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Trends include more multi-generational living and home offices

The real estate industry is preparing itself for a “new normal” post-lockdown – a reality that will require transformation in the way it operates and how it meets the needs of a changed world.

As much as agents and stakeholders have had to evolve their traditional methods of marketing and selling, and rely on technology to do so, they also need to be prepared for changed demands from buyers, sellers and tenants.

Things will never return to the way they were before the Covdi-19 pandemic, says Mike Greeff, chief executive of Greeff Christie’s Real Estate. “The coronavirus crisis has had varying effects on people of all ages and on all parts of the economic spectrum. These effects are long-lasting and will affect many aspects of the home buying, selling and ownership process for the foreseeable future.”

It is therefore “imperative” that the industry considers the changes that might occur once lockdown is lifted.

Trends that might be seen on greater levels than before include multi-generational living, out-of-the-city living and reconfiguring of the way homes are laid out. 

Multi-generational living: “While it was already a trend, multi-generational households might become the new norm for many, especially as Covid-19 has had an impact on jobs, tertiary education plans and retirement planning.” In addition, Greeff says homeowners who were thinking of bringing their elderly parents to live with them might have brought forward their plans to do so as a result of Covid-19. “They may be looking for a place better suited to their new living situation.”

Returning to parents: Similarly, he notes one of the first trends that became evident on social media when the lockdown began was the large number of young professionals who went home to wait out the virus with their parents. “Having left cities where they worked and returned to their home towns, many of these young people may not go back. If the work from home situation continues, or if their jobs are eliminated, they may move back home for good.”

Your home could look different: “Significant shifts” might happen in the design of homes, Greeff says. “More jobs and classes may go virtual permanently, more families may choose to home school and we will all be more aware of how much of the outside world comes into our homes.” Buyers and tenants could start looking for larger homes with emphasis on multiple office spaces and bathrooms. There could also be a shift from apartments and townhouses to single-family homes. “This is an unprecedented and challenging time and no one knows what the future holds. The most proactive thing the industry can do is try to predict all the possible outcomes and arm itself with the tools needed.” 

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