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Location, Location, Location?

The weather in Pittsburgh today is keeping in line with what Punxsutawney Phil predicted last week… 6 more weeks of winter. The icy roads and fear of tunnels make commuting to work in these conditions stressful and time consuming, but are we stuck doing this forever? This article from Bloomberg the other day brings up some interesting points as we rush to grab the next driverless Uber and makes you consider…will location be the most important thing for real estate in the future?

The average daily commute for workers in the US has grown from 26 minutes to 26.6 minutes from 2014 to 2016, according to data from the Census Bureau. This small difference doesn’t seem to be that much, but when you also consider the return home, that is 5 more hours each year in the car than we were spending in 2014. I don’t know about you, but I would rather not spend that time behind the person who doesn’t know their turn signal has been on for the past 3 miles. The data also shows that people with commutes under 25 minutes are on the decline while those spending more than 60 minutes show the largest percentage increase. Spending more than an hour, each way, would be a difficult commute, but if you were able to jump in your driverless car and let it do all the work, it might not be so bad.

As driverless cars become more mainstream and telecommuting continues to rise, we will likely see more buyers looking further outside major metropolitan areas and placing less importance on location. If commuting to work is not a factor and can be done from almost anywhere, most will probably avoid the newest housing plan (with 300 copies of their house crammed into a small area) and opt for something a little more personalized with some more space but further from town. This shift out of cities could expand the real estate territories of many real estate professionals and remove the location factor that has been the cornerstone of the real estate industry, but only time will tell.

I do not know what the future holds for our ever-changing industry but am excited to see where it takes us. The daily commute to and from work usually increases my stress levels, but perhaps the driverless car of the future will remove it all together and let me avoid scraping the ice off my car while my hand freezes.

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash

The opinions expressed in this post are the sole view of the writer and do not reflect the opinion of Princeton Mortgage Corporation.

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