A few days ago, Roger Showley, a veteran real estate writer for the San Diego Union wrote an article about how the San Diego real estate market may be starting to stabilize. It was disappointingly superficial. Kris wrote a fabulous blog HERE “undressing” Roger for the shallow nature of the article and identified several areas of deception. Had Roger done just a little more research, he could have presented a much more meaningful and accurate picture. But the thing that got me was his reference to the premise that even though the market may be starting to stabilize “…agents shouldn’t be popping the corks off of champagne bottles, yet…”. This comment was of no relevance to the remainder of his article, but it demonstrated once again that the author, for some reason, has an anti-agent bias. In order to fully appreciate this comment, one must only go back about two years to another Roger article where he used a lot of column space to basically rail on the issue of the amount of money agents were earning (too much, apparently, in his opinion) with barely a word describing the value we bring to a transaction. That article was riddled with numerous inaccuracies and assumptions, none of which would have occurred if, once again, he had just done his due diligence. I’m certain he got an earful from numerous agents, but he never followed up with corrections to the article.
So, why do I care? Because as a journalist, one might think that Roger would be a bit more concerned about a much bigger issue that his most recent article revealed, rather than how I pay my bills and try to save money to send my kids to college someday. You see Roger, I don’t drink champagne!
The BIGGER issue is this – According to SANDICOR, for the period 1/1/06 through 10/31/06, there were 5,533 fewer sales in San Diego County than for the same period in 2005. Rather than write about when agents may drink their champaigne Roger, you might want to write about what this means in a macro (that means “BIG”, Roger) sense to the local economy. Since you apparently have “writer’s block” after possibly too many years at your desk, here’s a sampler for your next article. The loss of sales this year translates roughly into:
1. $193 milllion-$232 million in lost brokerage/agent commissions;
2. $38.7 million in lost escrow and title revenue;
3.$20-$30 million in lost loan fees;
4.$2.2 million in lost appraisal fees;
5.$2.5 million in lost home inspection fees.
So, maybe a $300 million hit to the San Diego economy (so far this year) isn’t as interesting to you as what I and my colleagues try to earn to pay our bills. But it’s not just the agents (thousands are effectively unemployed now) who are getting hurt by this reduction in sales as our market softens. There are also thousands of hourly wage employees who work extremely hard and are critical to each and every transaction working for real estate companies, escrow and title companies, graphic design and printing firms, etc., etc., etc. who have lost income or jobs or whose jobs are now in jeopardy. Add to that the reduced work and income of the plumbing, electrical, roofing and other contractors who do the home repairs when a sale occurs. So let’s add another $15-$25 million to the lost revenues for these folks. Oh, and while we’re at it, we should calculate the lost tax revenues and other “trickle down” impacts to the government as well as retailers, auto sales, home improvement stores, furniture stores etc. resulting from this real estate downturn. But, I guess I’m just too lazy to do all this research. After all, I am not a journalist!