Shaken by the effects of COVID-19, the world is going to be a very different place long after we emerge from the national lockdown. The way we live, work, and interact with each other is forever going to be altered by our experiences over this time.
When it comes to the property market, Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of REMAX of Southern Africa predicts that buyer preferences are going to be very different in a post-lockdown world. Below are some of the features that might become increasingly popular as we slowly emerge from the national lockdown.
1. Extra space to work or study from home
The way we conduct business might forever change now that companies have seen that they can continue operating while their employees work remotely. "Home offices were once make-do setups. But, after the lockdown, buyers will be looking for a more long-term, functional space," says Goslett.
Whether it’s a home office, classroom or personal gym, an extra room can serve as a designated space for family members to get some work done or to spend time apart when needed. “After spending so much time at home, I think people will want homes with a larger floor plan and with an office-type room. They might also shy away from open-concept living spaces and prefer homes with separated living areas,” he predicts.
2. Space for the extended family
For many, staying home has meant staying apart, inspiring some to consider homes that could bring the family under one roof.
We are likely to see an increase in interest in homes with bigger kitchens, living areas and two master suites, or homes with separate semi-detached spaces that could serve as a second living space.
3. Larger grounds & cinema spaces
Children, parents, dogs – everyone has pent-up energy to burn these days. A private outdoor space allows room to play and a place to enjoy a braai without ever leaving home. We might even see people investing in swimming pools again once the warmer seasons approach.
But, as we head into winter and with theatres remaining shut for the time being, film lovers might start looking for ways to bring the movie-going experience home. “The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for blockbuster-streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus and YouTube. It is possible that we might see increased demand for properties with dimly lit rooms or block-out blinds that could be converted into theatres,” Goslett predicts.
4. Swapping the city for the country
With movement being so restricted, city living doesn’t offer the same hustle and bustle as it used to. Many homebuyers may be rethinking their dreams of living in a big city in favour of owning a larger home on the outskirts of town.
“One of the biggest changes we’re likely to see is that people are going to look for homes where they aren’t living on top of their neighbours. The appeal of living in tiny apartments just to be near business hubs is likely to lessen, especially if companies continue to allow their employees to work remotely, or perhaps require employees to visit the office only once or twice a week,” Goslett predicts.
As a final prediction, Goslett also expects to see fewer real estate professionals offering higher levels of service.
“This has been an incredibly challenging season for real estate professionals who have been unable to earn any income since the Deeds Office closed at the end of May. The season ahead is likely to be equally challenging in this struggling economy. Real estate professionals are going to have to work twice as hard to remain successful and close sales over this time. This is when it truly pays to be a part of a global brand with advanced resources and technology to help agents gain leads and generate sales,” Goslett concludes.