AWA ESSAYS: Analyze Argument
The following appeared in The Homebuilder magazine, a local publication with a focus on construction and sale of real-estate properties:

“According to the most recent survey of our readers, nearly 70% of the respondents indicated that they are planning to build or purchase a new home over the next 2 years. These results indicate that the growth in the construction industry is likely to accelerate in the near future. Therefore, this industry continues to offer lucrative opportunities for investment.”

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. Point out flaws in the argument’s logic and analyze the argument’s underlying assumptions. In addition, evaluate how supporting evidence is used and what evidence might counter the argument’s conclusion. You may also discuss what additional evidence could be used to strengthen the argument or what changes would make the argument more logically sound.

Depending on the survey results from the readers of the magazine, the author has concluded that growth in the construction industry is going to accelerate. This is not a logical conclusion as the author has assumed that the readers of the magazine are a fair representation of people in general. This is not a reasonable assumption. People already having plans to build houses in near future, are more likely to subscribe to the magazine. Hence, the percentage of the readers of the magazine who plan to build houses is definitely more than that percentage of people in general.

Secondly, if a reader says that she plans to build or buy a house in a survey only means that the reader has the intention to buy. However, only intention is not enough to buy a house. Availability of finances and many other factors come into picture. Hence the percentage of people saying yes in the survey is a bloated up number as compared to the percentage of people who will actually end up buying a house.

Next, the author has predicted a growth from the figure for the current year. There is no information about the percentage of people who were planning to build or purchase a house last year. A growth cannot be declared only by the numbers of the current year. It’s important to proof that the current numbers are greater than those of last year.

The author has further stated that a growth will open up new investment opportunities. New investment opportunities are likely to get created only if the demand for real estate become more than the supply the present level of investment can finance. As there is no information about the parity between demand and supply of real estate, the creation of new investment opportunities can’t be predicted.

Instead of presenting the results of the survey on the readers of the magazine, if the author had presented the growth in the number of readers of the magazine, it would have been a better indicator of the likely rise in demand in the real estate industry. Further more data about availability of houses and the demand would have led to a better prediction about the growth of the opportunities in the real estate industry.

In conclusion, the argument is based on weak assumption and insufficient information. Adding more information and selecting a set of people which is not biased towards prospective real estate buyers will help make the argument stronger.


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