Journalism by hype: the anatomy of a house price crisis story


There is much excellent financial and economic journalism but there are some fields of inquiry that often come up short. Analysis of that British obsession, the housing market, is, sadly, one high-profile casualty.

A recent piece in the Telegraph was a case in point. The headline declared “UK house prices to crash as global asset prices unravel”. Yes, it came with useful graphs indicating trends and suggested six reasons that house prices might end their seemingly ceaseless rise but the argument is assertive rather than analytical and does not always hold water. Prices might well fall but we need a clearer and more sober assessment of how this might happen and why it matters.

Much was said about market “fundamentals” though quite what these were was left implicit for the reader. The anticipated downturn was not given a time frame, nor was there a stab at what the depth of the correction might be – just that it was round the corner.

So, what exactly are the half dozen factors highlighted in the piece, and by others, and do they stand up to reasonable scrutiny?

Read the full article by Professor Ken Gibb, Director, Policy Scotland on The Conversation.