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What will the world look like post Covid-19 pandemic?

The question that is being asked increasingly in households and businesses across the country is: what will the world look like post the Covid-19 pandemic? John Bound shares his thoughts.

Many are predicting great change in the way we work and live and are also pondering where they  are going to be based.

Almost overnight, so many of us are now very comfortable with virtual meetings and are now thinking this may well be a blueprint for the future rather than dragging people out of offices to meet face to face regularly - both costly and travelling that is bad for the environment.

You will certainly not be alone in thinking that this crisis will, in all likelihood, make people re-evaluate their lifestyles and work.

As someone who has spent 40 years immersed in the property market, I was flabbergasted by how the market was frozen overnight. There has, of course, been an impact on the whole sector and every business. However, as the days and weeks pass, we are already seeing signs that people are beginning to plan ahead.

People are looking for properties, trawling the internet and clearly pondering their next move. We have already a number of requests and notes of interest for when properties can be viewed in person.

There is a strong possibility that now, having experienced working from home for a period of time, this could become the new norm with less emphasis on conventional offices. 

Of course, offices will remain in demand and revised working practices mean they will be used in new, complementary and invigorating ways. However, young people may well want to make greater changes, giving up expensive residential rents and lifestyles in London and other big cities to move to less expensive rural areas.

We may well be looking at a situation where people work from home two or three days a week and commute to their office less frequently.

I was speaking to a 27-year-old yesterday who was thinking seriously about doing just that. Why have an expensive London office and flat when you can operate just as well from elsewhere?

If we see a degree of urban migration to the countryside, this may well push up the price of rural property and land.

Before the Covid-19 crisis there was general confidence in the property market and given that this crisis was first and foremost a health crisis what was a solid economic climate may well help expedite recovery.

No-one can say with certainty what the future holds, but home is where the heart is – we could all be spending more time there permanently, but home could well be in a different place.