Paradox of the Pandemic
Continuing the conversation… about our evolving experience of the coronavirus and the shockingly busy real estate market that has risen in its wake.
Could anyone have predicted this market five months ago? Buyers donning face masks to escape the virus (now also the smoke) then lining up in droves to write offers on listings as fast as they come on? It’s a strange time.
And at first glance, there’s a huge disconnect between real estate and the real world. Who would want to buy a home during a pandemic? Or a fire? After so much social unrest? When so many people have lost their jobs and the country is in a recession?
And yet, people are scrambling to buy homes and pay record prices. Is all this market activity happening despite covid or because of it? My own conclusion is that this crazy market is a symptom of the ways the coronavirus is already changing the world. Call it the paradox of the pandemic.
Let’s retrace our steps… In Mid March, things came to a halt. The virus was raging. Sensible people began sheltering in place. All but a few businesses closed. And it wasn’t clear how long it might last. All our daily patterns were disrupted: jobs, schools, families, shopping, exercise, commute, travel, health, connection with others. Everything was up in the air.
While supplies of toilet paper and covid tests were running dangerously low there was one thing we suddenly had an abundance of: free time. Whether we wanted it or not. As covid cases grew and the pace of life slowed, more existential moments found their way into the gaps. Moments to consider the future, reflect on the past and reevaluate what’s really important in life.
Many people emerged from shelter in place with a new-found appreciation for home and a firm desire to re-vision the future. One of the oft-echoed lessons of covid has been: What are we waiting for? There are no guarantees. Let’s live in the moment. What makes us happy? It has been a personal call to action.
And so the great reshuffling process has begun, as virtually everyone in the country has started taking inventory of their own internal landscape and making a commitment to some kind of meaningful change, sooner rather than later.
Because … why wait? When people make big changes in their lives that often includes finding a new home in the process. And that’s what’s driving the paradox of this pandemic.