Thursday, January 22, 2015

BS Journalism Watch: WSJ Edition

Just had to quickly note an absurd piece from the Wall Street Journal today, shockingly, it's not from the editorial page.

But I saw an article titled "Generation Y Prefers Suburban Home Over City Condo," and immediately alarm bells started going off in my head.


So I had to actually go read the article (which I guess was the point for - because I 100% didn't believe that headline. It just went against all my understanding of that generation...which I'm technically a part of.

Now, if it had been a study on a different age group I wasn't a part of, say, 'Study finds Boomers prefer Fat Chicks' - maybe I'd be a little skeptical, but give them more of a benefit of the doubt.

But this seemed highly unlikely, so I read, and yeah, turns out it's absurd on it's face. From the article...

LAS VEGAS—One of the hottest debates among housing economists these days isn’t the trajectory of home sales, but whether millennials, those born in the 1980s and 1990s, want to remain urbanites or eventually relocate to the suburbs.

Some demographers and economists argue that the preference of millennials, also called Generation Y, for city living will remain long lasting. And surveys of these young urban residents have tended to show that they don’t mind small living quarters as long as they have access to mass transit and are close to entertainment, dining and their workplaces.

But a survey released Wednesday by the National Association of Home Builders, a trade group, suggested otherwise. The survey, based on responses from 1,506 people born since 1977, found that most want to live in single-family homes outside of the urban center, even if they now reside in the city.

“While you are more likely to attract this generation than other generations to buy a condo or a house downtown, that is a relative term,” said Rose Quint, the association’s assistant vice president of survey research. “The majority of them will still want to buy the house out there in the suburbs.”

The survey, which was released at the association’s convention in Las Vegas, found that 66% want to live in the suburbs, 24% want to live in rural areas and 10% want to live in a city center. One of the main reasons people want to relocate from the city center, she said, is that they “want to live in more space than they have now.” The survey showed 81% want three or more bedrooms in their home.

I read that and was flabbergasted. Only 10% of people born after 1977 want to live in a city? And 66% want to live in the suburbs?

Think of all the people you know under only 10% of them currently live in a city? Do two-thirds of them say, "You know what would be better than all these restaurants, bars, and museums? A finished basement and a two car garage."

Sure - now that lots of us have kids - people are making the switch, but two-thirds??? Still doesn't make sense...until you read one of the later paragraphs...

"The survey results, though, could be skewed because they included only millennials who first answered that they bought a home within the past three years or intended to do so in the next three years."

So, in other words, this survey is total bullsh*t.

If you self select only people who have already bought homes or are planning on it soon...and you target a group of people that generally won't have the wealth to buy single family homes in urban centers, you can't be surprised when they all say they want to live in suburb or rural areas. Hell I'm surprised you found 10% that want to live in cities (must've been the reluctant soon-to-be-suburbanites)

The whole premise of the article is built on some BS data from a survey that is misrepresented and by the way, is conducted by a homebuilders trade group (who you think may have some incentive to convince people the suburbs is the place to be???)

That's some grade A crappy journalism -

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