How Will Self-driving Cars Disrupt Real Estate Trends?

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【Summary】People’s lives may no longer revolve around the home or workplace. Autonomous vehicles may serve as temporary work stations for people who commute over long distances on a daily basis.

Michael Cheng    May 22, 2018 7:30 AM PT
How Will Self-driving Cars Disrupt Real Estate Trends?

From logistics to real estate, autonomous cars are expected to disrupt a wide range of traditional sectors. The latter industry will be greatly affected by the impact of driverless technology, as city planners are forced to rethink how parking spaces should be allocated. 

Additionally, local officials must make room for cutting-edge sensors on roads, sidewalks and infrastructure. Read on to learn about how the presence of autonomous vehicles will disrupt housing trends and urban planning.

Housing Turnover Rates and Autonomous Deliveries

Self-driving cars may improve the quality of life for senior citizens and individuals with physical disabilities, allowing them to travel safely without a driver. A handful of trials involving driverless cars currently focus on mobility services for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Notably, in Japan, developers are testing self-driving shuttles in rural areas populated by senior citizens. Furthermore, the first non-Google employee to ride inside the company's autonomous car (before Waymo) was Steve Mahan – a legally blind passenger.  

These benefits may contribute to a decrease housing turnover rates, since such empowered individuals would become more independent and are likely to embrace their newfound freedom by traveling frequently. A squeeze in housing turnover rates may drive up prices as well, due to tight availability.

"Driverless cars will be integral in allowing our aging populations to remain in their homes longer. As the turnover of these homes is delayed, these homes can subsequently be renovated to offer sustainable living situations for their elderly owners," said Gina Michelle from Forbes.

Furthermore, demand for assistance from third-party facilities may decrease. Many businesses are already experimenting with driverless deliveries for their products, ranging from grocery items to medicine. An increase in businesses offering autonomous delivery services will make such services affordable and widespread.

New Space and Decentralization

With less idle vehicles in parking lots and more active cars participating in autonomous ride-sharing programs, the need for parking spaces will decrease. This trend, coupled with the era of mall establishments coming to an end (thanks to the rise of e-commerce and online stores), will free up large amounts of space in cities.

At the moment, how such spaces will be utilized remains unclear. Modern city planners have proposed numerous innovative designs that cater to self-driving cars. Ideas include wider sidewalks, luscious activity centers filled with trees and accessible public transportation stations.

"Real estate might be the industry that is most transformed by autonomous vehicles," said David Silver, a teacher covering autonomous vehicles at Udacity Inc. "It could change real estate from a business that is all about location, location, location."

Perhaps the most interesting shift in real estate trends involves decentralization – like financial markets (through blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies). People's lives may no longer revolve around the home or workplace. Autonomous vehicles may serve as temporary work stations for people who commute over long distances on a daily basis.

Lastly, with convenient transportation services readily available, people don't have to live close to amenities and city centers. This will likely result in a shift in housing preferences (location) and pricing.

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