Realtor goggles

The New York Times ran a Page One story yesterday headlined “Where Home Prices Crashed Early, Signs of a Rebound,” all about the housing market in Sacramento, which it declares to be in “the earliest stages of a recovery, a hopeful sign for an economy mired in trouble and anxiety.”

What’s the evidence of this provided in the article? To wit: A single real estate industry analyst says he’s hopeful that prices will “show evidence of stabilizing” soon — i.e., that they’ll stop falling like a rock as they have in recent months. Meanwhile, home sales are up, but only because everyone’s buying foreclosures — which only foretells that they’ll keep selling if there are more foreclosures. And while that well may happen, it’s hard to see it as a good sign for the housing market.

All of which looks less like a “rebound” than “hitting bottom and staying there,” but there’s an implicit agreement among newspapers (especially the Times) to view the world through the lens of the real-estate industry, which needless to say appreciates having front-page stories encouraging people to run out and buy homes. Though you have to wonder how long they’ll keep this up once real estate ads disappear altogether.

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