The outbreak of COVID-19 has quickly turned into a severe shock. The decline in economic output recorded in the first half of 2020 makes the fallout from the 2008 global financial crisis seem mild in comparison, while in real estate markets, transaction volume has slowed sharply and values are under pressure — notably in retail and hotels.
As we head into the second half of the year, there are some signs that activity is normalizing, yet the situation continues to evolve rapidly. The highly uncertain nature of the current crisis — in which public health concerns and policy measures are intertwined with unprecedented economic and financial stresses — makes predicting its path a particularly difficult task.
Despite obvious differences between the current situation and circumstances that influenced previous downturns, lessons can be drawn from history and certain observations can help make sense of events as they unfold.