Brick-and-mortar retail is toast. The coronavirus has simply accelerated a pre-existing trend. It’s far easier to have Jeff Bezos deliver toilet paper and goat cheese to my doorstep than for me to drag my lazy rear end to Target. COVID-19 may prove to be the coup de grâce for this struggling sector.
More of us will work from home. Having had a taste of the telecommuting life, many employees will demand more of it. And since it’s cheaper not to pay for an office, many companies may decide to downsize or forgo them entirely. Now is not a particularly good time to become a commercial real estate agent.
Over the medium- to long-term, people will start moving out of cities again. For several years, people were moving into the downtown area of major cities. The appeal is obvious: Downtowns had been revitalized, there are plenty of things to do, and crucially, jobs were located there. However, that caused a problem: Soaring rents. Now, if people are no longer required to show up to the office, there is far less incentive to live downtown. The large amount of money that would be blown on outrageously high rent could serve as a down payment on a home in the suburbs. So, people will live there instead.