Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Partial quoting

Monday was a busy day.  The latest house price index was released in the morning and a story broke about an apartment complex on a ghost estate being demolished.  I ended up spending part of the afternoon being filmed for the RTE evening news and then doing interviews on two of the national radio stations (Last Word on Today FM and Drivetime on RTE).  I also swapped email with a couple of journalists.  Yesterday I was quoted in one of the papers with respect to the house price data.  My first thought on reading the quote was, 'I'm not sure that's quite right'.  I was fairly sure I did say the quote, but something didn't sit well.  Here's what the paper said:

Professor of Geography in NUI Maynooth, Rob Kitchin, said there was tentative evidence the property market was bottoming out.

"We are at the bottom and we are bumping along the bottom and hopefully things will begin to rise again very slowly," he said.

He said it appeared that property prices in Dublin were stabilising, but we would need at least six months of prices either remaining flat or rising before we can be sure we have hit the bottom of the market nationally.

But prices outside of Dublin would keep falling, because there were so many vacant properties.

I had feeling the quote was taken from the Drivetime radio interview, so I went back and listened (starts 01.11.00 in, quote at 01.11.40).  Here's what I said.  I've also included the question asked and the preceding and following sentences to give the context.

Int: Should we be excited by these figures? Even just a little bit?

Me: Well, it's a very small increase, 0.2 percent, the first time [rise] in five years.  I would be relatively cautious, in the sense that we really need to have a time-series of data.  So if it levels out, or starts to slowly go up over 6 to 9 months then I think we can start to suggest that we might be or we're at the bottom and we are bumping along the bottom and hopefully things will begin to rise again very slowly. But on the way down we've had periods where its kind of slowed down and its almost looked as if its levelling off then its fallen again, and then it slowed down and fallen again. So it might be a tiny little blip, or it might be the start of something else.  And its probably different for Dublin than elsewhere.  This is now three months in a row for Dublin where house prices haven't fallen, though its fallen for apartments but not for houses, which suggests we might be seeing some levelling off for houses."

So, the paper was kind of right with the last two sentences, but the quote was a little misleading in that the 'we are at the bottom' statement is lifted out of context.  C'est la vie.  Here's the analysis I provided on the other blog I contribute to.

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