In my original post I talked about changes to how we work and the impact on property brought about by COVID 19. One thing for sure is that we are in for the long haul.

What has surprised me is just how quickly changes in behaviours and the impact of COVID has had. In the last week these are just a few of the impacts;

  • Twitter has announced that the majority of its workforce can work from hoime permanently - that is 6,000 employees
  • Savills, Strutt & Parker, Knight Frank and others have seen a 20%+ increase in enquiries for high end properties in rural locations nationally with buyers stating that they are no longer tied to working in our major cities
  • Estate Agents are already reporting that broadband speeds are a key question
  • Brompton Bikes (the British made fold up bikes) have seen a 5 fold increase in sales
  • With Government Guidance that mass transit isn't going to work commuters are being encouraged to walk/bike to work and Local Authorities are working on increasing cycle lane capacity, widening pavements etc
  • Many occupiers are reporting that with offices being redesigned to be COVID Compliant the numbers of staff they can accomodate is down by upto 75% in some settings
  • Occupiers of high rise offices (in particular) are working out how they are going to get staff into the building, lifts will have limitations on how many people they can carry, stairs may be primary means of access
  • There are many reports that employees rather like working from home, not missing the commute but still need social interaction

This has come about over a very short period, only 7 weeks and we have to anticipate further changes. It is looking like we will have to live with and manage COVID as vaccines look way off and of course as we ease restrictions to get the economy moving we could see infection rates increase. Conversely there is a lot of debate that herd immunity is the best way forward. Add to this real concerns that many people will have to returning to some form of normality you have to think that there will be a sea change in our habits and lifestyles. Controlling 60m + people during this Summer without the ability to go abroad on holiday is going to be a real challenge. Our coasts, Natioanl Parks and many other areas are going to be swamped by people wanting a break.

From what we have seen so far I think the main property impacts will be in the office sector, high street retail and the residential market. The manufacturing/industrial sector will probably continue without significant change. The distribution sector will continue to grow as online shopping increases.  It will be interesting to see how much office space becomes available in the short term and to what extent occupiers do resort to home working as a long term solution. 

With just a rapidly changing landscape no doubt there will be more to report over the follwoing weeks.

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