Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Never mind the real estate statistics

Why do the realty associations continue to cook their own goose? The members have no right to blame the "media reporting" for negative public perception about the current real estate market.

Let's use Texas as an example. The Texas Multiple Listing Services just published residential real estate statistics for the month of August, 2010. When compared with 2009, they show home sales for Dallas as "down 19%", Houston as "down 16%", and Ft. Worth as "down 14%". As for the "median price", this same period shows Dallas as ""up 5%" Houston as "down 1%", and Ft. Worth as "up 1%". One would likely conclude that fewer homes are selling even with sale prices holding steady.

Meanwhile, within 24 hours, the Houston Business Journal published a story about how Texas is expected to well regarding the appreciation of home prices over the next 12 months. It specifically refers to the Houston area as the market with the expected largest appreciation of home prices over any other city in the country. The same article includes the Dallas area with an expected rise of nearly 3%. This story compares with areas such as Florida which are expected to show continued depreciation among home prices over the next year.

Heck, here is the story:

The information in both of these reports are not that much different. However, the irony of the Texas MLS "reporting" the negative home sale comparison while a business publication with no stake in the real estate market gives the information a positive local slant.

Real estate, like most commodities, is about today and the near future. What happened more than a year ago shouldn't have a bearing. Yet, like way too many of the realty associations and industry organizations, the negatives continue to be reported.

Suppose the Texas MLS had simply released the story about how home prices are beginning to appreciate in many areas when compared with last year, and not paraded the sales comparison. They could have given buyers and sellers some hope.

Meanwhile, the last I saw, apartment rental occupancy was way up in these same areas, especially in Ft. Worth, over the past year. At least the realty associations didn't report on that, too.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A new low for Baltimore

I'd be the last person to defend a big bank, but this week's news brought out one instance where I need to do that. (Sorry, but I still contend that instead of the government handing out millions to the banks that screwed up the economy, they should have only repaid as many of the defaulted loans as possible.)

Again, the city of Baltimore filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo, as if one bank had something to do with parts of Baltimore still being as dumpy and depressing as they were 25 years ago:

Instead of spending money on cleanup and development efforts, the city chooses to pay a law firm to file these lawsuits so they can be thrown out.

This leads to another way to help with the banking crisis around the country. Let's ask all of the banks serving Baltimore to only lend on properties located in other cities and towns.

Baltimore officials won't mind. If there are no commerical or residential loans within the city limits over the next few years, the city won't have any reason to sue any of the banks!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It takes more than just a headline......

Upon finding out that I will have an opening for at least one new real estate related marketing client later this month, I was looking at one of the networking sites I frequent, and saw this teaser:

"Investors: Don’t Just Estimate! We have all homes for sale ranked by investment potential."

This is the type of headline which attracts my attention, and more indicative of what agents and brokers should be doing to make their listings stand out, especially in this challenging market.

However, when I clicked on the link, all I got was a web page which was for visitors to either register or login. Not one word about any such property listings or rankings.

Therefore, within a matter of seconds, this guy’s idea went from solid to junk. But it should be a lesson for people in marketing, real estate or not.

Just having an effective headline doesn’t help. In this instance, it makes it worse. We not only don’t get the information we hoped when we click, but we don’t even get a confirmation that we can get it. Just because the page says to either login or register doesn’t mean that we would get the desired information after we register. Let’s face it, people aren’t anxious to give out their e-mail address and take their chances, especially when it means showing an interest in buying real estate.

What did I expect when I clicked? Either a list of properties as promoted, or at the very least an explanation of the criteria used in “ranking” the homes for sale. I still have no idea about what part(s) of the country these properties are supposedly located in, whether they are single family homes, multi-family, or strictly for investment potential. If for investment potential, it raises the question of single family, rental, flipping, rehabbing, etc. Instead, not even a “coming soon” or anything to indicate I got to the “right” site, and this was by clicking on the link provided.

However, I’m not going to go back to that site to find out.