How Housing Demand Has Shifted Recently

Performance Property Real Estate Question

Q: Gerald, a lot of people moved to suburban and rural areas with more space when the pandemic started. Has that trend continued? Martha, Manville, NJ

A: People fled urban areas in 2020 to buy and to rent seeking perceived safety from the pandemic as well as more space for their families and for home office space. That initial trend during the pandemic has reversed itself and as I anticipated people are moving back to urban areas both to buy and to rent. For example, rental demand in Manhattan in summer 2021 was the highest it has been in 10 years. Hudson County, where my Jersey City office is located, has recently been the highest performing housing market for residential sales in NJ. The factors that attracted people and many companies to urban areas have not changed despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The one pandemic related real estate trend that has not reversed itself is lower demand for commercial office space. Workers and companies now realize that they don’t need the commercial office space they once thought they did because so many people were able to successfully work from home during the pandemic. I suspect the spread of the super contagious delta variant may in fact lower commercial office space demand even further, at least for the time being but only time will tell. Thanks for your question, Martha.

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