The Evolution of “Home” – Covid Changed Work & Housing
In March, Covid had an instant impact – but the ripple effect will continue for months and years in the housing industry for mortgage and real estate. At Revaluate, we track this data, to better understand when and why people will move. Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered leads utilize many types of information to increase accuracy – uncovering quality leads for our mortgage and real estate clients in housing is our priority.
Another Bad Landmark
Depending on where you live, many of us passed a landmark day recently or are about to do so – 100 days of living with Covid19 drastically altering our lives. Unlike my soccer and baseball teams growing up – we won’t all get trophies for this milestone.
Last week I talked to a friend and client back east who owns 12 Century 21 offices – his company managed to do 20% of last year’s volume despite not stepping foot in the office for 3 months.
Three months in and work from home is the reality for most office jobs in the US. Currently, many office buildings only allow 25 to 50 percent of staff, and some remain boarded up completely. Formerly white collar, now perpetual casual Friday America has embraced WFH – and for most, it is not going to ever go away.
Facebook had planned on gradually shifting to permanent work from home, with a goal of 50% working from home by the end of the decade. Coronavirus has expedited this plan. Engineers will be the first able to do so ongoing, and all new hires will be eligible to work from home. It’s Menlo park office opened last week at only 25% capacity.
My wife is in the medical industry with a pharmaceutical company that specializes in dialysis. One month ago they were told they will not be returning to work nor traveling until sometime after January first 2021. WFH is the rule, not the exception.
Previously in the BC world (before corona), less progressive major companies shied away from implementing WFH due to the fear that employees would not work or be as productive when at home. That concern, however, has not come to fruition.
In fact – as 20% of people have lost their jobs and another 10%+ are underemployed – people are fearful of losing their jobs and are becoming more efficient with their money.
Work from home has its downsides for sure – we have both our daughters here 24/7 and that can be distracting. But in the future, when corona is less of a concern – we (god willing) will send them back to school, while still not daily commuting to an office.
Glenn Kelman said last week to expect “waves of change” due to coronavirus. He confirmed our predictions and data that suggest people are moving from big cities in large numbers in order to distance themselves from disease epicenters.
“The listings that are getting all the traffic right now are in small towns,” he said. “We have tripled the growth rate for traffic in these small towns.”
The changes also result in benefits . Less money spent on fuel, insurance and car maintenance.
(“Fun” side note: when was your last oil change? Look at the sticker in your windshield – then, try not to cry as you fully realize the time that has passed)
Changes to CitiesFor commuters life has changed, but also for those who stay in cities – life will look different going forward as well. Pedestrian and cycle lanes are being added for post corona in many markets – This has already happened in places like Paris, which is rolling out 650km of “corona cycle-ways”, and Milan, which has a programme to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists.
In the UK – they are reducing road expansion improvements as they believe people will drive less from their own communities.
The post corona catchphrase is “build back better”.
Change to Pollution
“Global demand for energy is set to fall by 6%, seven times the decline seen after the global financial crisis of 2008, according to the IEA’s forecast. In absolute terms the drop is unprecedented—the equivalent to losing the entire energy demand of India for one year.”However – scientists remind us that more will need to be done, as this “energy pause” won’t be sustainable.
Changes to Housing Demand
As we’ve written previously, home desirability has shifted, the value has been increased on homes with pools, larger backyards and access to parks in the suburbs – but also now we are seeing and hearing about increased demand for additional features and features that may be less in demand going forward.
There is a growing thought that puts less value on 3rd car garages and more value on interior rooms and separate spaces.
With less dependency on vehicles – people will be reducing and changing what they drive. Will they reduce the number of cars in the garage? Some will – but probably not drastically. More likely, they will keep driving what they have longer, as less time is spent in the car, and its importance in our lives diminishes. Also – perhaps “keeping up with the Jones’ Shiny new car is less important going forward.
Many have said that “open concepts” like the loft in our home, are no longer a blessing – they allow the sound of the kids to flow like water throughout the home – at times when one needs peace and quiet to say…. Write this post.
(See also: Why I like to write at 5am)
Large dining rooms have very little value while in quarantine – unless you turned the table into something of value, like a sweet ping pong table.
Single work from home parents with children and Households with dual income producing WFH parents require additional space for conference calls and Zoom meetings.
That said, I really hope that the next time we will need to face a global pandemic is not before my kids have moved away and have jobs of their own.
But Covid is very much still top of mind, and burned into the psyche for all of us. Consumers won’t easily forget the lessons learned from quarantine. Young / growing families will require that their next home have additional rooms and quiet spaces for work and play. One home office will no longer be a nice to have. Buyers will still want a wide variety of homes – and homes don’t need to meet all those criteria. However, just like pre corona, listings that do have multiple in demand features will sell more quickly, and for a better price than those without. Demands on inventory will continue to evolve as coronavirus impacts our industry.
Be well, look out for each other and please be safe.