🌞 Easy Big Fella – April 8 2020



It’s Wednesday we think.

In case you missed it. Stocks boomed. Senator Rand Paul has recovered from coronavirus and is now volunteering at the hospital. British PM Boris Johnson is in intensive care with worsening symptoms from COVID-19. Tenor Andrea Bocelli will hold an Easter concert to an empty stadium in Milan. We will be watching that for sure.

Coronavirus Update: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 1,432,577 — Total deaths: 82,195 — Total recoveries: 301,768

In Today’s Newsletter:

  • A recession is upon us.
  • A tax windfall for real estate investors.
  • Real estate transactions roll on.


Program Rate Change APR Change
30 year 3.93% 0.19% 4.01% 0.20%
15 year 3.31% 0.13% 3.50% 0.17%

The Lead: Recession Rising

credit: bloomberg

There is no need to brace for a recession any longer since many experts are saying it is already here based on several global markers, most notably export demand.

US export volumes showed in the first two weeks of March to less than half the rate of the previous year. The US job market reported higher-than-expected job loss last week, and Australia, which has not gone into a strict lockdown, also had job advertisements plummet. In countries that track new car registrations as a sign of a healthy economy, this marker, too, was down – 38% in Germany and 44% in the UK.

All of this is further evidence that the global economy is truly global, and one nation’s falter has a butterfly effect heard around the world. No one is immune to the coronavirus or the economic fallout.

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News By The Numbers

500,000. That’s how many deaths the White House expected from coronavirus in a leaked memo. In late January, President Trump’s economic adviser Peter Navarro warned his White House colleagues the novel coronavirus could take more than half a million American lives and cost close to $6 trillion.

12X. New York has 12 times the number of deaths as California. Experts say it’s too early to definitively say why California is faring so much better than New York. One factor, though, is that California simply acted more quickly than New York.

14. That’s how many days New Zealand was on total lockdown, the strictest in the world. Now the island nation reports it’s flattened the curve and may have nipped this virus in the budd.

Real Estate Investors Get Tax Windfall

giphy.gif credit: zillow

The economic stimulus package that the federal government passed last month now allows businesses to write off the costs of specific improvements right away rather than spreading them out over the life of the asset. This is great for real estate investors because it means that if you spend money to improve your property, the cost will be a write off in the year that you pay for it.

This had previously been disallowed in the 2017 Republican tax bill. Many think it was a mistake, but congress has taken the opportunity to fix it with the stimulus bill.

Qualified improvements to your property can now help lower the taxation on your investments. The new bill also lifted the $500,000 limit on how many business losses taxpayers could use to write off taxes on non-business income, such as capital gains.

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times. Have a good relationship with a CPA already established so that you can discuss how this affects your business right away!

Sign on the Digital Line

credit: docusign

DocuSign is an online signing service that is often used for real estate transactions. The CEO Dan Springer told CNBC this week that despite an economic slowdown, the service has not noticed a decline in activity with its real estate clients.

This is surprising given that sales in specific markets have seen severe declines in listings and sales.

“Real estate is an interesting one because while a lot of people are concerned there is going to be a slowdown, we haven’t yet seen that at DocuSign,” Springer said.

Meanwhile, the hospitality and travel industries that use DocuSign have experienced far slower activity, according to the CEO. DocuSign’s consistent activity could be from higher demand in virtual services in the real estate industry. You can’t get a virus from signing documents from the safety of your connected device!

Bay Area Returns to Work

credit: giphy

California is letting real estate agents go back to work, yet with restrictions in place. Open houses and close contact are not allowed, but there are other ways to sell a home.

The San Francisco Bay Area, a notoriously competitive and inflated real estate market, had been at a stalemate for weeks during the pandemic shutdown. Still, some restrictions have finally lifted, and real estate agents have pounced.

Virtual showings, appointment-only showings, and a ban on home flyers have changed the game of the real estate market, and agents will have to adapt. Most of them are ready to get back to work – with gloves and masks.

The long-term effect of this pandemic has yet to play itself out ultimately. Over 50% of escrows fell through in California in the last month, and listings were down 9% from this time last year.

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