The presidential election is finally over or is it? Yes, it is, but some don’t give up very easily. While the presidential candidates were waging their planned strategies to gain a competitive advantage for the public’s attention and spending hundreds of millions of dollars over the last almost 1 1/2 years, I wondered how the real estate business and the market would be affected by who eventually would be elected. Then the Covid-10 Pandemic hit us while all the candidates competed during the debate cycle, the tragic loss of life, businesses, jobs, and income, and then the somewhat and slightly botched stimulus package not benefiting enough who really needed it.
Finally, the crowds of wannabees were narrowed down to President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Before Covid-19 I began to hypothesize and analyze how the market might react and change, possibly moving in either a positive or negative direction depending on the eventual outcome of who would win. But who could have predicted in their wildest dreams this pandemic, let alone what it has left in its wake and continues to ravage and the sheer magnitude of lost lives and livelihoods, thereby impacting businesses, jobs, and massive almost unimaginable and unbelievable catastrophic effects on our economy here and abroad?
However, thank God our economy has sprung back to most everyone’s amazement (but really not for so many), but we are not totally out of the woods just yet. There has been so much devastation left behind affecting so many that no presidential election can or could ever wipe out this sad memory or could make any logical, pragmatic intelligent person forget about how it was handled.
The Spanish Pandemic of 1918 caused an estimated 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population to be infected. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 (our population was only 103,000,000) occurring in the United States. (history.com)
However, whether or not we were proactive enough to prevent or at least try to minimize what were the obvious results will be a question for the historians. We shouldn’t be so naïve to think no one knew it wasn’t coming our way, as it was alluded to on Jan. 22, 2020 (some knew as early as December 2019) by the by World Health Organization as well as in late January and February by Peter Navaro, President Trump’s director of the National Trade Council. Trump also completely cut our funding for W.H.O in February, further increasing our potential vulnerability to the pandemic.
What the future will hold and bring down upon us as we go forward will be determined by what we have learned the last eight months and whether we are more prepared the next time around, because there will be a next time.
Here are three links to pertinent articles on warnings the country received about the virus:
Here is a final link to an article that should convince any skeptics as to the severity of what was to come:
Although we are not close to being rid of this scourge and this winter may be far, far worse, (the winter during the Spanish Pandemic of 1918 was the worst time for infections and deaths), you will notice we have the highest death rate of 237,192 on the globe (although 4 percent of the world’s population), topping Brazil’s 162,269 deaths.
You might now ask, what does all this have to do with real estate? Plenty! With the densely populated cities around the U.S., those with the ability to leave and migrate far away from those epicenters of highly contagious groups have flocked to less populated areas (as I had discussed in last week’s column) to consider purchasing as opposed to renting. Most critical and crucial due to the lowest inventory on record and 50-year lows in interest rates that will most likely continue until the end of 2021, and the shutdown of non-essential construction and our real estate industry in New York and other states, further reducing the available housing.
The market has bounced back quite amazingly and purchasers have been snatching up available homes as if it were their last chance to become an owner. The fear of being infected and possibly dying from Covid-19 has created a huge amount of traffic away from New York City and out to the burbs and other destinations to purchase. This will continue to progress with prices continuing to increase but by smaller amounts. There are those who have left and those who are now deciding to drop out due to the escalating values, which just might slow next year but are surely changing the market perimeters, perception, and dialogue going forward if and when demand slows.
The perception most always creates reality and whether true or false it can only be determined by looking back at history and then learning from it. However, President Biden could have a positive or a detrimental effect on real estate depending upon what his agenda and policies might be during his four-year term as well as what Congress is able to pass with a non-partisan attitude. While Covid has unfortunately made those decisions for those who could afford to make a move out and away from the cities, (even though they might have still own a place in the city) bolstering our real estate markets in Long Island’s cities and towns. At the same moment in time, it was terrible for those who could not leave and who were further subjected to the potential consequences of an infectious environment.
If Biden’s policies and decisions to create a plan moving forward to minimize and/or knock out this treacherous virus, with a vaccine (Pfizer Pharmaceutical has just come out with a supposed 90-plus percent vaccine and the markets have responded with a strong rally) with the least amount of side effects, then there could be a light at the end of the tunnel. Lastly, if he and a non-partisan Congress with the assistance of a much more pragmatic, logically thinking, more agreeable and reasonable GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can move ahead with immediate, fast-tracked decisions to rebuild, then we can continue the advancement and beneficial real estate market and create a hyper-speed recovery and more worthwhile higher-paying jobs for our people in this still ailing economy. This will help many to buy their first “place to call home.”
This scenario will be determined by whether or not our government politicians will finally put aside their partisan differences, egos, and one-upmanship to get down to the real business of governing to enact policies and regulations in a proactive and progressive manner and finally do the right thing for us and not what’s good for them and their special interest groups as well as any benefits that they attempt to derive while in the office to benefit them when leaving office.
So whether or not you are a Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Independent, or even if you are one of the 100,000,00 who didn’t vote (so disgustingly un-American!) because you thought it wouldn’t really make any difference, get off your butts right now and get on your phone to your local, state and congressional legislators (Chuck Schumer, Kristen Gillibrand, Kathleen Rice or whoever is your specific person in the local or federal government to come up with “our tax money” for the much-needed and necessary jobs and education to put more people back to work ASAP to fix and upgrade our deteriorating roads, bridges, tunnels and, oh yes, our mothballed high-speed rail.
Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck. He has 39 years of experience in the Real Estate industry and has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (G.R.I.) and also as a Certified International Property Specialist (C.I.P.S). For a “FREE” 15 minute consultation, a value analysis of your home, or to answer any of your questions or concerns he can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: [email protected] Just email or snail mail (regular mail) he with your ideas or suggestions on future columns with your name, email and cell number and he will call or email you back.