The Grand Re-Opening
One of the interesting phenomena stemming from COVID-19 is the constant evolution of the public’s perspective on the scale of the crisis. Recently, many areas of the United States have started to witness hospitalization rates decrease, but infections remain prevalent throughout the country. Meanwhile, media conversations have shifted toward a debate about when – or if – states should begin to reopen their economies, despite the persistent human toll wrought by the virus.
Putting aside any moral or economic debates about the merits of relaxing safety precautions, the fact remains: many states are beginning to reopen. Of course, this doesn’t mean things are going ‘back to normal,’ but it does appear that – slowly – states are allowing select businesses to resume operations.
There exists a wide range of opinions on how these phased reopenings will impact regional economies, and, in turn, real estate markets. But, we’re soon going to gain some first-hand insight into how the built environment will adapt to a ‘new normal.’ We’re keeping a close eye on the practices, technologies, and people that are defining this next era of real estate – which may be approaching faster than many of us anticipated.
Are you or your business seeing the impact of these phased reopenings? What new industry trends are you seeing come to the fore? We’d love to hear from you – just drop us a line at email@example.com
As always, we’re wishing you and your loved ones health and happiness.
The Antenna Group Spaces Team
Trends, Ideas, Innovations
How real is the suburban ‘reverse migration’?
Living in a place like New York City has always had its tradeoffs. Square footage comes at a premium, but that’s the price to pay for immersing yourself in one of the world’s greatest cultural epicenters. But, the COVID-19 crisis has many questioning if that tradeoff is truly worth it.
Hardly anyone is excited by ‘stay at home’ orders, but urban dwellers in small apartments are perhaps more prone to feel the pressure of their four walls than others. This can be compounded by the sense of constant physical proximity to other people, exacerbating anxieties about personal safety and exposure to the virus.
So, does this mean we’re on the precipice of another suburban exodus? It’s reasonable to think so; we’ve seen signs of a reverse migration even before the pandemic, particularly as young people seek out more comfortable, spacious suburban environments that offer the dynamism of city life (see: Hipsturbia). Projects like Bell Works – which pioneered the concept of the ‘metroburb,’ a self-contained metropolis in suburbia – have long sought to combine these favorable elements of suburban comfort and urban excitement.
Even if the COVID-19 crisis accelerates the flight to suburbia, we’re nowhere near ready to write off America’s big cities. For one, recent data shows that cities aren’t necessarily more vulnerable than suburbs when it comes to the spread of the virus. But more importantly, the driving forces that have fueled the growth of our cities aren’t going away: access to public transportation, walkability, and an emphasis on experiences over possessions. It’s reasonable to anticipate that more suburban areas can thrive by capturing these principles, but don’t expect gravitational cities like New York to become ghost towns any time soon.
Is the Pandemic Curing Real Estate Corporate Culture?
With co-workers often doubling as competitors, real estate corporate culture has earned a reputation for being cutthroat. And while companies such as Keller Williams and Coldwell Banker have attempted to buck that paradigm, the industry has generally been slow to change.
In February, just a month before the pandemic started to transform the ways we live and work, the president of Colliers International’s central region opined that real estate companies must focus on creating a positive and healthy culture “not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because your team’s wellbeing is genuinely important.”
Today, that statement seems almost prophetic.
As pointed out in a recent Bisnow roundup of companies that are going out of their way to keep workers happy during the pandemic, creating a great place to work is about much more than providing amenities and perks. Companies are learning fast that transparent communication and acts of compassion are far more important to employees than a cool office space.
As we move toward a future in which working from home will be the new norm for many, workers’ desire for expressions of humanity from their employers is only going to increase. Likewise, as more and more real estate leaders begin to understand how crucial it is to shape a culture that mitigates the drop off in productivity and engagement that can inevitably result from a lack of in-person interaction, we can expect to see more companies prioritize health and wellness above all else — a lesson that will likely make its way into the strategies real estate advisors offer to their clients, shaping the future of work in the process.
From Our (Home) Desk:
Journalism in the Pandemic
While companies have been forced to adopt new approaches to asserting their voice in the media discussions happening during the pandemic, reporters are facing their own challenges as they aim to provide insight on a constantly evolving issue that is impacting every aspect of industry and daily life. Our team recently spoke with reporters who are working hard to identify and cover the trends that will help real estate and our sister industries at Antenna Group adapt to the new normal. We thank Elaine Misonzhnik of National Real Estate Investor, Samantha Rowan of REFI US, Liz Young of NY Real Estate Journal, and Lois Weiss of NY Post for taking a moment to tell us about their experiences reporting in these times, as well as their continued work and contributions to our industry.
Check out Antenna Group’s recent blog post recapping these important discussions here.