While most of us hunkered down at home during the circuit breaker in 2020, Chris Sng was busy right-sizing his home, selling the family’s 893 sq. ft. resale HDB flat for a 1,755 sq. ft. condo unit.
“Space was a main consideration when we were looking for a new home, as well as proximity to my eldest’s primary school,” he said. “My daughters need space as they grow up, especially my youngest. With our space now, they can eventually have their own bedrooms.”
Currently, the two girls share a large bedroom, the result of combining two rooms, which also serves as their study area and playroom.
Chris and his wife have also benefitted from the larger space.
“Like everyone else, my wife and I suddenly had to work from home, while my daughter, who just started Primary 1, had to have home-based learning. So, in hindsight, moving to a bigger home really worked in our favour.”
Wanted: Flexible spaces
With our homes used as office, school, gym and playground too last year, the pandemic may have changed the types of features buyers now seek in a home; bigger sizes, yes, but also options for flexibility in the use of space.
With remote work expected to remain a fixture post-pandemic, some real estate developers are now exploring flexible spaces as a design-led solution that allows one to convert an area in their home into an office, for example.
Dora Chng, GuocoLand general manager (residential), said the company abides by “people-centrism” as a fundamental principle when designing their properties. To ensure that their homes enhance the lives of homeowners, she said they incorporate the concept of flexible usage in their design.
For example, its 219-unit integrated development, Midtown Bay, was designed with the work-from-home concept in mind. “We purposely made the living and dining rooms bigger so there is a flexibility to convert the space if need be,” she said.
The balcony floors are intentionally flushed with that of the living room, extending the living area, so that homeowners can place an eight-seater dining table at the balcony space of a two-bedroom apartment and have more room in the living area for a home office.
Midtown Bay also offers two- and three-bedroom duplex units which could be set up so that the lower level is the home office while the upper area is for living and sleeping.
Even Pasir Ris 8, an upcoming new launch condominium by Allgreen Properties, incorporates greater flexibility of space in its three- and four-bedroom units, which feature a flexible room that can be used as a helper’s room, utility room or study. These bigger units also have dual access (via the kitchen and living room) and come with a walk-in wardrobe that doubles as a dressing room.
Meanwhile, two- and one-bedroom units will come with tables that can be stowed away or double as a workstation, as well as concealed storage spaces.
Even the balcony was designed such that residents can work from there if they choose to, said Allgreen’s chief executive Lee Yew Kwung.
Amenities for those working from home
The development also has amenities for those working from home — everything from hot-desking areas to flexible, entertainment pavilions.
To allow people to work anywhere within the development, the common areas and clubhouses in Pasir Ris 8 will offer a free wifi network.
Co-working pods will also be available in clubhouses, while some of the outdoor pavilions will have fittings that will make it conducive for work or relaxation.
GuocoLand’s luxury, 181-unit development, Wallich Residence, meanwhile, has a networking suite at the 52nd level that not only commands a great view of the city, but is outfitted to function as a corporate boardroom too.
Wanted: Own space
Aside from increasing the appeal of flexible space, the pandemic may have had a hand too in making young, unmarried people leave home to rent their own space for privacy.
A report in Today seems to bear this. The article interviewed locals under the age of 35 who opted to pay for rent just to be away from the Covid-imposed constant close interaction with parents and siblings at home.
Having a place to socialise with friends and partners and getting more personal space were other reasons they cited.
This could explain why Figment, which hosts fully furnished shophouse studios and flexible leases in the central area, has seen a 20 per cent uptick in Singaporean tenants from 10 per cent pre-pandemic to 30 per cent currently.
Another co-living space, Cove, reported that Singaporeans now make up 35 per cent of its tenants, up from 5 per cent before the pandemic.
These co-living and serviced apartment operators seem bent on growing the numbers too, by constantly adapting their offerings to meet the changing needs of their tenants.
For example, all Figment studios now have proper desks to meet work-from-home demands. It also upgraded its wifi system in its 22 shophouses.
With their tenants staying in more, Cove has put in bigger refrigerators in some of its apartments, improved its wifi system and added in desks. It also offers tenants a rental service for such items as a small fridge, coffee machine, exercise equipment and even artwork.
At Coliwoo’s newest location at Keppel Road, all its 47 units feature a work area, an ensuite bathroom, kitchenette and a washer/dryer. This is unlike other co-living spaces, where there is more sharing of amenities.
“We believe that self-sustaining units would be the preferred way of living, especially with the ongoing pandemic,” said Kelvin Lim, executive chairman and group managing director of LHN Group, which operates Coliwoo, a collection of co-living properties.
Although location and price remain two of the most important consideration points when buying or renting a home, size, flexible space and work-from-home features now seem to influence people too as they seek to find comfort in the new normal.
Whether you’re looking for a bigger home to meet your growing family’s needs or on the lookout for your own space, Ohmyhome Super Agents can assist you in your property search. Call 6886 9009 or book a consultation here.