It all depends on when you think the crash is coming and how bad you think it will be. Let’s presume you can buy a property that meets the 2% rule (not unheard of in my local market). You buy a condo for $100,000 that rents for $2000 a month. The question then becomes how many months until the recession and how bad will it be?
Let’s presume you think the recession will hit in 12 months – how bad do you think will it be? If the hit to property values will be less than 24%, then buy now because your cashflow over the next 12 months will cover the loss in property value. If you think the dip will be greater than 24%, wait and buy after the crash. Your numbers will vary, but you can use this calculation to make your decision based on how soon and how bad you think it will be.
My answer to a client would be more nuanced than this – I’d probably suggest looking for the best cash flowing deal they can find now, execute, and as the market goes down (as per the premise of this question), keep hunting value. What I’m recommending is essentially dollar cost averaging your way into the rental market.