The Good News

May 1, 2005

As Yogi Berra famously said, it’s déjà vu all over again. Just as they did three years ago, mainstream media outlets are talking about the inevitable bursting of the real estate “bubble.”

The New York Times recently has run a couple of front page articles on speculation in some markets, and The Wall Street Journal ran a piece suggesting that renting in hot markets is a better deal than buying. I work for a real estate magazine, so admittedly I have a certain bias. Still I wonder, are these publications reporting the news or trying to push real estate sales off a cliff, perhaps because they’re tired of reporting on the booming sales of the past decade?

I agree there are people out there who aren’t behaving wisely and could get burned—for example, uninformed speculators and those who’ve overextended themselves with adjustable rate mortgages and negative amortization loans. But the vast majority of us recognize that real estate investing is by and large a long-term proposition. We buy real estate with other goals in mind: building equity for our retirement or our children, being part of a community, and having an uplifting environment in which to live.

That last point is the subject of our cover story this month. The article is a great reminder of what’s so satisfying about owning real estate—having it our way. The story explores some of the trends in new homes. The main gist: The beauty of homes today isn’t in the square footage but in the details. Many of the images are of homes beyond the reach of the average consumer. But so what? I live in a very modest 90-year-old house, and I still love to leaf through Architectural Digest. Not only that, I get ideas from it. I’m hoping our story will give you ideas for how to market your listings or even spruce up your own home.

The optimistic message you can take from the story is that people are focused as much on adding value to their house as they are on squeezing value out of their real estate investment. That’s a good news story I wish more reporters would take into account as they struggle to be the first to “call” the end of the real estate boom.

Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is executive editor of publications for the National Association of REALTORS® and editor in chief of REALTOR® Magazine.

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