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Another Media Thing

By
Mortgage and Lending with Mortgage Magic

I know the entire media world is regularly criticized for relying on sensationalism and for biased reporting.  As to accuracy, especially where statistics are involved, it often seems questionable and today I saw a classic example of that.  CBS MarketWatch is one of the sources I visit regularly for market, economic and other miscellaneous information.  I don't rank it's quality as high as Bloomberg, or Stratfor, among others, but its format provides brief articles regarding pertinent subjects and it has a convenient box on the home page that displays the major markets, including equities, commodities, currency and bonds. 

This morning, the headline indicated that the stock markets were rising fairly substantially on good news in the housing market and on a surprising quarterly profit for one of the nation's largest home builders.  It mentioned that December existing home sales increased more than expected,  signaling potentially increasing strength in the housing market.  There were three sub-articles under the headline and one concerned additional housing news.  I clicked on the article revealing a number of sub-articles as well.  One that caught my eye mentioned that housing still had tough times ahead.  The article stated that existing home sales fell in December and, therefore, seemed to indicate housing was still suffering.  I did notice that the article was dated January 25th but I don't think the housing data for December was revised between then and now.  Two related articles under the same headline and one reporting the exact opposite of the other!  Who do you believe? 

I like to stay reasonably informed so I can answer some of my clients economic and market related questions and, at least, direct them to sources for those questions for which I don't know the answer.  With this type of inconsistency, however, it's both discouraging and annoying.  Since real estate is so localized sometimes with vast differences within a matter of just a few blocks, I think we have to rely on our own best judgment and, when we have no choice but to rely on outside sources for statistical data, keep our fingers crossed.