The Pandemic and Citrus County Real Estate
Over the last few months, the Coronavirus Pandemic has a been dominant influence in our lives. This historical event has impacted our outlook on health, personal finances, the structure of workplaces, and the very way we interact as human beings. Whether the threat stays with us for months or years, there are certainly going to be changes in society that are lasting.
Unquestionably, the future of real estate, residential and commercial, will be shaped by what this happening has left in its wake. With that said, I would like to share some ideas about the pandemic’s influence on real estate in general and particularly in the Citrus County market.
The trend toward people spending increased time working at home versus being anchored to the typical office setting has been evolving for years. Clearly, the pandemic will push the momentum of this trend into a new elevated level. Many companies that had not embraced the concept of employees working at home were forced into adopting the practice. This has led many companies to discover that the arrangement can productively work. It has been no secret that established practitioners of the work-at-home trend report that employees are happier, there has been no loss in productivity and overhead expenses are reduced.
Ultimately, this will translate into a reduced need for traditional commercial office space. Developers will modify use of existing office space and pullback on the creation of new office buildings. In the residential arena the already popular notion of an Office-Computer Area-Den will become increasingly more important. Builders will focus on creating homes more compatible with the need for routinely working at home by possibly designing double office areas for working couples and better buffering workspace from the rigors of everyday home life.
This increasing trend will additionally open the door to greater flexibility about where people decide to live. The consideration about commuting distance and daily accessibility to the office will become a less important concern. The need to travel to company offices or headquarters once a week or less allows people to shift their attention toward housing in less crowded and less costly suburban locations. The movement away from densely populated areas accommodates the cry for health and financial well-being.
Although the COVID-19 outbreak has not been good for anyone (except the makers of hand-sanitizer) there is a strong possibility that the experience will create a benefit for the Citrus County area. Traditionally people have been attracted to our area because it delivered an escape from crowds, excessive traffic, and costly living expenses. These very attractions are now top-of-mind among many urban area residents. It is probable that metro hubs like Tampa, Ft. Myers, West Palm Beach and Orlando will experience some outbound migration of current residents and see fading attraction among new Sunshine State arrivals.
The new world order of social distancing combined with the ability live and work away from the core of city markets paints the Nature Coast as a prime option worthy of consideration. Our surroundings are certainly less crowded and more affordable.
This area also is perfectly positioned for commuting to the metro hubs of Tampa Bay and Orlando offering an appeal for work-at-home employees linked to businesses in both markets. This fact is further enhanced by the expansion of the Suncoast Highway. The upcoming completion of the roadway will offer easier, safer, and quicker access to the core of Tampa.
I believe this windfall for the Citrus County real estate market is very probable. I am not suggesting that the influence of COVID-19 it will bring an immediate avalanche of new residents. But it will result in increasing numbers of households from densely populated areas seeking the caliber of environment that the Citrus County is perfectly poised to deliver.
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