It might have just been me, but it felt like the country woke this morning with a little bit of a fist pump. Not the big, jump in the air like Michael Jordan kind of fist pump, but more the quiet Roger Federer fist pump when he knows he’s gaining the upper hand. And that’s exactly what it feels like moving into level 3 – we’re gaining the upper hand on Covid-19. So fair enough that people should be optimistic.
Level 3 is a significant change. It may not seem like it to a lot of you, but this change gets 75% of the economy up and running which is no small thing. So, here’s a few of my views on what moving to level 3 will mean.
The tradies around the country will have a spring in their step today! I’m sure there are very few of you that enjoy being stuck at home – although maybe it meant those unfinished jobs finally got tended to.
I live in a new subdivision and my morning run goes through a neighbourhood of empty sections and unfinished houses. For the last 5 weeks it’s been baron of any workers, just the noise of kids on their bikes riding the down the middle of empty streets. But not today. Like clockwork this morning the builders were turning up to get their projects back underway. Developers I work with had their guys on site at the crack of dawn ready to get things moving again. Others have offered up double shifts in a bid to get projects completed on time. All of this is positive.
What is still to be seen is how the lenders will respond in this space. Banks and non-banks have largely shut the door to development lending as a result of the lock-down and I don’t see them opening up too fast simply because of a few excited builders. Before that happens, they need to see what the property market will do. As long as there is an expectation of property prices falling, development financiers will be cautious at best.
The good news on the property side is that level 3 allows for a lot of positive things. Real Estate agents can now hold private viewings of their listings. Not the full open homes that we’re used to seeing but at least they can start to show potential buyers through homes. Which is a positive for those looking to buy and sell.
Settlements can also start to take place again. This will artificially inflate May’s housing figures so take those with a grain of salt when you read the media articles in June.
Information from the MBIE website as at 21 April 2020 stated that people can move homes at Alert Level 3. This includes rental moves. They can travel between regions, including using domestic air services for the purposes of moving house.
All freight can be moved around the country at Alert Level 3, and moving companies can
operate so long as they do so safely.
A lot of settlements have been delayed until 5-10 days after alert level 2, however, this update from MBIE will at least give buyers and sellers the opportunity to negotiate an earlier settlement if appropriate.
One of the great positives of the lock-down was that if you did have to leave the house to get essentials, you could do so without having to navigate any traffic! Level 3 shouldn’t change this. The image below shows the
Northern Motorway at 7.56am this morning. Looks like smooth sailing to me.
What level 3 does open up is the ability to get some of the transport developments back underway without it affecting commuters too much. Projects such as the City Rail Link, K-Road enhancements, Victoria Street Cycleway and the Northern Motorway upgrade can commence again without the disruption of traffic which will hopefully keep them on track for their expected completion dates (insert Tui add here).
If you lined up at a fast-food drive through this morning at 4.30am then I think you’re crazy. No fast-food we have on offer to us is good enough for that. But in thinking you’re crazy, I also salute your commitment to your cravings! Level 3 means takeaway restaurants can now feed the needs of so many.
For me, it’s not the everyday fast-food joints that excites me. It’s the creativity we’re seeing from businesses who aren’t usually considered takeaway or fast food. These guys are thinking outside of the square in order to get their businesses back up and running and more importantly feed their customers cravings. Whether it be delivery services or curb side pick-ups, after 5 weeks we can now start to access some of our favourite restaurants again. Take for example Burger Burger and their creative genius that is the Burger Box – sure you have to take it home and cook it yourself, but you get to enjoy the deliciousness that is the Classic Beef and Cheese in the comfort of your own home! Sign me up – maybe an idea for Mother’s Day dinner?
Whether you agree to moving back into level 3 or not, it’s a move that gets most of the economy going again. If we can stick to the rules and make this move in a safe way, then it’s a move that will limit the damage to our economy overall and that’s a positive step. For me and my family, we’ll be staying home until level 2 at the earliest and I hope that those of you who don’t need to leave the house, don’t. Don’t get complacent. Like Federer’s little fist pump acknowledging he has the upper hand, he also knows the job isn’t yet done.