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When researching trends in the real estate market, it’s often difficult to find sources who will shoot straight. Emotions run quite high in the discussion of the current market and everyone seems to have a vested interest in their forecast being the “right” or “only” one.

Alan Gin is an economist with the University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate and has been quoted often in our stories and in those from other media outlets.

Recently, Gin came under attack on the forums on Rich Toscano’s Professor Piggington website.

Last Tuesday, a visitor to the Piggington forums started a forum topic called “More Lies from Alan Gin” referring to a Reuters story in which Gin was quoted as saying the following about the 1 percent year-on-year drop in median home price:

“I wouldn’t put a lot on that 1 percent drop at this point,” said Alan Gin, an economist with the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate at the University of San Diego. “There is no panic with people trying to sell their homes.”

That opinion didn’t go over well with many of the posters on the forum. Here’s a sampling of their responses:

The guy should be fired for lying to the public!

If he’s not lying, he’s stupid. How can he claim to be a real estate researcher, and not know that the median is a 2 year lagging indicator, and know about all the people who are upside down by up to $60K, as written on these forums? He’s spinning the data, and to me, that’s lying.

One poster claimed to have had Gin as a professor for a condo-conversion class:

He is a really nice guy. He has a wealth of information, and he personally returned any emails I wrote him.

BUT, he is really savvy, and he does have a vested interest in saying the market is ok.

Eventually, Alan Gin entered the ring to defend himself. He started with a correction to that last comment about his “vested interest:”

I’ve never taught the course on condo conversions that was mentioned in the post. I’m afraid (the poster) has me confused with Alan Nevin of MarketPointe Realty Advisors, who is also the chief economist for the California Building Industry Association. He’s a nice guy, a great speaker, and I’ve been on a couple of panels with him. But if you think I’m over-optimistic, you should hear him.

He added that while he is paid a small stipend (less than 5 percent of his income) by USD’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate to promote the center in his media appearances, he has not been asked or pressured into putting forth a particular opinion.

He said:

Specifically, I have never been asked to paint a positive view of the real estate market. And I personally feel under no obligation to do so. In fact, I have taken a number of positions publically (sic) that puts me at odds with both the bulding (sic) industry and the general business community.

You can visit the forum topic in question here.

KELLY BENNETT

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