The quick answer to the above question is that we don't know. But what is most likely? Real estate will boom here, as Connecticut repairs its outdated infrastructure with Federal money coming into the State. Although Manhattan looks to be in the midst of a boom, we still don't know what RTO (Return to Office) plans will be. Given what we are reading about how much workers dislike "hard pants" (meaning anything with a waistband and without Lycra), there will be lots of telecommuting in the coming year. People may move companies, they may open remote offices, or they may seek coworking spaces.
What does this mean for New Haven and Hartford?
Small cities like New Haven and Hartford may be helped greatly by changes in lifestyle. They have enough culture, dining, and recreation to keep workers happy, yet they offer the chance to live with more space, more outdoor living, and less driving/commuting time. New Haven in particular, with its amazing stock of varied housing, will profit from those who choose to leave the big city centers. Working a day or two in NYC is perfectly doable from a Connecticut suburb, and it may come to be the norm for many.
People will still want to eat out, see friends, and gather. Restaurants, entertainment venues, and other types of public spaces will likely spread out. They will want to offer outside seating, plus more social distancing indoors. For real estate, that means more square footage.
We will all continue to shop both in stores and online. Warehouses will continue to be in short supply, as retailers seek to get goods within easy delivery distances. Stores may change layouts, or configure space for curbside pickup. More will be automated, as workers are still hard to come by in most industries.
Have it your way
What is clear is that, two years in, we have already changed permanently in some ways. "Have it your way" is not just a fast food slogan anymore--it's a way of life for millions of people. We have also learned to be resilient, and to take chances. More of us will open businesses, or add new lines to existing ones. When an opportunity arises, many more will grab it. We've learned that life is uncertain, and that acting on a dream isn't crazy. For many, buying property will be part of that dream.
Our industry is also changed forever.
We are much more capable of closing transactions remotely, working creatively to get things done differently, and thinking outside the box. That positions us well to help clients realize their goals in 2022. Happy New Year!