THE IMMEDIATE, EVOLVING AND ENDURING IMPACTS ON OUR HOMES
These changes to our homes, lifestyles and market expectations are having immediate, evolving and enduring impacts on the residential sector.
Existing buildings and current residential developments are experiencing the most immediate impacts, as well as once-in-a-generation market force challenges. Slower offshore investor sales mean greater reliance on local buyers and owner-occupiers. Lower household consumer spending and tightening economic conditions create a market that demands quality and is spoilt for choice.
Those projects currently in design are bearing the brunt of evolving impacts. As Phil Burns, director of Sinclair Brook puts it, “The challenge is to balance the perceived and actual post-pandemic needs and wants of the purchaser both now and into the future”. Does that mean larger apartments or more public areas? Wider corridors and more lifts or open stairs?
Developers such as Mirvac, Stockland and Icon are already adopting flexible private layouts with sliding doors and walls, flexible joinery and a suite of upgrade options to cater to increasingly discerning owner-occupiers. (7)
Some things are certain. We want more nature, whether it’s because of a heightened awareness of ventilation or desire for daylight. A useable balcony and gardens either built in to the building and/or in shared areas tick the box for growing demand for the Aussie backyard.
The enduring impact of the pandemic on the residential sector is sure to be in the role of the home and the resulting cultural and lifestyle changes.
The mental health effects of the pandemic means people want more spaces for privacy, retreat and reflection balanced against places for connection and social interaction as well as shared pet-friendly spaces. That desire for increased time with family and friends will position places that build community as a market separator.
Proximity to schools, parks, public transport and cafes has always been in demand, and is even more so now. What is likely an enduring evolution of our homes is an increasing demand for social spaces and public places to entertain, meet up and foster a sense of community.
Flexibility and choice for people are key to balancing the evolving and enduring impacts of the pandemic. ICD Property’s Sal Quah says, “Choice is the most important consideration for consumers in 2020. Whether that’s where they work, or what they want from their home, upgrade options and interior customisation – people are demanding options”.
Our research, experience and conversations with industry partners tell us that there’s hope on the horizon and that Australia’s best housing is yet to come. COVID-19 may have just provided the circuit breaker we needed to get back to providing quality housing with humanity.