OLD Media Moves

WSJ real estate story not supported by facts

June 17, 2008

Elinore Longobardi of the Columbia Journalism Review pans a Wall Street Journal trend story about consumers who purchase a lower-priced home with their good credit and than bail on their old home, where the mortgage is now more than what the house is worth due to falling prices.

Real EstateLongobardi writes, “The problem is the piece largely traffics in rumor, never offering proof that this practice is a ‘phenomenon’ at all.

“We get no figures on how many homeowners have opted to ‘buy and bail,’ and little anecdotal evidence. The Journal talks to a grand total of two people who have done it, and those are the only confirmed cases we hear about.

“The reporter does talk to two real estate agents, but they don’t add any definite cases to the dirty duo we already know. One of the brokers is working with clients (we don’t know how many) who are ‘considering walking away from their mortgages.’ The other ‘says he receives one to two dozen inquiries every week from individuals inquiring about a buy-and-bail.’

“Okay, so the practice may be a story—with a lot more reporting to find out if it is true.”

Read more here.

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