Is condo living for you?

The pandemic has made all of us prioritize our health and wellness. This has led us to make some changes in our lifestyles such as living  in healthier environments, particularly those with wider, open spaces.

While offering wider spaces may be challenging for condominiums, especially those in the Metro Manila area, these developments have found ways to ensure the health and safety of their residents.

“We haven’t observed much change in the physical properties of a condominium brought about by the pandemic,”Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Philippines Research Manager Karisse Garcia said when asked of the changes COVID-19 brought to condominiums.

“However, we did notice changes in the way property managers put health and safety in the forefront of their operations. Moving forward, buyers should be proactive in looking for developments which prioritize the safety and wellness of their unit owners,”Garcia added.

Santos Knight Frank Head of Property & Facilities Management Dennis Nolasco echoed Garcia’s view on the role of property managers.

“Building owners work hand in hand with professional property management teams to handle day-to-day property operations and ensure a healthy and safe use of public areas of buildings, including amenities,” Nolasco said.

“Therefore, the role of professional property management has become most crucial during the pandemic,” he added.

Ensuring safety of public areas

While residents can make changes to prioritize their well-being within their own units, it’s the property managers who take charge of ensuring the safety of residents in public areas and amenities of the building.

“Condominium property managers have been active in keeping their developments safe in the midst of the pandemic. Aside from abiding by the minimum health standards, various measures like daily and even hourly disinfection of common areas and high foot traffic places such as elevators have been implemented,” JLL’s Garcia said.

She added that while shared amenities like gyms and pools are still available for use, the number of individuals using the facilities are regulated by scheduling which also factors in disinfection hours.

“Other than regular disinfections, guests coming inside the development are also restricted. Only fully vaccinated individuals are allowed to enter the premises under Alert Level 2, while no guests are allowed under Alert Level 3. Delivery of food or any items are allowed, but should only be done in a designated area outside the entrance of the building,” she added.

For his part, Santos Knight Frank’s Nolasco also emphasized the importance of complying with the current government guidelines and health protocols.

“Property managers also operate condominium amenities depending on government guidelines. Cleaning, disinfection, and other safety protocols are implemented for condominium amenities, too,” he added.

Proximity to establishments

Apart from the implementation of more stringent health and safety protocols, the proximity of a condominium to basic establishments is also a factor that buyers and developers are putting emphasis on.

“Most condominiums started looking at public transit options and have now allocated more retail spaces,” KMC Savills co-founder and managing director Michael McCullough said.

He added that buyers should consider the proximity of the condominium to offices, retail centers, and hospitals, which lessen the exposure from the risk of traveling.

“Buyers are also exploring offerings in townships that provide more open space for their young families,” McCullough said.

Buyers and developers are also paying more attention to outdoor amenities such as walking paths, outdoor play areas, and even Zen gardens. 

“As buyers realized the pandemic was dragging on, they have kept an eye out for green features of units as well as the common areas of a condominium,” he added.

Condo leasing seen picking up

Santos Knight Frank Associate Director for Residential Services Marie Gimena-Villanueva said while the preference for open spaces and low-density residential living will continue, they have already seen condominium leasing pick up in the last quarter of 2021, driven by increased consumer confidence brought by the vaccine and booster roll out.

“Buyers will still reflect about their need in choosing the type of residential property. Residential condominiums appeal to buyers who value an urban lifestyle, proximity to places of work and amenities, and convenience of having a team providing services such as property management and security,” Villanueva said.

She added that people who seek certain suburban or rural locations, permanence, or bigger residential spaces might want properties such as a house and lot.

Moreover, KMC’s McCullough said demand for condominium rentals is seen to rise as companies gradually return to the office.

“It’s hard not to put a premium on safety, convenience, and lifestyle. As companies slowly start returning to an office, we’ll see rental demand pick up. Many employees want to live closer to the office to reduce commute times,” McCullough said.

“While this year has gotten off to a slower start, urbanization is a long-term trend, and cities tend to offer an appealing lifestyle, especially for single people and young families,” he added.

For her part, Garcia said condo dwellers who sought for wider open spaces near Metro Manila during the pandemic are seen to return to their condominiums once markets have recovered.

“When markets have rebounded post-pandemic and businesses resume their operations in their full capacity, we anticipate that buyers and lessees will return to their condominium properties due to its proximity to their workplace and other conveniences that provide their daily necessities,” Garcia said.