It is unlikely that anyone could have foreseen how profoundly Covid-19 would re-frame the way we fill our various roles in life—from how we work, to how our kids go to school, to how we keep in touch with friends and family—and most of it being done from home. After an uncomfortably quick learning curve, a much greater number of our interactions are being played out on Zoom, WebEx and Google Hangouts.
With traffic starting to return to the roads as restrictions are gradually lifted, many are now asking why return to a long commute or the ball-and-chain of a set workplace. These months spent sheltered in place have shown that the substance of many of those whose jobs can be conducted from literally anywhere with a reliable internet connection, and we have seen that time spent commuting can instead be time spent working or otherwise engaged with life.
Indeed, it appears we are entering a new era, where the role of the home is transforming for many from being the place where they eat, sleep, congregate and spend their evenings and weekends, to the central hub from which the entire household lives, works, learns and plays. And as the necessity for a fixed location for work has been called to question, so has the premise of a fixed location for where we live.
After all, if our primary means of keeping in touch with our work and loved ones has become interacting with them on a screen, the next question is where would we prefer to be looking at that screen from. This has led to a growing emphasis on quality of life, with a draw towards places where we would prefer to spend our days and nights, and a drive to increase the richness of our existence that we crave for self-actualized living.
For some, this translated to becoming more mobile, taking to the road and visiting people and places they have been putting off for far too long. Many others used the downtime to improve their homes, taking on that long-overdue remodel, addition or outdoor project to create a better environment for work or play.
And in a trend that surprised most of us—in the midst of what would ordinarily be the symptoms of a catastrophic recession—people’s desire to improve their standard of lifestyle led many more to seek out a better place to live, which has translated to increasing numbers of multiple offers and overbids in desirable locations like our county, bolstered by historically low interest rates and the artificially low supply of the Shelter-in-Place restrictions that we were under.
With inventory and access for showings now returning to normal, albeit a new normal, it remains to be seen how the market evolves as the year goes on, but there is no question now that the importance of the role of the home in our daily lives has gone to a whole new level.