Homes are where we live, make memories, share joys and shed tears. They represent a safe harbor for us in not only good times but difficult ones as well. We pledge our lives and our paychecks to make sure our shelters are reliable and secure places that allow us to retreat from the woes of the world or just another hectic day in our lives. Having endured so much over the last few years - and more so the last 90 days - those that live throughout the greater Bay Area are asking themselves more questions about where and what their dwellings should be.
As a personal pledge of mine to keep you at the forefront of the most current trends that impact you here, I make a slight departure this week from a statistical vane to better help you understand the mile high observations we see in the market that are showing strong changes afoot with regards to your home and what people want more of within them. At some point there will be data to reflect on, but in most cases this can only be helpful in the rearview mirror, so my observations are based upon countless conversations with agents throughout the Bay Area and our country as to what we – as realtors - are being asked to solve for many.
The extent of the pandemic - and the long runway to resolve it in front of us – is creating a wave of de-urbanization. What does this mean? The major metropolitan cities within our nation are seeing requirements for housing shift. We have, for decades, been collectively working towards a notion of more walkable cities with readily accessible public transportation with people living in denser housing that is more vertical and offers less private green spaces while being located more proximately near work centers. These trends are being abruptly halted by the realization caused by COVID 19 – and the fact that this may not be the last time we have to deal with an unknown disease.
Those that can – and not to be an alarmist, when I say de-urbanization, we are talking about major metro cities seeing a relative amount of their populations seeking to be further away from city center as their jobs better allow for this now – are electing to place greater importance on living in more open spaces and environments that offer a respite from the chaos of the world. As employers have had to adjust quickly to their work forces being productive from afar, they have also had the opportunity to see it pay off. This learned success is allowing people to spend less time commuting and more time working while also gaining the ability to relish in greater personal time or time with family and friends.
The ability to work from home is getting the corporate seal of approval. So those who can - and that may still need to be proximate or physically show up at their offices in an abridged fashion at certain times – will be able to seek homes outside their metropolitan markets. In our region of the world, this means areas like Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Contra Cost counties will likely be the beneficiaries of this mobilization and people’s desire to put down roots.
That said, some of the most predominate requests are for new or more recently updated homes. Many are asking for dedicated home office space that will better accommodate their work and ability to Zoom with colleagues to best collaborate remotely and remain highly productive. In some cases, the request is for this space to be more significant like a guest house or barn than can serve as home office headquarters. Along with this, pools are now more in fashion as so many public pools or private club pools may not be readily accessible during times like we are experiencing.
If you find yourself needing guidance now or in the future, you know we got your back!