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Blame HGTV for the Real Estate Crash January 4, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff.
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HGTV is an evil empire that never rests. You can loathe your current domicile 24/7 with programs such as “Stagers” (move a few things around and double the value of your home); “Designed to Sell” (you can sell your house, even if the house next to yours is in foreclosure); “Design on a Dime” (see, it’s cheap); and “Property Virgins” (losing your virginity was fun, wasn’t it?) Every show features highly attractive hosts who show you how to “unlock the hidden potential” in your home, how to turn a $10 thrift-store table into a “wow” media center, and how to make everything “pop.” Pop is the word of choice on HGTV.

Ironic, isn’t it, given the fact that pop is the sound we keep hearing from the McMansion-sized housing bubble HGTV created.

via Jim Sollisch: Blame Television for the Bubble – WSJ.com.hat’s right. The cable network HGTV is the real villain of the economic meltdown. As the viewership reached a critical mass over the past decade — HGTV is now broadcast into 91 million homes — homeowners began experiencing deep angst. Suddenly no one but the most slovenly and unambitious were satisfied with their houses. It didn’t matter if you lived in an apartment or a gated community, one episode of “House Hunters” or “What’s My House Worth?” and you were convinced you needed more. More square feet. More granite. More stainless steel appliances. More landscaping. More media rooms. More style. You deserved it.

If you had any doubts about your ability to afford such luxuries, all you had to do was look at the 20-something couple in the latest episode choosing between three houses. Should they go for the fixer-upper, priced at $425,000? Or the one with the pool for $550,000? What about the one with room to grow for $675,000?

“How much money can these people possibly make?” I shout at my wife before wrestling the remote from her house-hungry little hand and switching it to the nearest sports program. “The guy can barely string together two sentences!”

And yet on episode after episode for this entire irrational decade, HGTV pumped up the housing bubble by parading the most mediocre, unworthy-looking homeowners into our living rooms to watch while they put their tacky, run-of-the-mill tract homes on the market for twice what they paid and then went out and bought houses with price tags too obscene to repeat. You couldn’t watch these shows without concluding that you must be an idiot and a loser if you lived in a house you could actually afford.

HGTV is an evil empire that never rests. You can loathe your current domicile 24/7 with programs such as “Stagers” (move a few things around and double the value of your home); “Designed to Sell” (you can sell your house, even if the house next to yours is in foreclosure); “Design on a Dime” (see, it’s cheap); and “Property Virgins” (losing your virginity was fun, wasn’t it?) Every show features highly attractive hosts who show you how to “unlock the hidden potential” in your home, how to turn a $10 thrift-store table into a “wow” media center, and how to make everything “pop.” Pop is the word of choice on HGTV.

Ironic, isn’t it, given the fact that pop is the sound we keep hearing from the McMansion-sized housing bubble HGTV created.

Mr. Sollisch is the creative director at Marcus Thomas LLC.

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