Economics, Housing, & Commercial Real Estate Analysis

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  • Alex Pettee, CFA

Good News Amid Virus Hysteria

  • In a move reminiscent of what occurred during the 2014 Ebola scare, U.S. equity markets sold off sharply this week: Investors piled into safe-haven assets given uncertainty over the extent of the economic fallout from coronavirus.

  • Speculation and misinformation ran wild regarding the flu-like virus that has so far resulted in one fatality in the U.S., and despite a "major drop" in reported cases in China.

  • The S&P 500 finished the week lower by 11.3%, its worst week since the financial crisis, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed more than 3,000 points.

  • Not even the domestic-focused real estate sector could escape the contagion. REITs finished lower by 12.5%, a steeper one-week decline than that seen during any single week during the financial crisis.

  • There was good news amid the sea of red. New and pending home sales both came in far above expectations, completing the "perfect month" for the U.S. housing markets as all of the major housing data releases in February showed better-than-expected results.

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