Media Sensationalism Fatigue

Its in May of each year that I get out and visit with a number of the real estate agents to gather information on what trends are gravitating towards for the year. And this year there’s been one trend that has come up over and over again, and its music to my ears. People are getting tired of listening to mainstream media’s relentless sensationalist attacks against Mexico regarding drug-related violence. They’ve got Mainstream Media Sensationalism Fatigue (MSF).

The feedback I’m getting from agents is they are seeing a substantial increase in activity in the first part of this year. People are out looking at real estate, and not just looking but making offers. Some of these offers are coming in low, but at least they are making a move. At the same time sellers are being more realistic with their pricing, realizing that prices are not going to be going up again anytime too soon, and if they want to sell, be competitive with other homes on the market, they need to list their home competitively.

And then there’s a substantial number of prospects who are looking to purchase land to build a home. Now there’s a positive sign. Who is going to buy land with a commitment to build over at least a year if they are buying into what CNN and others are preaching?

In March and April the MLS saw sales activity double over last year. Once again, and this is something I haven’t experience in a couple of years, its difficult to get appointments to talk with agents as they are busy showing properties or attending closings.

Part of this may be because of the distraction to do Osama Bin Laden.

Perhaps America and its leaders are looking at what they thought was a “friendly state” (Pakistan) and realizing that things are really not so bad with their real friends south of the border. Perhaps it may also mean paying more attention and getting a little more involved with tackling the drug trafficking situation, since the problems both countries face have to do with American insatiable desire for drugs and its loose laws regarding gun sales and their circulation.

Let’s be honest with one another here. If the US is willing to spend $10 billion a month in Afghanistan, and payments to Pakistan somewhere around a billion a year (a country who it seems has been harboring their #1 most wanted criminal for the past six years), two countries on the other side of the world, what should they be willing to spend to assist a country they share a  two thousand mile border with?

If Pakistan is a “friend”, what type of measuring parameters are we using here? Perhaps its time for American to re-group, get out of a few of these “…stan” (Afghanistan and Pakistan) countries and pay a little more attention to their borders, their real neighbors, who they share a very strong cultural relationship with – as more than 15% of America is of Hispanic background.

But I digress…

There has been a distinct change in the mindset of Americans interested in a second home in Mexico. It seems they are finally seeing through the veil of illusion that the media has been postulating. They are catching on that after all these months, (years), that there really has been very few incidents of Americans suffering from violence in Mexico. Heck, in some cases its more dangerous visiting the other side of their hometowns than it is in places like Puerto Vallarta.

Will this get set back once the Bin Laden story has died down? Will it flare back up again when another jet-ski operator finds himself some place he really shouldn’t be and the outcome is not so good? We don’t really know.

But that takes us back to the question posted earlier: “If the US is willing to spend $10 billion a month in Afghanistan, and provide payments to Pakistan  of somewhere around a billion a year, what should they be willing to spend to assist a country they share a two thousand mile border and common problems with?”

There’s two trends here, one more obvious than the other. First, Americans aren’t buying into MSM banter on Mexico like they once were. This is backed up also by investor activity – private investment in tourism projects rose 127% to $903 million in the first three months of the year versus the same period in 2010, Mexico’s Tourism Ministry recently said, perhaps signaling that investors as well are suffering from MSF and are ready to invest further in Mexico. Mexico City was the top destination for tourism-related funds, receiving $196 million, followed by Nayarit, with $164 million. Investors told the ministry that they recover their investments quickly in Mexico, and that the country’s macroeconomic conditions and skilled workforce make it an attractive place to do business.

Secondly, but not so obvious or clear at this time (but I’m making a prediction here), is that American will reduce its commitment to the Middle East and start paying more attention to the Homeland and its borders. And do a better job of recognizing who its friends are.

America just got the shot in the arm it needed. For too long its had to deal with a number of international stumbles created by bungled or drawn-out military affairs. Internationally they lost their “Ramboness”. But what they accomplished in getting Bin Laden, how it was flawlessly executed, has shown the world that American knows what its doing, can perform, in a way that cannot be matched by any other country. They’ve got their mo-jo back. Now its time to focus on what’s most important, and that’s identifying who its real friends are and what borders are most important.

There are more trends that have come out of these conversations, but you’ll have to wait for the next issue of Vallarta Lifestyles to read about them. This one just seemed too important to hold back until then.

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