The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is expected to change preferences for location demand and unit layouts. This is set to occur alongside changes in preferences regarding internal layout, community infrastructure, and an increase in demand for single-family homes, according to a Colliers International whitepaper “The Shape of Future Demand”.
The whitepaper focused on how the global pandemic will change demands in the residential sector in the post-coronavirus world across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Colliers International explained that the coronavirus is expected to change the preferences of homeowners or tenants. Affordability will continue to remain as one of the primary decisive factors amongst tenants and investors. Increased demand and higher premiums are, however, now also set to be placed on well-planned communities and unit layouts that meet the need for a flexible and convenient lifestyle.
“Whilst each residential community’s requirement for social infrastructure vary based on catchment population densities, the importance of this supporting element is the primary success factor for the development,” the whitepaper said. “The failure to implement and execute supporting social infrastructure often results in higher vacancy levels, lower trading densities, reduced price premiums and dampened investor appetite.”
The paper added, “With working-from-home gaining popularity as companies and employees realise its advantages, a study room/ working space is now as essential as a bedroom or a kitchen.”
Additionally, young professionals/ students occupying studio units are looking for flexible unit design, with extended/ built-in workspaces to accommodate both living and studying spaces.
The paper highlighted that community retail facilities that are within walking distance are growing in importance, and will continue to drive demand for residential communities.
Moreover, working from home is expected to move to “working from community centres” as the economy opens. Furthermore, home green spaces like small gardens can be used as children’s play area as well as for family gatherings.
In 2017, Colliers highlighted that adding parks, jogging and cycling tracks, and increasing the pedestrian features, in general, can function as a key attraction for residential development.
The pandemic has proven this hypothesis, as demand for residential communities with open space has increased. In a post-coronavirus world, incorporating open spaces not only adds to the aesthetic appeal of the overall development, but will also be capitalised into increased house prices and occupancy.