What trends in housing have the pandemic in 2020 brought?
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What changes have been brought about by the pandemic in the new housing market? What trends have apparently emerged in the market last year? The survey was conducted by dompress.pl real estate service.
Mirosław Kujawski, Member of the Management Board of Develia
In 2020, the way we communicate with customers and, to some extent, their needs have changed, and these have been verified due to the pandemic. As far as the first aspect is concerned, remote customer contact methods and the possibility of signing online booking agreements have certainly become widespread. These solutions have already become a standard on the real estate market and can be expected to gain in popularity. Another important trend, visible among clients looking for flats for themselves, is the growing interest in larger units. Many people pay much more attention than before to additional space such as a balcony or terrace. Customers also take into account the attractiveness of the area around the estate. We observe these needs and try to respond to them. An example is the second stage of the Ceglana Park investment in Katowice, which has been on offer since July last year. Half of the investment area is greenery and recreation zones. We are planning further similar projects.
Mariola Żak, Sales and Marketing Director Aurec Home
The pandemic has brought about many changes in the property market, especially in terms of sales. Sales activities are increasingly being carried out using the Internet. Before making a decision to visit a sales office, customers try to familiarise themselves with the investment very thoroughly on the Internet or by telephone. Reservations of flats are also made online.
We are also observing a new trend in housing estate design, which results from the needs of future residents. A nice housing estate is not only the architecture and facades of buildings, but also their surroundings. Large space between the buildings and its attractive development play an increasingly important role in the process of flat purchase. Comfort and ecological solutions are also important. That is why we propose, for example, greenhouses located on the patio, where residents can pursue their gardening passions, as well as solar benches with chargers for mobile devices and photovoltaic panels, which will supply common parts with electricity.
Małgorzata Nowodworska, Sales and Marketing Director Angel Poland Group in Krakow
The pandemic has made Poles very aware of the need for contact with nature, so when choosing a flat, they pay attention to the size of the balcony, or the fact of the terrace or garden belonging to it. The green common areas are also important for them and their location, if possible in close proximity to green areas, parks, forests and boulevards.
Close proximity to the full commercial and service infrastructure within the estate is also more important than before. Residents avoid crowded hypermarkets and shopping malls and increasingly use the services of local entrepreneurs and local small chain shops.
We will certainly also, regardless of the pandemic, remain with virtual customer service. In the past, customers mostly preferred personal meetings in the office. Today, we often encounter the situation when we see them for the first time at a meeting at a notary.
Angelika Kliś, Managing Director of Sales and Marketing at Atal
A trend that is growing is the purchase of a flat for investment purposes as protection of capital against inflation and long-term investment. Real estate has long been seen as one of the most secure forms of investment. Currently, this trend is still gaining momentum. This is particularly true of investment properties in holiday locations, such as the Tri-City. Clients interested in purchasing real estate for their own residential purposes have started to appreciate even more spacious balconies, loggias, terraces and gardens as additional living space. One of the most attractive advantages of a flat is now also flexible space, which can be rearranged according to needs.
Cezary Grabowski, Sales and Marketing Director at Bouygues Immobilier Polska
There are several trends, such as the search for flats in non-centralised housing estates or the greater need for a balcony, terrace or garden. However, the most visible trend, which will certainly continue next year, is a greater willingness to choose and buy flats through remote tools such as virtual meetings with advisors or applications for signing contracts. More and more clients are looking for and choosing flats online, so it is necessary to create the best possible opportunities for them using the new tools.
Jarosław Kozak, Vice-President of Waryński S.A. Holding Group
A visible change in the real estate market is the enforcement by potential buyers of higher price discounts. A noticeable trend is also the willingness to invest cash in a safe haven, i.e. flats in the centres of urban agglomerations. The availability of the broadly understood infrastructure still remains in the price, and the spread of remote work changes little here.
Małgorzata Ostrowska, Director of Marketing and Sales Division in J.W. Construction Holding S.A.
Some people transfer interest from flats to houses and plots. In our suburban Villa Campina Housing Estate in Ożarów Mazowiecki, where we offer single-family and terraced houses with a garage, we have recorded higher sales. They can be bought at the price of a flat in Warsaw. The use of wood and natural materials in the construction of the houses makes them natural, healthy and ecological, and thanks to the use of underfloor heating and heat pump, they are more energy efficient than standard ones.
We have been using the standards promoting energy-efficient and low-emission construction in our investments for many years, in a way anticipating future trends, which will soon be visible in the regulations. At the beginning of 2021, new restrictive standards for the energy efficiency of new buildings must be applied by all investors. This may increase construction costs by as much as a dozen or so percent, and this in turn means that property is unlikely to be cheap next year. If interest rates remain low, small flats will still be an attractive investment.
Sebastian Barandziak, CEO of Dekpol Developer
The pandemic has motivated many people to invest in the so-called second home. Having an additional flat in an attractive location has become a popular solution in the period preferred by a large part of remote working companies and the necessity to use social distance. Moreover, clients pay special attention to the functional aspects of the flat. Definitely, additional space in the flat in the form of an office turns out to be a great asset. Additional spaces such as gardens, balconies or terraces have also proved to be an important aspect.
Zuzanna Należyta, Sales Director at Eco Classic
We are seeing much greater interest in three- and four-room flats. This is undoubtedly a result of the need to spend more time at home, working and studying remotely. Another change is the increased interest in the largest possible additional areas such as balcony or garden. We estimate that these trends will also be visible this year.
Tomasz Czubak, Director of Development Projects Preparation in Jakon
In recent months, there has been a noticeable interest from customers in flats with a larger area than before and in flats with large balconies or gardens.
More customers also use electronic forms of contact with sales offices. Some documents are handed over electronically. We are looking forward to a change in the approach of certain institutions, including banks, to the issue of digitisation of documents, because the transfer of paper documents now causes a lot of difficulties and, above all, generates delays.
Monika Perekitko, Member of the Management Board of Matexi Polska
Recent months have seen major changes in social life. We do not yet know how long the pandemic itself will last, nor do we know how customers’ habits and needs will change in the long term, in which decisions to buy housing should be considered. For us, this is, above all, a time of observation and thorough analysis, but some of the tools, such as the remote signing of booking agreements or the presentation of an online offer, are tools which we have already implemented and we will certainly develop them in the future.
Joanna Chojecka, Sales and Marketing Director for Warsaw and Wrocław in Robyg SA.
Last year, we certainly gained remote communication channels, which allowed us to broaden the reach of customers and maintain constant contact with people interested in the company’s offer. New solutions, once rarely used by customers, such as video chat, online offer and even remote, electronic signing of the contract have now become a standard that will stay with us forever. Customers have found out that remote ways of communication are as effective as personal and have quickly changed their habits and preferences.
The second visible trend is even greater care for one’s own home due to the increasing frequency of remote working. Therefore, buyers are much more demanding in terms of flat design and additional elements, such as Smart House technology, with which our flats and balconies or gardens are equipped. The location of housing estates close to green areas and recreational areas is also important.
Agata Zambrzycka, Sales and Marketing Director at Aria Development
Recently, flats with gardens and large balconies and terraces have attracted great interest. Customers also appreciate the availability of smart solutions and photovoltaic panels, which significantly reduce the cost of use. Our competitiveness is also increased by the quality of investments under construction. Last year, the percentage of flats handed over to customers without any problems was about 90%.
Wojciech Dzioba, President of the Management Board of TBV Investment
Smaller flats are increasingly popular with buyers, for example, three-room flats of up to 50 square metres or two-room flats of approximately 40 square metres. This is due, among other things, to the limited creditworthiness of customers, for whom it is often the first property purchased. This applies, for example, to young couples who are just starting a family. The second group interested in such flats are investors, who are aware of the fact that flats of this size are most popularly rented in Lublin. When designing our flats, we focus primarily on their functionality, regardless of the size of their area.
Due to the pandemic, the year 2020 is marked by remote sales and we assume that in the coming months the majority of transactions will be made in a non-contact manner. We are ready for this and have the tools to provide our customers with comfort and security when purchasing flats.
Sylwester Śniadecki, CEO of Śniadecki Development and Śniadecki Investment Group
The pandemic has kept most of us in our homes and flats. That is why everyone has started to pay particular attention to the place where they live or want to live. Purchasers paid attention to the appropriate number of rooms for the family, the possible possibility of arranging a study. They wanted children to have separate rooms and comfort of remote learning. The terrace and garden became very important as an additional space, which can be given functions according to current needs. In my opinion, this trend will continue this year, and perhaps even longer. Forced to stay in one place, we want the place to be as friendly and comfortable as possible.
Edyta Kołodziej, Sales and Marketing Director at Nickel Development
The increased interest in recreational spaces, terraces, balconies, loggias and the associated gardens is clearly visible. The latter, previously underestimated, would seem to have ‘their five minutes’ now. We have such single-storey flats with associated gardens in the Zbrojowa stage in the Duchess of Dąbrówka Estate near Poznań. I think that the size of the gardens is also important here. Their average area is much higher than the average for the investment from the district of Poznań. The largest garden has 300 square metres.
Janusz Miller, Sales and Marketing Director of Home Invest
Recently we have noticed a clear increase in interest in purchasing flats for cash for investment purposes or as a capital investment. We have been observing this trend for several months now and it is likely to continue and even become even more evident this year. Customers want to invest their cash safely, and investing in real estate is one of the best options available to them.
Izabela Kucharska, Product Development Manager at Skanska Housing Company
Recent months have shown that our innovative solutions fully meet the new needs of buyers as a result of the new pandemic reality. I therefore believe that space design practices such as the division of a housing estate into a public zone in which anyone can be accommodated, a semi-public zone accessible to residents and a completely private zone will become even more popular. This is a way to minimize the risk of accidental contact with more people outside the housing estate, and thus increase the feeling of safety and comfort of the residents.
Separate balconies will be another solution which we are trying to introduce in housing investments, and which will become more important in the coming months, without the need to share them with the neighbours. In our buildings, we also focus on spaces larger than standard ones, thanks to which the neighbours, passing by in corridors or other rooms, can easily avoid close contact.
A completely new need, directly related to remote work, will be the appearance of separate offices, separate rooms intended for business purposes in the flats. It will also be crucial to give residents free access to recreational areas.