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Recession? Yes. Housing Crash? No.

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Market Conditions Show A Strong Housing Market, Not a Housing Crash

I’ve had many people ask me since the Covid-19 crisis started “is now really a good time to buy?” My answer. Yes, it really is.

Below I will outline in depth why this is my answer. The short reason – market conditions here in Des Moines are still what make a housing market strong. We have low inventory, record low interest rates and still have many buyers that need housing. All of this leads to a strong housing market. Unlike in 2008 when the recession was driven from a housing crisis (way too much inventory & irresponsible lending) our housing market is set to remain strong and help aid economic recovery. Let’s first define what a recession is:

“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.”

COVID-19 hit the pause button on the American economy in the middle of March. 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. So, does that mean we are 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:

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).”

If we’re not in a recession yet, we’re about to be in one. This time, however, housing will be the sector that leads the economic recovery.

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