As you might guess, there is a lot at stake in the driver-less car business. Tesla, Uber, Google and a host of other key players are all staking out their ground for the “future” of a driverless car.
Some expected results are easy to predict: Car insurance rates will go down, repair bills too.
But, what about the driverless car impact on real estate?
“Huh?” you ask. How can a car impact real estate?
Well, think about these few things:
Would hotels lose business?
What if your drive across state no longer makes you tired, so you push on through and don’t stay overnight half way there? (Same with air travel. If it’s close enough, will you just drive rather than fly?) If so, won’t hotel values go down?
An increase in sub-urban housing may arise since the driver-less fleet can service those communities where public transportation is spotty. More sub-urban sprawl? More construction? More places to sell?
Downtown parking garages might be a dying business since there are fewer cars to park. So, what about that garage at home? It is now permanent storage space – or an extra family / bed / living room?
Fast food chains might have a loss in business – if more people just cruise on by on auto-pilot and don’t have impulse stops for snacks.
Warehouse and distribution centers will be located in strategic areas not impacted by the needs of drivers.
Brick and mortar retail could have a revival since “parking” would no longer be an issue for the shopping consumer.
There could be a decrease in auto-dealerships (and their showroom and lots?) As a result of fewer cars being bought because of the ease of ride-sharing. And with fewer cars, comes fewer oil change locations!
Urban planning and the de-centralization of urban centers as a focus of population growth management might take over in local communities. The long term impact of real estate can only be imagined at that level.
Elder participation in out-of-home activities is another consequence (and likely a good one) – because the fear/hassle/ability questions relating to driving are all eliminated. This is one to watch, as our population ages. Think of all those retired boomers, scooting around in driverless cars, going to this or that activity.
Those were just some of the thoughts in a recent article from CB Insights called “33 Industries, Other Than Auto, That Driverless Cars Could Turn Upside Down.”
It’s worth a read.