How Driverless Cars and Other Tech Changes May Impact Housing

New technology is changing the real estate industry. From home search websites that continuously deliver the most accurate information about homes for sale, to new apps that let home buyers call a real estate agent like an Uber, real estate has changed a lot in the last 10 years.

But technology advancements outside of the industry also may impact real estate. Take, for example, the driverless car.

Companies from Google to Volvo, Tesla, and BMW are already making driverless cars a reality. Voyage, a driverless car service, currently has autonomous vehicles on the roads for testing, as shown in a recent New York Times article.

It’s easy to see how driverless cars could impact road rules and daily commuting, but what about real estate?

Steve Murray, CEO of REAL Trends, look forward to the next 10 years of real estate to predict some of the big changes that will affect the housing market in the article below.

Demographic and societal changes that may impact housing and consumers.

by Steve Murray, CEO

At the March 2017 Association Executive Institute in Denver, REAL Trends presented on “Real Estate in the Next Ten Years”—as if anyone can know ten years out what’s going to happen.

I chose to present on three demographic or societal changes and how they might impact housing and consumers. Those changes are driverless or autonomous cars, organ replication and other life-extending treatments and the potential securitization of the equity side of the housing market. Each could have a profound effect on housing demand and liquidity.

I presented along with Rick Palacios, Jr., director of research for the John Burns organization, about big housing changes thanks to driverless cars. John Burns is a well-regarded housing research organization based in California.

Here are some of Palacios’ picks for impacts on housing:

  1. Prime real estate will be unlocked for new homes (parking lots, etc.)
  2. Outlying drive-until-you-qualify housing markets will become reachable and help with choice and alternatives.
  3. Urban employment should continue rising as prime real estate is re-purposed for housing allowing more people to live closer to city amenities.
  4. Construction costs will decline as transportation costs plummet.
  5. Home sales for elderly segments may decline as the availability of transportation makes their existing homes more livable due to access to driverless cars.

Certainly, there are other impacts that driverless cars may have, but it seems clear that the limitations of the current mobility systems will give way to entirely new housing patterns. Two of the largest questions, therefore, may be how fast will driverless cars become a reality? And, how fast will housing developers and city planners be able to accommodate new housing opportunities?

… It should be an interesting next ten years.

This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright 2017.