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Will This Be a Recession or a Depression—And How Would Each Affect Housing?

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Will This Be a Recession or a Depression—And How Would Each Affect Housing?


May 18, 2020
Statues of great depression line
By lunamarina

It’s obvious that the economy isn’t doing too hot right now. But is it a recession, a depression, or neither? The answer isn’t clear cut, according to economists. Realtor.com reports that most economists consider a recession to be two quarters of negative growth, but because the impact of state reopening on businesses is not known yet, it is impossible to say how long the country’s economic troubles will last. However, the silver lining is that we know what is causing the economic slowdown--and it isn’t the housing market. As long as it does not drag on long enough to become a full-blown depression, the housing industry shouldn’t see a repeat of the Great Recession’s hold on housing.

The past two coronavirus-ravaged months have left many folks wondering if the nation is in the throes of another deep recession—or maybe even a repeat of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Which of these bleak scenarios is more likely? And what's the difference between them, anyway?

Most economists consider a recession to be a period of time with at least two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Translation: There's high unemployment and a whole lot of financial pain. (It's a little more complicated than that, but we'll get into that later.) Whole generations are still scarred from the Great Recession, which was just over a decade ago and still fresh in the memories of many who lost their jobs, their savings, or their homes during the downturn.

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