Housing: NBC Goes Negative, While ABC Offers Balance

     NBC continued to use the decline in the housing market as a scapegoat for any less-than-positive economic news  – whether it be a drop in the stock market, changes in currency exchange rates or the reduction in sales for Toyota (NYSE:TM).


     “Even Toyota sales fell and blamed a weak housing market for a plunge in light truck sales,” said “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams on August 1. Williams also managed mention that the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 150 points “despite the fact that the housing and mortgage market are showing even more signs of weakness now.”


     Felix Simon, a business reporter for Condé Nast, mocked the media for blaming every drop in any market on subprime home lending. “It’s the new shorthand for ‘stocks went down and we don’t know why,’” he wrote on his blog July 31.


     But with even the gloomy news – if you got into a “red-hot” housing market three years ago, you’re probably still going to show a net gain if you stayed in it.


     “Just last year, homes in the top 20 markets were appreciating by about 15 percent, but since then, it’s been a steady drop,” said Cowan. “Homes are now depreciating by as much as 3 percent.”


     So those people are still coming out ahead over the long-term.


     In contrast to NBC, ABC “World News with Charles Gibson” provided a balanced perspective by pointing out the positive and the negative sides of the story.


     “Home foreclosure notices were filed against 573,000 homes in the first half of the year, an increase of 58 percent over last year – devastating for some, opportunity for others,” said Gibson.


     The decline in the housing market has created opportunities for those seeking bargains, as ABC pointed out:


     “Joyce Essex used to make most of her money selling homes. Now, 90 percent of her business comes from handling foreclosures,” said ABC correspondent Miguel Marquez.


     And Essex showed why – “Basically up to this point, the banks have been able to sell the properties for retail prices,” Essex said. “But just recently, they’re starting to get so many properties they have to get ‘em off their books.”


     “World News” showed when you take high risks in Las Vegas – in the casino or with the housing market, you can lose.


      “It’s really just draining me emotionally,” said Bruce Helmprobst, an upset Las Vegas real estate investor on “World News.” “And I have a lot of bills, and a lot of mortgages I can’t pay and banks are calling me every day.”


     Helmprobst bought seven homes prior to the market’s downturn, hoping to make a quick profit. Three are now in foreclosure.