Set aside more for living spaces, and that's what property owners and tenants will want. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Developers in the UAE need to add one more element to their marketing message – sanitation.

“We are heading towards a new direction in terms of market demand, which will zero in on the core principle of health and safety,” said Saleh Abdullah Lootah, who heads Lootah Real Estate Development.

This requires “next-generation” property designs that will “automate the principles of safety and sanitation”.

Lootah cited this at the top of the 5 Trends UAE’s real estate market should watch out for… and prepare itself for.

Lower density

Don’t over-build at any location – today’s need is for those that can offer more living space. The COVID-19 reality has made this a property owner or tenant’s priority, and those developers who can deliver on lower density offerings could be the ones to thrive first.

“The industry will be rethinking about the design of the space in order to maintain new distancing standards,” said Lootah.

Raise the game

Developers will also see the need to evaluate building stipulations and provide “better infrastructure such as through retrofitting”.

Building layouts will, in particular, go through a makeover, via allocation of extra space.

“People will still have the mindset to observe physical distancing as a means to ensure safety against any viruses or diseases,” he added. “This will be the guiding principle of many investors in choosing a property.”

Mixed-use will see the most action

More developments will place access to healthcare facilities at the top of their attractions

Lootah calls this building a “community within a property” as more residents refrain from unnecessary travel for a while to avoid crowded places.

Let’s do it the virtual way

On a parallel track, Lootah wants developers to bulk up on their virtual reality capabilities, with voice-activated elevators, hands-free light switches and mobile phone-controlled room entries becoming the norm.

“The pandemic has reinforced the need for the private sector, including the real estate, to align with the UAE’s vision of digital transformation,” he said. “The sector will hold fast to it, drastically transforming business interactions.”

People will still have the mindset to observe physical distancing

- Saleh Abdullah Lootah of Lootah Real Estate Development