Every so often life throws us a curved ball and we are paralyzed with fear, apprehension and despair. The global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have created a health and economic crisis of a magnitude the world has not seen in a very long time. This reality check of our collective mortality, combined with concerns about the impact to our own economic security, has understandably left many of us dealing with a feelings of uncertainty and helplessness. We are living in difficult times which makes important decision making challenging. The events unfolding globally in a minute by minute way have us all on the edge of our seats and when we watch the news we are unable to avoid any number of variations of doom and gloom.
To me, time, experience and the perspective it brings are helpful in processing what all of this may mean. In my 18 years of real estate in Manhattan I have come to recognize that home ownership is a bold commitment people make and it requires keeping the long term view of our lives in mind. The record shows that regardless of a particular moment in time, smart purchasers in NYC have always been able to see that difficult moments are not forever and the future should be viewed with optimism. Why is that? Well, we New Yorkers are a resilient group. We may be knocked down for a little while but we are never out. The aftermath of the unfortunate events of 9/11 left us in shock, fear and disbelief that such an act could be committed. Yet we look back and see a period where as a city, we hunkered down, weathered the storm and bounced back in early 2002 with a 6 year “bull-market run” which saw great gains in the real estate market in the city. Then came the crash of 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed, and so did real estate markets nationwide. Yet and, another big return to market health that exceeded expectations. In both instances, savvy buyers relatively soon saw through the tough situation, realized opportunities like these come along so rarely, and we had another buying surge that included buying second and third homes, and homes for their adult children. Many people saw immense value in those moments. Although at this moment, I believe we should pause and work to get a handle on a difficult global situation I think we will look back the period after COVID-19 as the beginning of a third strong market opportunity. History shows that periods of uncertainty create excellent opportunities for the brave since they offer flexibility in prices, low interest rates, and a chance to act while demand is low. In retrospect, time and again the Bricks and Mortar of NYC has proved to be an incredibly reliable investment when judged against the highly volatile equity markets.
As with all crisis, this too shall pass. As New Yorkers we can and do overcome all adversities with our steely determination and come out stronger on the other end. Time is on our side.
Be safe and well. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you and your families.