Time to go big: The luxury of space in the COVID-19 era
In a recent Global Buyer Survey Knight Frank conducted with over 700 of their clients across 44 countries, they found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that homeowners want more space.
COVID-19 has altered the way we live our lives. Lockdowns and restrictions meant the home became more than just a safe haven shared with loved ones. Overnight, homes became a place where we worked, where our children learned, where we exercised, and where we try to leave it all at the proverbial doorsteps to unwind and relax.
In a recent Global Buyer Survey Knight Frank conducted with over 700 of their clients across 44 countries, they found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that homeowners want more space. Of the respondents, 64 per cent indicated a home office or study is now more important, with 66 per cent equally placing importance on a large garden or having outdoor space.
As working or schooling from home becomes more common, residents are spending increasing amounts of time at home. More than before, a lack of space can have a negative impact on productivity and mental well-being.
People are also spending more of their leisure time at home. COVID-19 measures have been restricting activities like dining out, which makes the prospect of having a spacious home more attractive.
According to PropertyGuru’s Singapore Property Market Index, Q2 2021 saw a spike in the number of transactions of over S$2 million, with such purchases making up 27.5 per cent of all private residential property transactions. Transactions in this price range usually make up only about 20 per cent of total transactions.
The PropertyGuru research revealed that over one-fifths of recorded transactions above S$2 million fell into the S$2 million to S$4 million range, a segment likely to be composed of buyers keen to purchase more spacious properties.
For homeowners considering trading up, is now the right time to buy a bigger place? If you think so, you’re not alone.
In a recent interview published by Channel NewsAsia, senior associate district director at OrangeTee Ryan Tan was reported as saying that 80 per cent of his current clients are looking for bigger flats, up from 60 per cent before the pandemic.
Christine Sun, senior vice-president of research and analytics at OrangeTee & Tie, was quoted in the Channel NewsAsia article as saying, “The price resilience of properties in Singapore may have also driven some to purchase bigger units now for fear that the price increase may put such units out of reach in future.”
In a market research report released by OrangeTee in September 2021, the percentage of luxury condominiums at least 1,600 sq ft (1,200 sq ft in the Core Central Region) has been steadily rising since the beginning of the year. The first eight months of the year also saw a surge in demand in Singapore’s landed housing segment with 2,407 properties transacted, of which over 50 were Good Class Bungalows.
Sun added that moving forward, developers might want to reconfigure their unit mix to include larger units or offer facilities that support the requirements of a work-from-home shift.
But for now, if you’re staying put for the time being, there are still a few tricks on how to create your own space when everyone else is at home.
- Division of space: Even if you don’t have an extra room to designate for working, you can use a foldable decorative screen or a movable shelving system to create the illusion of separation. This also creates a visual cue for the rest of the family that you are “at work” and not to be disturbed.
- Repurposing spaces: Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. A walk-in closet can easily be turned into a quiet working nook with the addition of a chair and small desk. If you have a balcony or terrace, working outside – weather permitting – can also be productive.
- Other tips for working from home: Take breaks and interact with other people to replicate the social interactions at the office. Prepare meals the night before and stick to a finishing time to maintain a sense of work-life balance, even if it’s at the same place.