Recent events have made me think carefully about the future and the opportunities that lie ahead. Will some of us continue to work at home? Some may decide to do that 1 or 2 days a week. This opens up questions around where will we live? Technology has demonstrated that we can work remotely. Will lifestyle property become more in demand. For the largest demographic, The Baby Boomers the most recent experience may accelerate the tree/ sea change.
We continue to live in crowded cities. Those living in a Highrise investment box in isolation over the last 6 weeks may now have a different perspective. Will the suburban house with its own backyard come back into vogue. Space in my view will become the new currency. We will want to be more self-sufficient. There has been a surge in gardening, growing our own vegetables and fruit. Our living architecture will become greener and Melbourne will rediscover its rooftops.
Will covid19 cause an exodus from high density areas. I believe regional cities such as Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat will become more attractive in the future. The Tasmanian Ferry service has announced that it will soon be relocating to Geelong as will the jobs that support this industry the caterers, cleaners, maintenance staff etc
Post Covid what is clear is that big companies will get bigger. Their ability to raise capital and cash reserves protects them. In contrast smaller, family run businesses are lucky to have between 30- 90 days cash reserves. Many will not reopen and economic activity will flow into E commerce. What does this mean for clothing retail, department stores, restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels and gymnasiums? Chains and franchises, fast food. Liquor outlets, supermarkets, garden suppliers and nurseries, hardware will continue to do well.
Will the abundance of retail models work in the age of Amazon?
Social distancing I expect will be with us for some time. If restaurants, hotels and bars reopen will they be opened at reduced capacity? Restaurants are valued on the number of seats. If this is reduced which is likely do they remain viable. Will they get back to full house without a vaccine? Will we become a touchless society with the disappearance of the face to face economy?
Is this the death knock for fine dining and will there be more demand for comfort food? Will restaurants continue to locate in the high street or will this force them to relocate to suburban areas where rent is cheaper. Will cloud Kitchens emerge and will we now live in a food delivery age where meals are eaten less from the place they are prepared. Food that travels will certainly increase. What will this do to our popular strips and how will this affect retail property values?
What is certain as the events of the last 2 months will change our built and living environment. Change will take time and our city planners, architects developers and builders will have to think differently on the other side