Real Estate Investing in a Recession: Opportunities and Risks Explained

February 27, 2024

Real estate properties are investment assets that offer one of the best hedges against inflation. Research shows that real estate investments tend to emerge stronger during economic turmoil. Compared to other investment assets, real estate is highly adaptable and flexible during financial crises. However, it’s still advisable to make your real estate investment portfolio more resilient to recessions to protect your finances, even if it’s hard to predict what will happen to your properties when a recession hits.

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about real estate investing during a recession, including the opportunities and risks you should take into account.

What Happens to Real Estate During a Recession?

A recession is a period of continuous negative economic growth, including declines in income, trade, output, and employment, typically for two consecutive quarters. There are many factors that contribute to a recession, such as a stock market crash, loss of consumer confidence, and high-interest rates.

For the real estate industry, a recession can be detrimental in many aspects. It can cause a decrease in demand and financial instability for investors and buyers, resulting in a slowdown in sales and potential depreciation of property values. However, there are still opportunities during this challenging time. For instance, you can acquire lower-priced properties and negotiate more favorable terms with sellers.

Although there are particular upsides to an economic downturn, safeguarding your assets is still in your best interest because you can’t guarantee their viability during a recession.

Opportunities in Real Estate Investing During a Recession

While the risks are many, there are still opportunities that arise when the economy is experiencing a downturn. Here are some ways recession creates opportunities for real estate investors:

Low Housing Prices

During a recession, housing prices tend to drop, which can be a good time to invest in property. Lower-priced properties can be found and negotiated to better terms, offering investors a valuable opportunity to add to their real estate portfolio.

Tax Advantages

Real estate investors can take advantage of a variety of tax benefits including, but not limited to:

  • Depreciation deduction
  • Deductible interest on the financed property
  • Property taxes deduction

All these tax breaks can help investors keep more money in their pockets during economic downturns.

Related: The Benefits of a 1031 Exchange for Real Estate Investors: Deferring Taxes and Maximizing Investments 

Ability to Negotiate Deals

In a recession, the market typically has less demand. This can make sellers more amenable to negotiations and investor-friendly deals. This is a great opportunity as it can help you purchase properties at a lower price than they were in previous years.

Opportunity to Diversify Portfolio

Diversifying a real estate portfolio is critical during a recession. When there's an economic downturn, some properties may perform worse than others. Therefore, if you have diversified your portfolio, the entire value of the portfolio will not be dragged down by any particular weak property.

Related: How to Manage a Successful Real Estate Investment Portfolio - Rentastic Blogs 

Risks in Real Estate Investing During a Recession

Economic Uncertainty

During a recession, the economy is unpredictable, meaning that any one of your investments may lose value. Economic uncertainty is one of the most significant risks when it comes to real estate investing.

Difficulty Obtaining Financing

Lending companies may reduce their lending requirements and lower interest rates during a recession, but that doesn't necessarily mean obtaining financing will be easy.

Lower Demand for Rental Properties

Low consumer confidence during a recession can lead to lower demand for rental properties, making it a risky investment to depend on rental income.

Strategies for Investing in Real Estate During a Recession

To navigate the challenges of real estate investing during a recession, investors should consider applying the following strategies.

Conduct Thorough Market Research

Market research is always critical in any investment, but it's even more critical during a recession. In a recession, not all markets are created equal. Conduct thorough market research before investing to ensure that your investment will work in that particular market.

Invest in Rental Properties

Investing in rental properties can be risky, but it's a safe bet during a recession. During a downturn, people look for cheaper alternatives to home ownership, and they opt to rent instead. Invest in rental properties in markets where rental demands are high, ensuring consistent returns even during a recession.

Look for Foreclosed Properties

Foreclosed properties are a great opportunity for investors. These properties tend to be undervalued and are often available for less than market value. However, it's critical to conduct a property inspection to ensure that the property is structurally sound before investing.

Consider a Fix-and-Flip Strategy

Real estate investors can also benefit from the quick profits associated with the fix-and-flip strategy. This strategy involves acquiring an underpriced property, increasing its value through renovations, and then selling it to a buyer at a higher price.

Work with a Real Estate Agent or Investment Firm

Work with a professional agent or investment firm that has the knowledge and experience to find the best properties to invest in. In a recession, working with a professional can help you save time and money, increasing your investing potential.

Related: Real Estate Investment Mistakes To Avoid - Rentastic Blogs 


Real estate investing during a recession can be a profitable endeavor, but it comes with more risks than investing in normal economic conditions. Investors who carefully evaluate opportunities and risks while taking a long-term view can emerge from a recession with a strong portfolio.

Remember that it’s essential to conduct thorough market research, diversify investments, invest in quality properties, and work with a professional real estate agent or investment firm. Doing so could help you emerge from the recession with a stronger real estate portfolio and the knowledge to navigate similar economic uncertainties. Happy investing!


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