Media bias to the negative is not the problem in housing and real estate.  This business exists at the whim of the U.S. Federal government as the administrations turn the funding spigot on and off.  George Bush needed a revenue producer to stimulate the economy at the onset of his administration.  He picked housing as an area of then unfulfilled demand.  Early on, he was proven right.  As always, though, the market is ending bitterly as the tap is only turned off when blood is in the streets.  The home builders mismanaged particularly in accumulating up to a decade of land inventory in a risky business where the previous norm was a two year supply of lots.  Lenders over funded in ever increasing ruinous competition fueled by Wall Street’s avarice until the latter stages of the market were essentially not underwritten.
Complicating the issues in housing is a tendency among industry participants and various levels of government to understate the problems and overstate if not fabricate the good news.  The National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Home Builders all destroyed their credibility with out and out cheerleading as difficulties were obvious.  Government bodies, particularly local government bodies dependent on property tax revenue, projected budgets in anticipation of inflationary increases in property taxes to support maintaining a high standard of health, safety and welfare.  Those government budgets now are stressed if not failing as the revenue is just not going to be available.
The traditional press, the newspapers and the TV networks, are novices when it comes to real estate.  Now wonder this is so since by law no public company can share inside information in advance of general release.  So the press is reliant on the peripheral information all of us can obtain.  The Press has no skill or experience in evaluating the data to predict future results.  They mostly follow whatever PR information is available to them from purported industry experts.  That information tends to be uniformly positive, not negative, and the slant reported is normally too upbeat.  After all, up to now the newspapers have lived off real estate advertising and the visual media not only promote real estate but all kinds of consumer goods.  Only the editorial pages deliver a slant toward an unbiased position on occasion.
Money is made in real estate by timing the bottom for acquisitions and the top when selling.  This is simple stuff but oh so hard to accomplish when stressed with the operational details of a business organization.  The vast majority of investors miss the opportunity at each possibility while no one gets them all right.  We ask our press to stand as experts as well as reporters, it is an impossible task.  The readers need to judge for themselves as to the validity of the words in the article.  After all, that is what distinguishes us from all other animals, the ability to reason.  Analyzing housing and real estate news is no exception.      

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