6 min read

How Unexpected Trends Influence Real Estate

Mar 27, 2018 11:03:51 AM

In the 90s, as Starbucks started to expand out of its Northwest homeland, independent coffee shop owners started to worry. The owners could see that this juggernaut franchise chain was bound to come to their towns at some point, and it would most likely mean the end of their fledgling shops.

However, the shop owners noticed a peculiar thing. They were right, of course; Starbucks did come to their towns, popping up everywhere like weeds in an untended garden. But their shops weren’t being killed off at all. In fact, they were flourishing. Starbucks coming to town actually, in some weird way, made the business of other rival shops boom.

And it wasn’t just coffee shops; it was everything. A Starbucks coming to town gave the whole area a new claim-to-fame. If you were looking to move somewhere and you saw a Starbucks while you were on your first visit, you’d sigh with relief. “Ahhh, this place is civilized.” People were more likely to move to an area with a Starbucks nearby. The coffee shop chain had a profound effect on real estate markets.

This is now colloquially referred to as The Starbucks Effect: when something unexpectedly influences something else that’s completely unrelated. Using this Starbucks metaphor (does anyone else want a chai latte right now, or is it just me?), we’re going to look at how trends that have nothing to do with real estate can have a profound effect on home value, neighborhood desirability, and buying trends.

Freelancing is Changing the Way We Work

Fifty years ago, life was pretty straightforward: You went to school, went to college, got a bachelor’s degree, got a job, and worked there until you retired. Not so much, anymore! Nowadays, you’re lucky if you work at one place for longer than five years, let alone 50.

That’s one of the reasons freelancing is becoming more and more popular. According to Upwork, a site that connects freelancers to clients, freelancers will make up the majority of the American workforce within the next decade. A whopping 50% of Millennials are already freelancing in some capacity.

What does that mean for real estate? Since most freelancers work remotely, that will mean homes catered to the remote worker will become more and more popular. A home with a great room for an office, for example, will greatly appeal to the freelance worker. Homes near populated areas with plenty of restaurants and coffee shops will also be desirable, for when the freelancer wants to get out of the “office.”

The Rise of Home and Cyber Schooling

For many reasons, more and more parents are finding it undesirable to send their kids to a traditional school. Whether it’s for religious reasons, fears of school violence, or just not liking the schools in the area, homeschooling and cyber schooling are both on the rise.

In Pennsylvania, 40,000 children (or about 3% of school-age children in the state) are enrolled in cyber schools. Many more are homeschooled. What does a home buyer want if they are looking to homeschool their children?

That’s something you need to think about going forward. A large, furnished basement area to set up a makeshift classroom? Nearby museums and parks for field trips? Or, in the case of cyber schooling, a cyber school organization in the area? These are things that will be on the minds of a significant percentage of parents looking to buy a home.

Tech Companies are Leaving the Valley

By now, pretty much everyone knows that Amazon is looking for a new city to build its second headquarters. Will it be Chicago? Dallas? Boston? We still don’t know, but we do know one thing: Amazon is a trendsetter, and what it does, other companies will eventually do, as well.

That means we can expect other large tech companies to either move or expand to other areas. In fact, it’s already happening in the tech homeland of San Francisco, where workers are leaving in record numbers due to rising costs of living.

If a tech company is coming your way, that will mean a lot of home buying and a rise in the value of homes across the board. Are you watching the latest tech news to see what’s possibly coming your way?

Why Own a Car When You Can Uber Everywhere?

By now, you’ve probably used Uber, or Lyft, or some other ride-sharing service. Well, you are not alone. Not only is ride-sharing a massive growth industry, but it is giving people the ability to do something they have never done before: sell their cars.

Yes, many people are going car-less, even outside of major cities. By requesting an Uber or renting a Zipcar, people don’t need to own a vehicle anymore. And you know what? Once people experience a life without loan payments, gas pumping, insurance, maintenance bills, parking tickets, etc., they don’t want to go back.

So ask yourself: What does a person who doesn’t want to own a car look for in a home? They probably want access to Uber and Zipcar and other ride-sharing services, and they probably want to live in a place that has at least some form of public transportation. They probably won’t care about a home having a garage, right? The people in this category are only growing, and sooner or later, they will come to you looking to buy a home!

More and More Domestic Air Travel

Somewhat related to the world of freelance growth, statistics show that domestic business air travel is on the rise. It probably has to do with people mostly working from home but needing to be in another place for business functions, necessitating air travel.

The business person who travels a lot wants to live in a place with easy access to an airport. Are there airport shuttle lines that run through a neighborhood you service? People who travel for business usually make more money than people who don’t, so getting a foot in this high-end market could cement your business.

Do you find these kinds of interesting correlations helpful for your real estate business? Do you think other people would find them interesting, as well? Feel free to take these statistics and interpretations and present them to your clients. They will really make your presentation pop!

But all the fun stats in the world won’t help if your presentation is not solid in and of itself. If you feel like your PowerPoint slides could use a little refresh, you should check out our Listing Presentation and Sales Training guide! We give you everything you need to become an A-List presenter, which of course will lead to a higher perception of your value as an agent, and net you more sales!


avatar_joeJoe Nickelson is a real estate professional dedicated to helping home buyers and sellers achieve their dreams of owning property, and helping real estate agents stop using the sometimes-vicious tactics that weigh on their consciences. He believes that the Smart Agents books will, quite literally, change people’s lives for the better. Check out his full bio here

Related Posts


New call-to-action