Opendoor Technologies (NASDAQ:OPEN) stock is not in a good place, which is a little hard to understand.
The company is tied to a win-win platform with the iBuyer business model, the mechanism that enables it to buy homes quickly for subsequent flipping.
It was essentially real estate agent-free.
The iBuyer model undergirding OPEN stock allowed people to sell their homes under their schedule, thus helping to avoid double mortgage payments. Seemingly, you couldn’t ask for a better play during the crisis.
The soaring housing market was the ultimate catalyst for OPEN stock. As with almost any convenient service, participants pay a premium to enjoy the luxury. That might have been a problem during a normal season in real estate. However, there’s nothing normal about the craziness we’re witnessing.
Skeptics have emerged about the viability of this unprecedented bull market.
Real estate experts have reassured those who bought during the mad rush of 2021 that prices are unlikely to decline significantly, let alone collapse. Of course, if you ask a used-car salesman if the ride he’s selling is reliable the answer is always going to be yes.
In addition, OPEN stock itself is leaving question marks about the housing sector. When I last discussed the underlying company on Jan. 12, I mentioned that the investment had so far proved disastrous. Coincidentally, OPEN had earlier been on a short rally, culminating in a peak closing price of $12.64 on the date of publication.
Since then, shares have dropped more than 32%.
Still, contrarians might argue that the work-from-home narrative should bolster certain markets as high-income earners move in. Here’s why I’m concerned.
The Indian Juggernaut and OPEN Stock
Following the Covid-19 disaster, one benefit that worker bees enjoyed is telecommuting. As multiple sources stated, the transition has been unsurprisingly popular. Instead of finding crafty ways of goofing off at work, why, you can just goof off at home and no one’s the wiser.
Forbes contributor Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. noted that many workers fibbed about how much time they’re on the clock. His main conclusion, though, is that while goofing off occurs occasionally, on balance, workers make up for it through scheduling flexibility.
I’m skeptical. Workers goofing off at home say they’re more productive now? Color me surprised (I’m not).
Once companies catch on that at-home workers are goofing off, the move to the old normal of the workplace could really hurt OPEN stock. At that point, high-income workers can’t easily crowd out small cities like Boise.
The biggest wrinkle is India. According to BBC.com, approximately 10% of that country’s population (125 million) speak English. This figure will likely rise substantially over the next several years.
English is practically the national language of India’s upwardly mobile demographic. What was missing, though, was a clear catalyst for the country to flex its linguistic muscles and consume American jobs. Enter Covid-19 and the devastation it has wrought on the economy.
Oh sure, stocks are up and so were cryptocurrencies before the recent implosion. But so is corporate debt, $11 trillion worth according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s not going away easily, folks. If pandemics were good for the economy, we’d ask for Covid-22, 23, 24 and so on.
Don’t Ignore the Obvious Conspiracy
Work from home is not for your benefit. It might seem that way for now. But in this new paradigm of mitigation protocols and previously foreign behavioral ethos, it won’t take much for office jobs to ship out to India.
They have the education, they have the skills and they speak English.
Not only that, the companies that do ship out those jobs will have the perfect excuse: American workers are goofing off. Or those that didn’t show up to the office lacked the desire and initiative to succeed with the organization. I could go on.
The point is that while the work-from-home experiment has bolstered certain real estate markets, you shouldn’t expect that to be an indefinite phenomenon. Clearly, holders of OPEN stock don’t anticipate that it will.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.