The Pandemic Accelerated Existing Real Estate Trends
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The Covid-19 pandemic has been “the Great Disruptor,” leading people to reconsider their living circumstances and helping to fuel migration between various states. So says Jonathan Miller, president and chief executive officer of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm he co-founded in 1986, and this week’s guest on the Masters in Business podcast.
Miller, whose Matrix blog is widely read in the real estate industry, as is his weekly Housing Notes email update, explains how “Zillow surfing” has become the pandemic real estate pastime. The lockdown acted as an accelerant on a variety of pre-existing trends. But even as vaccinations become widespread, contracts for home sales continue to rise. The notion that the pandemic would lead to the “death of cities” has been greatly exaggerated. Cities have an optics problem in that although business districts are mostly empty during the work-from-home environment, residential areas are vibrant and active.
We also discuss the possible transition of office space into residential space that will reset costs, making urban centers more attractive to younger buyers and renters. Miller explains why luxury real estate is ill-defined by the industry. He prefers an objective measure of price, and uses the top 10% of transactions by price as a benchmark for luxury real estate.
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with Michael Lewis, the poet laureate of finance. We discuss his latest book, The Premonition: A Pandemic Story. He is the author of Undoing Project, Moneyball, Flashboys, Big Short and many other books. We discuss how the U.S. was the best prepared nation in the world for a pandemic, yet allowed a variety of its institutions to fail.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is chairman and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and was previously chief market strategist at Maxim Group. He is the author of “Bailout Nation.”
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