In my last few posts I have been going after some local journalists for not localizing their real estate articles. Well, today I am going after one of my own, Mr. Lawrence Chen, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors. In a recent statement, Mr. Chen denied we are facing a national recession. I guess he got me on a technicality there, as the definition of a recession is two concecutive quarters of negative GDP growth…but he can’t be serious about the second part of his statement. Mr. Chen predicted across the board growth with markets such as Miami, Pheonix and Las Vegas seeing a possible 50 percent value increase by the end of 2008. Really? Miami, Pheonix and Las Vegas? These are some of the hardest hit cities in the country in terms of real estate values, partically due to subprime loans. They also don’t seem to have a bottom in sight, certainly not a 50 percent upswing by December.
Now everyday I preach that real estate is local, but this is our National representative. I know that the Boston Real Estate Market has far outperformed the national average lately, which is why I get so annoyed with local jouranlists who simply repackage national news. At the same time, Mr. Chen has continued to deny a national downturn even thought the numbers cannot be interpreted any other way. I will be the first one to realize there are always two sides to the coin. A depreciated area with high foreclosures can have some very lucrative investments for buyers who want to make it big. However, Mr. Chen will not even admit there is another side of the coin. His persistance at denying the obvious makes all Realtors look bad, and Mr. Chen, that’s personal!