You may have noticed, there is a real-estate boom happening. Agents, appraisers, inspectors are busier than they have ever been. There are the expected places such as the glamour destinations near the big cities: Malibu, Hamptons, Upstate New York, but it seems to be happening everywhere — in dense urban areas and quiet suburban towns. Houses are being sold within days of listings, or even sight unseen. What is happening? The last I checked we were in a pandemic with the worst economy in 100 years. There is social unrest, protests, and political turmoil. Not really the brew of a huge market upswing. Or is it?
Someday Becomes Today
Of all the things that Covid has caused, this is one of the most unexpected. Sure, people are working more from home, they are placing a greater value on wellness, and shifting everything to digital. These are the obvious and easily predictable effects of a pandemic. But there is something additional that is happening. It is the feeling that life decisions that may have been put off into some distant future, are being made now. Someday becomes Today. The dreams of the future become the actions of today.
Covid is acting as an accelerator of change, the catalyst that is pushing all manner of changes forward. People are re-examining their values, their goals, and their behavior like never before. Everything from Black Lives Matter to how we are organizing our family lives — a huge range of ideas, values, and behaviors are being examined with astonishing rapidity.
Reclaiming a Sense of Agency
Think of how all things digital have moved ahead 10 years in the last few months. How willing will people who have been working out at home with digital platforms be to go back to yoga studios or dance classes? The world of exercise has been permanently changed. The same is happening with telemedicine, travel, and a host of other industries.
What is surprising, is that behind these macro trends are the lifestyle micro-decisions of individuals who are not just rethinking the services and products in their lives, but how they are living and what they are doing. Decisions and desires that have been put off for some time, or imagined for 5 or 10 years in the future, are being acted on now. Imagine if you are in your fifties, and suddenly the job you are in that you are very good at no longer exists. Perhaps your company or entire industry is massively impacted. You are now faced with decisions that you were thinking you would not have to deal with for 10 years. Retire? Look for a new parallel career? Or something else entirely.
This Covid catalyst is sometimes a decision of necessity, but more often it is a decision to reclaim a sense of agency from a highly unpredictable world. We are powerless over these huge forces disrupting life around us. If there is something that one has been pondering, or desiring for some time, it seems that as unlikely as one would think it would be, those decisions and actions are being brought into the present. One may have no control over politics, vaccines, and lockdowns, but if one has the means, one can immediately act on things like moving house or buying a boat. However, if you want to buy a smallish pleasure boat, you will find it difficult as there is also a Covid boat boom happening. Who knew?
Re-Ordering of Personal and Societal Priorities
We are seeing a re-ordering of personal and societal priorities in response to Covid that are far beyond mask-wearing. Ask yourself how many people you know have in the last couple of months decided to do something that previously would have seemed to be shockingly rash? I know dozens. Sane, grounded, well-regarded people who are making massive shifts in their lives. For the most part, these actions are not in response to economic circumstances, but rather to an inner motivation to do something now and to demonstrate a level of control over one’s life. Is this change for the sake of change, or are these things that now have a priority based on a re-examination of our circumstances? There is probably a lot of both happening, but the results are the same. The world is on the move in unexpected ways.