Social Distancing, Amenity Closures. Will Playa Vista Return to Pre-Pandemic Life?

For over 10 months now, the world has been gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected virtually everything we do outside of the home. Playa Vista, in all of its uniqueness, is a community designed with shared outdoor spaces, little distancing, and lifestyles revolving around community amenities and activities. The pandemic has disrupted the entire fabric of life here more than most places. Even after the disease is under control, will people want to return to the way things were before? How can it possibly recover?

Sadly, it might take a few years. People are becoming used to solitary family activities, working and exercising at home, having food delivered. In a way, it’s more convenient, but in another it shatters our sense of humanity and community. The people who choose to venture out of their homes hide behind their masks and this can lead to an increased sense of introversion. All of this has lead to lifestyle changes that impact one’s desired home location.

Since the pandemic began, home sales have strongly skewed towards single family homes, larger homes with private yards, and away from densely populated locations, which become that way because they are historically popular. California’s median home price surged over 18% from 2019 to 2020, however this is a result of home sales being skewed towards single family and luxury homes, rather than smaller ones and condos. Lifestyle changes since the pandemic began are largely responsible for this with low interest rates increasing borrowers’ purchasing power being another factor.

What will make things come back here? Short memories: As the disease ceases to make headlines and we return to normal life (gradually by summer and maybe completely by 2022), people will revert to what is comfortable. Hopefully, old habits and traditions return as I’m sure many people are eager for them to. However, a level of germaphobia and introversion will linger. People forgot about the foreclosure crisis and demand for housing returned stronger than ever within a few years after no one wanted to touch housing for a couple of years. When fear subsides, I expect most people to begin living their lives again as if nothing ever happened. The return to schools and ability to frequent restaurants and nightlife will place a premium on convenient locations. Housing affordability: As single family homes and larger homes with land become more and more unaffordable, condos will become a more viable option out of necessity. Interest rates: While rates are expected to remain extremely low for a while, they will go up eventually. With all of the stimulus money being printed, the dollar index has dropped over 10% since the pandemic began, which will likely lead to inflation and interest rates will increase as a result. Higher interest rates will lead to less buying power and thus the need for less expensive properties (e.g. condos).

While it might take a while, a return to normal for life and the housing market is in the cards for Playa Vista and for all of us by 2022 or 2023. Let’s just hope our government learned their lesson and will be prepared for the next, potentially more deadly pandemic.