COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the global economy, affecting millions of workers from a wide range of industries. As the new epicentre of the outbreak, the United States is also grappling with the dramatic and unprecedented toll the pandemic is having on the business landscape.
As an Entrepreneur and Real Estate Lead Investor, Randal Gindi believes that while have yet to see the full implications of COVID-19 on the real estate market, he still feels optimistic.
Randal Gindi earned a bachelor’s degree from New York University; however, most of his professional experience came from working at his father’s retail business. Learning everything from merchandising to customer service, Randal Gindi was also exceptionally good at selling the company vision through marketing. After his father’s business was sold, Gindi decided to open a health and beauty store with his brother. While Randal carried his marketing experience with him to this endeavor, he quickly realized that retail was not his calling, and turned his talents to the world of investing.
With an in-depth understanding of the inner-workings of retail, Randal Gindi invested in a business that ran events for independent retailers to display and sell their products; it was the perfect way to launch his career in investing. Randal’s keen eye for business and insight into market trends has only served to benefit his career, and will continue to do so during the pandemic. Randal Gindi has some insight into how you too can be a strategist in navigating the real estate market during this difficult time.
Why is real estate a good investment?
A real estate investment will allow you to grow your net worth by amassing more and more properties. It is a good investment in the long-term primarily because it will appreciate in value over time. As you pay down your mortgage, your equity builds. Depending on your timing, the housing market does not tend to be as volatile as other markets, making real estate a relatively safe investment. I also think it is a good idea to diversify your assets, instead of placing them in one particular market, and real estate can be a great way to do that.
What are some tips for beginners interested in real estate investing?
Learn as much as you can about the market before you jump in. I highly suggest buying real estate investment trusts (REITs), which allow you to invest in real estate without the physical real estate. You can also use an online real estate investing platform to aid in navigating this new territory. These platforms connect real estate developers to investors who want to finance projects, either through debt or equity. Additionally, I highly suggest people consider investing in rental properties. This will allow you to maintain a steady income and profit off of your investment in the long-term. Even if you start with a condo, this will appreciate over time, allowing you to invest in additional properties.
What should people know about the New York real estate market?
New York is one of the most populous cities in the United States, and a majority of residents are paying rent as opposed to owning their properties. The number of people renting is more than twice the national average. Additionally, the New York real estate market is notoriously competitive and has been booming year-over-year. The overall median housing sales price increased by 5.7 percent to $280,000 for the year 2019. 2020 began with an increased sales activity in the housing market until COVID-19 hit.
New York was hit hard by COVID-19. How will the real estate market be impacted?
As I mentioned, 2020 began strong, and was expected to be a strong year for the industry overall. But as we moved into March, we started to see a different picture emerging. Brokers, buyers, and sellers and all navigating uncertainty amid this pandemic. Naturally, some buyers are suspending their searches, while some sellers are pulling their properties as they try to make sense of the new market reality. It is a complicated picture, one that continues to change. Many agents agree that the market has slowed down, which was inevitable.
Is this slow down impacting prices?
It is a ‘wait and see’ situation. The market is currently frozen, as so many are uncertain about what the implications will be if they act now. Once everything returns to normal, we will have a better understanding of how COVID-19 will impact the New York real estate market. For those who have had the luxury of waiting, it may take 6-12 months for them to gain a clearer understanding of the impact of COVID-19 before buying and selling starts up again.
What other factors are at play?
On top of uncertain buyers and sellers, there is major concern among renters around the inability to pay rent. While Andrew Cuomo has exacted an eviction moratorium until June 20th, the long-term impact of unpaid rent (without additional relief) will echo for possibly years to come. Residents and landlords are in a difficult position. We all want to help each other out, but the fact is that each one of these entities relies on one another to keep the system intact.
Will this change the nature of real estate?
Many brokerages have started to work remotely, like the rest of the country, and this shift to the digital world is having an impact on how we do business. Doing virtual open houses through Instagram, Facebook Live and YouTube are becoming standard practice.
What is one piece of advice you have for New York residents right now?
Do not give up hope. I know that times are tough, tougher for some more than others, but we will get through this together. Reach out to family and friends, and always keep an eye open for new opportunities as they arise.