As Covid-19 movement restrictions ease and residents embrace the ‘new normal,’ the UAE's real estate sector is set to witness a significant change with more and more tenants moving into villa/townhouses from apartments, according to Colliers, a global leader in commercial real estate services.
With working-from-home gaining popularity as companies’ and employee's realise its advantages - a study room/ working space is now as essential as a bedroom or a kitchen, it stated.
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.
With the country now easing movement restrictions, tenants and homeowners will be gradually move into the ‘new normal’ where community and open space are in proximity; a change from a “nice to have” to “must have” as it becomes an extended part of the home/work life, stated Colliers.
Alfresco dinning, cafes and restaurants will extend from serving a socialisation need to encompass the role of workstations/ virtual meeting rooms empowering the work from anywhere concept.
Colliers 2017 research suggested that walkability within a residential community increased home values up to 9%, while a park/garden view can achieve a 4% - 6% price premium.
Moving forward, it is likely that residential communities without open and green spaces will diminish in attractiveness and demand, it added.
Historically in Dubai, most, if not all, villa/townhouse communities are built with communal parks, play areas and pools, according to Colliers.
However, as the purchaser profile moved towards affordable units, developers adjusted their projects footprints. The result has been a reduction in plot size, BUA and communal spaces, it pointed out.
The mature villa communities, such as Emirates Living, Arabian Ranches 1, Jumeirah islands, Jumeirah Park and The Villa project developments generally have large plot sizes, comparatively high BUA and significant parks, play areas, lakes and other community facilities.
However, the newer wave of developments which have been released into the market since 2016, are targeting customers looking for affordability such as Mira, Townsquare, Arabella, Serena and phases of Dubai Hills, it stated.
These communities have built a large proportion of townhouse style properties with reduced plot sizes and included more rooms of a smaller size into the layout.
They also cut back on lakes, large parks and have reduced the sizes of communal swimming pools and play areas.
The latest developments, Maple, Sidra, Arabella amongst others, have further reduced the communal spaces including the areas around the communal pools and reduced the width of paths, it added.
According to Colliers, the coronvirus has had an enormous impact on the world’s economy. The long-term impact is presently hard to quantify; however, the global economic recession is expected to change the future consumer preferences across the real estate sector including the residential market, it stated.
A survey was recently carried out by the real estate expert in Dubai to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the residential market. The following were its key findings:
• Increasing demand for more space with study rooms being a requirement driven by the
changing work patterns.
• End-users / tenants moving from apartments to villas/townhouses is increasing and expected to remain in demand post-Covid.
• Apartments without or with small balconies are proving more difficult to sell/rent.
• There is an increase in demand from end-users as many tenants are keen to own given the
reduced finance rates, terms and LTV (often cheaper per month than their rent).
• With the increased demand from end-users, there is the concurrent demand for community
In post Covid scenario, communities will start to become more of a place called ‘home’ rather than being a temporary transitional place where people often come and go, this is also something that could be linked to the increase in renovation culture, stated the expert.
Colliers pointed out that as a result of remote working and distance learning, the layout and design of a home should be flexible to convert living space into office space and vice-versa to suit both working parents and children studying at home.
Both remote working/distance learning are expected to become the “new normal” in the foreseeable future, thus flexibility is also expected to remain one of the key features desired in future homes.
Flexibility is not just confined to provision of office/distance learning space, but conversion of living area / bedroom to children play area, stated the top industry expert.
New pragmatic approach will be required in home designing and especially in interior designing, focusing on ‘modular wall systems, it added.-TradeArabia News Service

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