Line between apartments, offices, and hospitality become a blur
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has brought a tremendous impact to the property market that no one could have evaded. Aside from significant reduction in hospitality turnover and empty offices due to social distancing policy, COVID-19 may act as a catalyst to blur the lines between apartments, offices, and hospitalities design.
Before the pandemic, we can already see new high-end apartments and co-working offices integrating with hospitality in both design and services. Spa, pet care, and private dining rooms for residents; vertical integration between retail precinct and apartments; cafes, gyms, and even pilates studios within offices. Lifestyle has changed from having a clear identification of where to work, live, and entertain, to a highly accessible blend of our day to day activities.
Now we are having more percentage of people working from home than ever, online shopping and delivery being more common than ever, and therefore the blend of day to day activities becomes a norm as everything happens at home now. This trend is going to change what apartment buyers may look for in terms of the amenities, security, and apartment layout.
1. Apartments with study areas or study rooms are still a minority in the current market, but people may start looking for a proper home office after they faced the frustration of sharing the dining table with family members whilst having a Zoom conference. As businesses are adopting the work from home model, it may become a long-term practice even after the pandemic. Conference facilities can be highly favourable by some apartment buyers.
2. It is still very common for the delivery company to leave a card in the letter box when people are not at home for a parcel delivery, but as online shopping becomes more common people may look for better solutions such as shared lockers in the mail room. Afterall, the trend is that people are writing less letters and placing more orders online.
3. Security and privacy concerns come along with convenience. There are occasions that we want to grant access to non-residents without handing them a key. A visiting friend arriving early when you are still on the way home, an Airbnb customer who is only staying for 2 days, a furniture delivery that certainly can’t fit in a locker etc. Being able to grant limited access via a smart system may get more common as more activities happen at home.
4. Health and wellbeing have undoubtedly become one of the most important topics recently. Aside from short term practices of using hand sanitizers and face masks, there are long term influences on people’s awareness in their health. The focus of amenities within or around a potential home may be switched from bars, fine restaurants and shopping areas, to spas, gyms, and greeneries or parks nearby. Ventilations and natural lights may also weigh more when selecting apartment layout.
The COVID-19 pandemic is definitely a crisis in many aspects, including the property market. However, when there is a disturbance, changes will come short after. Developers will have to adapt the changes and be a step ahead of it.