President and founder of Graphs and Laughs, Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D., is known for his quick wit, bowtie and understanding of housing and economics. Dr. Elliot Eisenberg a.k.a. the Bowtie Economist joins us in studio for Episode 923 of Atlanta Real Estate Radio. Joined by co-hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick, the group discusses the current housing industry, where the economy is going, what Graphs and Laughs is and much more on this All About Real Estate segment of Radio.
Elliot Eisenberg began working in the housing industry in 1996 and from 2000 to 2011, was involved with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). In 2005, Eisenberg began public speaking as a way to engage with and educate industry professionals. This job kickstarted a career in which Eisenberg was able to go out on his own and create Graphs and Laughs.
Graphs and Laughs is a way to combine useful economics with a lot of laughter and fun. Eisenberg helps inform and educate professionals in the homebuilding industry by keeping them entertained with many jokes and lots of humor. Elliot Eisenberg travels all over the country giving economic forecasts and explaining concepts in an easy to learn, absorbable and memorable way.
“I was thinking about making it Laughs and Graphs at first, because it almost sounds better,” said Eisenberg. “But I am an economist first and foremost, so the graphs had to come before the laughs.”
Recently, Eisenberg has focused on the current recession due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). The economic recession in 2008 was more focused on the housing industry which took the biggest hit. The economic regression due to COVID-19 is more complicated because it concerns health and a pandemic.
“This time, housing is just collateral damage along with auto, restaurants and other sectors,” said Eisenberg. “But it turns out that housing is doing really, really well and it is remarkable. You look at all kinds of data – pending sales have turned around; new sales are picking up – but mortgage sales are the best indicator. You can’t buy a house without a mortgage.”
When COVID-19 became an issue in the United States, the rate at which people were obtaining mortgages plummeted. It was down 34% in four weeks at the beginning of March. Since the initial decrease, the rate of consumers applying for mortgages has gone straight up. Now, the number of mortgages being obtained is up almost 20% when compared with recent years. This is a 50% rise in just a few short months, creating a classic V-shaped recovery. Housing is one of the few industries able to pull this off.
While the housing industry is booming, this is not a valid representation of the rest of the economy. Housing is a much smaller sector than it was before the crash in 2008, and therefore cannot be used to project where the economy as a whole is going.
One question that most businesses and industry professionals are curious about is how long the economy will take to recover after COVID-19. While no one has a concrete answer to this, Eisenberg does have his predictions. Economists classify a recession as the economy getting worse. As soon as the economy stops declining, we are no longer in a recession anymore. Because of this, Eisenberg thinks the current recession is behind us. He predicts that the recession due to COVID-19 only lasted four months, ending in June. This four-month recession would be the shortest in history.
While the recession was short, Eisenberg predicts the recovery to take much longer. During the first three months of 2020, we experienced a 5% decline in GDP annually, or 1.25% quarterly. Because GDP generally grows at about 2.25% per year, we experienced a sharp decline so far in 2020. If the trend continues, Eisenberg says the decline could equate to a four to five-year loss of real GDP. Eisenberg also predicts that the best-case scenario offers a full recovery by the end of 2022. This means by the end of the fourth quarter in 2022, we will be in the same place we were in the fourth quarter of 2019 before the recession. It might take longer for employment to come back because of the changes made during the pandemic, including fewer hours and employees. Eisenberg predicts employment will take at least another year or two beyond 2022 to recover.
Interested in getting a daily update on the economy? You are in luck! Eisenberg offers a brief 70-word email on the economy. Each e-blast contains less than 100 words without any graphs, photos, links, charts, ads or other features. Monday through Thursday features useful information related to the economy, but Friday features a fun bit of information to end the week on a light note. To sign up for these daily blasts, text the word “bowtie” to 228-28.
To learn more about the current economic environment, where the economy is going and to hear several witty jokes from Elliot F. Eisenberg, Ph.D of Graphs and Laughs, be sure to listen or watch the full interview above. Information on having Elliot Eisenberg speak to your group can be found at www.Econ70.com.
Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee, License #22564. NMLS ID #6606. Subject to borrower and property qualifications. Not all applicants will qualify. New American Funding and Graphs and Laughs are not associated. Click here to view the terms and conditions of products mentioned during the show. Corporate office 14511 Myford Rd., Suite 100, Tustin, CA 92780. Phone: (800) 450-2010. (July/2020)
New American Funding is a family-owned mortgage lender with a servicing portfolio of over 123,000 loans for $30.4 billion, 198 branches, and about 3,100 employees. The company offers several niche loan products and has made Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in America six times. It has a state-of-the-art career training facility and develops innovative technology, including the GoGo LO mobile application. For more information, visit www.branch.newamericanfunding.com/Atlanta.
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