It's all about living spaces... For their next launches, space will probably define whether a particular project does well or not. Cramped spaces are no longer what residents want. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Space will be the next big thing… and developers in the UAE better be prepared.

More residents are likely to choose home options that offer extra space – its need has become magnified after the experience of spending long hours and days in homes that suddenly seemed too cramped for their requirements.

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“It is expected that extra space may increasingly represent a “must have” among residents, with special consideration lent to the size and natural lighting of these additional rooms,” said CBRE in its latest real estate update.

“One way to accommodate the multiple responsibilities of today’s lifestyles is the incorporation of movable walls or partitions which support the creation of separated areas for work, school and play.”

Need for a U-turn

Developers in Dubai will need to make quick adjustments on their gameplans from recent years. From 2015 onwards, when offplan launches made a strong return, the intent was on smaller space to each residential unit and thus keep prices below the Dh1.5 million mark.

Apartment sizes of under 1,000 square feet proved particularly popular during this phase, many of which will now be delivered into the market.

It was felt that investors would snap up these small-sized options and which on completion would have a better chance of being rented out. Certain towers were launched in prime spots that only had studios and one-bedroom units.

Wake up call

But one detail from the CBRE report should come as a sign of the times. It notes that searches for villa rentals in April alone were higher by 10 per cent than same period last year.

“We have also seen instance of working couples choosing to leave their one-bedroom units to larger two-bedrooms to be able to convert the second bedroom to a dedicated office space. This trend is also driven by greater levels of affordable pricing across the market, encouraging end-users to upsize where possible.”

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That could well be the hottest rental trend of the coming weeks – the demand being for ‘on-demand’ fresh air and sunlight, larger living areas, and space for an office or study room.

It’s clear that the work-form-home diktats will greatly influence rentals and purchases… even after COVID-19 becomes a distant memory at some point. “Professionals are expected to continue a flexible workstyle, working from home if not full-time at least once a week, meaning additional time spent at home,” the report finds.

Gabriella De La Torre, Director in CBRE’s Consulting division,said, “Residents living in smaller apartments are now looking to move to a larger stand-alone... to have more space, as well as enhanced amenities. This trend is also driven by greater levels of affordable pricing across the GCC market, encouraging end-users to upsize where possible.”

In a post-COVID-19 era, the GCC housing market is anticipated to witness an accelerated pace for green and smart housing developments like The Sustainable City in Dubai and Aljada’s Misk Apartments in Sharjah

- Abdullah Altheraawi, Analyst in CBRE Consulting.