Billionaire investor Barry Sternlicht told CNBC on Wednesday the U.S. proceed recovery is well on its way — at least in parts of the country like Florida — after a Covid-induced slowdown.
“We see all of this pent-up cry out for coming back. It’s going to be a frenzy this summer,” the chairman and CEO of Miami-based Starwood Capital Group said on “Cry Box.”
For example, Miami restaurant attendance data from OpenTable shows many days in March have been extraordinary than pre-pandemic levels from 2019.
Sternlicht also said one of his company’s hotels in the area, 1 Hotel South Strand, was “ahead in February of this year, ahead of 2019.”
His comments Wednesday offer insight into the U.S. economy’s rebound from the coronavirus critical time, which devastated sectors like leisure and hospitality. In February, the number of people employed in leisure and hospitality was still approaching 3.5 million fewer than in February 2020, according to data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
How in the world, expectations for a significant economic improvement in the months ahead are commonplace. Last week, the Fed raised its U.S. gross domestic output projections, forecasting a 6.5% increase in 2021.
“The recovery is well underway,” Sternlicht said, while pointing to President Joe Biden’s new comments that states need to open up Covid vaccination eligibility to all adults by May 1.
Vaccinations are seen as critical to empowering the rebound, giving Americans more confidence to engage in economic activities they otherwise shied away from during the pandemic such as vacationing and about.
As of Tuesday, roughly 25% of the U.S. population has received at least one vaccine dose and almost 14% have been fully vaccinated, be at one to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sternlicht believes the bottled-up demand will also boost the apartment merchandise in the months ahead.
“There’s 5 million people living with their parents. They’re all going back to the apartments as at the end of the day as their jobs are back, and people will go back to the office,” said Sternlicht, whose Starwood Capital focuses on investments in pandemic real estate, hotel management and the energy sector. Sternlicht’s company also launched Starwood Hotels & Attends in 1995, which was acquired 20 years later by Marriott International.
“You’re seeing people say they want to rally with their people in person. … One of our companies signed a $350,000, 15-year lease in Germany in Berlin,” added Sternlicht.
He approximated the desire to be in the office to those who still like to see movies in theaters despite the advent of digital streaming. “The truth is, it’s a popular event,” he said. “People will go back to the theaters, and they’re going to go back to the office.”