Buying a home is a long-term investment, which means that buyers ought to consider what sort of futuristic appeal the property has before they sign themselves up for a twenty or thirty-year home loan.
“We are in an era of exponential change, which means that we are a lot closer to living in smart cities than many might think. Buyers should therefore consider how things might change over the course of their loan term and whether the property lends itself to being adapted towards future trends,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
To give buyers an idea of how homes of the future might look, Goslett refers to some of the growing trends across the globe. For example, Sidewalk Toronto in America aims to be ‘the global hub for urban innovation’ and is just one example of how future cities might look. With a focus on sustainability, the city is a mixed-use, walkable neighbourhood empowered by self-driving technology and data integration.
Locally, Goslett comments on the fact that more and more mixed-use precincts, such as Harbour Arch in Cape Town or Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, are popping up across South Africa. “In time, and as fuel becomes more and more unaffordable, the demand for housing within these sorts of mixed-use precincts is likely to rise,” Goslett suggests.
Living spaces are also likely to shrink. Internationally, people have the ability to rent a ‘pod’ rather than a home. This works out to be far more affordable and allows individuals the opportunity to live a much more minimalistic, nomadic lifestyle. “Smaller homes therefore offer unique potential when it comes to futuristic appeal,” Goslett suggests.
Speaking of limited space, rooftops are also likely to offer prime real estate value as time progresses. Owing to the limited availability of vacant land, alongside rising transportation costs and other wasteful practices, organic and communal rooftop farms might soon become the way of the future. Passenger drones might also become the future means of transportation, transforming rooftop space into the modern bus stop. Goslett suggests that properties with rooftop space therefore offer potential value for owners who might later be able to rent it out for these purposes.
“It is difficult to tell how the housing market might look in twenty to thirty years’ time. That being said, homeowners ought to keep maintaining and updating their home as time progresses to avoid having the property become too outdated to appeal to future buyers. Real estate practitioners often prove helpful in this regard. They can let sellers know what needs to be updated to make the home more marketable to buyers,” Goslett concludes.