An apartment is not enough. Buyers want to pay for convenience, technology and urban services
An apartment is not enough. Buyers want to pay for convenience, technology and urban services

Poles are ready to pay for additional functions and services at their homes and residential estates - according to REAS research. It is a result of changing social conditions. We live faster, starting families later and less often, and if we do - they are smaller. We like to use smartphones for new functions. Our society is aging, but it is also becoming more and more mobile and less attached to things. These trends influence how we use residential and urban space, and this in turn affects the approach of developers while designing residential estates and city spaces.

On the primary residential market, demographic and social transformations were reflected for a long time only in a size of designed apartments: currently average apartment area is a few square meters less than 10-15 years ago, because more singles and childless couples are there among buyers. However, new technological solutions, ways of consumption of specific goods and social trends are beginning to force changes also in the residential market.

The REAS consulting company, in cooperation with the online platform Obido, studied how clients looking for a an apartment on the primary market approach new, additional functions and solutions in apartments and residential estates, and what is their tendency to pay for them. The results published in the report "Smart home, smart community, smart city" show that every fifth respondent will be more likely to buy an apartment on an estate where services such as a self-service laundry with a drying room, a scooter for minutes or a dedicated place for car sharing will be available.
„The research showed that such services - despite the fact that they are paid - is much more important for buyers aged over 45 years than for younger people who are looking for their first and cheaper apartment. The biggest fans of such solutions are mature consumers aged 55-65 years. In this group, a rented car is attractive to nearly half of potential buyers” says Katarzyna Kuniewicz, Head of Market Analysis & Research Team at REAS.

Amenities were even more attractive for people looking for an apartment, for the accessibility to them the buyer has to pay while purchasing the apartment, but the use of them will be more customised. Every third respondent is willing to pay extra PLN 500 for the price of the apartment for the possibility of recharging an electric car in the underground garage, PLN 2,400 for the possibility of placing a bike on a hanger in the underground garage or PLN 400 for the fact that a parcel locker will be located in an estate enabling the collection of larger packages delivered by couriers.

„There is no doubt that the positive response of mature respondents to surcharges for some services is meaningfully influenced by their better financial situation than in case of younger respondents. In addition, buyers over 45 usually not looking for the first but the next apartments expect a higher standard, both the finishing of shared parts and services offered in a given location. Life experience tells them that nothing is free - the need to pay for a particular conveniences is treated as the obvious consequence of buying a better apartment” comments Katarzyna Kuniewicz.

The REAS report pictures modern cities of the future. According to analysts of this consulting company multifunctional development projects, built for a intergenerational community of residents, based on access to essential services and satisfying the majority of residents' needs in the form of so-called "life services" have a chance to become generators of the development of modern conurbations. The changing needs of buyers can and should inspire developers to think about large residential estates and projects.

„Our clients manage their own money using a smartphone, that is why they easily accept the possibility of remote management of temperature, light or access to their apartment. The mobility is valuable for them, so they want to use cars or bikes for minutes. They are active and flexible, so instead of having an apartment with a large dining room to receive friends, they prefer to go downstairs to their favourite restaurant. We want to follow trends and create good solutions for cities and its residents, so we have to consider many more variables and new trends than 10 years ago. Gone are the times when developers gained customers only by controlling the price and size of apartments” says Waldemar Olbryk, Board Member responsible for Residential Department at Echo Investment.

An increasingly important factor affecting the residential market is greater mobility and less attachment to property. According to Eurostat, in 2002-2007 only 4% of the Poles changed their place of residence, but in the next five-year period (2008-2012) it was almost 10%. Changes in the employment market and the departure of the young generation from the idea of property to broadly defined flexibility of choice (work, place and standard of living) is one of the main factors that increase an interest in residential for rental.

„There is a steady increase in the number of people who do not want to be connected to a specific place by purchasing an apartment, or to burden their home budget with a long-term loan. These are often young and mobile specialists who easily change their place of work and life. They need a comfortable apartment with equipment, access to urban services and a safe lease agreement” says Piotr Gromniak, Vice-president of Echo Investment responsible for the development of the Resi4Rent residential platform.

“The Polish lease market is still at development stage. There is th need for efficient institutional investors to civilize and promote it to a certain extent. Clear leasing rules, a specific standard and access to necessary services are elements that will attract millennials, but also 30-35-year-olds who are still looking for their place to live. Another "degree of initiation" are projects combining both types of residential functions: lease and ownership. They will be exceptionally attractive for modern nomads who stop for a moment in one of the metropolises, wanting to enjoy freedom gave by the lease, but also with affiliation to a multicultural, open community” comments Katarzyna Kuniewicz.

More than 7,000 people who want to buy an apartment took part in the study conducted by REAS and Obido. Detailed results and a synthesis concerning social, economic and demographic changes can be found in the report "Smart home, smart community, smart city" by the REAS consulting company. The report is available on the REAS website here.

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