Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Say It Ain't So

Must the industry continue to shoot itself in the foot? Unfortunately, as we begin 2019, consumer confidence in the housing industry is not what industry professionals hope it would be.

However, the issue remains that industry associations need to keep it quiet when the statistics are not in their favor.

Take this actual headline from a release this week from Fannie Mae:

Housing Confidence Down as More Americans Believe It's a Bad Time to Buy a Home

This headline is more damaging than the information it provides, yet they put it out anyway!

If these statistics were not published, or, at the very least, if this headline wasn't so blatant, consumers considering purchasing a home and investors looking for "deals" wouldn't be seeing that people "believe it's a bad time to buy a home".

Even though consumers most often purchase a home because of their living situation, the hope is that real estate will also be an investment which will pay off for them down the road. Take out part of that equation - and you give potentially thousands of people a reason to rent instead of buy, or stay put.

Real estate investors look for "deals" to wholesale or to fix up and sell at a higher profit. If industry agencies and associations are putting out data to discourage buyers, they have fewer reasons to invest, thus harming the income of real estate professionals and affiliates.

There are (or should be) two possible ways to handle this, whether it's a national organization such as Fannie Mae or the local realty association telling people that local sales are down.

One way is to not publish negative statistics. Only hit the positive elements. The other way is to tone down both the headline and the delivery of the story.
For example, just say "December 2018 Home Sales Statistics" and let it go. Let those who will take the time to look come up with their own conclusions. At the same time, those who purchase property based on their own financial, investment, or living needs that don't base it on current market trend statistics wouldn't even know that it's a "bad time to buy".

With all of the uncertainty at the moment, the takeaway from the Fannie Mae story (and others like it) should only be "IT'S A BAD TIME TO PUBLISH THIS INFORMATION".