If you’ve ever thought you might leave the city and move to a small town or if you wanted to live om the middle of nowhere, or buy some land in the wilderness that you could park a trailer on and use as a retreat, I’d recommend that you do it soon.
The coronavirus is going to be driving people to leave the cities for three reasons:
First, it’s obvious to anyone who can discern the size of a dot on a map that rural counties have lower infection rates (assuming there’s no prison in the county, at least). So people will want to move out of cities and suburbs.
Second, it’s equally obvious that having some land will allow you to raise your own food, giving you a bit of a cushion in the event of a food shortage. Raising your own food is also very much in line with the localvore and other trends towards sustainability we’re seeing among the Millenials and Gen Z. But to do that, you need to leave your city apartment.
Third, and most important, companies are going to allow more and more employees to work from home full time. This article from The New York Times has multiple examples just in New York. Imagine how many people we’re talking about if two thirds of the Fortune 500 decide to let a majority of their white collar workers work form home either permanently or four days a week.
When you ask preppers why they live in the city, they tell you “Because that’s where the jobs are,” or “I can’t find a decent paying job in the country.” What do you think will happen when they can work from anywhere? I predict there will be a giant rush as people leave the cities and head towards rural or typical “vacation” areas with high speed Internet.
Vacation Homes No More
It won’t just affect properties and environments that appeal to preppers. People who like the beach but have jobs in major East Coast cities can move to the beach. Even if they have to come into the office once every week or two, many will find it worth the extra long commute. (Keep in mind, these are people that already drive to and from the beach every weekend during the summer.) People who love horses can now live further form the city and have a horse. Those who have second homes can sell their city home, move to their vacation home, and buy a condo or get an AirBnB when they want to go back to the city. Skiers with properties at ski resorts and families with a lake house can now spend months there at a time.
Many folks with young children will not want to leave their suburban lives with highly rated schools, nearby friends, and lots of extracurricular activities. Others will celebrate the idea of allowing their children to grow up closer to the land. When my mom told me to “go outside and play,” I could roam far and wide, as long as I was home for dinner at 6. For kids today, that phrase means go play in the back yard.
What this Means for Preppers
This change may not take place immediately, but I expect it will build and be well underway in two years. It is going to have severe repercussions on property values. In cities, commercial real estate will drop as thousands of workers no longer need a cubical and as more meetings take place online rather than in person in conference rooms. We’ll also see people buying more homes with space for home offices.
On the positive side, this could lead to a strengthening of our small towns and rural areas. Business that closed as people moved to the city could reopen. Younger families could rejuvenate areas that have seen population declines. But that could stress schools and healthcare. City transplants must also remember not to bring their city attitudes and ideas to the country.
If your prepping journey has you living on a small farm, on 20 mountain acres, off grid in the wilderness, or in a friendly small town, my advice is act soon to beat the rush. Get your property and make your move while you are on the leading edge of the wave.