Why is real estate news always bad even when prices are rising?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Intero Real Estate CA BRE #01191946

I'm a news junkie. However it seems, for whatever reason, that no matter what real estate news article I read the bias is ALMOST ALWAYS negative.  It's as if the reporters out there can't find a bright spot anywhere.  If I were a consumer, it would be really hard to justify buying or selling a home when, based on the news, it appears that prices all across the country continue to drop and there's no hope in sight.  Foreclosures subsiding?  No!  Short sales easier?  No!  Prices rising?  No, no, no!!!  But here's the thing - that's not true.  In many places foreclosures are subsiding, prices are rising, and short sales are easier.

We need a Crusade of Truth.  The truth is that in the San Francisco Bay Area (it's own little real estate world) and Silicon Valley in particular, we have many markets up this year.  Somes of these micro-markets are up substantially in both sales and prices.  So, why is it that when I read about real estate sales in the local paper or on the TV all I hear is "Silicon Valley prices continue to drop"?  The truth is obscured by the reporters who only focus on sensationalizing what's happening.  Plus, I think they all can't seem to be happy.  It's not in their blood.  Are you on board with my Crusade of Truth?  I hope so.  The recent contest on Activerain asked members to talk about the "Real Estate Recovery".  In those articles were plenty of signs that markets all over the country are actually doing fine.

There was a report by NAR that presented recent dip in July sales and prices but put it in perspective by showing that year-over-year sales and prices were up and that overall in 2011 these figures are up.  WOW!!  A news report that is actually, sort of, positive.  They put the short term, minor bad news into perspective and showed that, in fact, the real estate market is doing better.  Did that news get coverage from all the TV stations and other media outlets?  No.  It got drowned out by more bad news.

Here's what I propose we do with the media:

  • Find the bright spots in the local market
  • Call the reporter(s) who write for your local paper or TV news
  • Tell the reporters about the bright spots and back them up with facts (MLS data)
  • Make sure you get quoted

We have a million members in NAR and over 200,000 people here on Activerain.  It's time we got the truth out there.  The public needs to know about the bright spots.  If they do, the sentiment on buying and selling will change.  Consumers need something good to pull them out of the funk the media has put them in.  Let's do it!

UPDATE:  I sent messages to 4 local TV stations and several local reporters asking them to do a report or series on the bright side of the local real estate markets.  More news to follow!


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Scotti Jowers 08/22/2011 08:47 AM
  2. Sherri Berry 08/22/2011 08:55 AM
Real Estate General Information
California Santa Clara County
San Francisco Bay Area Real Estate
Cosmic Cow Pie...The Rome Way
HyperLocal Neighborhood and Community Posts
real estate news
good news
silicon valley
news media
real estate recovery
crusade of truth

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Bryan Robertson
Intero Real Estate - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

Thanks for all the great comments.  I'm getting some agreement and a few folks who agree that the media writes bad news to drive readership.  I get that.  However, as was pointed out, too much bad news backfires.

As for Silicon Valley, this market took some hits in the downturn but it's unlikely to see the wholesale drop other parts of the country did.  We have companies hiring thousands and there's a shortage of quality homes.  New construction is picking up.  Part of our recovery is from job growth (critical) but it's also from a lack of supply.  I don't expect to see the level of performance in Silicon Valley happen everywhere.

Overall, my hope is that each of you has a bright spot in your local market.  Perhaps that just means prices have stabilized or sales are up, etc.  If I don't get some traction with the local reporters, I'll take it to the national outlets.  The bottom line is that we need to be proactive and turn getting the good news out into a crusade.  It will help in the end.

Aug 23, 2011 04:27 AM #51
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Good for you Bryan.  Oftentimes we just need to take the bull by the horns and protest loudly to be heard!

Aug 23, 2011 04:30 AM #52
Patti Zatica

Great post . . . and spot-on indeed!  I recently made a brief presentation to our local Chamber of Commerce and the reporter for the local newspaper was in attendance.  I stressed from the get-go that in my opinion, there is no such thing as a "national market", that what goes on in New York City certainly does not run a parallel with what goes on in our rural town in southwest Idaho. By the time I returned to my office, I had an email from the reporter, asking for additional statistics, which I was happy to provide from the MLS data.  It will be interesting to see what gets printed, as figures definitely proved a gain in our "local market" from the previous two years.

Aug 23, 2011 04:36 AM #53
Jana Holmstrup
Jana Holmstrup - VP Ops - Kings Mortgage Services, Inc. - Visalia, CA

Thank you for the sunny outlook this morning!  We sell the positive news here in our little area, but the national media is hard to overcome sometimes.  When someone hears I'm in the mortgage industry, at first they look sad for me... and then I tell them we're on track to have our best year ever, and that 2010 was our best ever before this.  They really have a hard time believing it!

I read everything put out by the industry, but I've stopped watching the national media - they're such a downer.


Aug 23, 2011 05:52 AM #54
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

Good idea about the reporters Bryan. I hope they take you up on it & write something positve.

Aug 23, 2011 06:38 AM #55
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

Bryan, reminds me of the recent "Good News" contest here on activerain. I found it personally uplifting to seek out and write about -- as well as to read about -- the good things happening in our local markets. I'll bet all of those contest entrants have posts they could tweak into releases and send to their local press. I think I'll try it. Thanks for the idea.

Aug 23, 2011 07:17 AM #56
Cathy Perry
RedKey Realty Leaders - Wildwood, MO

Last week my clock radio alarm went off, and the first words I heard were that the Dow was already down by hundreds of points.  What a way to start the day.   The constant barrage of negative reporting affects consumer confidence, which of course impacts their comfort level in entering into a major real estate transaction.  And it trickles down, of course, to agent attitudes.  In this morning's sales meeting, our broker announced that Wells Fargo was bringing in 275 jobs to St. Louis (these are professional positions, not minimum-wage jobs).  Instead of being happy, the agent sitting next to me groused "it's only 75 jobs immediately."  So what, at least the numbers are in the right direction, that's possibly 75 homes sold and 75 sellers with a chance to buy a new home while prices and rates are good.

Aug 23, 2011 09:02 AM #57
Pat Somers
Red Sign Realty - Lake Havasu City, AZ
Kingman/Lake Havasu Land & Homes

You know maybe just maybe the media could try to give us all a little bit of positive, good news. I know that the only news that sells is the bad, but I really think it is time that maybe a little  more good news, and believe me there is a lot of good news out there, might just sell a few newspapers and magazines since most Americans are getting tired of reading about only the bad stuff! Just m y opinion!

Aug 23, 2011 09:18 AM #58
Kate Akerly
Halstead Property - Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Residential Sales and New Development


My team works the Manhattan market in NYC, which much like San Francsisco, is its own world when it comes to real estate.  I love the point your're marking, but I couldn't help but thinking about a recent post I wrote about working with publicists to advance your real estate business.  Instead of you contacting the local reporters, the publicist should do it.  I've only been focusing on brokerage for a few years, though we've hit it hard, and this year my publicist has setup an appearance on a real estate show for NBC, an interview with the NY Times and the NY Observer, interviews with all the major trade publications, and numerous other submissions that weren't printed (e.g. Wall Street Journal, Crain's, Fox Business, etc.).  She just brought me a request for an appearance on Fox today.  

Publicists aren't cheap, but they do what you're suggesting for a living.  In a market like SF, much like NYC, I assume some brokers can afford the expense and will see a definite ROI on it.  

Mike Akerly

Aug 23, 2011 09:39 AM #59
Bill Reddington
Re/max Southern Realty - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Maybe its time to turn off the news and the newspapers. Positve doesn't sell papers or create viewers.

Aug 23, 2011 10:16 AM #60
Beverly Femia
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Hampstead, NC
Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are

I'm with you Jim (#44)!  And, in my opinion, we cannot publicize our way out of this mess.  That worked in 2005!, 2006, 2007 but it's way past those days. 

Aug 23, 2011 02:18 PM #61
Coral Gundlach
Compass - Arlington, VA
Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate.

Bravo!  Completely agree.  But unfortunately, hysteria does sell.  We are the ambassadors of truth, blog about the positives and make sure to speak them when anyone asks.

Aug 23, 2011 02:42 PM #62
Patricia Beck
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realty

The real estate market would probably see more activity if it weren't for all of the negative information out there!  I like your advice to other agents.

Aug 23, 2011 05:12 PM #63
Gerard Gilbers
Higher Authority Markeing - Asheboro, NC
Your Marketing Master

I think Lenn said it best, bad new sells more stories. There are times that a positive story will be run but it is typically a human interest story.

Aug 23, 2011 06:38 PM #64
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

Media always overreacts.  In 2006 were they talking about the bubble or how homes were overpriced or were they filled with stories of how much their houses are worth or flippers getting rich.

Aug 24, 2011 02:08 AM #65
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Bryan, and we wonder why the consumer gets confused when we tell them that actually the market is not that bad!


Aug 24, 2011 04:38 AM #66
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

For many people price drops are not bad news. It is all in how you portray it.  Good news does not sell.

Aug 24, 2011 08:34 AM #67
Bryan Robertson
Intero Real Estate - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

Bad news does sell but I think good news could get a lot of traction.  Would anyone want to participate in a new Youtube channel focused on broadcasting positive market reports?  I think if we created a new outlet on Youtube it would get a lot of hits and could get the attention of the mass media outlets resulting in even more coverage.  To work, agents from all around the country would have to agree to be interviewed and generate reports.

Any takers?

Aug 24, 2011 09:26 AM #68
Dale Taylor
Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois - Frankfort, IL
Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos

Press releases are a powerful tool to encourage media to report positive information about real estate.  You are on the right track Brian with your idea.  I suggest you just get the youtube thing started and others will jump on board!

Aug 24, 2011 02:11 PM #69
a better way

Unfortunately messages of good news, love, common good do not posess the 'take action' incentive as those dripping in FEAR! FEAR has always been to lowest common demoninator to get a herd of humans to move in the same direction. Even the most hate inspired cultures take pride in saying, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." In a dumbed down society, do you really want to spend much time with the herd? Why would you choose to wallow in the swill being sold to the herd?

Recognize the effect such fear mongering has on the citizen and provide a well defined solution.
Recognize the challenge the herd has in obtaining accurate and timely information and provide a wall defined solution. Your profit will not be found in the herd but in the action of the informed. As a pro, you need to take great care upon those things on which your mind and spirit feed. Then being well nurished, go into your farm and share the good news.

Aug 31, 2011 04:59 AM #70
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Bryan Robertson

Broker, Author, Speaker
How may I help you?
Spam prevention

Additional Information