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New: Propaganda P-I

Posted on Nov 27, 2007


Yes – as in the “Seattle Post-Intelligencer.” Take this article for instance:

Seattle’s 12-month reign atop the nation in annual home-value increases came to an end in September, according to a report released Tuesday. Charlotte, N.C., posted a year-over-year increase of 4.72 percent, just ahead of Seattle’s 4.69 percent, according to Standard and Poor’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

To the informed mind, this might sound like good news: despite a falling American dollar, despite the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market, despite national news reporting falling home prices across the nation, home values in our area continue to rise! Not at the meteoric rate that we had seen over the past four years – but who really wanted/expected that to continue? Instead, the data shows that homes in Seattle appreciated only 4.69%, a small-to-moderate gain among a nation of markets with falling values (a home purchased at $400,000 a year ago with annual appreciation of 4.69% would now be worth $418,760).

Back to the article:

Just five of the 20 cities the indices track posted year-over-year increases, while all 20 declined from August to September. The 20-city composite dropped by 4.9 percent from the prior year and 0.9 percent from August.

S&P’s quarterly national index was down 1.7 percent from the second quarter and 4.5 percent from the third quarter of 2006. The quarterly decline was the largest in the index’s 21-year history and the yearly drop was the second consecutive record low.

“Consistent with prior 2007 reports, there is no real positive news in today’s data,” Robert J. Shiller, chief economist at MacroMarkets LLC, said in a statement accompanying the numbers.

Tampa posted the largest annual decline, with its values down 11 percent, while Miami’s 2.2-percent monthly drop led the nation. Eight of the 20 cities reported their worst annual returns on record. Besides Seattle and Charlotte, the other cities showing annual price increases are Atlanta, Dallas and Portland.

I understand that the P-I has to sell papers just like I have to sell houses – but this is nauseating. In a report of 20 cities, only five showed gains, and of those five, Seattle was three/hundredths outside of the lead for the entire country. A Seattle P-I reporter dissected the story for local consumption, but included quotes about the national market (like “there is no real positive news in today’s data”), which is as useful as a Florida weather report to the Puget Sound.

Sadly, there are those that like to be spoonfed – and they’ll be waiting for our home value’s to fall to “affordable” ranges before they give up the ghost. In the meantime I think Pickett Street is going to have itself a little party – HOME VALUES ARE UP! The P-I said so! And if you can’t believe the newspaper – who can you believe? 🙂

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