To celebrate the company's 50th anniversary, CENTURY 21 Real Estate (NYSE: RLGY) teamed up with National Geographic to fund a research study that looked at how the role of homes in our society has changed over the past decades and how it will continue to change, especially in the wake of a global pandemic.
The result of this partnership is Home Rediscovered, a 45-minute documentary premiering on the National Geographic Channel on Sept. 23. I had the chance to preview this intriguing film. Here's why it's worth a watch to real estate investors.
The human side of real estate trends
This documentary was yet another example of what National Geographic does so well, which is to tell compelling stories about our world's people and cultures. This focus on real estate went well beyond what homebuyers want in a home and focused instead on what they need to navigate life that is forever changed by the pandemic. In short, it showed the human side of the statistics and trends that we often write about here at Millionacres.
For example, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders, 80% of homeowners want a full bathroom on the main floor. Presumably, that's because you want easy access to bathe and do your business. But if you're geoscientist and National Geographic Explorer host Andrés Ruzo, one of the featured storytellers, you'll want to use it to simulate a rainforest at home. Of course.
Another featured National Geographic Explorer host is Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant, a large carnivore ecologist and a self-proclaimed city person who hadn't imagined herself leaving the Washington, D.C., apartment she shared with her husband and young child -- that is, until, she and her husband were expecting their second child during the pandemic. When the prospect of a new job and renting a home with a yard in Santa Barbara, California, more square footage was looking really good. Goodbye, city life.
Home Rediscovered also challenged some assumptions we have about the pandemic's effect on things like urban flight. Yes, there is no doubt that many people left urban centers to buy homes with more space -- both in terms of land and square footage -- in more rural parts of the country. Remote work life has made this possible for several of the families featured in the documentary. One featured family sold their house in favor of RV life, making the road their home instead.
But there are still others who are finding sanctuary in the cities, including New York City native and National Geographic photographer Celeste Sloman, who has no intention of leaving her Brooklyn apartment, which she has set up as both a home and a studio. Her story showed the growing trend of homeowners setting up their space for all their needs, including work, rest, and play.
Though many of the stories told were heartwarming, the documentary also addressed the severe housing crisis we have in the country, both in terms of quantity and affordability. According to the National Association of Realtors, the market is short about 5.5 million homes. More multifamily housing is one way to alleviate both inventory and affordability, but new zoning regulations are needed.
The bottom line
The documentary was an informative, touching examination of how the idea of home and homeownership has evolved and continues to evolve. Tune into Home Rediscovered on the National Geographic Channel on Sept. 23 at 10 p.m.
Disclaimer: The writer received a gift box courtesy of Century 21 to enjoy at home while watching the virtual prescreening of the documentary.