Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The survey says: Don't blame the media for soft home sales

Many people shoot the messenger when the news is bad, or, at least, not to their liking. Now that the Pikes Peak region's housing market has followed the rest of the nation into a funk, some local real estate industry members have pointed a finger at the local and national news media as bearing some of the blame. Their theory is that when prospective home buyers hear or read the market has slowed, they'll hold off on their purchases. News stories become a self-fulfilling prophecy, critics say. But a recent National Association of Home Builders' survey says traditional pocketbook issues, not news stories, largely drive home-buying decisions. When asked to rate the importance of several factors that might affect their purchase, the No. 1 reason, which was cited by 80 percent of survey respondents, was price. Other reasons, in order of importance, included: home appreciation, cited by 71 percent of respondents; the ability to sell their current home at a fair price, 70 percent; mortgage rates, 69 percent; and personal issues, such as a new job or a growing family, 60 percent.

On a list of eight factors, news stories about the real estate market ranked second to last, with 28 percent of respondents saying such stories were an important factor behind their decision to buy.

"The media provides an important service by giving consumers the big picture of what is occurring in the housing marketplace, even the big picture in their local markets," said NAHB President David Pressly, a North Carolina builder. "But despite that, local reporting can't convey the information that consumers consider the most when they are looking for a new home." The NAHB surveyed 2,000 households during the last week of October.

No comments: