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Message at meeting: Local economy strong

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McDonald said deficiencies we may experience in the economy such as those we see today will, as history has proven, “come and go,” as the economy continues move through cycles of gain and decline.

Wood cited a number of positive developments locally with respect to the real estate market noting that the residential inventory available for purchase has dropped by more than 6 percent and has fallen some 3.5 percent during the month of November while on the national stage inventories continue to grow.

He said this is one element pointing to a more positive local real estate market but said there are other points such as the reduction in the time that a home stands on the market before being sold. Locally homes are now on the market for about 71 days on the average he said before being sold while national averages range in a time frame of as many or more than eight months.

Dr. Max Melnikov, PhD, professor of economics at Cumberland, placed some of the blame in part for the ailing economy on the news reporting of the national media saying “selling bad news is easier for newspapers.”

“News makers do business that way. They sell news by exciting people. Bad news sells much easier,” Melnikov said.

He went on to say that what happens nationally to the economy doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen locally. He cited instances affecting the economy in California and noted that just because something may occur in California it doesn’t necessarily mean it will impact the economy in Wilson County.

Melnikov said the economy moves in cycles, as did the other two speakers on the program. He said he believes today’s economy is near the end of what he termed a 50 year cycle. “What we are experiencing now will make us even stronger in the future,” he added.

Bill Bryson, financial consultant with AXA Advisors, echoed Melnikov’s thoughts concerning the influence of periodic cycles on the economy and added “one of the advantages of being around 25 years is that you get to experience these downward economic cycles.”

Bryson said that the key to surviving “these tough times we are experiencing is to use our brains and critical thinking skills.

“If you listen to all the noise around you, one would think or assume that most of our neighborhoods are financed with sub-prime mortgages when in reality that is just not the case,” Bryson said suggesting that a very low percentage of home-owners in this market are victims of sub-prime lending.

“I have seen our economy cycle five times now since I have been in business. As bad as the national media portrays it, the market is not as bad as reported – compared to history,” Bryson said.

Bryson advised that the days of “flipping real estate” are over and as for the stock market, he advised to be prepared to make investments with the idea of staying invested for a seven to10 year period.

“Getting in and out of the stock market is a fool’s game,” he cautioned.

Commissioner Greg Gonzales, Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions, presented closing remarks.

Gonzales praised stated-chartered banks in Tennessee and said “national economic news does not necessarily translate to local economic reality.

“Public confidence is our number one challenge today. People are worried when they hear of California financial institutions failing. They immediately assume the same will occur here. I assure you we have safe and sound state chartered banks in Tennessee,” Gonzales said.

Publisher John B. Bryan may be contacted at jbryan@wilsonpost.com.

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