It’s no exaggeration to suggest the entire planet is slowly starting to emerge from lockdown, with governments and individuals around the world assessing how their lives have been, and are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, (as both individuals and businesses), the last three months have been characterised by the phrase fight, flight or freeze.
This is the body’s automatic, built-in way of dealing with threat, danger and in this case, stress.
As a micro-community, the company I jointly own has witnessed all three within our team. It has been interesting, and in some instances, incredibly rewarding, to see how people we have known and worked with for years, rise to what could have been perceived as insurmountable circumstances.
As we start to become more accustomed to the new way of life – social distancing, PPE, home schooling, flexible working environments – all have become part of the daily ritual we now accept. It’s positive to note how quickly we have become accustomed to these new rituals, and how they are now the norm to the extent we ostracise those who do not conform to the new health and safety preventative standards.
So, now we have passed the first of what we should expect to be many phases, where do we go from here? I would suggest some, if not most of us, are assessing what has changed in our personal and professional lives and are trying to identify where the opportunities are to improve upon our current status quo.
We will have encountered positive experiences which should be seized upon and developed, and conversely, negative experiences which will make any decision to change our lives even more daunting.
Personally, and one which will resonate among countless parents, the ‘home schooling’ journey crystalises all experiences that start with difficulty, even pain; but result in such a rewarding conclusion – at least so far.
I know my wife and I have forged bridges with our six-year-old in ways not possible had our relationships remained ‘weekend fun’ centric. This analogy can be expanded to our working lives, and there is huge disruption across all sectors at present. No profession will be left untarnished when the pandemic subsides. It will be among this upheaval that new solutions to recently created problems will be created – and with those, new job opportunities.
As an employer of expats, all too often we hear “I’d love to live and work overseas, but I have responsibilities, job, house, car etc…” Recently those conversations have changed to “I’m now able to make the move because…”
The above is not to be glib to the plight of some, but to recognise there (albeit sometimes) are positives and opportunities which can be derived from difficult and negative circumstances. Individuals and businesses who want to, and can, seize upon these opportunities will grow both emotionally and fiscally and ultimately be in a better place (however you quantify place) on the other side of ‘this’.
How does this narrative lead to real estate? By recognising that uncertainty can create opportunity. I recently wrote of fortune favouring the brave, and as a company, we have witnessed this ‘fortune favouring’ repeatedly over the last three months. It is no coincidence nearly half of the homes we have sold recently have been in the mid-high luxury bracket.
More than half of the buyers who have purchased these homes have used cash, not mortgage finance, to secure the properties. What has been universal, however, is that all have been purchased at values which have never been seen before. We must accept that at some point the world will return to normal operations, and when it does values of all assets will return to their natural state.
We can leave the conversation of what a property’s natural value is for another day, but I think we all recognise in these unnatural times that no asset is valued at its natural amount. Across every aspect of our lives there can only be upsides from this moment, or at least from a point not too far away from this moment.
However we decide to measure our growth, whether in terms of relationships, career or wealth, they will all be determined by how we approach the coming months – be that fight, flight or freeze.