The central business district has historically been considered the heart of any city, but recent events have changed the way people use the CBD. So, how does the changing face of business influence our cities and the way we live?
We are making steps all over the world towards vaccinating the masses in the hope of returning to some sense of normality. At some stage down the track we will look back on this pandemic, dissect our actions and how the virus has shaped the way we live. Unlike pandemics of the past, Covid 19 hit a technically connected society. And although many people could not work, a large section of the corporate workforce continued to work from home. The result? Stable employment numbers. In fact, because of the mass exodus of the temporary and migrant population, we even find ourselves in a labour-short market.
Working from home
Working from home might have been considered a luxury pre-pandemic but it is now the norm. We see a work force which is infinitely more flexible when it comes to the hours and location of employment. The Level 4 lockdown period of 2020 demonstrated that business could run effectively outside of the traditional office model. Many businesses reconsidered their requirements, and expenses, associated with the running of a CBD office. At the time of writing this blog, Wellington is operating under Level 2 conditions, within hours if not minutes of the announcement the city was like a ghost town.
Lack of daily commuters
We require a car to get around for business, as we are often moving rapidly between suburbs. We now know the best day to find a park in the city is Friday because it’s a popular ‘work from home’ day. The flow-on effect of less people in the CBD is reduced spend in the small businesses which support our economy. This includes cafes, bars and retail shops. Less retail dollars circulating puts pressure on profitability when fixed costs like rents don’t change. So, big decisions need to be made. One of the many fatalities this year is the demise of David Jones which announced they will close their doors in 2022.
Re birth of the suburb’s
As more people choose to work from home, it means more people are spending more waking hours in their suburbs. This has led to a higher demand for hospitality and local amenities, a welcome change for suburban businesses. After the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, businesses (including commercial and hospitality) established themselves in the suburbs and found that they were more profitable and better supported than when CBD based. Ten years on they are still trying to entice businesses back into the city center.
In the past, a home office or space to set up a business may have been a nice-to-have but not necessary. For many operating in our new Covid world, this has become a non-negotiable. Larger homes, homes with space for a business hub, or a space big enough for a gym are all in high demand. This is placing upwards pressure on larger homes which are in short supply in Wellington.
Better quality of life
For those over the cost of housing in the city, and in search of the elusive quality of life, there has been an exodus to smaller towns. The sale of a modest three-bedroom home in Auckland or Wellington is likely to secure you the original ‘million-dollar home’ complete with tennis court, swimming pool and some stunning countryside. This has meant rapid growth in the regions as buyers from higher value markets are driving up prices.
The Wellington market
The shortest day has passed and we’re on the downhill slide to summer. For those who keep an eye on the market, a lack of stock is evident with the lowest levels of inventory in our twenty years in the residential property industry. As with every year, we are currently subject to seasonal adjustments. So, combine that with nervous vendors who are anxious about being able to find a new home once they’ve sold, many are choosing to staying put.
Wellington market quick stats
What’s on this July in Wellington?
Matariki ki Pōneke Festival: Wellington’s celebration of the Māori New Year, 2 – 10 JUL, Wellington Waterfront
Celebrate Matariki ki Pōneke Festival the Māori New Year in the capital with both live and digital events, art, exhibitions, workshops and online activities. The festival opens with Ahi Kā, a family-friendly evening of ahi (fire), kai (food), storytelling, waiata (song) and entertainment on Wellington waterfront, and ends with Matariki Fireworks – with plenty of other fun and learning to be had in between.
Jimmy Barnes 2021 Tour, 10 JUL, TSB Arena, 4 Queens Wharf
Popular Aussie rockstar Jimmy Barnes is set to tour three New Zealand cities this July, including touching down at Wellington’s TSB Arena. With a lineup of new hits from the upcoming album, Flesh And Blood, Barnes will perform internationally for the first time since the start of 2020. The aptly named new body of work was created in collaboration with his loved ones, and for the tour Barnes & family will make up most of his eight-piece backing band.
Wellington Festival Of Fashion 2021, 22 – 25 JUL, Various locations, Wellington
There’s no shortage of great fashion in our creative capital. From the alternative, offbeat and wildly interesting outfits of Cuba Street to high glam and business chic on Lambton Quay, the different pockets of the city offer many styles and expressions. Showcasing top designers as well as Kiwi creativity as a whole is this year’s Wellington Festival of Fashion. Over four days Wellington will be swept up in the fashion world, with a series of shows and related events taking place at various venues.