There's a campaign underway to save Tasmania's largest newspaper. The bean counters at News Ltd are keen to relocate (sack local workers) the sub-editing desks of The Mercury to a place that apparently knows its spelling and grammar better than us. As is standard operating procedure in any 'save our arses' campaign, there's talk of a mythical beast, filled with integrity, quality, skill and one that sometimes even defecates ice-cream cones. A newspaper you've never encountered in reality, but nonetheless this new found perception seems to act as the main defense to save the under fire entity.
I had been prepared to sign up to the Save Our Mercury campaign; I don't think we need to lose any further jobs down here, but then I realised the axe will be swinging tomorrow, and to further push me into the 'couldn't care less' column, I stumbled across this...
$1m mansions snub downturnI assume the sub-editors at The Mercury still write the snappy headlines. And the argument is the local knowledge of local sub-editors leads to a higher standard of newspaper. In this instance, I expect someone sitting in a mainland sub-editing warehouse could have done an equally inept job. The headline couldn't have been further from capturing the essence of the story - not that the story was more than a confused rabble, bleeding stupidity. Props to Blair Richards for that.
The big news I gleaned was a piece of information from REIT President, Adrian Kelly, who is quickly falling into line with his mainland colleagues - attempting to condition the vendors to drop prices so they might snare a sale. Ado Kelly let this stunning news out and Blair buried it seven paragraphs in...
"We've just finished putting together our March quarter figures and they show that in terms of sales volume, we are at the lowest level in Tasmania that we've seen for two decades," Mr Kelly said.Now that would be a story by itself, but somehow it was stitched mid-way into a nonsense about there being a bunch of million dollar properties on the market. Then the cretin sub-editor seemed to think because there's a whole bunch of million dollar properties listed, that's a sign they're snubbing the downturn. Even worse, not even an anecdotal mention of a million dollar sale - uh, vendor delusion does not equal a snubbing of a downturn. As Ado Kelly, conditioning again, says...
"I'd like to see how long they've been on the market for, that would tell a story. I suspect a lot of them are priced over the market."I could go on about the story and how a ridiculous inference has been derived by Blair Richards from every quote Kelly has given, but I think it's dead obvious if you cast the peepers over it.
Things are tough in real estate land, the REIT is begging for reason from vendors, but will it even matter? They've confirmed sales have hit the lowest point in two decades (will anyone else report that alone as straight story?). I've shown Tasmanian housing finance hasn't been so consistently putrid since the late 90's and I've shown listings ballooning - upwards of 30% in six months.
From vendors there will be stubbornness and then there will be fear. While the conditioning is admirable, the real estate agents have 7-10 years of real estate mania to erase. While the buyers can erase it quickly, if the vendor has been mentally recalculating his wealth with every piece of propaganda, seen or heard, throughout the last decade, the market will crumble around him while he crosses his fingers and hopes for the best. The pragmatic ones will keep the market ticking over and ticking down.
Overcapitalised with all those Bunnings inspired renovations? Screwed.
Paid too much? Screwed.
Used the house as an ATM? Screwed.
The only salvation for vendors? The arsonists who keep burning down Housing Tasmania dwellings for kicks. If they turn their attention to all those private empties we may get upwards pressure again.