this.

You see, Austin did not finish in the top 10 most affordable college towns in the country according to the research it reviews. Or the top 20. Or the top 30. For that matter, Austin didn't even finish in the top 50. To me, and I'm sure to a lot of others, not finishing in the top 50 of a national list is nothing to crow about, with the possible exception being a significant rise from a previous year or earlier research. Yet, there are no comparisons to past research in this article either.

The fact is that Austin came in 59th on this national list. Yet, this article provides a glowing report on the city of Austin, the University of Texas, and the local real estate market. As they say in the P.R. industry, this is a textbook case of "turning a negative into a positive".

Yet, this is not to toot the horn of the writer or the publication doing the spin. It is to make realty agents and offices aware of the need for positive publicity. Over the past couple of years, it seems like the only other real estate statistics coming out of the Austin market have been to show the drop in home sales in comparison with past years. Instead of simply reporting that "x,xxx homes sold last month" and leaving it at that, we always seem to get the comparison. Once the people hear that the total is, for example, 842 homes fewer than sold in the same month last year, it practically negates the value of the information.

Instead of sitting and repeating the negative statistics about the current market compared with one year ago, we should be turning this market into a positive. It's a start.

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