Growing interest for technified homes

The pandemic has indeed brought changes in the preferences of homeowners. Faced with a global health crisis, more people decided to live in communities with greener and larger open spaces.

For some, the changes brought by pandemic work set up meant the need for more spaces where they can work at home.

But as the health situation in the country continues to improve, with the easing of quarantine restrictions as COVID-19 cases decline,  new trends have been observed among homeowners. One of these is the growing interest for technified homes.

“It’s interesting to see the evolution of property seeker preferences throughout this pandemic. In a way, the change reflects how people are coping with the health crisis,” Lamudi Philippines chief executive officer Kenneth Stern said.

Lamudi pointed out that at the height of the pandemic, location was emphasized as the top essential when buying properties in response to lockdown measures and mobility restrictions.

“Now, as the health crisis wanes, technology and security emerge as one of the most important priorities of property seekers aiming to create a better normal,”it added.

Comparing data recorded in January-April 2020 which covers the onset of the pandemic, to that in January-April 2022 or the recovery period, Lamudi observed that preference for technology and security amenities grew, accounting for almost 20 percent of amenity searches.

These amenities include WiFi, alarm system, broadband internet provision, secure parking, 24-hour security, intercom, and CCTV.

Changing home requirements

Stern said that the heightened interest in tech and security amenities may be attributed to the stay-at-home lifestyle people have grown accustomed to over the last two years.

“We want our homes to be ‘techified’ to keep up with the demands of doing everything at home, from work and learning to leisure,”Stern said.

“Since we’re spending more time indoors, we want to have the peace of mind that we’re safe, our families and belongings are protected. These lived realities amid the pandemic gave rise to a stronger preference for tech and security amenities,” he explained.

Apart from tech and security, comfort and relaxation amenities commanded popularity on Lamudi, representing a third of the amenity searches.

These include a swimming pool, built-in wardrobe, air conditioning system, gym, balcony, ensuite, garden, and park.

Stern pointed out that people are now prioritizing literal breathing facilities that can help them take a break from the stress and pressures brought by the pandemic after being cooped up at home for long periods.

Higher demand for upscale residences

Lamudi pointed out an increase in demand for upscale residences in central business districts. It shared that recent data which showed that upscale condo rentals in popular central business districts flexed double-digit growth in leads.

In Makati, for instance, the leads for condo rentals priced between P60,000 to P100,000 surged by almost 90 percent from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022, the largest spike out of all other price segments.

In Taguig, the leads for condo rentals with a price range of P200,000 to P500,000 doubled in the same mentioned period.

Stern explained that the strong preference for tech and security amenities as well as the high demand for upscale residences both point to property seekers’ pursuit of a better normal home, one that would let them do more in their own space.

Developers urged to incorporate tech features

Technology does not just focus on security features of a home. It can also be used to boost the green features of a home, which will respond to the demand for healthier and greener spaces.

In a recent report, Colliers Philippines urged developers to consider integrating green technologies (GreenTech) to differentiate their projects in the market.

These include natural lighting, optimized air quality and rainwater catchment facilities.

“We also encourage developers to adopt sustainable features with the inclusion of green spaces such as vertical gardens in their upcoming projects,”Colliers added.

In addition, the property services firm also recommended that developers improve amenities to make it responsive for the current needs of their residents.

“We encourage developers to improve their amenities which will suit a work-from-home (WFH) set-up,”Colliers said.

It cited a survey by the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) which revealed that about 90 percent of employees are more productive in a hybrid model.

As an example, Colliers cited DMCI introducing a co-working space in its Lumiere Residences project during the pandemic.

“The workspace could be used by registered residents and tenants. The facility is equipped with high-speed internet, virtual mailboxes, printers and photocopiers,”Colliers said.