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“View from the Bridge”: The Real Estate Misinformation Continues

by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes

in Features, Special Reports, View From The Bridge

Michael Marquette’s “View from the Bridge”


I read the Sydney Newspapers on the weekend and couldn’t help but feel that the public were being conned. The lead story for real estate was the “booming” real estate market with numerous photographs of happy home buyers who had paid 5-10% above reserve price to ensure they received the First Home Owner’s Grant (FHOG) which ends on September 30, 2009.

There was no discussion of the stupidity of buyers who had spent an additional $30,000 to $50,000 to purchase these homes in order to receive the $14,000 FHOG – I would gladly give someone a $14,000 payment if they gave me $30,000 or $50,000 extra in return. The media continues to sensationalize the news to sell newspapers and they continue to pitch their information at the lowest common denominator.

It seems to me that many first home buyers were “tricked” and their fear pushed them into making rushed decisions. Statistics can be manipulated to paint any picture that suits the party putting them forward and the statistics around housing have suffered in the same way. Headlines which have declared “a boom” in the property market are not only incorrect but are grossly misleading.

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Without question the activity in the housing market has been in the first home buyer area – around or less than $500,000. This segment does not speak for the entire housing market and those selling properties above this price, especially above $1 million have experienced anything but a boom. The Luxury Housing market around the world has taken a tumble and prices are not at record levels or even at the same point as they were just two years ago.

It’s almost impossible to rely on any information being passed on through the mainstream media. Once you sift through the sensational headlines, odd great result and agent hype the fact is that the real estate market is extremely segmented and properties of different values across different suburbs, cities and states are experiencing completely different things.

I received an email newsletter from Domain.com.au yesterday that disappointed me greatly. The heading for the email was “Another property boom, house at half price, rates trump grant”. When I opened the email I found that the heading for the story about a property boom was actually “Will a booming population mean another property boom?”

There is a vast difference between declaring a property boom (there isn’t one) and discussing if a boom may or may not happen. It is becoming more and more important for readers to carefully consider what the motive might be for a reporter or news source to report with bias. Does the news source own a newspaper or internet site that would benefit by talking up the market and giving misinformation? In Australia our media sources certainly do!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim Down October 1, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Hi Michael.

I completely agree with your opinion piece above. As much as we all have a vested interest in a healthy and more importantly “balanced” real estate market, regurgitating poorly researched news articles perpetuates poor consumer decisions. I applaud your taking a stand and pointing out the misinformation and lack of sound economic reasoning and judgement. We have far too many unqualified real estate sales personnel acting as order takers who provide limited advice to consumers making the largest purchase in their lives.

I also find it strange that the same newspapers that cheered the market to all time highs and then down to the bottom are once again back on the bandwagon. Are they searching for those lucrative advertising accounts again? The real question is what is the relevance of the print news media given their present business models are unprofitable?

Cheers,

Tim Down

Michael Marquette October 2, 2009 at 2:17 am

Hi Tim

I really appreciate your reading my article and it's intriguing how the media throughout the world is doing the same stuff. Without any question the media is chasing advertising revenue and I have no doubt that the “rubbish” they are now conveying to the public has one motive – money.

It's unfortunate that everyone cannot see through this misinformation and it's very important that we keep putting the correct version of events into the public arena. Print media is a dead and dying dinosaur which is unprofitable and irrelevant. I totally agree with you. I look forward to talking more with you in the future.

Michael Marquette

samanthajade October 4, 2009 at 4:40 pm

I agree, and if you got the chance to watch the Hungry Beast on the ABC last Wednesday night, it just goes to show how under researched the news we get actually is. I just bought my first home last month, I was aware of house prices being so high (but I bought in a rural area where prices – whether it be property or petrol – seem to be a bit out of sync with the rest of the world) but the whole time I was looking, those sellers that cut the price every second week and 'extra' grants that come from those cheap building companies just went to show how dodgy the market is, if they ALL can afford to “throw in thousands of dollars worth of extras” then why do they charge so much in the first place?

Yes, the media is so twisted, and people need to do their own research (such as looking around at blogs like this). But lets not forget some of the businesses in the market such as domain.com.au, metricon, and others (especially those of the cheap and cheerful kind) that set it up for the media.

samanthajade October 4, 2009 at 11:40 pm

I agree, and if you got the chance to watch the Hungry Beast on the ABC last Wednesday night, it just goes to show how under researched the news we get actually is. I just bought my first home last month, I was aware of house prices being so high (but I bought in a rural area where prices – whether it be property or petrol – seem to be a bit out of sync with the rest of the world) but the whole time I was looking, those sellers that cut the price every second week and 'extra' grants that come from those cheap building companies just went to show how dodgy the market is, if they ALL can afford to “throw in thousands of dollars worth of extras” then why do they charge so much in the first place?

Yes, the media is so twisted, and people need to do their own research (such as looking around at blogs like this). But lets not forget some of the businesses in the market such as domain.com.au, metricon, and others (especially those of the cheap and cheerful kind) that set it up for the media.

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