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When The Levee Breaks: Media Bubble Coverage Replaced By Katrina Tragedy

Media coverage of the housing boom [1] this summer crested in August after dominating the headlines, especially in Big Media. It was placed on the back burner once Hurricane Katrina inflicted its damage, particularly on New Orleans. The scope of the tragedy makes the real estate boom sound fairly petty given amount of human suffering in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The Federal Government gave the press [2] plenty of subjects to write about as we enter the blame game so popular in Washington.

  1. Did the housing boom end?
  2. Have we entered a slow period for real estate news because nothing new is really going on?
  3. Were readers ready for a break from the real estate housing boom coverage?

The answers are no, kind of and yes.

  1. The housing boom has continued through the summer as mortgage rates remain low.
  2. August is often a particularly slow news period yet it seemed that real estate coverage was disproportional to other issues because its become an American obsession (and an easy sell to advertisers).
  3. Readers were starting to get pretty cynical about the quantity of coverage and jaded about some of the warning signs of overheating.

The hurricane’s affect on the economy will likely segue into exhaustive housing boom coverage. In the near term, the effect of the now limited coverage may benefit the housing market because the intensity of the coverage is less “in your face.” However, in the long term, it probably won’t make any difference at all. There’s a lot of psychology to consider, but at the end of the day, the market is the market.