Earlier this afternoon CNBC did a piece on the residential housing market that was roughly described as, “What better way to get the real pulse of the industry then speaking to several real estate agents across the country.”
The CNBC commentators interviewed 4 agents, representing different parts of the country, with one or two questions that went something like this: “For Albuquerque, do you think the market has bottomed?” The agent responded, “Absolutely!”.
“For Dallas, is the market getting better & are you seeing deals stalled because both the market appraisals and underwriting are getting tougher?” asked the CNBC commentator. The realtor responded, “Yes, yes and yes.” The Dallas realtor then detailed how consumer confidence is up, there are multiple buyers for listings and that appraisers are the ones shooting down deals (I’m surprised that the appraisers weren’t blamed for the housing fall in the first place).
“For St. Louis, what’s your feeling about the market?” “Life is good,” he responded.
The Atlanta realtor was asked if she agreed with the Case Shiller house price index numbers that were just released on Tuesday that showed Atlanta to be one of the worst performing housing markets in the country. The realtor responded, “Of course I disagree with those numbers. Well, technically the numbers are accurate, but…” then she delivered some incoherent examples as to why the housing market was actually strong in Atlanta.
The full video is here: CNBC Realty Check. I don’t necessarily blame the realtors for their answers. Just as I wouldn’t blame Craig Ehlo (former guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers) if he answered yes to a pre-game question that went hypothetically like so, “Do you think that you’re going to shut down Michael Jordan tonight?” I would have to fault the reporter for such a ridiculous question.
CNBC should know better. There are times when anecdotes and storytelling are appropriate. But other times we need at least an attempt to tackle issues with some data-driven analysis.