Nila Sweeney Reporter

May 27, 2020 – 8.08pm

From redesigning the layouts to deciding where to build next, property developers are being forced to rethink their projects to meet the emerging needs and preferences of buyers as a result of the lockdown.

In a survey of its clients, Mirvac found that more than a third (37 per cent) would reconsider where they lived if they could work from home.

Mirvac is rethinking what and where to build as a result of the virus. 

Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) said they would relocate further away while one in seven (13 per cent) said they would move closer to their workplace.

“Based on our customers’ recent experience of working from home, we are currently thinking carefully about where we choose to develop future communities based on emerging lifestyle preferences,” said Mirvac head of residential development Stuart Penklis.

“People said they don’t want to travel more than five kilometres to access conveniences and they would consider moving or relocating to relaxed areas such as near the beach or countryside.”

The property group also found that people wanted to have private home offices for uninterrupted, focused work as well as bigger and flexible rooms for different uses.

“Our customer research tells us that housing design moving forward will need to consider all these emerging trends which hint at future potential changes,” Mr Penklis said.

Demand for purpose-built home offices has risen as a result of people working from home, says Capio Property Group. 

“We knew for certain that things will change, so it was important to talk to people get as much feedback as possible so that we can evolve designs to suit the clients’ needs.

“People have started talking to us about some modifications to their homes that are either under construction or about to go under construction.”

Capio Property Group chief executive Mark Bainey said clients had also started requesting modifications to their homes.

“A lot of people have been asking for purpose-built, designated office spaces as opposed to just having a desk by the corridor,” he said.

“Some buyers are asking us to turn a spare bedroom into a proper home office space area, which is not a difficult amendment to do, but it’s a trend that’s going to last and affect the way properties are designed.

“With people working from home now, things like study and media spaces are going to creep into design and become as default.”

Mr Bainey said post-pandemic homes, especially apartments, would come with more storage space.

“I think a lot of developers aren’t designing enough storage space, but if people continue to work from home, they’re going to need the storage space. I’ve seen a rise in demand for that recently,” he said.

Mr Penklis said the pandemic had changed the way properties were going to be designed and developed in the future.

“The virus has granted us permission to reimagine the very concept of home,” he said.

“The challenge for our team now is to marry the fundamentals of great design with the many adjustments – large and small – needed to not only reimagine, but redefine what home can and should be.”