2020 is a year that no one will ever forget. From those who experienced sickness, or worse, death, to the severe economic impact that will be with us for years to come, the global pandemic has impacted virtually every corner of the planet.
The following are the good, the bad, and the economic opportunities for 2021:
The upside of COVID-19 was that it lowered interest rates quickly and dramatically. As I write this, a 30-yr fixed rate mortgage is at levels never seen before--some even as low as 2.5% for a good credit borrower.
In January, before the pandemic hit hard, a 30-yr fixed rate loan was at, or slightly above, 4.0%. This dramatic reduction in interest rates has prompted the residential real estate market to explode due to the overnight affordability. Southern California real estate prices have increased from 10% to as much as 15%, depending on what county you are looking at.
Unemployment went from an all-time record low of 3.5% to 10% almost overnight when the government locked down the economy in March. Here we are (nine months later), and certain sectors of the economy, including restaurants, airline, travel, hotels, and personal services business, are still in dire straits. Tens of thousands of businesses have failed, and there are surely more to follow. Even if the new vaccine is successful in eradicating the virus, it will do nothing for those business owners that lost everything and couldn’t survive the economic collapse of the virus.
Commercial real estate for office space and retail stores has been crushed by the people working remotely and buying online even more, but commercial real estate has not yet hit its bottom.
We are in the first major recession that has winners and losers. For instance, drive thru and delivery restaurants, real estate, mortgage, and technology companies are big winners. If you are one of the fortunate ones, you are in good shape to take advantage of the properties that will come on the market as eviction and foreclosure forbearance moratoriums cease. Congress is likely to extend these moratoriums for another 90 days, but that will not be nearly enough to save the people that have been economically decimated by the virus.
If you are now able to work remotely permanently, this may be the opportunity you have been waiting for to be able to buy a larger home on a larger lot in the Inland Empire. The IE is booming!
Meanwhile, commercial office space and retail rents are likely to decrease. If you have a lease coming due, you should be able to negotiate much better terms.
Whether you are one of the fortunate ones or not, please reach out to us for a free confidential consultation if you need guidance on what to do next for your financial future.