The pandemic swept over economies all over the globe. Businesses in a variety of sectors saw significant hits to their bottom lines. Being forced to shelter in place for the better part of the year changed our behaviors as employees, consumers, and students. Our homes have seen some of the most significant changes during the pandemic, morphing into pseudo-offices, classrooms, and recreational areas shared with the different members of the household.
These financially difficult times have also brought up questions regarding renting and purchasing properties for residential and commercial concerns. Offices are evolving to cater better to the hybrid working scenarios brought to us by the pandemic—downsizing workspaces to less than one workspace per employee.
Transitioning to laptops or bringing your devices has allowed employees to shift seamlessly from the office to home. They’re only leaving strategic and problem-solving meetings to be done in the office.
The real estate market during the pandemic saw a drastic decline but is now seeing a V-shaped model as the market begins to bounce back. Though the pandemic’s beginning had experts sweating in their seats, the trouble in the market may not be as impossible as it seems. Looking closely at the market sectors shows us how innovative solutions help navigate the effects of the pandemic that are currently still unfolding.
Spending so much of our time at home had us taking a closer look at our priorities. If you saw your home as just a place to lay your head and wind down, the pandemic certainly brought a rude awakening with it. Working from home blurred the lines of spaces dedicated to productivity with those intended for relaxation.
It was even more challenging if you had a smaller space to work with and couldn’t afford to separate the two. Condo and apartment living also brought their own unique challenges as tenants started craving private outdoor spaces to get some fresh air during the lockdowns.
The residential market saw a noticeable boom amidst the pandemic, as people figured that if they were going to be stuck at home during the pandemic, they were going to it in a significantly bigger space. Cities saw fewer people willing to live in small spaces and choosing to go with more suburban areas.
Considering the hit the tourism industry has seen, it certainly hasn’t adversely affected vacation homes, as they continue to see long-term renters and an increase in buyers. Secluded properties and those along the coastline continue to gain popularity.
Home renovation projects have also been popular for those looking to bring a new life to their homes. Adding hardwood flooring systems, modern light fixtures, and outdoor spaces such as patios can add a fresh feel to the houses we’ve gotten accustomed to seeing.
Office and Commercial
The work-from-home scenario brought to us by the pandemic has significantly affected office and commercial spaces. Offices became ghost towns during the height of the pandemic, quickly transitioning to remote work to continue to serve consumers.
Companies in the information technology industry were ahead of the curve as they already had standard practice before the pandemic. They’re showing that productivity can still be achievable when the team isn’t physically together. Industries that require more creative collaboration continue to find clever and effective ways to work together despite the distance.
Even as businesses begin to open up again, the workforce hasn’t fully returned to their physical offices and probably won’t at all in some industries. There’s now a strong emphasis on a healthy work-life balance as the pandemic shows us how things can change at the drop of a hat.
Hybrid working schedules that combine on-site and remote work have been the go-to for some companies determined to embrace the new normal. Due to the reduced population present at the office, companies are also looking for smaller, more efficient spaces.
The long-term effects of the pandemic on commercial real estate continue to be questionable as it hinges on how safe people feel about returning to public spaces. However, we’re seeing that it’s unlikely for people to return to urban centers anytime soon.
Commercial properties near the suburbs continue to be the location of choice as it’s less densely populated and follows the relocation of the workforce. Smaller businesses choosing to ditch rent costs and pursue e-commerce avenues have also affected the industry. Restaurants are currently choosing to switch to food trucks instead of renting spaces because it allows them to change locations according to demand and significantly reduces overhead costs.
The outlook on the real estate industry continues to be a bit wary but undoubtedly optimistic. Understanding the new behaviors that come with the new normal will be essential to anticipating the markets trends moving forward.