Friday, April 30, 2010

Metrical data and Vancouver’s housing market

Just recently, a staff reporter from The Vancouver Province wrote an article detailing his opinions on why the Vancouver housing market is inflated. In it, he cited Asians from China as being the primary reason. Now, aside from the reporter blatantly writing a speculative piece and trying to push it out as “fact”, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a lack of professionalism from a newspaper reporter. This was the first time I’ve ever written a formal complaint and I’ve yet to hear word back from TVP.

To recap the article:

  1. The reporter cold-called different ReMax realestate locations and asked for imprecise and approximate statistical data about ReMax sales.
  2. The reporter did not get any “official” ReMax sales statistics regarding the percentage of homes being sold in Vancouver in relation to the number being sold specifically to Asians from China. (I know for a fact that ReMax does not in any way keep track of this information in any official manner.)
  3. This reporter did not state the credentials he has to make an assessment or conclusion of the housing market or what is the determining factor causing such inflation.

A reporter with an unknown realestate background, gathered his information from conversations, tallied data from just one segment of realtors, did not check the accuracy of what was said, postulated and then blamed a group of visible minorities for the pricing increase –- a group who most probably would not have the capacity to defend themselves from such accusations.

For the housing market to increase, there needs to be a number of different factors; not just that homes were sold. What was the percentage of buyers who were Chinese and the percentage of those who weren't? Those who purchased homes, did they pay above or below market value? How did the reporter derive that the purchasing of homes from Asians equated to an overall price increase in the market?

What I found upsetting about this article was that it was written in a way to put Asians in a negative light. The title of the article could just have easily stated "Homes in Vancouver a prime asset for Mainland Chinese" or "Mainland Chinese are investing in Vancouver homes". Such titles state FACT. Forming an opinionated hypothesis is anyone's prerogative but to do so on print and without any concrete evidence? Disappointing.

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