GUEST BLOG FROM TIM MULLANEY
BusinessWeek’s Tim Mullaney writes:
Like my story in this week’s magazine says, the one thing I do know is that if I’m a home buyer right now, I have my hand out. For concessions from the seller, from the broker, from everybody. When I bought my first house in 1991, my wife and I joked that we only wanted to see houses that had been on the market for months, because their owners were “properly seasoned.” It’s not nearly as tough now as that market was. But oh, those little signs of the times that pile up in your head. One that’s in my head now: ZipRealty has added a feature to its most excellent Web site www.ziprealty.com that lets you modify a search so you see only those houses in a cute little neighborhood of Dallas, say, that have been through at least one price cut. And God knows that when housing inventory is up 35% and the number of agents nationally is up about 60% in the last few years, the supply-demand balance is shifting. So let the tenderizing begin.
BTW, no one in the media gets much pleasure from slagging the housing markets – we reporters usually don’t own stocks thanks to conflict-of-interest policies, but we usually do own houses. And we don’t know how tough things will get – I lean toward the not-that-bad side, thinking that in at least half the country housing is pretty well priced and in the rest the correction will, for most people, simply make them temporarily give up the paper gains of the last year or two. But journos can’t resist the ambiguity of the market now – no one really knows what’s happening, so everyone’s guess is equal. On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog, and all of that. We love that. What do you think?
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.