Looking ahead… trying to imagine what the next year in real estate is going to look like now that the year like no other has finally ended.. It was a year that shattered the few norms still left after eight straight years of the longest upcycle ever. And a year that saw wild price increases in the face of a global pandemic, waves of social unrest and swathes of devastating fires.
Looking back over 2020, the real estate market was one of the best things that happened in the worst year ever. And as a Realtor, I’m grateful for all the dumb luck that came my was just for being in the business. Agents who unabashedly leaned into their “essential worker” status last year may want to up their contributions to helping the hungry, the unhoused and the sick this year. Those are the real essential jobs.
So where does real estate go from here? Can it continue expanding? Scott Galloway, Stern Business Professor offered up an interesting perspective when he said: “COVID won’t change the future as much as it will accelerate the future that was already on its way.”
At first the effects of the “covid acceleration” were felt on a personal level. Thinking back to shelter in place, the most persistent thought running through my head was: “Life is short. The world can change overnight. All those things I’ve always wanted to do… what am I waiting for?
By June that silent vow to “carpe diem” went viral and initiated a groundswell of demand in suburban and rural real estate markets that were suddenly beacons for people searching for new homes and a change of scenery. All those individual changes were further accelerated and mutually aided and abetted by covid-specific shifts in daily routines.
Chief among those was a paradigm shift towards a remote workforce. Working from home was always something that was destined to happen but now, thanks to covid, the future was here.
When the shutdown started virtually everyone was forced to stay home from the office. As the pandemic continued everyone had to learn to work virtually.
As more people logged onto Zoom calls, productivity increased and the need for expensive brick and mortar offices decreased. Employees discovered that working from home had huge advantages and very few missed the soul-crushing drudgery of their former commutes.
What began as the necessity of working from home transformed into the desirability of working from home and then to the ability to work from home. Once employees were untethered from their physical work spaces, they were free to move anywhere.
Next Week: Further acceleration of the future.