Fundamentals still apply even if resi and office demand shifts

Although opinions differ on the extent of the changes in the residential and office property markets that will result from the pandemic, it is evident that some people will work from home more, according to chairman of Portugal’s Grupo SIL, Pedro Silveira.

His guess is that about 20-30% of the workforce will work from home more. “Commuting will not weigh so heavily on their decision to buy a house so there will be a higher propensity for them to buy places further away from their workplace because maybe they can get a bigger house or a house with more garden.”

Increased working from home is also likely to reduce a company’s office space requirement which could also precipitate office moves. “If a company needs less space, let’s say 20-30% less space, it needs to renegotiate its lease and sometimes that’s going to work as a catalyst to change building.”

Older buildings are likely to remain empty and these could provide opportunities for residential developers, Silveira told Real Asset Insight’s Richard Betts.

“Some of those office buildings which are old are also in old parts of town so they are very good for residential,” he added. That could ease supply. However, it is still essential to focus on the fundamentals of location, design, quality of construction, good sales and after sales service, he added.

Click on the video above to watch the full interview or listen to the podcast below.