Why Not Blame The Media?

Over the past couple years, the press has used the words “housing bubble” many times. We won’t excuse the media, which at times, can take on a herd mentality.

But it’s always interesting to hear a Florida real estate investor blame the media because he can’t make a quick flip. Of course, it’s alright when headlines mention a “red-hot market,” but any reporting on “cooling off” is just no good for business. So, instead of blaming rampant construction, increased speculative buying, why not take a jab at the media.

Unfortunately, today’s Wall Street Journal feature–located on the cover of the Marketplace section–is not available online. But we’ll recount this poor flipper’s story after the jump.

- Michael Calderone

Here’s how it begins.

Todd Linsley, a 37-year-old investor, bought a three-bedroom house in Stuart, Fla., for about $318,000 in late 2005. His original plan was to quickly flip the property–which is in a new housing development about 40 miles north of West Palm Beach–by selling it for as high as $425,000.

So, he couldn’t make a fast $107,000 profit overnight. There has to be someone to blame for this injustice.

Some Floridians blame the media and even Wall Street for scaring people away. Mr. Linsley recalled a headline in a local paper declaring that the local housing market was overvalued.

Perhaps it was overvalued?

The headline type was so bold that it looked as if the nation had just declared war. “The media is killing the investors,” Mr. Linsley says.

Our solution: make headline type less bold.