What Will Cause The Next Recession?
Real estate fundamentals are strong, but the same isn’t true for every industry, and technology could bring down the whole system.
Real estate leaders overwhelmingly agree that fundamentals are strong, lending hasn’t gotten out of hand and the market is strong—and that means there is no recession on the horizon. But, just because real estate caused the last recession, doesn’t mean that it will cause the next one. At RealShare Southern California last week, some of the speakers hinted that technology companies are at best has some financial troubles and at worst will be the purveyor of the next contraction.
On the Uncovering Hotspots – Identifying Development Opportunities in Southern California, speaker Simon Aftalion, development director at Markwood Enterprises, said technology would cause the next recession. “I don’t think that our next recession is going to be caused by real estate,” he said. “It is going to be technology, because I think that sector is acting like the real estate market did in the early 2000s.” On an earlier panel focused on capital markets, Michael Klein, co-founder and CEO at Freedom Financial Funds, also suggested that technology companies were having financial problems that could impact real estate owners. He suggested that interest rates might be the catalyst for some issues for those companies.
The Uncovering Hotspots panel included speakers Bob Sonnenblick, principal at Sonnenblick Development; Adrian Goldstein, founder at CGI Strategies; Rick Raymundo, senior managing director of investments at Marcus & Millichap; and John Petrov, president at Baldwin Construction, with moderator Marcus Arredondo, corporate managing director at Savills Studley—and many of them agreed that we were nearing the end of the cycle, even if real estate wouldn’t be its demise. Sonnenblick said, “We are at the bottom of the ninth with two outs. The game is over.” Raymundo echoed the opinion, saying, “The game is over and we are in a rain delay,” adding that a lot—at least for real estate investors—will hang on the outcome of the Costa Hawkins repeal. Petrov was more positive with his outlook, putting the cycle at the 7thinning, but adding no more commentary.
It was no surprise that the panel of developer’s handful of concerns focused on construction and land costs, but also mentioned the inflated prices driven up by Chinese money. Sonnenblick expects a noticeable fall in pricing now that the Chinese have pulled capital, but we have yet to see that outcome in the market.