When I was working for the Roanoke Times, a bear got loose from (I believe) the zoo. It was caught without incident. But one of the photographers who had been listening to the whole thing on the police scanner quipped, "I was hoping it would head over to the Salem Fair."

Bad news sells papers and gets people to tune in to the evening report.

A solid housing market doesn’t make news, but the "waily, waily, waily" of a down market can. ("Woman commits suicide over foreclosure" — remember that from last week?)

It’s a bit wearing.

Enter the Real Estate Bloggers with a post, "26 Things The Media ISN’T Telling You About The Real Estate Market."

It’s time for the media to quit all the doom and gloom reporting, even if it gets more ratings than fluff stories; for the lazy agent to quit whining that there’s no work to go after; and for everyone to realize that what we’re REALLY seeing across most of the country is simply the leveling out of a major housing boom.

What follows is a list of facts gleaned from various sources. A few are worth pointing out.

4.  Only 15 out of 50 states have shown any actual price decline in the past year. The rest still show modest appreciation in home values.

Virginia had an overall increase of home values of six percent from the second quarter of 2007 to the second quarter of 2008.

8.  A “boom” in economic terms means a period of unsustainable growth – with the term unsustainable being the keyword. In the real estate world, a boom market is considered one in which prices have risen over 30% in 3 years, while a bust market is one in which home prices have dropped by at least 15% over a 5-year span. By that definition, very few markets are experiencing a bust. It is more likely that prices are simply bottoming out from the big boom. (According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.)

Definitions can be tricky things. We’ve all see how terms like "bull market," "recession," even "torture" can be redefined to suit your point of view. But "housing bust" is a lot stronger than "post-boom housing readjustment."

21.  Most of the decline is seen around 2 main types of markets: weak, industrial economies that are under pressure from the struggles of the Big Three automakers; and the areas that were previously part of the biggest boom markets.

Virginia, in case you hadn’t noticed, is neither.

No one’s saying the housing market is running on all cylinders, or that there hasn’t been a pretty major decline. That’s obvious. But a little perspective can go a long way, and a little hard data can help. Kudos to the Real Estate Bloggers for giving some of each.



25.  Many real estate agents are helping to fuel the supposed ‘market bust’ by giving in to fear and worry. They believe what the media and politicians are saying and are simply giving up, using the excuse that ‘the market’s no good.’ If agents’ were out there working hard, cultivating prospects and persuading people to buy or sell, the market would show definite improvement.