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By: Alex Carrick on June 10th, 2020

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The Economy Under COVID-19: Notes From My New Hiding Place - Within the Herd (June 10, 2020)

Economic News | COVID-19

Since we’re all cautiously emerging from sanctuary, the former title of my articles, written while I was housebound – Notes from the Trenches, – no longer applies. Therefore, I’ve chosen a new heading, as you will observe above. It still captures a certain wariness on my part.

Dollhouses, Movies & Seeds

  • One positive from the pandemic is that it’s speeding up innovation. For example, in residential real estate, online virtual tours of homes for sale have been available for a while, but they’ve taken on a more crucial role with the decline in model home showings and restrictions on live walkthroughs. If you have not recently done so, cruise some digital ‘homes-for-sale’ sites. The visual effects that are now being presented are stunning.
  • Virtual tours of residential real estate have become more realistic thanks to 360⁰ cameras. Static shots of home interiors, or even straightforward videos that ‘walk’ from room to room, no longer set the pace in selling practices. Matterport is the company that has become best known for cameras that provide an immersive experience in moving digitally and seamlessly throughout a property. Matterport’s neatest achievement is to present the layout of an entire structure in what is instantly recognizable as a ‘dollhouse’ format.    
  • Of course, similar filming of work underway at nonresidential construction sites is also available, for showing on 3D virtual reality (VR) headsets, but that’s another story.
  • AMC, the largest cinema chain in the U.S., says in a regulatory filing: “…substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern…” Most indoor movie theaters remain closed. When they do reopen, the degree to which moviegoers will plunk down in seats, once again, is a big question mark. Meanwhile, film production companies are increasingly releasing their offerings directly to streaming services. (AMC is a market-listed company controlled by Dalian Wanda, a Chinese conglomerate.)
  • Just as one corner of the economy is stepping backwards, another is striding forward. It’s a sweet story that sales of seeds, for planting, are soaring. Many home gardeners, accepting that they’re likely to be living in their backyards for much of this summer, have been dreaming of growing their own fruits and vegetables. Moreover, there are indications the ‘gardening bug’ has trickled down from the elderly and the middle-aged to tweak the interest of a goodly number of younger individuals in the millennial set, as well.

Read the previous article here: The Economy Under COVID-19: Notes From y New Hiding Place – Within the Herd (June 8, 2020).

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About Alex Carrick

Alex Carrick is Chief Economist for ConstructConnect. He has delivered presentations throughout North America on the U.S., Canadian and world construction outlooks. Mr. Carrick has been with the company since 1985.

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