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Housing bubble? What housing bubble? HGTV doesn't know.

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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:35 pm    Post subject: Housing bubble? What housing bubble? HGTV doesn't know. Reply with quote

It sometimes seems as though the only reason I have cable TV
is to watch HGTV, the home and garden channel.

I have to say, though, that while HGTV has changed its mix of
programs from those of a few years ago, it still hasn't caught up
to the realities of the housing market now, as 2010 edges toward

Thankfully the "Flip this House", "Flip that House", "Flip any House"
style programs have disappeared. These all seemed so crass at
the time, and now, if aired, would probably re-open old wounds
amongst viewers. Not the mindset that advertisers want their audience
to have.

There are two major categories of programs left: (1) low cost improvements
that can be made, possibly to make selling easier, or possibly
not, and (2) finding a home to buy or rent.

The first category seems to be centered in 2007-2008, where a
house might not have sold, and improvements could make the sale.
Most of the time the improvements are substantial, and bring a
positive response, but no follow-up is provided. With the benefit of
hindsight, even with $1000's of dollars of improvement, and free
labor and marketing (being featured on HGTV has got to help),
many of these houses probably didn't sell, or at least didn't sell for
anything near their asking price, as sellers trailed the lowering
market, never quite catching up to the lowered prices needed to
actually make a sale. HGTV just barely acknowledges this in
its programming.

It makes me wonder the extent to which HGTV
behaves like the Real Estate section of my local newspaper does:
the Real Estate section, in its entirety, is acknowledged as being
an "advertising supplement". Articles, though they are hard to distinguish
from those featured elsewhere in the "objective" sections of the paper,
are really advertisements, or at least meant to not conflict with

For the second type of program HGTV is even more backward and
clueless than in the first type. These are the shows featuring people
who want to buy a first home, upgrade to a second home, find a
rental apartment, or buy a vacation home.

Leaving aside the rental-based
programs, with which I have no quibble, the home purchase shows
typically concentrate on people buying at the very top of their capacity
to afford. Some, especially the international vacation home shows,
seem extremely unrealistic. They want to buy some house in Italy. and
their budget is $600,000. Oh, but maybe $700,000 now that you
mention it. Or, this unit has a $500 /month Homeowners or Coop
fee, and this gets little discussion. Note: in today's environment, and
extra $500 fee adds about $150,000 to the overall cost of the property.

As with the "flip it" style programs from a few years ago, these programs
can seem quite crass, with people complaining about how small the
bedrooms are, and that the kitchen is "dated". I start to feel for Realtors
if this is what they have to endure month after month.

In short, HGTV just hasn't caught up. Most of its programming is
recycled from 2007 - 2008. It may be an institutional barrier that
keeps HGTV from showing a more realistic, contemporary view of
the housing marketplace. I'd certainly be interested in seeing programming
that reflected the current realities.
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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
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Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I noticed that too with HGTV. In fact, while I was at my Mom's house in January, I had nothing to do so watched a marathon of HGTV shows. I described it elsewhere as Levels of Insanity on HGTV.

I watched as it went from a reasonable couple with kids looking for a $220K home in Alabama on a Government salary ended up with a huge home and yard for about that price, to people who were willing to spend more than $1 million for a beat up old apartment (sorry condo) with a rooftop patio that inundated with greasy fumes from two restaurant ventilators and an even more expensive "luxury" condo designed by a world renowned architecture which just happened to overlook an open air New York City Sanitation truck depot. Smells included.

In both shows, the owners were hoping for a deus ex machina to somehow make their mistakes go the first case, persuading the restaurants to move or switch to some new and yet uninvented smoke cleaner from DuPont, I guess, and in the second, meeting daily and looking at a diagram of new proposed depot that was inside a building (which of course would have no smells at all and not be a big ugly eyesore with garbage trucks still ferrying rotting groceries in and out all day.
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