A Look at the Road Ahead for the U.S. Economy
Recessions tend to be viewed through the lens of the previous crisis. This was certainly true in the early months of 2020 when COVID-19 brought the U.S. economy to a halt and credit markets froze. Those of us who lived through the Great Recession feared the makings of another financial crisis and braced for a blow to real estate markets. What has occurred since, however, has defied many of those fears. A financial crisis never materialized, people have continued to pay their bills, and almost paradoxically, the housing market has boomed. While counterintuitive, these dynamics have been driven by the unique nature of the crisis.
What happens in the economy over the next six to eight months and years ahead will largely depend on the success of the vaccine rollout, the strength of fiscal policy, and how deeply the COVID-induced behavioral shifts have become ingrained in households and businesses.
- The pandemic has created a two-tier economy where higher-income people who are able to work from home have regained employment, while those in high-touch industries remain unemployed
- Shelter-in-place measures coupled with the closure of offices, gyms, restaurants and other leisure outlets have driven a huge demand for more space in less dense, suburban areas
- The first half of 2021 will resemble much of 2020, but widespread vaccinations should begin to ease the abnormal market dynamics by September