This has been one of the most frustrating, exhilarating, and interesting years that I can remember. How about you?
Every now and then, I attempt to predict the market, especially as it relates to the buying and selling of homes for folks who are 55 and better. I’ll often give a re-cap of where we’ve been, where we are now, and where I see us going in the future. Covid 19 blew all my predictions completely off course.
As we’ve gone through these last few months, I think we’ve seen the best and the worst that our country can throw at us in many ways.
An Economy With No Rules
Starting with 2019
For the whole of 2019, most of the financial world was predicting a recession. This never materialized in the way we thought it would. As the year drew to an end, the economy was still going strong, but most people were feeling the recession at our doorstep.
During this latter half of the year, sales started slowing to a minor degree. Some homes had to offer a few incentives to move buyers in. All signs were pointing to a real recession at the beginning of 2020.
First half of 2020
This year started out pessimistic, and not just because we would all be enduring the political battles of an election year.
Despite all the predictions, and hopes for the economy, I don’t think anybody could’ve predicted what would happen next, though I’m sure there are a few people who’ll want to take credit for it all in hindsight.
First we get the Corona virus panic, which shocked the stock market and the grocery market! This was followed by a quick plunge in our economy. It was the trigger for the very recession everyone was predicting.
What nobody was predicting, was how fast things would rebound. With everyone stuck at home for a couple of months, household projects and childhood education and activity products boomed. While the leisure business suffered, other parts of the economy saw record highs.
This propelled us into a lighting recovery, that was far from evenly spread. This created shortages in supplies of everything from computers to lawn-care products, to side-walk chalk, and of course sanitation products.
There was also a lot of political unrest from activist groups, though that’s a topic we’ll avoid diving into here.
Stimulus also had an interesting effect on the market. People who lost their jobs could suddenly start making more money by not working, than they could by working. So while many industries were seeing booming sales, the amount of people transferring from those harder-hit jobs to the in-demand jobs were few. This led to even more scarcity of resources.
Any time that resources are scarce, the prices tend to climb. I can’t say if priced climbed very much in most places, or if this all combined to keep the market stable, but in any case, our economy recovered surprisingly well.
Second Half of 2020
Utah’s economy has seen some bewildering statistics because of Covid. Our housing market has seen sales that have been better than we’ve had for the last couple of years. And this out of a year where we thought that sales would be struggling.
Utah still maintains a shortage of new housing to supply the demand, which means that home prices are likely to resume their upward trends, after about a year or so of smaller price increases.
While we expected a slowdown in housing, we instead ended up with a housing boom here in Utah. I don’t know how the next year is likely to shape up, but this has been one of the wildest rides I’ve seen in a long time.
This has led one of our projects in Herriman to sell out months before we expected it to. It has also caused us to step up our build schedules in Vineyard, and our homes are selling quickly in North Ogden and Saratoga Springs as well.
If you’ve been considering a move to a 55+ community, don’t wait for the next down-turn. It seems that we found it and are quickly moving away from it.