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At the end of each year, experts make predictions about trends set to impact the real estate industry, and we put together a quick-read real estate industry report highlighting a few of the most-talked about trends. Then the novel coronavirus arrived. While this doesn't mean "all bets are off," it's clear that priorities have changed for both residential and commercial real estate professionals. Let's look at trends that may be spawned by COVID-19, plus some of the earlier trends that remain important despite—or because of—the pandemic.
Recently, Forbes made a bold statement. “Now that hundreds of millions of people have gotten a new taste of how important “home” actually is—as a safe haven, a de facto schoolhouse, an impromptu remote office, and a forced, familial psychological petri dish—the spaces we live in, and more importantly what we demand of them, stand to look profoundly different in the post-coronavirus world.” And its not home plans that will be revised. As the economy reopens, business needs will be vastly different. Open office plans may disappear in exchange for spaces that allow social distancing. Co-working spaces, which experienced rapid growth in recent years, may need to be reimagined to attract customers back. As a result, the pandemic will have a long-term impact on both residential and commercial real estate. In terms of short-range trends, the economic fallout from coronavirus is already happening.
In addition, the buying and selling process will most certainly change. There may be greater demand for virtual tours to replace in person tours, for example.
One of the trends we highlighted earlier this year was the rising popularity of co-living spaces. Boomers and Millennials alike had embraced the idea of pooling resources and sharing living quarters with friends. The reason for the popularity was two-fold:
Right now, this trend could fizzle out or gain new ground. Why? People may be less interested in co-living arrangements, at least until a vaccine is available, because they’re concerned about exposure to COVID-19. This could be especially true for high-risk individuals, including older Boomers.
However, if the country moves into a deep recession or employment levels don’t bounce back quickly, splitting rent may sound even more appealing. Having spent weeks in solo lockdown, combined with the prospect that a resurgence in the future might require similar action, might make the idea of co-living with some close friends more attractive, despite the health concerns.
A second trend we noted in our real estate trend report was the likelihood of a recession. Despite positive performance in recent years, trade and monetary policies were already making investors and consumers nervous. Needless to say, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the country down the path to recession, the question now is just how deep will it be?
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