Uncertain Trends During COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic maintains momentum, the real estate landscape continues to shift. Some housing trends accelerate and some become a thing of the past, all while new opportunities for growth present themselves. For example, the millennial-led migration from cities to suburbs has only accelerated. Conversely, multifamily developers and managers have shifted strategies to attract new residents by promoting health and wellness movements rather than property amenities.

“Times of great change always present significant opportunities,” said Urban Land Institute (ULI) Global CEO W. Ed Walter during the recent ULI virtual fall conference. “In the near term, our suburbs will benefit from new growth spurred by shifting demographics and changes to living and working patterns resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.”

Earlier this month ULI published its Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2021 report, referencing insight from over 1,500 leaders in the real estate industry. Some of the following trends are decelerating during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Working in-office
    • As COVID-19 regulations forced many businesses to implement work from home (WFH) policies, managers and employees are started to realize the benefits of working remotely. Thanks to technological progress in teleconference tools and advanced information technology systems, effective communication and collaboration is easier than ever from remote locations. Programs like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and other online meeting services have seen a massive spike in users as businesses realize they can productively communicate in an online medium.
  2. Leisure travel/tourism
    • Coronavirus rates are all over the map both literally and figuratively, so travel restrictions widely vary on a case-by-case basis. Some countries have minimal restrictions like simply requiring a mask to board a plane. Other countries are more restrictive by only allowing travel to and from specific locations. As a result, many travelers have elected to stay put until the uncertainty surrounding tourism clears.
  3. student housing
    • Similar to the travel and tourism industries, student housing and university pandemic safety measures vary from school to school. Many schools and universities have shifted to online classes by utilizing online meeting services resulting in a downward trend for economic activity and housing occupancy in university towns/cities.
  4. live entertainment
    • Only a few countries have been successful in fighting COVID-19 enough to safely resume usual live entertainment practices such as concerts, sporting events, and festivals. We’ve seen a slow climb in fan attendance at sporting events around the world as restrictions lighten, but still only a small percentage of the full capacities.
  5. mass transit use
    • As safety and wellness becomes the main focus of the masses, many have aired on the side of caution by avoiding public transit. Cities have implemented extensive sanitization measures to prevent possible contamination and ensure confidence in the cleanliness of public transit.

Click here for the ULI Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2021 report

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