2008-05-02 / Letters

Need Some Financial Experience

Dear Editor,

Is anyone else tired of local realtors, who have no financial experience whatsoever, taking on the role of economic forecaster for their own selfserving interests? As someone who works in the financial industry, I find it disturbing that a local realtor would tell potential buyers that "things are looking better in ALL markets" for the sole purpose of lining his/her pockets with commissions on overpriced homes. While not on the same par, it's reminiscent of the recent scandal of mortgage lenders pushing sub-prime adjustable rate mortgages on buyers who had no business taking on this risk.

In particular, I refer to the "Real Estate Corner," from April 11's edition of The Wave, which quoted Fed Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke saying, "he expects the economy to strengthen in the second half of this year and do even better going into 2009." While the column also glossed over Bernanke's cautions about the current state of the economy, there was MUCH more to his congressional testimony. In addition to the comments quoted, Bernanke also stated that, "in light of the recent turbulence in financial markets, the uncertainty attending this forecast is quite high and the risks remain to the downside" and that despite the Fed's recent actions, "the financial markets remain under considerable stress." This seems to be a direct contradiction to "things are looking better in all markets." I wonder why this quote wasn't stated.

Also, in a recent Wall Street Journal survey of leading economists (ref: WSJ.com 04/10/2008), 66 percent of the respondents acknowledge that the economy is in a recession, and 73 percent of the respondents stated that the economy has not yet hit bottom. In the same article, several of these economists blame Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson (Treasury Secretary) for the economic downturn by not being aggressive and acting quickly enough in the midst of the credit/mortgage crisis. So, maybe we shouldn't rely solely on government officials who are under fire for the state of the economy for economic advice.

There are credible realtors who can back up their realistic advice with education and experience. They take a practical approach to selling homes and they are not still stuck on the artificial housing "boom" that occurred in the early-to-mid 2000s. These are people who care about and have real ROOTS in the community. I'll take their word over a bored housewife any day.

MATTHEW E. MCLEAN

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