Nationally, over 90% of Americans are now under a shelter-in-place order. Many experts are warning that the American economy is heading toward a recession, if it’s not in one already. What does that mean to the residential real estate market?
What is a recession?
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research:
“A recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”
When COVID-19 hit the American economy in the middle of March, the result was that the nation’s economy was put on pause. Given this sudden halt in business activity, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley are all calling for a deep dive in the economy in the second quarter of this year. Though we may not yet be in a recession by the technical definition of the word today, most believe history will show we were in one from April to June.
Does that mean we’re headed for another housing crash?
Many fear a recession will mean a repeat of the housing crash that occurred during the Great Recession of 2006-2008. The past, however, shows us that most recessions do not adversely impact home values. Doug Brien, CEO of Mynd Property Management, explains:
“With the exception of two recessions, the Great Recession from 2007-2009, & the Gulf War recession from 1990-1991, no other recessions have impacted the U.S. housing market, according to Freddie Mac Home Price Index data collected from 1975 to 2018.”
CoreLogic, in a second study of the last five recessions, found the same. Here’s a graph of their findings:
What are the experts saying this time?
This is what three economic leaders are saying about the housing connection to this recession:
“The housing sector enters this recession underbuilt rather than overbuilt…That means as the economy rebounds – which it will at some stage – housing is set to help lead the way out.”
“Last time housing led the recession…This time it’s poised to bring us out. This is the Great Recession for leisure, hospitality, trade and transportation in that this recession will feel as bad as the Great Recession did to housing.”
John Burns, founder of John Burns Consulting, also revealed that his firm’s research concluded that recessions caused by a pandemic usually do not significantly impact home values:
“Historical analysis showed us that pandemics are usually V-shaped (sharp recessions that recover quickly enough to provide little damage to home prices).”
What About the Portland Market ?
As of today date – April 13, 2020 – prices in the Portland real estate market are holding steady. This graph shows the Portland median price history.
The reason prices are steady is because inventory is low.
If we’re not in a recession yet, we’re about to be in one. This time, however, the underlying cause is dramatically different that in 2007. Fortunately we learned many lessons during the great recession and given the strong fundamentals of the current housing market, housing will be the sector that leads the economic recovery.
Moving Forward Together
We’re in uncharted territory with Covid-19. The medical facts about the virus change daily. Meanwhile, the media generates a constant stream of fear inducing headlines. This combination can be overwhelming. To stay grounded during these uncertain times, it serves us well to recall a line delivered by F.D.R during his inauguration speech in 1933 – “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This phrase, at the height of the great depression, gave people hope and a new way to look at a world wide depression that had been going on for three years. Ultimately, this phrase served as one of the pillars that led to the rebuilding of the economy.
Our mission is to provide you with accurate timely information about the real estate market. We follow the best minds in the real estate and share that information with you as it becomes available. Armed with actionable information, you can set aside fear and actively plan for your future. To that end, we’re here for you. Let’s get together for an online meeting to review the market and how it relates to your situation. To be clear this isn’t a sales call — this is one of the ways that our team gives back in these challenging times. To schedule a chat, click the Let’s Talk link and schedule a time that works for you: Let’s Talk.
Like you, we’re counting the days till life returns to normal and we can once again go to Powell’s Books, our favorite restaurants, the beach, the mountains, and all the activities that make Portland an incredible place to live. In the meantime, we’re here for you … stay safe out there … James Bradley