There are likely going to be lots of new norms to contend with as we navigate our way into the new world of 2021 following a disruptive and unprecedented year in 2020.
City centres, work, leisure time and our living circumstances are all likely to look hugely different in the months and years to come, for a variety of reasons.
With the nation and the economy slowly making our way back to some kind of normality the time has come to tentatively consider what this new world will look like in the positive context of a vaccinated and liberated population.
If we consider, for instance, that cities are highly likely to become hubs of social activity and green spaces, and that the architectural focus will likely to be with this in mind, the entire face of cities as places of work and consumerism is likely to end fairly abruptly.
When we consider our working lives, we’ve metaphorically let the genie out of the bottle on this one and it has become very quickly obvious that a huge amount of the working population can do their jobs perfectly well from home.
If about half of people are perfectly able to work just as effectively from home, is there really any reason or, dare I say it, legal precedent to return to the way things were? We’ve yet to see.
As Tim Hartford acknowledged in his column for the FT, “If you had told me in mid-March that almost half the UK would be working from home in April, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you had told me that this massive rearrangement would happen almost overnight, and with few hitches, I would have been even more incredulous.”
Our living arrangements
Another sizeable shift over the last 12 months is that people’s opinions about their homes changed fairly rapidly.
For people living in apartments in the city a smaller amount of space at home is perfectly fine when you spend most of your time at work or socialising, but with society shut down for a lengthy period of time? Perhaps not.
When forced to turn our homes into classrooms or offices the question that presumably comes to the fore is whether you do have enough space for this stuff in the long term?
For those of us perfectly happy in our surroundings, (and we include apartment owners who are now so close to being able to return to normality) it now becomes a question of whether we intend to move at all?
After all, the average tenancy length in the UK is about 12 months but given recent events it feels less and less like a suitable amount of time to give it before considering moving.
Of course, this is ideal territory for landlords who want longer-term tenancies anyway to avoid potentially empty properties, and it would seem that tenants are also keen to extend their stays.
As acknowledged in Landlord Today, demand for longer tenancies is growing quickly and it suits property investors and landlords to accept this change with certainty of income following with it.
Demand for property as well as rental demand is likely to continue for some time which is fantastic news for landlords and investors, but the fact that tenants are now increasingly looking to commit to longer-term agreements is the cherry on top.