OpinionMarkets & Economy

Is the inventory shortage a communication issue?

Evaluate how you reach out to people before blaming the market
  • The inventory challenge is not an economic issue.
  • The real estate industry needs to learn how to explain itself better.
  • Zestimates changed how consumers gained information, but few have been able to replicate the simplicity of it as a communications vehicle.

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There is a housing shortage, but I bet you knew that. But have you ever wondered why? Sure, the Great Recession had its impact. Builders have been slow to recover and the population is growing -- but there could be another reason for the shortage: simple communication. A missed opportunity A double-sided postcard recently arrived in the mail from a noted real estate agent in town. It included a typical community picture, details about the agent’s skills and a chart addressing recent neighborhood home sales. But how many of those on the receiving end were real estate junkies fascinated by the list-to-sales price ratio or the time-on-market column? What might homeowners care about more than recent sales? One of the great stats of 2016 came when CoreLogic pointed out that 93.7 percent of all mortgaged homes in the U.S. had positive equity in the third quarter, with only 6.3 percent in the red. These are astounding numbers considering how far we fell after the boom. Rem...