Shop Homes, Cottage Living, or maybe Post-Commerce Residential

I am trying to predict a trend in how America's commercial real estate will end up being used in the mid 21st century. As it stands now, the United States has way too much commercial real estate. A lot of malls are empty and not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the plague, malls and commercial real estate in general was having a hard time. Consumers in the USA are flocking to Amazon and e-commerce at large in droves. In a few years, Main Street USA will look even more different than it does now; after the great recession. Despite these changes, the large brick buildings and steel garages will still be standing even without shopping floors to occupy them. The same bond market collapse that we saw in 2008 connected to residential units in the sun belt will happen similarly to commercial units across the country. There is a silver lining to this economic issue. These buildings can be repurposed. As housing prices increase across the country (rent or buy), an additional source of housing supply can be added in the form of repurposed commercial units turned into residential units. Sometimes this is easier purposed than actually acted on, as zoning is a thing. However, many cities with strict zoning laws also suffer from housing issues. I could imagine some progressive movements in the US which strive to increase housing equity might support changes in zoning policy and land usage legislation which encourage commercial land owners which are holding unused properties to repurpose them for housing. 

Some problems I could anticipate relate to the building code differences. In residential units, the number of bathrooms and the amount of natural lighting needed is much higher than that of commercial units. This would involve intensive work to change and (often) retrofit existing utilities and structures to meet residential building codes.

What will these old stores turned condos be called? I don't know. Maybe shop homes because they were once stores. Or maybe something fancy like post-commerce residential. Let's wait and find out.

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