GCC residents look for larger housing units as work from home gains traction

The coronavirus pandemic may also accelerate the growth of green housing developments, CBRE says

End-users are looking to move to larger housing units including villas and townhouses to have additional spacei. Pawan Singh / The National
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Larger property units such as villas and town houses have seen a rise in demand across GCC real estate markets as end-users spend more time working from home amid the pandemic, according to a new report from CBRE.

“Residents living in smaller apartments are now looking to move to a larger stand-alone villa or townhouse to have more space, as well as enhanced amenities,” Gabriella De La Torre, a director at CBRE’s consulting division, said. “This trend is also driven by greater levels of affordable pricing across the GCC market, encouraging end-users to upsize where possible.”

The report said that residents are also seeking new amenities such as private swimming pool, private garden or courtyard, office or study space, larger living area and outdoor seating as the pandemic keeps them home-bound.

Working couples in the GCC are also choosing to leave their one-bedroom units to upsize to larger, two-bedroom units to be able to convert the second bedroom to a dedicated office space, the report added.

Changes in home layouts to create more space to set up an office at home,  a gym or play areas for children as well as growing demand for smart home products in lighting, entertainment and surveillance are among the other new trends highlighted by CBRE.

The coronavirus pandemic could also accelerate the growth of green housing developments with end-users “increasingly motivated to reduce utility costs as they spend more time at home”.

CBRE's report is in line with the recent market trends. Villa and townhouses sales in Dubai have increased in July, listings portal Property Finder said. The emirate registered 493 sales transactions of villas and townhouses last month with areas like Nadd Al Sheba, Dubai Hills Estate and Al Furjan being popular with buyers.

“During the crisis and lockdown, search and demand data showed that people started looking for bigger properties,” Property Finder said earlier this month.

CBRE Global Research also conducted a survey titled 'The future of the office: 2020 Global occupier sentiment survey' involving 126 senior-level global real estate executives from Fortune 500 and 100 firms, to determine how the Covid-19 pandemic will change the use of office space.

As per the survey, 70 per cent of respondents indicated that some portion of their workforce will be allowed to work remotely full-time and 61 per cent indicated that all employees would be allowed to work outside the office at least part-time.