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CRE, politics, economy: Willy Walker’s hot takes on some of today’s most pressing issues

August 3, 2022

CRE, politics, economy: Willy Walker’s hot takes on some of today’s most pressing issues

Willy Walker

Chairman & CEO of Walker & Dunlop

With rising interest rates, supply chain issues, and inflationary pressures, where are the economy and CRE headed?

With rising interest rates, supply chain issues, and inflationary pressures, where are the economy and CRE industry headed? This episode of the Walker Webcast shares Willy’s opening remarks from the Walker & Dunlop Summer Conference, including hot topics, fresh perspectives, and predictions for the future. 

According to Willy, the world right now can look like a three-headed monster, with high inflation and rising interest rates, the war in Ukraine, and the deep political rift in the United States.

How can we see beyond the monster what’s actually happening?

Step one is to look at the broader context—and remember that two years of a global pandemic have challenged our ability to see into the future and make decisions. Consider the Fed’s move to raise interest rates as an attempt to slow inflation. While some may see this as our only option, it’s not what we want right now, Willy says. We should be solving supply chain issues instead.

We should also be tackling problems like these together, Willy emphasizes. In today’s divided political climate, leaders too often talk past each other. They allow themselves to be driven by financial interests and trade party loyalty for effectiveness rather than ask: What are the best solutions for the collective us?

In terms of the economy, the numbers look good right now, Willy says. He notes the recent decrease in commodity prices, down from their springtime peak. This is a positive sign concerning inflationary pressure, he says. We may even be entering a time of cooling in the rate environment.

Willy reminds listeners that everyone was afraid of tax increases at this time last year. But that fear hasn’t and won’t come to fruition.

Whatever lies ahead, we should feel confident in our ability to navigate it, Willy says. He encourages listeners to remember how the federal government helped out during the economic pressures of two years ago. This time, we know what steps the Fed is taking—the current moment won’t catch up by surprise. So even if we’re up the proverbial tree again, we’ll know what to do without mama bear coming to help us down.

So what are people really afraid of right now? If it’s not a recession, what is the shark looming in the water?

Willy again brings it back to politics. People are worried about the decisions that will be made on November 9 and the current 6-3 Supreme Court split. This split means the Chief Justice is no longer the swing vote and makes the Court feel politicized.

Willy then talks about a few realities that people should keep in mind. The first is geopolitical. The war in Ukraine has had a huge impact across the world and raised a sense of global nervousness.

The second involves the changing world of work. With the move back to physical workspaces, there are dynamics at play in a hot single-family and apartment rental market. The transition back to in-office work will also have an impact on professional development and recruitment practices. Tech will be a key differentiator for successful companies.

So, where are the opportunities? What can we do to move forward?

To take advantage of opportunities, Willy says, we must be in the market.

He then shares a video about Walker & Dunlop’s new Community Starts Here initiative and reminds those in the audience that they are poised with the money and influence to make a difference. They can help with real issues, from the need to raise up younger leaders to the need to draw people into creativity and innovation. They can stop letting select political issues hinder them and work across divides.

Ultimately, they can help us climb out of the tree we’re all stuck in and restore a sense of balance.

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