The impact of coronavirus on our living choices may be less overt than on our working lives and shopping habits, but a shift is underway.
The ‘nest’ became our safe haven in recent months, but people are looking at their living situation in new ways; from access to outside space and a dedicated work area to where they are located. The importance of community has also become more important because many people have been dependent on their local communities during lock-down.
The pandemic has accelerated broader trends in consumer behaviour across the board; as with the acceleration of online retailing, consumer trends that were already in play within the housing market are expected to pick up pace.
This acceleration is called the ‘decision fulcrum’; an internal pivot point driving living choices depending on individual’s priorities. The decision to rent, expand or locate close to or further away from work has always been determined by a person’s ranking of priorities. These include access to employment, length of commute, cost, lifestyle, space needs and proximity to good schools.
This combination changes as a person progresses through different stages of life. Social and professional priorities early on in a person’s career often give way to practical considerations as a person starts a family. The trade-off often equates to longer commute times.
The ability to work more flexibility will likely alter the timing of this trade-off, with certain housing decisions being made earlier in our life cycle.
Graduates initially prioritise establishing their career, pursuing an active social life and focus on professional and social opportunities. This attracts them to Dublin where housing is most expensive. The high rents and lack of facilities in lock-down means households are now likely to relocate sooner from Dublin to the provinces.