Adobe Stock / Sergey Nivens

In the third of Meyers Research’s weekly COVID-19 webinar updates, “COVID-19 Update: The Housing Market”, chief economist Ali Wolf is joined by Tim Sullivan, senior managing principal, to present market strategies and real-time housing statistics for the coming week.

In the week since Wolf’s last COVID-19 webinar, the anticipated social distancing timeline has been extended through the end of April. (The state of Virginia has enacted a stay-at-home order through June 10th, but has said it will reevaluate that date based on national conditions.) While testing is still hard to come by, Abbott Labs has introduced a five-minute COVID-19 test, and Johnson & Johnson has a lead vaccine candidate, though it may not be available until next year.

While Department of Homeland Security has classified construction activity as “essential”, state jurisdictions may set their own stay-at-home order limits. Michigan and Vermont have joined Pennsylvania with orders that do not exempt construction activity. Washington state and New York, the two states hardest hit by the pandemic, have reversed their earlier exemptions. Wolf notes that some workers in other industries, most notably Amazon and Instacart, have gone on strike for safer working conditions.

“We do know that there’s an ethical debate that comes into play of, do we want people to go into worksites, will they be safe?” Wolf says. “I will give my hats off to John McManus with Builder, he did a fantastic article where he talked through some of the ethics. How do you keep your workers safe, and how do you ensure that you’re not putting people at risk, while also trying to contribute to the economy? There is a balance there, and it does seem that our leaders are quite aware of that and trying to work to benefit the workers.”

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