Happy Monday. During quarantine I’m either going to put on 15 pounds or become healthier than ever. Something tells me it’s going to be the first outcome. What about you?
Did you see this? Italian leaders are going viral, the good kind of viral, for yelling at people during televised messages. Don’t mess with Italians. My wife is Italian so I speak from experience. One mayor threatened to burn someone’s house down with a flamethrower if they held a party. Just watch the video.
Coronavirus Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 341,722 — Total deaths: 14,759 — Total recoveries: 98,866.
Before the pandemic existing home sales soared, now what?
Just a few weeks ago, the housing market looked unstoppable. Low mortgage rates, economic gains, and overwhelming demand pushed home sales to a record 7.2%. The National Association of Realtors February home sales numbers are out, and they seem kind of eery. The numbers we’re getting now are from February before chaos ensued.
What’s more, these numbers reflect home sales from January. Next month we’ll see February’s report, and it’ll likely look even better. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic progressing, the housing industry is waiting and watching.
Forecasting the impact is difficult, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, because the duration of the pandemic remains unknown.
“These figures show that housing was on a positive trajectory, but the coronavirus has undoubtedly slowed buyer traffic, and it is difficult to predict what short-term effects the pandemic will have on future sales,” said Yun.
A Hot Autumn
Yun says whatever slowdowns we see in April and May could rebound in Autumn. That all depends on the duration of the outbreak and the size of the stimulus package for lost wages.
“For the past couple of months, we have seen the number of buyers grow as more people enter the market,” said Yun. “Once the social distancing and quarantine measures are relaxed, we should see this temporary pause evaporate, and will have potential buyers return with the same enthusiasm.”
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The commercial-mortgage market has been on the ropes for years thanks to competition from private lending and crowdfunding. Now real estate billionaire Tom Barrack says the U.S. commercial-mortgage market is on the brink of collapse. He’s predicting a “domino effect” of catastrophic economic consequences if banks and government don’t take prompt action to keep borrowers from defaulting.
Barrack, chairman, and chief executive officer of Colony Capital Inc., warned in a Medium post of a chain reaction of mass foreclosures, evictions, and, potentially, bank failures due to the coronavirus pandemic. And if that’s not enough, he sees a shutdown of much of the U.S. economy if it collapses.
Barrack, a longtime friend of President Donald Trump, said the impact could dwarf the Great Depression. He has a lot at stake in the outcome. Most of Barrack’s investments are in or connected to real estate.
Japan has been reluctant to delay this summer’s Olympic games, for weeks insisting that the show must go on. Now, however, they’re not so sure because, well, who can be sure of anything?
When a country hosts the Olympic Games, it is a massive boost to its economy. Japan had been banking on this boost, and analysts cannot agree on the economic effect of a delay or cancelation. Some say it would be devastating. Others say it would be modest since it is an opportunity cost, not a sunk cost.
Even if the show does go on, who would be there to compete? Canada is already threatening to no-show if the games continue. The bigger problem would become a public relations problem. Japan will miss out on its chance to show the world its culture and economy, chasing away potential investors and foreign investments.
News By The Numbers
30%. U.S. unemployement could soar to 30%. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicted the U.S. unemployment rate may hit 30% in the second quarter because of shutdowns to combat the coronavirus, with an unprecedented 50% drop in gross domestic product.
1/3. According to new data out of China, one-third of all corona cases might be ‘silent carriers’. This means barely showing symptons but spreading it unknowingly. Yet another reason to stay home or get yelled at by Italians.
30. That’s the number of days it might take for your Amazon Prime order to show up. The internet giant is prioritizing deliveries of important health and safety items over things that can wait, like that neck massager I ordered.
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