Expect the unexpected and be prepared to adopt and improvise
Picking up the thread ….trying to catch a glimpse past the horizon, into the undiscovered country that lies ahead in 2021, fore-armed with one measure of hindsight gleaned from 2020: Expect the unexpected and be prepared to adopt and improvise as the need arises.
Here’s my short list of market projections from last week:
COVID has disrupted the traditional seasonal pattern of real estate. Don’t try to time the market in 2021. The right season to sell or buy is now. Prices won’t soften in the months ahead. There won’t be a wave of distress sales or foreclosures in our region. Every major indicator points to an even crazier Sellers’ market than the one we experienced coming out of shelter-in-place. Historic low inventory is the new norm and we won’t see a rush of new listings coming anytime soon.
So how do we wrap our heads around what comes next? In some ways it all feels disconnected from reality. All of it. The economy. The real estate market. The stock market. The unprecedented, K-shaped recovery that took shape shortly after the economy plunged to the depths of recession almost overnight in May before skyrocketing back up with the fastest recovery ever (in some sectors) just a few short months later.
Who would have thought that here on the coast, we’d crash through the magic $1million median price mark in July? Who would have thought we’d see a year-over-year jump of $200k in the October average price for a single family residence? And who would have thought we’d end the year with a robust, spring-like market in December with an average price of $1,237,000 and a median price of $1,070,000? All in the middle of a global pandemic also marred by social unrest, insurrection and devastating fires?
A mindful perspective, that I’ve circled back to over and over again as all the strange disconnects of 2020 continued to unfold is one Scott Galloway, Professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business shared early during the pandemic last year: “While other crises have reshaped the future, COVID-19 is just making the future happen faster. Things won’t change as much as they will accelerate. ”
And I think therein lies some great context for trying to visualize where all of this is headed in the next 12 months. Towards an accelerated future that is coming faster than anyone could have ever imagined it could. Just as the real estate market, something that typically cycles slowly and incrementally over months and years, has suddenly surged faster and farther than it ever has before.
Next Week: More on an accelerating future.