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How self-driving cars will affect property values: Sally Tindall

The robots are coming. And believe it or not, they might affect the price of the properties you sell.

The robots I’m talking about in this instance are autonomous vehicles, also known as self-driving cars. They already exist, and will one day become mainstream. Nobody can say for certain when that will happen, but some believe it could be within 10 years.

One reason self-driving cars will affect property values is because people will no longer feel compelled to live as close as possible to the CBD.

That’s because driving to work will become faster and more enjoyable. Robot drivers will do a better job than humans – they’ll maintain a smaller gap to the car in front and will use real-time data to pick the most efficient route. And while they’re busy driving, we’ll be snoozing or reading or watching TV.

When that happens, it will become much easier to live in a laid-back regional community and commute to a job in the city. Don’t be surprised if that impacts property prices in places like the Central Coast (94km from Sydney), Sunshine Coast (105km from Brisbane), Geelong (75km from Melbourne), Victor Harbor (84km from Adelaide) and Rockingham (50km from Perth).

Cities will change before our eyes

While sea-changers flee the CBD in search of a bigger backyard, our cities aren’t likely to free up any time soon. Those of us who are left behind will just change our style of living. Fewer people will own a car, giving rise to apartment blocks with fewer car parking spots.

Some suburbs will become more desirable; others less. Some homes will become larger; others smaller. As a result, the balance between supply and demand in individual suburbs will change, which in turn will affect rental yields and capital gains.

It’s far too early to pick winners and losers. All we can say for certain is that the property markets of tomorrow will look different from those of today.

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Sally Tindall

Sally Tindall manages the RateCity editorial team, producing practical insights into personal finance and cost of living issues. Using RateCity’s unique data, Sally focuses on analysing the latest trends in relation to home loans, credit cards, savings and transactional products and superannuation. For more information visit ratecity.com.au.
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