Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

What if This is Normal?

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David in MN:
I did one cruise. I'm not a big fan of them but when you fly into Milan, spend a few days in northern Italy, and board the ship in Venice to tour the Mediterranean there is some real purpose there. It was fun and I saw a ton of Italy, Greece, and the islands but I hated the conformity of being back on the ship for dinner.

But that ties into another one of my thoughts. I am a believer in the old European aristocracy idea of the "grand tour". A few weeks of travel beats a year in a stuffy university in terms of real education and the experience builds character. You're supposed to go through that scary experience of struggling with a foreign language on a train platform to realize you can overcome just about anything. As Americans we are a little too dismissive of the young adult backpacking Europe to see that person is booking flights and trains, dealing with currency exchange, negotiating taxi cost, looking for the best deal in shelter, finding a good meal at a bargain, and all manner of life skills you'll never get at the university dormitory.

Maybe this is what I'm lamenting. My life is nothing but a long string of risks. People fearful of their safety don't get in a boxing ring, travel internationally, eat raw meat, or go diving in the ocean. To say nothing about things I would call normal growing up like hiking, camping, mountain climbing, canoeing, rafting, or any of that stuff. I don't mean to pick on city people, either. Those kids have to learn to ride the train alone at some point and get the thick skin that protects from the pickpockets and bums. That's a life skill.

I can't shake that all this is lost. As we turn the corner into fall it's important to remember that seasonal influenza is far more risky to children than COVID. That being true, why would we abandon the masks and social distancing? Let's make it permanent.

COVID-19 Has Changed The Housing Market Forever. Here’s Where Americans Are Moving (And Why)

Against this backdrop, real estate’s new normal is also creating huge swathes of opportunity. Dozens of cities and counties that were once considered too small, too southern, too hot, too flat, or lacking in amenities, culture, or sophistication are now finding themselves being swooned to the top of the real estate desirability lists
No matter who I spoke with, a few words kept resurfacing as we lurch into the post-pandemic future: warmer, safer, smaller, stabler, lower taxes, less regulation, and fewer lockdowns.
The more interesting pandemic sub-text is the acceleration factor—and how the places where Americans are moving in the midst of COVID-19 may finally be expressing a more fundamental preference for how they really want to live instead of where they have to stay because of their job location or where their kids go to school. It also says a lot about where many American’s heads are right now, and more importantly, the specific criteria with which they’re considering making one of the most important next decisions of their lives in an era of unprecedented uncertainty.
“Real estate markets have undergone noticeable shifts since the start of the coronavirus pandemic,” George Ratiu, Senior Economist at tells me. “In the wake of the lockdowns in March, Americans discovered that existing homes were not adequate for the new work, teach, exercise, cook and live at home reality. Based on surveys of consumers, we learned that home shoppers are looking for more space, quieter neighborhoods, home offices, newer kitchens and access to the outdoors, traits which have revived a strong interest in the suburbs and smaller metro areas.”
From this perspective, COVID is accelerating demographic trends that were already in place before the pandemic, especially when it comes to businesses seeking places to expand that are pro-growth, low-tax, politically stable, and stacked with an educated work force in advanced degrees like engineering, math, technology, business, and law.
For what it’s worth, these “structural advantages” also skew politically. 10 of 12 of America’s cities forecasted to experience the fastest growth in occupied office space according to CoStar over the next five years have majority Republican Governors, Legislatures, and Mayors. Nine of the top 15 cities where businesses are relocating and mopping up office space are in three states that predominantly lean Republican—Texas (4), Florida (3), and North Carolina (2)—including Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Raleigh, and Charlotte respectively.
Who’s notably absent from all the data?

Not a single city in California or the Pacific Northwest ranked anywhere near the top of anyone’s “Best Of” lists in terms of where Americans are moving, which suggests that the effects of COVID’s first flight from coastal cities last March may be fossilizing permanently. New York City, Long Island, northern New Jersey, Honolulu, Chicago, and Philadelphia were also conspicuously in the basement, reinforcing America’s net emotional migration away from high-priced real estate markets as well as high-tax, high-lockdown urban locations.


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