It is amazing to see the renewed energy many are feeling knowing that there is, indeed, light at the end of our Covid tunnel. More and more “normal” spring activities are popping up, kids are returning to school, office meetings and visits are occurring, and a greater sense of calm is in the air. It is all very refreshing in my humble opinion. We were happy to hear that our oldest son, who is off to college in the fall, will be able to go to his modified Senior Prom. Adults and kids alike are ready to start their next chapters.
Our financial markets continue to steadily move higher, embracing the reopening of our economy. While Covid lockdowns around the globe remain problematic, the rate of vaccination and easing of restrictions continues to accelerate here in the U.S. While many Americans have certainly endured many hard months, there is an equal amount of anticipation and eagerness to spend money that had been forced to sit on the sidelines in anticipation of better days. That time has come, even Jamie Dimon, head of the J.P. Morgan behemoth, stated that we could see an economic boom that could last into 2023. A very powerful statement from a well-respected source. Many economists concur, and earnings reports from the 1st quarter could further solidify these thoughts. The general fears around higher interest rates, higher inflation, employment challenges, tax hikes, and general angst in Washington will not subside anytime soon, but we stand prepared to watch and adapt as needed.
Our housing markets remain an interesting and somewhat challenging environment. I continue to hear stories of shortages in supply, very high demand, and prices that seem to be through the roof. While it may seem reminiscent of the housing crisis we saw more than a decade ago, this time around the stakes are much different. The lending standards and practices have been greatly improved as anyone who has refinanced in the last year can attest. This is simply a supply and demand challenge. Work from home and relocation has been a major contributor to this problem. In fact, today, more than ever, people are willing and wanting to move to places for a better quality of life. Cities that were once quiet are coming to life as individuals seek a better work life balance. This will be a long-lasting story line from the past year, as we embrace the changes the pandemic has brought to our doorstep. As interest rates climb, things will settle, and pricing will normalize once again. I suspect this may happen sooner than we think.
In the meantime, get outside and soak in some vitamin D (weather permitting!). I know I need some after this long hibernation of winter!