Media Moves

TV news ignores strong housing data

December 6, 2006

Noel Sheppard writes on the NewsBusters web site that the television news shows recently downplayed or simply didn’t report strong housing data that shows that the market may not be headed toward a bubble busting.

Housing bubble?Sheppard wrote, “Surprisingly strong data about the nation’s residential real estate market was released on November 30 by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Despite the media’s fascination with what it proclaimed over five years ago was a housing bubble, no TV network other than CNBC bothered to share the good news with its viewers.

“But disappointing data from other government agencies and the National Association of Realtors has typically been given a lot of air time. NBC’s Brian Williams declared on September 25, ‘[T]he housing bubble has indeed and officially deflated.’ A month later, CBS’s Katie Couric proclaimed that housing ‘prices are dropping like a rock.’ And, a day before this OFHEO report was released, CNN’s Ali Veshi warned viewers, ‘[Y]our house is not gonna be the most expensive thing or the most valuable thing you own.’

“Given all this attention to real estate prices, it seems impossible to believe that none of these networks cared about the most recent comprehensive report concerning the nation’s housing picture which stated, ‘Nationally, home prices were 7.73 percent higher in the third quarter of 2006 than they were one year earlier.’ Contrary to data from the realtors about existing home sales or the government reports about new ones, the quarterly OFHEO study indicated that every state except Michigan has seen average home prices increase since the third quarter of 2005.”

Later, Sheppard noted, “Surprisingly, the already referenced New York Times article nicely put all of this in its proper perspective: ‘The weakness in housing appears to be more muted and gradual than many had predicted.’ The only question remaining is when the television media will recognize that real estate is actually doing much better than they are reporting.”

Read more here.

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