A recession can be a good time to buy. However, a recession can be a bad time to buy too.
On Malta, there is a surplus of 70,000+ condominiums. There is that surplus because no one wants to live in a condo. Maltese people prefer to live in houses and expats don’t buy condos anymore because of the obvious bubble. (Right now construction firms are still trying to get $500K+ for off-plan condos which will likely never get built.)
In other countries and areas, you have to think about the economic viability of where property is located. In the U.S. the richest neighborhoods used to be those surrounding places like Detroit. This was thanks to wealth and prosperity being linked to economic opportunity.
Today, the richest neighborhoods around the world are located nearby where jobsworth politicians live or commute from. In the North East of England and a lot of Scotland, it is still possible to buy a decent property in a decent area for a decent price. However, there is often zero local industry or real economic opportunity. In the long term, this often sees areas start to become derelict.
Basically, if buying cheap during a recession, you need to put your economics hat on and look at the much bigger picture.
If the world does plunge into a worse financial crisis than 2008 and if Bitcoin goes up as a result, my plan is to buy property in Hungary and Bulgaria. Hungary is good for investment as the increasing cost of living in Germany and Austria, is already seeing lots of Germans and Austrians retire there. Meanwhile, countries like Romania and Bulgaria are steadily attracting business thanks to low tax and easy access to the EU.
Georgia is also already a fantastic place to invest. There you can still buy an apartment in the city center (often in a building of character) for less than $50K.
I’m also of the opinion that the next recession will be a lot messier than that of 2008. In 2008, governments dealt with the then crisis by bailing out ailing banks, etc with taxpayer cash. They can’t do that again because there is no money left in treasury coffers. Likely, it might. therefore. come to the point where Cyprus-like bail-ins are used to recapitalize banks using customer deposits. That could well make it impossible for most people to buy property, even if they have a few $100K already in savings.
All in all, it might be best not to invest in property too soon if a serious recession does hit.