Saturday, October 6, 2007

Why Are Old Media Property Tipsters Rubbish?

This is related to my last posting about journalistic integrity and which news is worthwhile circulating and which is not.

Just three weeks ago, my search for news came across an article from the UK's Sunday Mirror entitled, "Is Turkey The New Spain?" While the information contained within the article is not wrong, it is written in the style that the journalist seems to believe that she is the first to think of the possibility of investing in 'a brand new, developing market'. Although she goes on to contradict herself by saying that there is already an oversupply in some parts of the country.

While Turkey is still a good market to invest in and there is definitely money left to be made there, people have been buying there for man years already and I consider it as one of the more established markets - certainly the most established of the 16 that we cover on Propertastic!

It's not the first time that I have seen the UK's old media (newspapers and TV) get all excited about some market that is already way, way past its initial growth period and is starting to mature, so that all of the fast money has already been earned.

It seems to be the same for all newspapers - even the 'quality press' such as The Times and The Daily Telegraph always seem to be way behind the curve when it comes to their property tips. It's very rare that I find anything in any of their property supplements that is real 'news' to me and is thus worth passing on to Propertastic's visitors. The most useful information always seems to come from the English language newspapers in the markets themselves such as The Sofia Echo, the Turkish Daily News and the Warsaw Voice, all of which produce some excellent and fresh information relating to their local real estate markets.

So why is this the case? This is a genuine question to which I would invite any comments upon, because I really don't have a clue as to why the newspapers are so laggardly with their overseas property market coverage. OK, the TV shows I can understand are never going to be cutting edge - they have long lead times and are there for 'infotainment' and not news. Monthly magazines are also going to be up to three months late with their news.

But for the quality press in particular, I am clueless. Their pieces are presumably written by professional journalists with access to a wide variety of resources. Most of them publish material only once a week and so they should have plenty of time available to make some detailed research on markets. So why don't they? The property pages of the newspapers are always packed full of advertising, so I would have thought that it would be very much in the newspapers' interest to provide great coverage in order to attract the maximum amount of readers to the section.

Maybe this gives a clue as to the real reasons though - to keep advertisers happy. It's better for them to write yet another article on major markets such as Bulgaria, Turkey - or one of the even older favourites such as Spain, France or Cyprus because they have plenty of existing and potential advertisers who want to see positive coverage of these markets. If they instead concentrated on real new hotspots such as Montenegro or Romania, then they have less advertisers to benefit from.

This is just a wild guess as to what their motives are. Honestly, I have no real idea as to whether it is an editorial policy, lazy journalism or what.

No, if you are really looking for tips as to where the best places are for investment, you are better off forgetting about traditional media and concentrating on the Web. Of course I rate Propertastic! very highly as one of the best sources of information, but I would say that, wouldn't I. After all, its opinions are mine!

But in the interest of fairness I would also say that there are some other good resources on the Web (not too many though) that give some excellent tips as to up and coming markets with the potential of making excellent and fast returns.

The ones that I rate highly are:

Property Secrets
Amber Lamb
Global Property Guide

There are also some interesting tips on the Totally Property forum if you take time to search for them.

But as for the old media, the only use for them I can see is to keep an eye on them to see what Mr. and Mrs. Average - the Johnny Come Latelies - are starting to get interested in. Because when the mass market is starting to buy in a big way, it usually means that it is time to start planning your exit strategy because this will be the last wave of buyers into a market before it starts getting totally over-exploited (such as Sunny Beach, Bulgaria). If you miss your chance to sell to them, you might not get another one without selling at a significant loss.

Please feel free to add comments if you disagree with my opinions - I am most certainly open for a debate on the issue.

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