Fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) should become commonplace within 10–20 years, disrupting entire industries while triggering structural shifts in housing and the economy.
The path to government approval and consumer acceptance of AVs will have hiccups no doubt, so we expect ride-sharing along with semi-autonomous vehicles to kick-start the movement towards AVs.
For consumers, the tipping point for large-scale adoption will come when not owning a car makes more financial and logistical sense than traditional ownership. Car enthusiasts, the affluent, and rural households will continue to own cars as AVs evolve.
The combination of widespread ride-sharing and self-driving cars will reshape housing in 8 significant ways:
- Prime real estate will be unlocked for new home construction (parking lots, auto dealerships, gas stations).
- Outlying drive-until-you-qualify housing markets will eventually reemerge once the majority of core infill markets have repurposed their prime real estate.
- Urban employment should continue rising as prime real estate is repurposed for housing, allowing more people to live closer to city centers.
- Density will increase, with the days of wide streets, massive driveways, and two-/three-car garages a thing of the past.
- Construction costs will decline as transportation costs plummet for moving building products from manufacturing facilities/warehouses to new home construction sites.
- Fewer home sales will occur, as the elderly will be able to stay in their existing home long after losing their driving rights.
- Assisted-living facility demand will be less than most people expect.
- Repair and remodeling will flourish due to seniors remodeling their homes to age in place. Millions of garages will also be converted to fully functioning livable space.
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