No, It’s Not the Same As 2009
There’s a saying that the difference between wisdom and knowledge is that knowledge is knowing that the tomato is a fruit and wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. An interesting visual of the practical application of wisdom.
With the Covid-19 pandemic in full force in the United States, a younger colleague asked me if it was like this in 2009. My quick response was “No! It was a slower burn in 2009 and today what we are experiencing is more like hitting a wall”. Reflecting on that later, here are three factors that keep my answer the same:
Everyone will be touched by Covid-19 in one way or another. Some may catch this virus and battle it from a hospital bed. Others may become paralyzed emotionally by the news. Some will see their income negatively affected or the anticipation of that. But this fear will eventually change once this virus is controlled. In 2009, the fear was different, it was really based on the uncertainty of the financial markets but it was the events leading up to that time that created a false market and eventual crash. For those of you in real estate or finance at that time, you know exactly what I mean,. There were transactions closing with no verification loans, income off the application; loans with zero money down which made no sense. Prices were escalating too fast, sometimes mid-phase or within the same week. But since that era, financial overhaul has stabilized our markets and insured that people have substantial qualifications and/or large down payments to insure that the “strategic defaults” would be reduced. Statistically in 2007 there were 8.2 months of inventory to sell and today there is 3.1 months.
This is not a political statement but I do believe that our leaders have the right mindset that will work towards a faster recovery to this pandemic. Why? To start, the economic stimulus was fast and will provide immediate relief. The delay of the payment of Federal taxes is a second reason; this alone has relieved households nationwide of an April 15th deadline. Many were wondering how they would make that payment if their income was affected. China is back at work, which will open up supply lines on many necessary parts and goods the US depends on. It’s also important to keep in mind that housing construction has not stopped. The financial markets will recover; it may take some time, but they always do. Interest rates are still very low, we just need time for take out lenders to stabilize funding. That adjustment will happen and the housing market will continue to be stimulated. Many families will decide they need a different or larger home, a new lifestyle with more walk-ability and let’s not forget all the babies to be born in 9 months!
Every sector has advanced since 2009 in this arena; many companies (mine included) were already virtual from that downturn, as they saw no need to spend revenue on brick & mortar offices. Between Microsoft Meetings, Facetime, Zoom, all platforms of virtual meetings, Docusign, Dropbox; you name it, there will be less down time in productivity across the board. The only groups left behind are those that never embraced technology and like the dinosaurs, their time has passed.
Let’s look at this as more of a pause rather than a downturn. A great time to connect with our partners and vendors, a time to be flexible and show creativity in our business. Spending more time with our families is a good thing. Once our shelter in place orders are lifted, I believe we will see an increase in kindness and compassion…there is no virus that can stop those qualities!
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