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Barry Ritholtz

The Pandemic Accelerated Existing Real Estate Trends

The idea of the “death of cities” has been greatly exaggerated, says Jonathan Miller, the CEO of Miller Samuel. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has been “the Great Disruptor,” leading people to reconsider their living circumstances and helping to fuel migration between various states. So says Jonathan Miller, president and chief executive officer of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm he co-founded in 1986, and this week’s guest on the Masters in Business podcast.

Miller, whose Matrix blog is widely read in the real estate industry, as is his weekly Housing Notes email update, explains how “Zillow surfing” has become the pandemic real estate pastime. The lockdown acted as an accelerant on a variety of pre-existing trends. But even as vaccinations become widespread, contracts for home sales continue to rise. The notion that the pandemic would lead to the “death of cities” has been greatly exaggerated. Cities have an optics problem in that although business districts are mostly empty during the work-from-home environment, residential areas are vibrant and active.