The past year has been an interesting time for many industries around the world, and real estate is no exception. Many people initially pictured the COVID-19 pandemic to have a negative impact on the real estate market; however, it has been surprisingly resilient. In fact, real estate has continued to remain steady and is projected to increase in 2021 due to a shortage of supply. In fact, a survey of agents across Ireland estimated that 2021 would see increases ranging from 3 percent in Dublin to 6 percent in Ulster.
The past year has shown that the Irish real estate market has the ability to continue to thrive even in difficult times. There have been a number of changes that have been observed in the past year, however. Let’s take a look at some of these and whether or not they could be expected to continue when we return to a post-COVID world.
Increased Interest in Suburbs
One of the most significant trends in the pandemic-driven market has been an increased interest in suburbs as more and more people have had the opportunity to work from home. This has truly changed the market as choices are no longer closely tethered to commute time, opening up more options to buyers and contributing to an increase in prices.
With surveys showing that many employees expect to continue work remote at least part-time after the pandemic, it looks as if this trend may continue. Ultimately, this shift in interest may become permanent depending on future trends in the workplace. Urban living will likely still be in demand for those preferring that environment; however, older buyers, particularly those with children, may likely continue seeking out suburbs with more space for families.
Desire for More Space & Flexibility
Speaking of space, one of the trends that has developed over the past year is a desire for places with either a greater amount of space or a more conducive footprint to flexibility. Again, this was largely driving by increasing numbers of people who find themselves working remotely. Transitioning from the office to the home office means many people prefer to setup a designated workspace.
This trend is one that will likely continue to grow. Even if a great deal of traditional businesses go back to on-site work, there has already been a growing trend in freelancers and the gig economy, people who would find space for a home workspace to be a selling point for a property.
Virtual Real Estate
The requirement of social distancing to protect safety of individuals is something that has necessitated a shift in how the real estate business is done. Potential clients view houses and rentals through virtual tours. Real Estate agents have increasingly taken to social media, even newer venues like TikTok, to help showcase their top properties. Meetings have taken place over Zoom.
This is certainly a trend that is likely to become permanent. While the future of real estate will once again include in-person activity, the big takeaway from the past year is that many people prefer the enhanced convenience of not being bound to a location. It is likely that people will continue to leverage the virtual nature of real estate in many situations. Real estate agents will need to keep these tools in their arsenal to stay competitive.
The past year has caused rather dramatic changes in the real estate market including rising prices, an increased interest in suburban living, more space, and virtual processes of conducting business. Will these trends become permanent? It is likely that they may regress a bit to the mean; however, many of these trends will continue to exist in some manner as the housing market has clearly shifted to a new reality.