Media Moves

Blogs keep real estate media honest

February 5, 2011

Orange County Register real estate reporter and columnist Jon Lansner interviewed Rich Toscano, author of the Piggington blog — “Professor Piggington’s Econo-Almanac for the Landed Poor” — about how blogging has changed real estate coverage.

Here is an excerpt:

Us: What has real estate blogging done for the housing market in terms of getting news and views out to the public? Has that changed in recent years?

Rich: Blogs were instrumental in getting the bearish case out to the public during the boom, as you rarely heard that side of things in the mainstream press. The blogs have gained a lot of respect since then. Back in the boom, it was generally considered to be a sufficient criticism of something to simply point out that “some blogger” had written it. That’s no longer the case. At the same time, the quality of real estate reporting in the mainstream media has vastly improved. I imagine that the mainstream media stepped up its game due to a combination of the blogs being seen as viable competition, and embarrassment about dropping the ball during the bubble.

Us: What’s needed to take real estate information to the next level? If you had the brightest minds in the room — and a budget to match — what would you tell your Dream Team to build?

Rich: Well, this might not surprise you, but my dream team would be a bunch of nerds and their goal would be to improve the available data. The relative lack of consistent, historical data is the single biggest hurdle to doing a better job analyzing the market. How helpful would it be, for instance, to be able to look back on a long-term historical series of rents, incomes, and home prices within a neighborhood, and adjusted for home quality, rather than just lumping an entire ZIP code together?

Read more here.

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