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Irresponsible media unravelling an already vulnerable market, says expert

27 February 2019 Tim Neary
Barry Plant

One long-time industry veteran has spoken out about his frustration with how some news outlets are portraying the current real estate market downturn.

Director of the Barry Plant Group and 50-year industry veteran Barry Plant said that press coverage of current market conditions has been unfortunate.

“The person on the street could be forgiven for thinking the current property market in Victoria is headed for Armageddon if they based their knowledge on the sound bites and headlines that some of our media outlets are unfortunately using,” the director said.

Mr Plant said he worries that this current correction is exacerbated by the media — whose revenue, he believes, is driven by clicks and views.

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“Headlines such as ‘Property market falls off a cliff’ are just irresponsible.

“Yes, if you do read the whole article there may be some qualifying data buried in it, but the danger is that people are not delving deeper for their information.”

Mr Plant believes that some media outlets need to exercise a level of social responsibility, and understand the impact their actions have on consumer confidence.

“This headline-driven reporting makes buyers nervous and unwilling to buy. The lack of properties selling means that not only the real estate industry is depressed, but there’s a flow-on effect to conveyancers, lawyers, landscapers, hardware stores, furniture stores and, of course, state government revenues.

“There’s also a general uneasiness that develops with all home owners that the value of their asset is being eroded and so they curtail spending.”

Mr Plant is confident that the availability of finance will improve now that the royal commission findings have been handed down.

“There’s definitely a market correction going on after a seriously long run of increasing house prices. This downturn is driven to a large extent by a credit squeeze as a result of banks keeping their heads down after the royal commission.

“But banks need to lend money to make money, so I am confident that now that the royal commission findings have been handed down, there will be more availability of finance.”

Mr Plant said that media outlets need to “self-govern”.

“Property ownership is usually a long-term investment into security and lifestyle and shouldn’t be judged by short-term hiccups brought about by economic conditions or politics,” the director said.

Irresponsible media unravelling an already vulnerable market, says expert
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