On Monday this week, realtor.com sent a market update to all media, hoping as always for maximum coverage. I know it’s a slow news week, skeleton staffs trying to generate something to keep bosses off backs, but … this? “Realtor.com First Look: December Is Cooler and Slower.”

  • December is so slow that no December housing data ever matters.
  • No housing trend ever began in December.

The National Association of Realtors says it had 1,179,099 members at the end of November. That’s a lot of people depending on NAR — and affiliating the Association’s proprietary “Realtor” moniker with projects it no longer operates, including the portal realtor.com.

I was first a NAR member in 1978. It is Christmastime, and I should maintain a charitable spirit, but I spent years in the bond market, which embedded an inescapable edge of Scrooge and Marley.

On Monday this week, realtor.com sent a market update to all media, hoping as always for maximum coverage. I know it’s a slow news week, skeleton staffs trying to generate something to keep bosses off backs, but … this? “Realtor.com First Look: December Is Cooler and Slower.”

Right. Got that: the housing market is not as hot, listings pokey. But, guys … every December is cooler and slower. Oddly enough, Christmas usually falls in December, followed by New Year’s (I think … that’s what my calendar says).

December is so slow that no December housing data ever matters. No housing trend ever began in December. In the northern portions of the US, December does tend to be cooler, even chilly. And “northern” is relative; Saturday’s Sun Bowl in El Paso was played in a fourth-quarter blizzard.

Showings of listings there probably slowed. From three to one — just guessing.

So, a New Year’s resolution. The temptation to send e-news today is overwhelming. Whack mister send-button and jam-fill in-boxes everywhere. Create banner headlines, grab eyeballs … volume is substance.

Not. NOT. Substance is substance. Next year, I promise not to send a word, not a single electron presented as content unless it’s content.

I should not just pick on realtor.com — there are a zillion vacant senders out there — but really, guys, take the vow!

Lou Barnes is a mortgage broker based in Boulder, Colorado. He can be reached at lbarnes@pmglending.com.

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