The data is in. Now what?
For a society that’s in the midst of a present crisis, we sure do remain focused on the future. Particularly as it pertains to the economy, pundits often seem less interested in ‘what’s happening’ than they are in ‘what’s happening next’.
Our team is no exception; it’s the goal of this newsletter to examine how the real estate industry will adapt, long-term, to a market that’s being transformed by this pandemic. But the truth is that most prognosticators, including us, have been relying on learned expertise and intuition – not hard numbers.
In recent weeks, though, data has started to emerge that’s providing some more clarity about market trends. A report by Simon Property Group may provide some cautious optimism about the future prospects for retail, as the company says that initial sales following store reopenings have exceeded expectations. Meanwhile, recent research by Black Creek Group aims to show that private real estate investing is positioned to remain uniquely durable through any market downturn.
Needless to say, however, that all data is not pointing to rosy predictions. Consider the fact that the NAIOP CRE Sentiment Index, which tracks experts’ expectations for industry conditions, sits at a new low in the index’s four-year history. Meanwhile, despite any encouraging snapshots of shopper trends, industry experts remain concerned about retail rent collection.
This is all to say that, while real-time data can signal future trends, we’re still months away from understanding the totality – even the initial impact – of the virus on the real estate sector.
What industry data do you believe is most reliable at this point? How can market snapshots help to predict an uncertain future? We’d love to hear from you – just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, we’re wishing you and your loved ones health and happiness.
-The Antenna Group Spaces Team
Trends, Ideas, Innovations
A much needed change of scenery
The ability to work from home amidst an unemployment crisis is, objectively, a privilege. But that perspective doesn’t necessarily cure the stir-craziness for remote employees.
There is fairly broad consensus that the work-from-home trend is gathering steam, and not just for the short-term. But for those that don’t have a separated workspace in their home, or that live in small city apartments, the view of the living room walls is getting very old.
So, how can we reimagine apartments to create separation between work and life? Some architects are incorporating flexible spaces in their designs, allowing residents to establish their own home offices in small nooks of their apartments. Another option: robotic furniture that allows residents to reconfigure their living space with a simple command, empowering them to achieve that needed change of scenery in seconds.
If the COVID-19 crisis is proving the long-term viability of remote work, home designs will need to adapt quickly – and hopefully, the dinner table can be reserved strictly for dinner.
The return of small businesses
For years, we’ve known about the “Amazon Effect” and the devastation it has wrought upon the climate for mom-and-pop businesses in the U.S. And while stay-at-home orders are serving as yet one more driver of the country’s ever-growing appetite for online shopping, with extreme pessimists predicting the death of mom-and-pop stores altogether, there is a silver lining: the pandemic has renewed the public’s interest in the health of small retailers, and has given rise to new ways to support them.
In places such as San Francisco, people are going out of their way to call restaurants instead of using fee-charging delivery apps, and are making a conscious effort to find local businesses that sell items they’d usually purchase online. This week, Instagram and Facebook rolled out updates aimed at helping small and mid-sized businesses. Meanwhile, municipalities are enlisting technology companies to help small businesses deliver goods and services virtually and incentivize residents to shop locally.
With some experts insisting that the creation of a healthy small business environment will be key to an economic recovery, we can expect to see a continued groundswell of support for local retailers, as well as a corresponding proliferation of ways to do so.