House Price Crash: Wisdom of Crowds or Digital Maoism?

27th September 2011

House Price Crash, a site which, in case you were unfamiliar, aims to: 

"Act as a counterbalance to the huge amounts of positive spin the housing market receives in the mainstream media and provide anyone involved in the market with up to date data and commentary.

The response to "Inside the House Price Crash community " was almost immediate, with early commenters channeling their inner Malcolm Tucker at the one sided portrayal of ‘the mighty HPC' as one reader put it.

This was a typical comment:

"The writer of this poor excuse for journalism clearly misses the point. Deliberately so. HPCers don't want to "cash in" on bargains… they want affordable housing – one of the basic needs of human beings – for all." Chuffy

Fair enough.  

And while affordable housing was a recurring theme that ran through many of the comments, exception was taken to the critical stance of the schadenfreude that characterizes a large part of the HPC forum.

Here are a few observations from the offending article:

"Basically contributors appear to be frustrated would-be first-time buyers who resent renting and are hoping prices will "crash" so they can cash in."

"There's obvious delight in any loss of homeowners' equity"

By way of response, Mindful Money's piece was posted by HPC onto their homepage which sparked an 8-page Discussion Thread replete with vitriol and ad hominem attacks (a thread which has since gathered more than 8,000+ views!). 

Now, the arguments about house price inflation have two sides – there are those who think they are too high and must come down and those who think high prices are advantageous. 

Although these arguments have their relative merits and worthy supporters and nay sayers on both sides and are worth exploring in some depth (we'll list some below) they have been well rehearsed elsewhere and are less worthy of comment than the behaviour of the HPC forum users themselves and their manner of responding to points of view that they might not agree with.

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