Fake Real Estate News
You saw the latest Harris Poll commissioned by Sun Trust Mortgage, right? It was splattered all over the internet:
“Dogs are Driving Millennials’ Homebuying Decisions,” “Survey Shows Pets Motivate First Time Millennials Home Buyers.” This one is my favorite: “Dogs are biggest motivator to millennial home buyers.”
What a crock of ca-ca
If you take the time to actually read the study instead of the media's headlines, or at least look at the infographic, you can see that what is “driving millennials’ homebuying decisions” is the desire for more living space. In fact, well over half of the survey’s respondents claim they need more room.
Coming in second? At least 36 percent of millennials say they want to build equity. Room for the dog comes in third, with 33 percent of respondents claiming this as a motivation to buy a home.
Yes, room for the dog was more of a motivation to buy than marriage or birth of a child, so “if it bleeds, it leads,” right? They cherry pick the most scintillating statistic to mislead us with their headlines. Our media is disgusting.
Whenever I see something as blatantly dishonest as this in the news, I ask myself why?
What is the agenda here?
Clearly the study shows that the top two motivations for millennials to buy a home are downright adult. They show maturity and responsibility.
With this particular piece of news, it’s obvious that the agenda is to feed the stereotype, right? The lazy, narcissistic, unrealistic younger generation.
As an agent, when you see anything in the news about millennials and homebuying, read the fine print. Go to the source and read what is really happening. You owe it to your younger clients not to buy into the media’s narrative on who they are and what they want.
Hey, they do it to boomers too
For some reason, the NAR is pushing the millennial-as-movers-and-shakers-of-the-housing-market narrative. It simply is not true and their own numbers, if you look closely, prove it.
Yet the press takes what the NAR says as gospel.
I’ve talked about this before: In NAR’s generation report, they cut the boomer generation in half, saying they did so because there are distinct differences between the two groups.
Yet that flies in the face of what sociologists claim.
Tom DiPrete, a sociology professor at Columbia University, says that the baby boom is a “discrete generation,” with “specific characteristics.”
The years 1946 to 1964 DEFINE this generation. To cut it in half implies, at least to me, some sort of agenda. Especially since both generations – millennials and boomers – span 18 years. Why not cut the millennial generation in half as well?
At any rate, NAR insists, every time they publish their generational trends report, that “One consistent finding for the last four years of reports has been that buyers 36 years and younger (Millennials/Gen Yers) is the largest share of home buyers.”
In 2017, NAR says that millennials make up 34 percent of the homebuying pool, while younger boomers make up 16 percent of the pool while older boomers make up 14 percent.
So, as a whole, boomers make up 30 percent of homebuyers – only 4 percent fewer than the pool of millennial buyers.
Yet, NAR wants us to think that the pool of older American homebuyers is puny. Why?
Wait ... there’s more fake real estate news
Then, there’s the Sacramento Bee that claims: “Sacramento housing market dominated by baby boomers with no urge to sell.”
While the headline is odious enough, their statistics are completely bogus. According to Phillip Reese, who wrote the piece, baby boomers include anyone over the age of 50. He even uses a handy chart to back up his claim that “Residents 50 and older held 65 percent of the region’s owner-occupied homes in 2015.”
First, he got the math wrong. His chart shows that 57 percent, not 65 percent of the area’s real estate is owned by those age 50 and older.
Let’s get back to the headline, though.
Since boomers are now age 53 to 71, they own approximately 37 percent of the real estate in Sacramento. Their elders in the Silent Generation own 20 percent, Gen Xers own 33 percent and millennials? About 10 percent.
So, yeah, boomers own more Sacramento real estate than other generations, but only 4 percent more than Gen Xers, so they are certainly not dominating the market.
What’s the agenda here? Why go to such contortions to prove a spurious point and, just what IS the point?
If you love your real estate biz, don’t be mislead
When you see housing market-related headlines, ALWAYS dig deeper. Otherwise, you’ll be misled into thinking that millennials are empty-headed, narcissistic children without a responsible bone in their bodies.
If I were a Sacramento agent, I’d be chasing boomer homeowners for listings after reading the story. And, I’d be wasting my time. What the story doesn’t tell you is that, while boomers own the bulk of the real estate in this country, they aren’t planning on selling.
In fact, 85 percent of them won’t be selling in the next year because “their current home fits their current needs,” according to the NAR.
While the NAR study bemoans the fact that boomers are stubbornly hanging on to their real estate, they gloss over the fact that older Americans tend to live in larger homes and the tightest inventory right now is starter homes.
Who lives in starter homes? That’s right, millennials and, guess what? About half of millennials surveyed by NAR say they plan to sell in the next year.
This is YOUR association. The one that you pay big money to belong to, the one you should be able to trust to give you the real story. Yet, they don’t.
The fact is: if you want listings, chase millennials who own starter homes because there is a really good chance they want to sell.
Instead of your association calling out this very pertinent fact, you know – to actually help their members get business -- they’d rather piss and moan that older Americans are sitting on real estate that isn’t even in great demand right now.
Way to solve the problem, NAR.
And NEVER believe what you read in the media
Have you ever noticed how behind the times the press is when it comes to housing market news? When I was an agent I was astounded by how often they’d post the latest real estate “news,” when we agents had known about it for months.
Your boots-on-the-ground experience is worth far more than some reporter's research. Are home prices stalling? You know better than that reporter. Are buyers getting gun shy? Again, you’re the expert, not the reporter.
When it comes to real estate news, dig deeper when statistics are presented and trust your own, LOCAL experience.