At home offices, smaller cities, and low inventory
With the outbreak of Covid-19 and the immediate need for millions of businesses to switch to work from home, economists and real estate forecasters alike are calling for an increase in need for home office space.
“As more companies have been embracing remote work, buyers are driving demand for houses with home offices higher. Homes featuring the term ‘office’ are selling 9 days faster than the overall housing inventory." - George Ratiu, Senior Economist of Realtor.com
While many companies may not immediately implement a work from home structure full time, we can expect to see a certain increase in the number of people who are working from home on a regular basis. So if you have a home office in your home, you're home may sell faster and be worth more than you think.
If selling isn't in your immediate plan, then maybe you need a little help making working from home a little easier. As someone who has worked from home for years, let me share- creating a motivating environment and staying productive is MUCH harder than you think. The laundry, dishes, and organization projects will call from their crevices to try to distract you. Here are some of the major keys to make working from home actually work from Time.com
1) Create a designated work space. This sounds easy, but adding more square footage to a home you didn't expect to have an office in is next to impossible unless you mind investing $25,000 - $50,000. Try to have all the things you need in the space you have- pads, pens, paper clips, folders etc. whatever your business needs so you don't have to leave your work zone. Add in the feels- set up your diffuser, add some green foliage, pics of your loved ones, motivational quotes etc. If you can, close a door, but if not, try to establish some sort of other mental signal for yourself- a "business on" and "business off" mode.
2) Find a friend. Working from home can be lonely, especially for those who are used to constant social interaction at their jobs otherwise. Find someone in your office, or even someone not in your office going through the same experience, you can video chat with both as an accountability feature and to help bounce ideas and feed that need to socialize. FaceTime on your apple device, Video conferencing via Zoom.us , and facebook messenger are all great options for either one-on-one or multiple caller sessions.
3) Structure or bust. This is probably the hardest part (at least for me) of working from home. Having a set structure, even for things like replying to emails and checking messages, will help you not feel overwhelmed or get side tracked. Just as well, structured breaks to get up, move around, get some fresh air, or grab an afternoon java to help you push through the end of the day can help you reset by giving you a little dopamine spike.
If you aren't use to sitting in front of the computer or on your phone for long periods of time, getting some blue light blocking glasses can help reduce fatigue and actually help you sleep better. I ordered an adorable pair from tijneyewear.com
A shift to smaller cities?
Because people have more freedom to work from home, that means the lack of an office commute is also releasing restrictions on where buyers are buying, making suburban and even rural areas more appealing to some. This global pandemic and fear of spread, seemingly overnight, especially in densely populated areas, also adds to the want to live further away from major metropolitan areas in case of future outbreaks of Covid-19 or other unforeseeable viruses or diseases.
"Nearly a third of Americans are considering moving to less densely populated areas in the wake of the pandemic...43% of city dwellers had recently checked a real estate site for a house or apartment to rent or buy as compared to 26% of those in the suburbs, and 21% of those in rural areas." - The Harris Poll
Thankfully for us here in the Upstate, we haven't grown too big yet! Our Main Streets and city centers are buzzing but most residents live in the suburban and rural areas. As a result, and in combination with the stay-at-home movement, I feel we've been able to sharply diminish the curve in our local areas.
Hows the housing market?
In our local market, we already have an influx of people who are relocating here from all over due to the industrial growth we've experienced over the last few years, but now, we will surely see an even harder surge of out of town buyers looking for a higher quality of living at a much cheaper price. This influx will only add to our low inventory issues locally as well as nationally as explained by Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research for the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Just as any business, when housing supply is low, this means prices will continue to rise... 8% higher year to date nationally. Builders are working to capitalize on this low inventory issue, with over 800 planned homesites in the Boiling Springs area alone.
These figures were from our NAR 2020 Conference which offered several sessions virtually this year, again promoting a new normal- many agents would normally not get to be a part of this conference but due to stay at home restrictions, the virtual component made a huge impact and expanded the conference exposure.
Stay tuned for a May Local Market Update to see how home sales have picked up from the seemingly motionless month of April 2020 where home showings dropped 50% and many Brokers and agents alike braced themselves for a repeat of 2008.