One thing we can say about the pandemic is that it is accelerating many trends that were already in place, as can be seen in many parts of our economy. Think about food and grocery delivery services, home workout solutions and the ability to conduct cashless/cardless transactions. Consider the idea that you can sign documents electronically instead of lengthy in person signing marathons. We have all now become accustomed to the video meeting in lieu of face to face interactions. These services were all available at the start of the year, yet their usage has exploded through the shutdown. Technology is enabling a lot of this change, but the trends are not limited to the tech sector. We have discussed the under supply of housing several times. The coronavirus pandemic points to even greater demand as some urban city dwellers consider taking on more space in less densely populated suburbs with the bonus of being able to borrow at very low interest rates. Low supply, plus increasing demand, leads to rising home prices for consumers and higher profits for homebuilders. Some people who have learned to work from home will decide they want to continue to do so. Facebook and Twitter have already announced that any of their employees who want to work from home may continue to do so in the future. Will many of those people decide to invest more in their home office? You bet – they will buy paint, bookshelves, desks…perhaps even decide on a full remodel. Home improvement retailers, flooring companies, paint companies and more will likely benefit.
So what do homebuilders have in common with virtual meetings? Both are indirect beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic.