Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Making sense of conflicting news headlines

By Mark Kerzner,
President, TMG The Mortgage Group Canada Inc.

Let’s face it. We live in a world of “sound bites”.

My wife and I went for coffee before work and actually had a conversation - one we really enjoyed. Usually throughout the workday we communicate with quick e-mails. Whether it’s deciding on dinner or who will be picking up the kids, because we are both busy people, our Monday to Friday (8am to 7pm) life needs to be efficient.

We are not alone. I’ve been hearing the same laments from my friends and colleagues. The unfortunate result is that sometimes things get lost in translation. And quick e-mails or text messages can be taken out of context.

This can also cross over into our business lives. Lately, there have been many conflicting messages in the news about the economy and about debt. And when our attention span only offers us 140 characters of space we become more influenced by headlines.

Consider the following headlines:
Mark Carney sees more than a year of soft growth: Globe and Mail, October 26, 2011

Compared with
Canadian economy rebounds, Globe and Mail: November 30, 2011
Has our economy really come full circle in one short month?
Canadians fall deeper in debt, National Post, September 13, 2011

Compared with,
Canadians rein in debts amid uncertainty, Globe and Mail, November 29, 2011 
Given that the economy was supposedly weak just a couple of short months ago is it possible that we, as a nation of consumers, have already mitigated our high debt concerns?
TSX lower on continuing debt fears, Toronto Star, November 21, 2011

Compared with,
Stocks surge on debt crisis hopes, Toronto Star, November 28, 2011 

This headline seems to be driving the stock markets lately but are just as volatile as the markets themselves

With all this "noise" in the marketplace, it’s no wonder consumers are confused.
A recent survey released in November 2011 by The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) itself highlighted market confusion amongst Canadians.

On the one hand Canadians largely agree with the proposition that "as a whole, Canadians have too much debt" with respondents scoring that nearly 8 out of 10.  Yet only a few of those who actually have mortgages "regret taking the size of the mortgage [they] did."

With respect to the housing market, Canadians indicated with a score of 6.07 out of 10 that Canada's housing market is in a bubble, yet when asked if real estate in Canada is a good long-term investment, respondents gave that a score of 7.27 out of 10

Clearly there are divergent views among Canadians. What is interesting is when those differences are segmented among those who owe the money and those who hear about those who owe the money. For the most part, Canadians with mortgages are comfortable with their levels of debt.

A good broker stays on top of market and can filter through the conflicting messages and get you the right information to you to make an informed decision. They can offer you the right product and terms that meets your unique financial situation.

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