New Normal Homebuyer Demands: Convenience and Space

Convenience and space were among the top priorities of property buyers in the new normal, according to the panel of experts who graced the recently concluded Lamudi roundtable discussion titled New Behaviors, New Demands: What Matters to Homebuyers Now

The thought leaders noted that the market is leaning towards mixed-use communities, being near essential establishments, such as supermarkets, drug stores and hospitals, and food outlets. At the same time, there’s greater interest in additional space, including balconies in condo projects.

Shaped by the current crisis, these trends emerge from how people have been coping with the stay-at-home protocols across the country.

Preference for Convenience

Self-contained communities, according to Jenna Belardo, AVP and Business Unit Head for Property Sales of Ortigas Land, have been in demand recently. 

“At the onset of the pandemic, we see the preference of the market wanting to live in a self-contained community because they want convenient access to their daily needs, like going to the groceries, drugstores, food outlets, and of course, quality healthcare facilities,” she mentioned at the first track of the roundtable discussion New Rules: Lifestyle Changes to Prepare for. 

In its latest trend report titled Provincial cities and overseas interest contribute to real estate resilience, Lamudi cited Colliers International Philippines’ insights noting that integrated features will be more popular among buyers, whether it be in the house and lot or condominium segment. 

Accommodating this interest, 39 and 35 percent of the condominium to be developed from 2020 to 2022 in Cebu and Davao, respectively, will be within townships.

Similarly, a good location has increasingly become a top priority for the market. 

“With the experience of the lockdown, all of us are realizing the importance of a strategic location. Homebuyers are really looking for accessibility to basic necessities, meaning residences that would be giving you walking distance from shops, groceries, and even to banks,” May Lopez, Vice President and Business Unit Head of I-Land, said.

She added, “[They want properties that are] very accessible to other means of alternative transportation. People are looking for convenience.”

According to the insights from Colliers, projects near planned infrastructure projects in Cebu and Davao will see more interest.

Convenience in Connectivity

Since everything happens in the home now, the property experts have noted the increased interest for cyber-ready buildings, particularly providing convenience for professionals who are working from home.

In the second track of the roundtable discussion New Essentials: Sustainability as the Community Spotlight, SM Development Corporation’s (SMDC) President Jose Mari Banzon talked about the inclusion of a coworking space, equipped with internet services, in one of their recently launched development projects.

He mentioned that the amenity can provide a refreshing scenery for their future residents working from home. Banzon said, “Rather than let them [get] locked up in units, we provide them the environment that will allow them to work with the community around them.”

Need for Extra Space

Property buyers have been on the lookout for properties that offer additional living areas. 

Belardo pointed out, “We noticed that people are preferring to have larger balconies. When you’re living in a condo or in the city, you want spaces from the outside, but you’re quarantined inside, so you want to have bigger balconies.”

This insight matches with the findings from the Lamudi trend report published in August titled Property investment as a safe haven during a crisis. Balconies are among the top searched amenities in the platform during the first half of 2020, accounting for six percent of the searches. 

According to the analysis, balconies serve as an area for activities and hobbies that residents may enjoy while staying at home. 

The demand for extra space comes also in the form of recreational amenities inside the neighborhood. 

“Some of the buyers are into having more amenities and enjoying themselves while living in a condo set-up,” Felimon Yee, Jr., Vice President for Business Development and Customer Turnover of DataLand, Inc., mentioned.

He added, “What we did was try to bring this kind of suburban setting, so to speak, in a condo lifestyle.” 

Yee pointed out that their residential towers feature jogging paths, sky lounges, game rooms, and meditation areas.

“While we’re observing the protocols properly, we try to let the end-users maximize the use of these amenities,” he said.

In the August 2020 trend report, Lamudi identified swimming pools as the top-searched amenity in the platform. It accounted for 11 percent of the searches for the first half of the year, which points to the fact that recreational amenities have been a more important essential among property seekers.

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