74 days ago, the state of alarm was decreed and the confinement began. No one expected it. In January of this year, the news came about the expansion of the covid-19 in China and it seemed that this was too far away and that it would not affect us. Finally, it arrived, and we are still immersed in a national effort to stop its expansion and to recover part of our “previous life”.
Let us focus for a moment on the phenomenon of confinement. For three weeks now, we have noticed an unexpected dynamism in the real estate market. And the “unexpected dynamism” is because we feared the worst and we continue to fear a severe market adjustment, but this dynamism – which may be punctual – would be indicating to us that we would no longer be so willing to spend 60 days locked up in any type of housing. No longer. If it had been 10 days, perhaps it would have been different, but for many it has been the drop that has filled the glass.
Amplitude, terrace, garden, community area…
After confinement, people have one thing in mind: it can happen again. And this, although it may seem trivial, is not. Fear and uncertainty could take over our thoughts, leading to a new need: spaciousness, more terrace, a garden or a pleasant community area with green areas and swimming pool.
Make no mistake: a confinement in a single-family house with garden and pool is infinitely more bearable than a confinement in a flat in Barcelona without a terrace. In this regard, populations such as Sant Cugat could register an increase in demand added to that which had already been accumulating in previous years, with year-on-year growth of 13%, 10% and 6% in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively, although they have been decreasing growths and the market was already showing signs of maturing and of less pressure on price increases. Similarly, populations of Maresme, Garraf, Baix Llobregat, Vallés Oriental or Vallés Occidental could also be “benefited” by this search for an improvement in quality of life.
A determining factor in this change in preferences has been the possibility of teleworking thanks to technology and communications. We have realized that it is not necessary to go to the office to get the job done. In particular for the actors in the real estate sector, there are essential things like visiting an apartment or constructing a building that must be in person, but customer service, administrative tasks, internal issues, marketing, monitoring of processes, etc. They can be done from a laptop or smartphone.
For those who have started a family and have young children, the situation has been more complicated. The closing of schools is frankly a relevant issue, since teleworking has to be combined with childcare, which is no small feat. At an early age, children are often very demanding of care, affection and care. In this type of family units, we believe that there will be greater pressure to change in search of greater spaces or exits abroad.
This search for a “new home” is being especially visible in the rental market but also in the buying and selling market, both in flats and in semi-detached or single-family houses. Ground floors, penthouses, buildings with communal green areas and swimming pools, semi-detached houses and single-family houses are in the spotlight of buyers. Precisely these are types of properties with a higher price due to their characteristics, but it seems that the buyer is willing to assume that additional effort in price, since he has a lot to gain.
As always, we will be attentive to the evolution of the market.