Google predicts driverless cars will be commercially available by 2020. This seismic shift in how people get from place to place will change where and how we as a society live and work.
Think you’ll own your own driverless car that will sit idly when not in use? Think again.
Driverless cars will be a utility, not a luxury afforded to few. People will no longer own their own cars, but driverless cars will be as ubiquitous and inexpensive as public transportation. Imagine taking a self-driving Uber or Lyft-type vehicle to work every day, or even to meetings just a few blocks away, much like you would a city train or a bus. That’s the future of driverless cars.
And once personal vehicles are obsolete, people will no longer need garages or parking spaces at their homes, condos or apartment buildings. So what does this mean for multifamily real estate?
We’ve discussed before the effect driverless cars will have on urban sprawl. People will become more willing to travel further distances for work and leisure. And as we begin to travel longer distances in shorter periods of time (and with more productivity during our travel), more people will move to the suburbs than ever before, following a trend we’re already seeing.
However, even outside of city centers, the condo lifestyle will still be desirable. People will always want to be able to walk from their homes to points of interest like parks, restaurants and stores. Walkable urban centers are continuing to increase in importance for investors and buyers. So even in places further away from city centers, neighborhoods and suburban downtowns will look more like more urban landscapes. Main Street USA will see more multifamily real estate than ever before.
If multifamily real estate is your focus, don’t be nervous about a potential drop in interest. Even with the ubiquity of driverless cars, residents will always be interested in the walkable neighborhood lifestyle. So, urban sprawl will actually create a growth in development of multifamily properties in traditionally suburban locations.
Plus, once driverless cars become prevalent, you’ll be able to market to a wider network of buyers. You can also advise clients in finding a larger network of tenants for multifamily residences. Driverless cars will be a marketable amenity for investors and buyers of multifamily real estate. As a broker, you’ll be a valued resource for guiding buyers through the changes driverless cars bring.
If you’re interested in learning more about driverless cars, check out this blog on how they’ll create more business for you.