The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still reverberating globally, and its implications on the real estate industry have been substantial. According to the top realtor and founder of Justin Havre & Associates RE/MAX First, Justin Havre, “With world economies grinding to a halt and countries enforcing lockdowns to flatten the curve, the pandemic has made a profound impact on the real estate industry and has forever altered the way we live and work.”
Sharing his observations on its impact on commercial real estate, Havre says, “The pandemic has created numerous vacant spaces as it has severely affected the service and retail industry, with many having to shut down owing to the incurrence of huge losses. Many companies have also downsized their office spaces, with several permanently shifting to the ‘work-from-home’ model for their employees since they have already invested in technologies to create a robust remote working system.”
Speaking of the impact on residential real estate, Havre opines, “The pandemic has brought the concept of owning a house to the forefront. It has gained renewed importance as it enforces security and safety, with many people seeking to move from rented accommodation to purchasing their own home. Also, with work-from-home becoming an integral part of our lives, many prospective buyers are opting to move to affordable residential properties or distant suburbs, as being close to the workplace to shorten commuting hours is no longer a necessity.”
Prodded on how his company is coping with lockdown and social distancing rules, Havre reveals, “We had to pivot and leverage technology to showcase properties. We show the interiors of the sellers’ homes using 3D scans and videos, allowing buyers to view the entire property from the comfort of their homes. All deals have been taking place virtually, completely based on the trust the clients have in us.”
Overall, a buyer’s sentimentality has definitely been affected by job insecurity, reduced salary, and savings. On the other hand, it is an opportune time to invest in real estate as the prices of the properties are witnessing a sharp decline. “Several investors are investing in residential properties in emerging markets as they are currently highly lucrative and a prime asset for cash flow as renting the property at an affordable price will guarantee positive returns,” he concludes.