How COVID19 has Impacted Home Life and How We Think About Work

September 28, 2020

To understand the future, we must focus on what real estate does for people.”

That deceptively simple quote underlies the central proposition in this month’s Editor’s Pick by Forbes magazine—an essay by Bill Conerly that assesses possible future directions for residential real estate. Since residential real estate in Greenwich and other luxury markets is our daily pursuit, any and all glimmerings about its future get our attention.

His observations assessed some of the jarring transformations in how people “live, work, shop, and enjoy life” stemming from this year’s pandemic. While acknowledging that the Covid-19 health threat won’t last forever, he suspects that some of the current adjustments will create new attitudes that will linger—that the emergency has “taught us some lessons about how we live.” They are lessons that may change a fair number of people’s residential real estate preferences.

Some of the ‘lessons’:

  • Many people find that they don’t really need to go to the office to get work done.
  • Because of the fallout from the health crisis, city life “became a drag.”
  • People who began to work from home increased their appreciation of areas that could accommodate office space.  I would add that buyers are gravitating to homes that have spaces conducive to work without interuption as well as spaces for off-work activities including exercise and play spaces for children.
  • Growth in the popularity of gardening increased the desirability of yard space, “even in townhouses and apartments.” 

What became clear to many was a fact of life that registers on individuals from time to time, but which now revealed itself to just about everyone simultaneously: namely, that major changes in circumstances lead people to reassess what is important to them.

Bottom line: although inertia will prevent massive movement of people, future growth will favor localities that deliver a “great quality of life.” If Conerly’s “lessons” prove out, that’s one future effect from this year’s upsets that should stand Greenwich in good stead. 

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