Redefining spaces post-Covid19

by Steve Van Derodar

| Photo by PRP Inspections -California via SV Derodar

More than a year ago, we were all shocked by the limitations imposed upon us. We were cringed, homebound, and the next thing you knew, it was cramped with spaces. It is inarguable that the Coronavirus pandemic has altered our routines, including our spatial paradigms. The question is, do we look similarly about what a comfortable space is the same as before?

How we live and work is no longer the same, at least in the present time. In fact, it has changed several dynamics on how we do things. In real estate, we have seen a shift in consumer behavior and trends that are shaping the future of today’s marketplace.

The Philippines had its share of the impact of the pandemic, and on its way to recovery, the market is showing an increase in preference for house and lot properties or the so-called horizontal projects. The condominium market is still showing continued interest, especially in highly urbanized cities, and perhaps, a new definition of space is an emerging trend.

In a Philippine Tatler article, Victoria Edwards, design director at the Singapore office of international interior architectural practice Wilson Associates opines, “Covid-19 has completely changed the way most of us view our homes—they now need to encompass many diverse atmospheres under one roof, becoming not only our places of rest but also our office, gym, and cinema.” She is very right. Didn’t we, on a lockdown, try to do all these things at home?

Among the trends that are obviously redefining spaces include the need for extra spaces for physical fitness and well-being, biophilic designs for interiors – integrating plants or the connection from a natural environment to the built environment and for others simply requiring spacious living atmospheres, especially those that allow maximization of views or access points to nature. For others, they had to repurpose spaces to accommodate additional personal or professional benefits.

As developers intensified virtual presentations and processes, it is no doubt that they are becoming the new norm. I have seen many developers embracing this change. Even well-trusted developers had to increase their online customer engagement to adapt to the situation, and thus innovation is the key to stay relevant and competitive in the industry. All the more to continuously engage customers who are reluctant to the property market and are on a ‘wait and see’ as to how will the Philippines pick up from the aftermath of Covid-19.

According to Realtor Magazine, “Asia Pacific region appears to be leading the recovery globally compared with many Western economies.” This means an optimistic outlook in the industry while conforming to how Covid-19 has accelerated many existing trends, including digitalization, dispersed working, and online shopping. Records show a rebound in remittance fueled into the Philippines despite the pandemic, which means that buying power remains significant for the Philippine residential real estate market.

Luckily, and to those familiar, most developers have projects in varying residential communities that offer single detached homes with garden spaces. These properties are in master-planned communities where everything they need is on a proximate radius. In more luxurious villages, lot cuts would range from 400 sqm to more than 1,000 sqm.

“Among the trends that are obviously redefining spaces include the need for extra spaces for physical fitness and well-being, biophilic designs for interiors – integrating plants or the connection from a natural environment to the built environment and for others simply requiring spacious living atmospheres, …”

Unknown to many, project developments take many years to complete. There are various houses and lots or lots only available for purchasing, and with a house, the structural component can be bought through financing. Interestingly, interest rates have been very competitive, from 4.99- percent to 6.20 percent, depending on the bank you are getting your loan from. In a typical Philippine mortgage, you make monthly payments for the loan tenure until you’ve fully repaid both the principal of the loan and the interest. During the early years of the loan, most of your monthly payments will be used to repay interest. However, as time passes, a larger proportion of your payments will go into paying down the principal.

Worth noting, the infrastructures in Mega Manila have been taking much less travel time, and one can opt for bigger spaces outside of the Central Business Districts (CBDs). Laguna, Cavite, Antipolo aren’t really that far from Makati and Ortigas, considering the newer highways and transit systems.

Consider density when purchasing a condo property. In condominium properties, developers also offer lush greeneries, expansive common areas, and amenities that are not crowded, albeit offering exclusivity and unique experiences to tenants or condo owners. You may also check on how you can convert your space to accommodate additional functions by providing partitions or hold installation of non-load-bearing walls for adjoining units.

“Today, “functional space” is a currency of well-being. It also profoundly means providing yourself for the things that matter most – health, productivity/efficiency, and personal identity.”

Perhaps, with the sudden life-changing new norms besetting us brought about by the pandemic, it is about time to review, reflect and repurpose your current residential spaces. Whether it’s a need for you to expand, redesign and modify available spaces, we all should recognize that space is crucially important to our well-being.

Today, “functional space” is a currency of well-being. It also profoundly means providing yourself for the things that matter most – health, productivity/efficiency, and personal identity.


(Stevenson’s experience in Philippine Real Estate spans more than 15 years. He has been involved in horizontal, vertical, vacation, and commercial properties. In addition, he has worked as an International Property Specialist to markets in Asia, Europe, and North America with Ayala Land, Federal Land, and Century Properties. PhilHouseHunters offers real estate investment opportunities, marketing, and consultancy with a key focus on Metro Manila and Mega Cebu. Visit www.philhousehunters.com. Email at derodarsales@gmail.com.)

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