my counter attack to a DFW’s local rag doom n gloom article

as you may already know the sole existence for is to supply you with POSITIVE news as it relates to the real estate market primarily in North Texas and blow as many holes in the doom and gloom media’s ‘the sky is falling’ articles.  it’s not often i take on an article directly, but this one REALLY got me charged up.  you can access the article HERE and, after reading it, you just may be able to draft a world-class country or blues song. 

here’s a little note i sent the author with a few points of my own…..

After reading your Star-Telegram article on DFW real estate I’m compelled to pen you an email and thank you, again, for the doom and gloom weather forecast.  It’s articles like these that force your readers to crawl back into their holes into the fetal position and completely tune out any shed of positive news they may have heard.  Albeit, the positive news is very difficult to hear over the doom and gloom loud speakers blaring on every station, seen on just about every channel, and read in just about every local and national paper or blog.  I guess I just simply don’t get it – how, or maybe the better question is WHY would you take something so positive as a 3-consecutive-month-rise in home sales in your own beloved DFW and beat it down so badly that it becomes unnoticeable to the very families that desperately need to hear it and feel it?  You’ve taken every positive point in your article and countered it with a negative…..why?  Is it because doom and gloom is what sells??  Do you not think your readers want OR need to hear the positives?  Let’s take a look at some of your points:

  • You say September marks the 3rd month in a row home sales rose by double digits (this is HUGE!!) – yet you counter it with hoping it’s just the start of a LONG climb??  Necessary??
  • You say September sales were up 14% from a year ago(again, HUGE!! GREAT!!) – yet you point out that’s 8.5% lower than September 2009?? Why?? Why bring up 2009 – that’s 2 years ago??  Necessary??
    • You may want to go back and do a little research yourself….you’ll notice that we are getting back to normal.  In fact, if you remove ’05, ’06, ’07 when money was cheap and the gov’t instituted ‘entitlement’ mortgage programs with loose underwriting and zero down-payments you’ll find that we’re very much right back to normal trends.
    • Looking at August sales for Fort Worth from 1991 to 2004 you’ll see an average increase of 2-7% year-over-year.  Then from 2004 to 2005 sales jump 25%! It blows my mind that the media, the ‘lighthouse’ to the American Family, is using an abnormality like the ’05-’07 era as comparison and crushing every bit of desperately needed, positive news into tiny, unrecognizable pieces.  
    • You tell your readers that taking a longer view they’ll see the trend remains discouraging (first of all, thanks!) and that sales through the first nine months of 2011 are down 3% (as an average Joe Reader I’m not sure I needed to know that sales are UP, but that sales are still down – but now I do and now I’ll crawl back into my hole and sit tight for some good news…..I’m not holding my breath)
      • You failed to mention that earlier this year sales were down 15%
      • You failed to mention that sales through the first 8 months were down 4%
      • ALL you said AND, worse, all your readers heard was that sales are DOWN 3% through the first nine months of year – thanks Mitchell!!  How about drawing a positive conclusion for your readers that the gap is narrowing?? Just a thought….but I realize the sky doesn’t fall with positive news.
      • You point out that the trailing one-year avg for home sales in Fort Worth is running at 656 per month which is positive compared to last year and the year before, but you somehow neglected to mention that instead choosing to compare it 2007??  Why not 2010, 2009, or 2008??  Would that NOT have supported your negative, the sky-is-falling numbers?
      • THEN, after singling out Fort Worth and comparing it to 2007 sales (because that worked out great for your negative numbers) you decide to go statewide to let your local, DFW, readers know that yes, home sales were higher statewide in August compared to 2010 & 2009, BUT you just couldn’t leave it at that… felt it so necessary to carry it one step further and squash that silver lining with the fact that we have to go back to 2002 to get as LOW as the present levels (broken record, but thank you, again….now, where’s my shovel?  I think I’m going to start digging a deeper hole to crawl into so I can now bury myself because its obvious that things will never get better).
      • I LOVE this statement you made – ‘other factors are depressing residential real estate, including….a dramatic shift in confidence about homeownership’.  REALLLY?  I wonder where the lack of confidence is coming from??  Why on Earth are folks losing confidence??  Could it be because of articles just like yours??  It’s a mystery, I guess……
      • And here’s another statement that warms my heart – ‘most homeowners and buyers didn’t believe that home prices could fall.  Now it’s as if they don’t believe the asset value can rise, and that perception is reinforced by frequent reports on declining home prices’. Ya think??  I wonder where homeowners and buyers are reading all these reports and articles??  Who might be responsible for this negative perception broadcast daily??  Any ideas??
      • Next up – you mention that even those that are confident still have to land a mortgage and that’s its tough unless they have strong credit and a healthy down payment – just a quick observation note here….if one has good (not STRONG) credit AND 3.5% to 5% down payment (do you consider that a ‘healthy’ down payment) money they will most likely qualify for a loan.  seriously??  I can just see Mr. Joe Would-be-Buyer on his way to look at a home to buy for him and his family and picking up the paper, reading your article and then thinking to himself ‘well, I have a medical collection from 2006 that my insurance didn’t cover so I know I won’t qualify to buy a home….where’s my shovel, I’m off to my hole’.  You seriously need to consider the perception you’re creating with doom and gloom statements like these.

 I realize that you might be stating facts, but give us all a little bit of a break here.  You can take any stat from any time period and any market (macro or micro) and spin it the way you want in effort to drive home whatever point you’re wanting to make.  Looking back through your article its evident that you take the same approach as most other media channels – you pick and choose what stats you want, leaving out certain time periods, skipping back and forth and even over some years, going nat’l for some points, staying local for others, etc, etc. 

 One day the media will learn that they can create market perception which leads to consumer confidence (although I’m quite confident they’ve got that figured out).  Maybe I should restate that – one day the media will use their power and influence to create a market perception that leads to consumer confidence.  Until then I’ll have my shovel at ready.




4 thoughts on “my counter attack to a DFW’s local rag doom n gloom article

  1. Amen CH! I totally agree and you are right on! Thanks for sharing the REAL story and hope for the mortgage industry. You have just stimulated the economy with your mighty pen! Keep sharing the good news…..we need it!

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