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  • Michael Shapot, Esq.

20 Trends To Watch In 2020

Take advantage of my 20/20 vision, with corrected lenses of course. Here is a list of 20 real estate trends I anticipate will affect our clients this year. Feel free to hold me accountable. 1. The first six months will be busy, carrying over from Dec 2019. The second half of 2020 will be slower with the distraction and uncertainty of the Presidential Election. 2. Sellers will expand on home improvements beyond staging and before selling. Buyers are becoming less inclined to purchase homes that need work. They want to know with certainty the costs of all home improvements and, when possible, finance them at today's low mortgage rates. When pricing is at a premium, buyers typically have little cash after closing for home improvements. 3. Consumers will become more exposed to the harsh realities of ‘do-it-yourself’ and discount brokerage. They will also become more aware of misleading claims and the self-serving intentions of those wishing to eliminate real estate agents. 4. Mortgage rates will remain low but could come under pressure as rising energy costs and wages trigger inflation. 5. Awareness of real estate taxation disparities will grow and fuel political anger…and hopefully, action. 6. Urban migration will continue as "walkability" and proximity to reliable public transportation increases in desirability. However, suburban migration will expand due to affordability concerns, especially for millennials and their growing households. 7. The shortage of affordable housing options will expand. Smaller, more affordable homes will have extreme competition from first-time buyers, investors, and down-sizing baby boomers. 8. The lower end of the market will see the most price increases due to limited inventory and high demand. 9. Very large homes that are not ultra-prime will need to be re-invented - or deeply discounted - to appeal to next-generation buyers. 10. BUY WHAT YOU USE: buyers will seek homes scaled to their needs, avoiding homes with rooms and features they are almost certain will never be used. 11. Time is the untimate luxury. Amenities that save time will grow in popularity. Sharing amenities and services will grow in popularity, even in single-family neighborhoods. The demand will increase for guest suites in apartment buildings, and cottages and apartments in single family houses, to accommodate aging parents and boomerang kids. 12. Maintenance exhaustion. The less maintenance, the better! Buyers will pay for convenience.

13. Value, value, value. Buyers demand it. Absent demonstration of value, homes will sit on the market until the price is discounted to be compelling. 14. Forward thinking real estate agents will become much more than transaction facilitators. Many of the best agents already perform multiple roles outside of the traditional brokerage role and these client relationships will deepen and grow. 15. Sustainability and environmental responsibility will become even more of a focus. Because we care about the future of our planet. We will also concentrate on reducing waste with an eye toward reducing ownership costs. 16. Expect new/higher local taxes and tolls, and higher public transportation costs, to offset rising wages, reduced gasoline usage and less gasoline tax collected at the pumps. 17. Smaller towns and suburbs will city-fy in their attempts to keep people from moving to more urban areas. Urban areas will attempt to create more of a village feel to prevent suburban flight. 18. Bigger and taller: expect pressure on zoning law modification to allow greater building density to reduce housing costs and commutes. 19. Increased popularity of rentals will result in escalating rents. Consumers continue to worry about tying up their capital and overpaying on a purchase when they see prices falling.

20. Expect sophisticated air and water filtration and other health-related home health-enhancers to grow in demand, and expect "smart home" features to become more commonplace.

BONUS for extra credit: Manhattan neighborhoods to watch:

A. FiDi. There are a number of high profile condos that will be coming to market in The Financial District: the office-to-condo conversion of One Wall Street, and the new buildings at 25 Park Row, 130 William and 125 Greenwich. Keep an eye out for Trader Joe's and the Alamo Drafthouse, with a 10-screen movie theater, food and live music.

B. East Harlem. The Second Avenue subway will extend to this sleepy neighborhood with three new stations to open by 2029 and grant easier access to the growing stock of affordable and market rate apartments, new condos and lovely, (relatively) affordable brownstones. The projects to buff up the Harlem Meer and rebuild the Lasker Rink and Pool in Central Park should be completed in a few years.

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