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Flexibility is now favoured

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Units that can be adapted to suit tenant needs is a development trend attracting investors

Flexible floorplans are changing property investment options, particularly in light of rapid urbanisation and urban renewal.

These trends have given rise to smaller homes, usually apartments, which provide their own set of unique space challenges and have resulted in a changed response from developers, says George Radford, head of IP Global’s Africa division.

Developers have responded to urbanisation, regeneration and urban renewal trends by building flexi units and spaces which are highly adaptable.

“The greatest desire residents have for their homes is a living space that truly reflects their style and needs. To this end, developers are creating flexi units or spaces that have set sleeping areas but also include an area that can be used as a second sleeping area or converted into an extension of the unit’s living space.”

Living in the proverbial “global village” places us in touch with influences from other parts of the world and the impact can be life-changing, he says. Flexi units draw inspiration from a Japanese influence called washitsu, or “tatami rooms” in English.

“These rooms are malleable spaces which feature sliding doors, called ‘fusuma’, which can be retracted to create a large open space through the home or closed to create private living areas. This concept allows homeowners to create the spaces they need in the moment, rather than having unusable areas,” says Radford.

This gives investors the option to maximise the space in a clever and inspired way that would appeal to different prospective tenants.

“This style of floorplan is attractive to those who are looking into the property market for investment purposes because it allows the unit to be adjusted based on the tastes and needs of the current tenant.”

Having the right floor plan and bedroom type can shape how your tenant experiences the property and allows investors to maximise their property investment by appealing to many different potential tenants, Radford says.

Students, young professionals and families have different needs and lifestyles, and these are reflected in how they shape their homes.

Radford says students usually live communally. They will require their own bedrooms for privacy, but also living spaces that allow them to socialise.

Many professionals don’t mind living in a studio or one-bedroom apartment since they don’t spend much time at home due to their lifestyles, their jobs and social lives.

Most couples want to live in one or two-bedroom apartments. They are the favoured tenants for many landlords as their two income streams help to ensure a guaranteed rental income more easily than a single occupant. This increases confidence and security for the investor/landlord.

Families may favour two or three-bedroom apartments with open space for children to run around. Extra rooms are likely to be used for storage. These larger sized units are helpful for visitors.

“Flexi units are gaining popularity in new builds as they offer residents adaptable living arrangements.”

Whether space is needed for a guest room, study, nursery or walk-in closet, Radford says flexi units provide many options to tailor a home to individual requirements. Students, professionals, couples and even families can live in this type of unit, particularly those looking for affordability and value.

“When considering what type of property to invest in, ‘rentability’ is important. An adaptable living space can attract a large variety of tenants, which may be worth paying extra for,” Radford says.

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