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Real Estate Guide 2007
2007 overview
The real estate market was bed-ridden last year but 2007 brings new hope the market will get back on its feet.
2007 Overview
Media coverage can dampen real estate market

Fact or fiction: The media decides whether you buy or sell a home.

Sounds ridiculous, even insulting. But many real estate professionals insist there is a psychological component to buying a house -- and that a lot of negative publicity about the housing market can have an effect on whether consumers will buy, sell or sit.

Chances are, when you are thinking about buying a home (and you're really honest with yourself), factors such as your credit rating, income, debt load, the available houses in your market and the prices in your market are going to have more of an impact than what you read or hear over your morning coffee.

But that's not to say the broadcast and printed word don't have some impact.

Many blame the media for the slowdown that hit the housing market in 2006. "What happened to us is the media," says Ellen Renish, regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors, or NAR.

Stories about a real estate "bubble" and its potential to burst caused consumers to "not do anything," she says. "And nothing happened. The bubble stories really stopped things for three months," Renish says. "It was pretty scary."

Looking for deals

When it comes to sales, the biggest factor is "the local economy," says Dick Gaylord, president-elect of the NAR. "But I can tell you that almost every buyer I talk to today thinks they're going to get a phenomenal deal."

In the Midwest this year, one big yardstick is job growth torquing the force of supply and demand. "If jobs come, there will be buyers," says Lawrence Yun, a senior economist with the National Association of Realtors. "And if jobs don't come, there won't be buyers."

"But I think the media does have an influence," he says. "I get calls from Realtors who have been working with buyers for months -- then the buyer reads or hears something that predicts a price crash or large inventory and the buyer decides to wait. The media is trying to portray the reality of the market."

But many times "there tends to be a slight slant that tends to scare potential buyers," he says. "People start placing a lot of reliance on what they read, particularly from major papers."

-- Posted: March 8, 2007
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