Monday, September 24, 2012

Floating Past The Riverside

As I continue to review home sale "news" from around the country, I continue to be astounded at how the real estate community stays in the same rut day after day instead of working hard to seriously market properties.

In Riverside CA, media outlets are reporting that DataQuick's sales statistics for the month of August 2012 "are down 3.4%, compared to the same month a year ago", and that "home prices are up $20,000 from the same period". The same published report states that "A total of 3,520 homes changed hands in Riverside County last month".

Sorry, but two negatives out of three "facts" does more harm than good. 

First, telling the public within and well outside of the Riverside area that homes are not selling as well as even one year ago makes the area seem less appealing to a potential buyer. That potential buyer knows how poor the real estate market has been over the past 4+ years, and can easily find statistics on other areas which have shown an increase in home sales over the same time. 

Next, telling potential buyers and investors within and well outside of the area that "home prices are up" is also a negative when presented in this context. Why? The message sent is that "fewer people are paying even more" to live there. Thus, an investor looking for a good deal sees that he/she is highly unlikely to find one or more in Riverside County in the near future. 

A potential seller in Riverside County could take notice at selling prices being higher. However, the negative publicity about home sales in the area being down also tells that potential seller that it could still be long hard road toward attracting an interested and qualified buyer/investor to their area.

Yet, the statistic that "a total of 3,520 homes changed hands last month" could be a significant one. Frankly, the local realty agents and offices should already have separate press releases circulating today focused only on that piece of information. If potential buyers and investors ONLY saw that information without the negatives, it might make them take notice.

The news media is going to report the statistics they are given, even when they don't make a lot of sense or generate positive local favorable publicity. 

Meanwhile, many other parts of Southern California were able to report improved sales compared with recent months (not worrying about last year) along with some rises in average home sale prices. Usually, I continue with my research to compare with such information from other areas.

This time, I decided to search for additional "home sales" news specific to Riverside County. Yet, all I could find were these mostly negative - and unnecessary - home sales statistics.  

Frankly, if I were a current or potential seller in Riverside County at the moment, I'd be furious. More needs to be done to make areas still struggling to seem more appealing. Everyone benefits.

For example, in Ohio, the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors issued a report showing how their area had the "best August in five years and a 16.8% gain from 2011" as the lead portion of the story. These positive statistics serve all concerned very well, and appear much more significant due to the absence of negative reporting. The additional part of the story showing a slight increase in sales prices, in this case, becomes a positive.

NOW, it shows that more people are buying and pushing prices up, which indicates there is a demand. The message is great for the marketplace. It alerts potential buyers that they might want to look sooner rather than later since the 'good deals' are starting to evaporate. It alerts current and potential sellers that perhaps there is a reason to pursue a listing and sale once again. And hopefully it alerts the local realty agents to increase their marketing and advertising efforts to surrounding areas.

Just like the house itself, it's the same with these statistics. They need to be in tip-top shape, ready for "showing" and highlight only the positive!

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