We’ve lived in an uncertain world the past two months, as the coronavirus pandemic has upended the economy and the real estate market. As the country works to reopen over the coming weeks, we’ll be watching closely to see where the industry’s headed, how real estate brokerages and related companies change, and how consumers react.
Here are a few developments we’re predicting.
A balanced market. Supply and demand drive the real estate market, and we’ll see the two better balanced as we move into the recovery. We entered this crisis with low inventory, and it’s not likely to rise anytime soon, so a slowdown of demand will bring the market into balance.
As I’ve said before, this crisis is much different than 2008, which was caused by real estate. I don’t expect that you’ll find the deals like you did post-2008, and it shouldn’t be as challenging to buy a home as it was before Covid-19.
While disconnected real estate and financial services companies have struggled to get deals done these past few weeks, Long & Foster’s family of businesses have seamlessly taken our clients from contract to closing. Now, more than ever, our integrated network of services makes a difference, and our consumers recognize that.
Higher need for rental properties. Mortgage lending has become more restrictive in recent weeks, and that will likely continue as we move forward. With tighter lending policies and increased unemployment, there will be fewer potential homebuyers, expanding the need for rental properties.
Renewed interest in the suburbs. Living in a walkable city neighborhood ranked at the top of many buyers’ wish lists pre-Covid-19, but that may change after consumers have spent weeks in their homes social distancing. Instead of moving downtown, buyers might look toward suburbia, where its lower neighborhood density gives them more space of their own. They may reconsider the concept of sleeping in their home and living in the city.
Centralized (and online) agent services. The past weeks have brought teams together virtually, and as we’ve learned to telework effectively, we’ve found many advantages. Sales meetings have grown in attendance, bringing our agents closer together, even while working apart. Collaboration amongst our agents and offices has grown, too, as teams share ideas for doing business in a new world.
A shift from open offices. A continuation of social distancing could drive a migration to different layouts in brokerage and other corporate offices. Crowded open floor plans could transition to well-distanced workspaces. Likewise, as more people continue teleworking, less commercial square footage will be required.
Our company, like so many others, will exit the crisis changed—but changed for the better. We’ve learned to do business in an environment like we’ve never seen before, and working together, our teams have excelled. Real estate is one of the driving forces of our economy, and going forward, housing can help stabilize our economy and lead us back to prosperity.