The Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce will hold its 29th annual Regional Economic Outlook meeting on January 28. This annual event brings together the local industry executives with economists who are looking for insight into key markets and industries.  

The meeting is typically held as a live event but due to the continued issues with the coronavirus pandemic it will be held online. 

“Usually, a bigger affair such as this would be held at hotel ballroom or a conference center,” stated the Chamber’s Vice President of Government Relations Clayton Medford, “but with COVID going on we’ve had to go online for this event.”

This year the focus will be on the real estate market which has been heavily affected by the pandemic. Medford stated that real estate is an industry that affects every one and is watched by different sectors of the economy especially those who have had their office personal working from home over the last nine months.

Medford notes that keeping an eye on the real estate market would allow watchers to catch any indicators at how the economy is recovering and what the office presence of local businesses may look like going forward.

Another aspect of the real estate market that will be looked at is the moratorium on evictions during the pandemic. These moratoriums were originally set by the federal government though the CARES Act in response to many businesses shutting down due to the pandemic leaving millions unemployed. 

Many state and local governments have set their own bans on evictions during the pandemic and the Center for Disease Control recently enacted a nationwide moratorium in September. Medford stated that these moratoriums could be a potential discussion topic during the conference since there will be a focus on residential data.

Medford also mentioned that the approach or the conference will be more business focused because of the affect the pandemic has had on businesses. Typically, the approach is a mix of academic and corporate points of view but due to recent events it will be all business. 

“Community business leaders want to be prepared for what the economy does over the next six months as the vaccine rolls out and the people start heading back to the office,” stated Medford.

The advertised speakers for the annual event will be the chief economist of the Wilmington Trust Luke Tilley, Cooley LLP partner Mark Looney, chief economist for Virginia Realtors Lisa Sturtevant, and the executive vice-chairman of Cushman and Wakefield William Collins.

Previous speakers for the event have been Dr. Stephen Fuller of the Fuller Institute, Dr. Anne Crest of Northern Virginia Community College, and Dr. Terry Clower of George Mason University.

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