There are very few areas that have remained completely untouched by the disruptive force of the COVID-19 pandemic. Very few of those, however, have been quite as affected as the real estate market. The kind of inflation that we saw over the last several months across the world has left experts wondering what kind of future we could be looking at. This uncertainty has left buyers and sellers clinging to news sites to see which way the wind is going to blow. For people working in the industry, the past year has been one of the most turbulent periods of our lifetimes.
As we head towards the end of the summer, we are at something of a crossroads. On the one hand, things are starting to return to something approaching normal in many countries. Everyone was watching the UK very closely as it lifted all its lockdown restrictions, while the US served as a cautionary tale of how a new variant can rip through the unvaccinated population.
For every positive step forward, there is a word of warning that things could change very quickly indeed. The real estate market has seen something of a return to normal in the UK, but there are forces, both pandemic related and not, which will continue to have an impact. Here are a few of the ways the market has been altered, and some forces that are only going to be stronger.
The race for space
One of the most widely reported forces behind the housing market boom during the pandemic was the urgent need for more space. When the world locked down, everyone was forced to question their priorities when it came to their homes. The convenience and allure of a city centre location was suddenly a lot less appealing when you couldn’t leave your apartment. People in major cities realised that they could potentially get a garden and a second storey for the same amount of money in other parts of the country. This may die down a little in the months to come but it seems likely that many people will be looking for more room and greenery for a while longer yet.
A push for greater environmental responsibility
Besides the pandemic, the biggest issue facing every country over the last couple of years has been the question of what we are doing to fight climate change. What steps are we taking to ensure that our carbon footprint is as small as possible? How can we change the way we do business to be a part of the solution? When it comes to real estate, these questions involve everything from the materials used in construction to the energy efficiency of these new buildings.
Other forces disrupting real estate may fall away but this one is only going to become more urgent and vital. It is also important to remember that the rise of extreme weather events will need to be considered. Will the demand for homes in previously desirable locations continue to be as high if they are at greater risk of major flooding? If you are looking to learn more about how climate change and other global issues and trends will impact real estate, then you might be interested in enrolling on a future of real estate programme. By taking a course, you can learn more about the real estate landscape from a range of international experts.
What’s the future of the office?
One of the biggest questions facing businesses right now is the return to the office. When the pandemic first started and we were all sent home, it was generally assumed that things would go back to normal at some point. Here we are, around eighteen months later, and we have yet to reach that point. A lot of businesses have started pushing to get their staff back under one roof, but with rising case numbers and disagreements over whether staff should need to provide proof of vaccination, it is clear that this is still a highly contentious issue.
What does that mean for the real estate world? Well, just as lockdown meant that a lot of homeowners have started looking to buy homes with a nice big garden, it means that everyone is also looking for properties that will accommodate remote working. This is an even bigger demand if more than one person in the household needs an office space. It also means that we could be looking at changes in prices for office space in major cities as more and more businesses reassess their needs. While it seems fair to assume that many companies, especially the bigger ones, will continue to place a great deal of importance on having a central office, will they be looking to downsize?