coverage can dampen real estate market
And while the media likely has "some psychological
aspect" for the buyer and seller, says
Fratantoni, "at the end of the day it's
the fundamentals" like affordability, a
strong job market and income growth that signal
buyers that "it's a good time to get in,"
When it comes to buying and selling, "I do think there is something about psychology," says Nicolas Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.
Nationally, home prices increased 60 percent in the period between 2001 and 2006, he says. "If you bought a home five years ago, you're in pretty good shape as far as equity building."
When it comes to the recent decline, "part of it was psychology," Retsinas says. "We had seen interest rates heading up. As we look back, at some point buyers started to wonder, 'Will these exist tomorrow?'"
In addition, home prices had been escalating so much faster than salaries that "the mortgages couldn't bridge the gap between incomes and house prices," he says. "It's almost as if house prices had to take a breather."
All real estate is local
One common complaint from real estate professionals
regarding media coverage is the failure to understand
and communicate that all real estate is local.
So while a bubble, hot market, flipping trend
or price decrease gets a lot of media attention,
it doesn't mirror the entire market.
"It's a reflection of something
going on in one area, in one dynamic spot,"
says Dave Dalzell, a regional vice president
for the NAR. But consumers hear it and get concerned,
he says. Then "we have to take and analyze
the neighborhood" where they're buying,
he says. "My town just had the biggest
jump in home values in 20 years," he says.
"We think it will slow down some, but won't
Ken Libby, owner/broker of Stowe
Realty in Stowe, Vt., echoes the thought. "The
only argument I have with the media is when
people try to paint one picture for the whole
country," he says. "And you can't