From the Unexpected to the Extraordinary

21 December 2020

That was Unexpected

Not many people in this world could have predicted the year we have just had. I am not sure what superlatives you would use to describe this year, but one word we would all agree on is “unexpected”.

Who would have predicted that we would be unable to travel overseas or interstate, or even outside our suburb. Who would have predicted we would be schooling our children or avoiding shopping centres and sporting events. Who would have thought we would be choosing just 10 people to attend a funeral or 20 people to attend a wedding. All unfortunate and unexpected.

They say that hindsight is 20/20, in other words it is easy is with hindsight to predict what would happen based on the evidence we now see.

Coronavirus was first reported in China in January 2020 and the first fatality on the 11th January. Within weeks it had spread to thousands of people and several nations and by the 21st January Australia began to introduce Travel restrictions.

It is ironic that the year 2020 will now be remembered for a year of complete lack of clarity.

In hindsight we can clearly see that a complete closure of international borders and an immediate Hotel Quarantine system could have prevented many deaths, but it hard to have such foresight even with a small amount of evidence.

In the Property world it now seems logical that from that early evidence, COVID 19 had the potential to disrupt the way we travel and interact with other people. Yet few were prepared for what was to come.

Thankfully, the GFC had dealt some important lessons to our financiers and investors and the low levels of gearing and low interest rates have ensured that the impacts have not caused widespread distress in property markets.

An Extraordinary Leap Forward

On the bright side COVID19 has delivered us an extraordinary 10 year leap forward into the new economy.

The combination of big data, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics and connected devices is the start of what some describe as the fourth industrial revolution. COVID 19 has changed our physical experiences to be far more digital based.

The next revolution will continue to see a “blurring of the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres”. Advances in these technologies will continue to shape our existence.

Warehousing and logistics spaces have already become highly automated spaces. Data Centres have emerged as critical item of infrastructure. Workspaces are being decentralised. Retailing is moving more and more off line. etc etc

All of these changes impact the use of land, and therefore its value, in some way.

So with this little evidence, what can we foresee for this next decade ?

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Until next year