Forbes took the approach of considering four key metrics, cost of living, job growth, housing affordability, and salary rank in order to arrive at their overall ranking.
All metrics were derived from statistics gathered by various sources such as Moody’s and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and when combined and ranked, resulted in the top ten areas that “had the highest cost of living, lowest salaries, least job growth and least affordable housing.”
Not surprisingly (at least to this blogger), the Boston area registered three times with Essex County earning the #1 rank, followed closely behind by Cambridge and Boston itself.
But, of course, in typical fashion, members of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors ignored the clear and simple facts that the article presented and instead have taken issue with the ranking, particularly with
In what HAS to be one of the most outrages responses to an editorial staff of a national periodical, MAR quickly retorted with the following “Letter to the Editors” of Forbes Magazine:
As residents of
Real estate, as you know, is about location, location, location, and this region – along
Furthermore, it’s difficult even to fathom labeling the county a metropolitan area given its rustic flavor.
From the antique homes of
The real challenge in our area, and throughout
This is a key factor you neglected to account for when compiling your rankings. In fact, when you add high land costs to the equation, as well as record low mortgage rates which resulted in two years of record home sales in our state during 2004-05, most would agree that there is plenty of economic justification to support home values in the area. To categorize the region as “overpriced,” we believe, is misleading and inappropriate given the market forces that have so strongly influenced our local housing market in recent years.
MAR, clearly taking the position of being “offended”, in an almost personal way, by the
- The features of Essex County, including its “coastal villages”, “rich history”, “open space”, “rustic flavor” and other “assets you simply can’t put a price on” somehow erase or mitigate the fact that the area has the lowest salaries, least job growth, highest cost of living and least affordable housing.
- In an almost funny and perplexing point, MAR asserts that “it’s also worth noting that more than one third of the 3,200+ homes on the market in
in July were priced at or below the region’s median home price.” Huh?? You mean it’s WORTH noting that 34% of the homes on the market are listed at or below the price at which 50% of the homes are supposed to be valued. Am I missing something?? Essex County
- Somehow, low interest rates leading to “two years of record home sales” equates to “economic justification to support home values”.
- Simply categorizing a region by four key economic metrics is “misleading and inappropriate” especially given the significant “market forces” that so clearly justifies the overpriced region.
Clearly MAR’s response was downright silly, and possibly even symptomatic of the delusional state that many real estate professionals have found themselves in these days.
Forbes should, without a doubt, publish the response if not for the sheer humor of it, then as a “human interest” piece on what can happen to seemingly normal people when they are participants in an dramatic asset price bubble mania.