Monday, January 10, 2011

Herald Tribune Puffery Again?

I've heard a lot of people complain that the Herald Tribune was one of the biggest cheerleaders of the real estate boom and bust.   The real estate market, much like the stock market, reacts to consumer moods.

So this weekend the H/T posts a story about Lakewood Ranch's seeming real estate revival.   According to their real estate "expert" Harold Bubil, there were 250 contracts signed to build new construction in LWR in 2010.  Really?  I don't buy it.

What's really going on in Lakewood Ranch? 

On my website, I have posted real estate sales data for Lakewood Ranch for the past 4 years.  The number of sold units (both single family and condo) was flat, and while the average sales price increased, the average sold price per square foot decreased in 2010 versus 2009.  Average days on market went from 217 in 2009 to 203 in 2010, not exactly an indication of a reviving market.  Price per square foot likely dropped because there were more high-end properties selling at reduced price.

The H/T and most newspapers rely, or used to rely, on real estate classified advertising for a large chunk of their revenue.  I'll leave it to you to decide if they are publishing this kind of story to try to heat up the real estate market like so many thought they did in the boom years.

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