Covid-19 pandemic will affect home choices


Property developments planned during and after the Covid-19 pandemic are likely to feature new designs and facilities that take into account the changed living habits and needs of South Africans.

Gated communities and communal living spaces will continue to be in demand but developers will need to focus on the price points as well as additional offerings such as space and security, say property players.

Although we are still in uncharted waters, says Stephen Porteous of SDP Consultants, property brokers for sectional title estate

The Woodland in Prestondale, Umhlanga, it is “fairly apparent” that people will rely on each other more, not only in terms of security but also, as a collective, in assisting the less fortunate.

“We may also find ourselves relying on each other in terms of introducing advanced and expensive communication – which is more affordable as a community, and even educating our children or at least providing an environment conducive to learning and having fun.”

For these reasons, he believes that gated communities are going to dominate the post-Covid market.

In particular, affordable entry-level estates under R1 million that provide all the benefits of traditional estates will do “exceptionally well”, says Stefan Botha, director of Rainmaker Marketing.

Citing examples, he says Ballito Groves in aManzimtoti has seen “incredible growth” since Covid, with buyers including both first-timers and investors, while Hesketh Estate in Pietermaritzburg will also do “exceptionally well”, especially when one starts combining the benefits of facilities like Finance-Linked Individual Subsidy Programmes (Flisp), where buyers can get grant subsidies off the purchase prices.

“There are developers, generally those who are experienced, who can develop projects at scale and create facilities and amenities suitable for a variety of products at one address. We will definitely start seeing people sacrificing size for location in the more upmarket and built-up areas.

“Wedgewood Sandton, Station House in Sea Point (which we will see quite soon), and Citizen Hyde Park are all examples of incredible amenities and facilities that focus on experiencing more in smaller living spaces,” he says.

Jacques van Embden, managing director of Blok Urban Developers in Cape Town, agrees that new developments will need to be “more agile” in the market place, and cater for short, medium, and long-term stays, as well as offer spaces that enable working from home and shared communal areas that can accommodate safe social interaction.

“With our latest development, Six on N, we ensured that each unit, irrespective of size, had a dedicated workstation to enable work from home, as well as providing two meeting rooms that residents can hire for larger meetings.

“We also believe that the home extends beyond your home and into the building itself, so we made sure to deliver on communal amenities and shared spaces to enhance daily lives – be it the communal roof deck and pool, laptop bar, on-site deli/grocer or the fitness studio.”

Post-Covid life is still unfolding but Lance Gore of Spencer Gore Developers which is developing Westwood Quarters in Westville, believes changes could move buyers to consider safer and more secure environments that also offer space.

“Free-standing or semi-detached houses with small gardens within estate or complexes may become more sought after.”

Post-Covid lifestyles are likely to return to what they were pre-Covid but with added measures for visitors and workers, such as temperature checks, screening and stricter access control, he says.

“The use of estate/complex facilities may also be restricted to owners only. Measures such as these, on a permanent basis, could help limit the spread of the common flu, or other future contagious diseases, which would be welcomed by most residents.”

Gore adds that developments planned during and after Covid are likely to have more open spaces.

“Apartments may now, more than ever, need to have a small patio or open area to provide some connection to the outdoors.”

Porteous believes that more advanced communication and security systems are also likely to be increasingly featured in developments while Van Embden says the ability to work from home will be “essential” to most residents as will having a variety of outdoor spaces.

Prices, however ,will be crucial with developers needing to be “far more conscious” about usage of space and size, Botha says.

“Everyone is looking to leverage their investment and to try bringing those initial barriers to entry down.

“We are seeing a lot more developers being more conscious about the deposit they ask upfront, trying to bring it down from the traditional 10% to attract more people into the market.”

* Read the latest Property360 digimag here


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