Will returning to the office influence city living demand?

Apr 21, 2022 12:13:59 AM

We’re seeing many companies adopt a hybrid model when it comes to staff coming into the office and working from home. Whether you’re working from home every other day, back at the office full time or choosing your own schedule there is no doubt a glimmer of normality glistens on the horizon.During these past two years we’ve seen a major trend to escape the rat race and settle in smaller, less demanding towns. It fit the COVID scenario with almost everyone being forced to work remotely, and it made an undeniable impact on certain regions.

Most, I feel, thought the work from home approach might last a lot longer but we are seeing many in the private sector expecting their staff back at the office. This has prompted many to wonder about the impact it would have on real estate.

There are two main elements to this that I think we should consider.

The first one is, many of the families who made the change and relocated to small towns on the coast or platteland made so with the understanding that the opportunity to work remotely will remain beyond the pandemic. Arrangements have been made and companies are more open to the idea if productivity is sustained. Therefore, I don’t see a major sell-off in these regions again. In fact, I think they might just be able to continue with their growth trends, especially because our new normal might look a little different.

Secondly, suburban areas surrounding the major metros as well as apartments in the CBD regions did experience fluctuations in recent times. However, what we must remember – especially because of rising fuel costs and consumers being under pressure – being closer to business districts, schools and hospitals remains a priority. And as explained earlier, with companies pushing for staff to return to the office, demand in these regions will continue to rise and return to levels close to those prior to COVID.

It has been difficult in the last few years to narrow down on trends and predict patterns, and that is still the case. Even though we seem to be moving in the right direction, some areas of the market remain unpredictable. As they always say, though, it is within these spaces where opportunity lies.

  1. We’re seeing trends change and many people returning to work, have you seen rising demand for regions that have been under pressure in the last few years?
  2. Pretoria East is an interesting market, with many great schools, leafy suburban suburbs, affordable homes in a high ROI region. Are people interested in living in large family homes again?
  3. Agents continually have to think out the box, especially in the modern environment. What training plans do you have in place to facilitate these evolutions in the market?
  4. Where do you see your key markets going in the next year and what are people buying?
  5. What areas are in high demand?
  6. What are the price brackets in Pretoria East?
  7. Has Western Cape semigration impacted your markets at all?
  8. What do you think sellers major concerns are in the modern real estate market and how do you counter those concerns?

Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Economy, Harcourts Real Estate, COVID-19, Working from home