Testing Pandemic Housing Assumptions, Round One
Early in the pandemic (Version I) there were a lot of theories advanced about its lasting effects on housing. Some of the theories were fanciful. These included (true story) that new homes would include covered areas specifically for no-touch delivery of on-line purchases which would, of course, constitute the bulk of our shopping. Multifamily construction would have to include no-touch or self-cleaning surfaces throughout common areas. Private areas for outdoor living would be mandatory Other projections were based on early observations of housing trends. Among the ones that were most worrisome to many in the industry was the apparent desire to shift away from density. This was seen happening both in an increased demand for detached housing and a perceived exodus from larger cities. The premise was the big cities would see dramatic declines in their populations as growth exploded in smaller cities and rural areas. Vacation meccas could gain the most as workers would be able to work in the areas where they wanted to play. Another, less concerning assumption was increasing homebuyer demand for more living space to accommodate working and schooling at home.
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