RP Data Gets it Wrong On Housing Demand Logic? Or, is Deliberately Misleading…

Hello all…

…Yes, it has been a while since I  have blogged….

Honestly, with family and other demands increasing since I started this blog, I have had little time at all to do anything much with Angles on Economics.

However, when I read this blog article by Tim Lawless at RP Data, the logician in me was somewhat frustrated. The article is entitled, “Housing demand is rising at the fastest rate since December 2009”, so approaching it I expected to see an article on actual housing demand, referring to metrics such as – according to my own biases and persuasions – rental vacancies, mortgage figures, property sales volumes, consumer sentiment indices, household densities, etc.

However, what I got was an article on population flows. Sure, population flows affect “housing demand”, but they are only one metric of a number more that are important when dealing with “housing demand”, and relative changes. And since the article heading cites “housing demand is rising“, this indicates a relative change, and one would expect a decently-structured logical case within the article. However, only population flows is referred to, with the implied assumption that changes in population flows will, as if on their own, necessitate corresponding changes in housing demand.

Regardless of your opinions of inter-state economics, population flows, the affordability of housing, etc, this logic is demonstrably unsound: population flows alone do not necessitate changes in housing demand. And, even Tim, would admit this was obvious, yes? In fact, he says:

Stronger population growth is a significant factor for the housing market because it creates demand for housing.

Great! Fine.

But, then, why write an article about population flows and then entitle it with explicit reference rising housing demand, with only a weak inference to housing demand? In fact, given the current economic climate, trends in household density and other “strong” factors, one should question whether NET housing demand would indeed necessarily “rise”, as the article content and title combination imply.

Perhaps it’s just the skeptic in me, but an article on population flows that is titled according to housing demand but with weak explicit logical connection, robustness and context, written by someone working for a company that benefits most when property prices are rising, just wreaks a little of spruiking.

Sure, just write an interesting article on population flows, trends, growth, etc, but please do not entitle it with reference to housing demand, as if “changes” (implied increase in this article) in population flows will necessitate a net change (“rising“, in this article) in relative housing demand – implying “rises prices” in the traditional sense, whether you are an economist or a pleb/sheeple.

Alternatively, if you want to make a case for “rising” housing demand, please provide a better case, else you may mislead the “herds” with a logically weak and potentially incorrect impression: that such population flows will necessitate a rising  price (or conversely, a falling price, as appropriate).

It also serves RP Data better, does it not? For a logically weak, poorly titled blog piece (which is the real issue, in my honest opinion) is not something that a data provider wants to be seen producing, is it? That is, spruiking.

I’m sure Tim could do better, and I look forward to an improvement – more context, more explicitly qualified logic, and perhaps a little more humility (that is, logical awareness, of assumptions, valid deduction/induction/abduction/etc) in making inferences – such as titles not reflecting content well, from a logical and credibility point of view.

Now, admittedly, Tim’s blog is a “soft target”, probably written more as a piece of interest ? Heck, the poor guy probably wrote hos article almost as quickly as I have this one. But mine, too, is a soft blog, so “apples for apples”, I say!

And, heck, I wanted to write something.





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