Home shows rock on despite down market

SuzannewhangYou’d hardly know there was a housing crisis by watching reality home shows. The properties on these shows are still getting bought, sold, flipped, updated and dated (as in TLC’s new show "Date My House").

According to HGTV, nine of its top 10 series deal with buying and selling homes, including "House Hunters," "My First Place," "Hidden Potential," "Buy Me" and "Designed to Sell." This is a departure from the craft and garden shows that populated HGTV’s early years.

And the property shows increasingly reflect market reality.

It’s now a buyer’s market, thus the focus on "dating" a house or sleeping on it, the theme of another new show. Remember back when houses got multiple offers within the first hour? Back then, you’d barely have time to shake a home’s hand, much less spend a night with it.

In my opinion, the house-flipping shows (which are still popular) should reveal more reality, as in: How much did the house sell for after the upgrade? In the past, I’ve felt ripped off when, at the end of a flipping show, the house didn’t sell. What’s the point of the show if we don’t see the outcome? Did they lose money? Or make money? Or was it a wash? What were commission and closing costs?

That vagueness will change, according to an Associated Press article:

"Flip That House" will become more reflective of the economy, said Brant Pinvidic, TLC’s senior vice president of programming. Not every "flipper" gets rich quick. The show will make sure every time at the end to clearly outline how each investor did, he said.

And I’m sure the design shows will be even more budget-minded with the down economy. I’ll be interested to see Kim Myles’s new show, "Myles of Style," which premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on HGTV. (Could there a more difficult time for a new show to premiere?)

"Myles of Style" comes with the tagline: No budget? No problem. It’s in the bag.

I’ll try to catch it Sunday. And you do the same. Then, let’s return here and compare notes.

(Photo: Suzanne Whang from House Hunters, HGTV)