Driverless cars and the future of real estate values

Innovation and risk mitigation are all about thinking ahead. The question you need to consider is: how far ahead?

We live in a world that is focused on short-termism, so we often ignore or just don’t make the time to consider emerging trends that may impact our society and business in the future. Often, we assume tomorrow will be the same as today. But remember: the present moment used to be the unimaginable future.

One emerging trend that may have an impact on how we live could also impact property prices.

Could driverless cars change our attitudes as to where we want to live?

If the time spent travelling can be reduced by the smart use of driverless cars creating less traffic on the road, and if costs can be reduced by sharing use of those cars and no parking, and you can get all the connected services you want inside those cars – would you be prepared to travel further?

If you could work in the car on the way back and forwards to an office with specialised cars that allow that in comfort, plus use virtual reality technologies to have meetings while you travel – would you travel further?

If you could have a drink on the way home and watch your favourite comedy show in the car that no one else in the family likes watching – would you travel further? Personally, I would like the capacity to have a 30-minute power nap.

If the answer to any of those questions is yes, it is likely to cause a reduction in price pressures for inner-city living and increasing prices for real estate a little further out.

The wholesale impact that driverless cars could have on the community is worth pondering. Consider the reduction in traffic congestion, emergency resources, and the need for parking in the CBD or the airport for that matter. The need to actually own a car could be cost prohibitive. The layout of the car would change. You would not need a steering wheel to start with. The ability to travel at higher speeds would also put pressure on inner-city living, thus making country areas more desirable.

In fact, insurance companies may not insure drivers who choose to drive their vehicles. Car ownership or cars for that matter could be artifacts for museums in the very near future.

Remember, as Jim Dator said, any useful statement about the future should appear to be ridiculous.



Simon Dehne

Simon Dehne, principal, Conscious Futures

Simon Dehne is the principal of Conscious Futures. He holds two masters degrees, one in strategic foresight and the other in business innovation.

Simon helps organisations challenge the assumptions they have about the future so they can make wiser decisions today.

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