The Future of Real Estate

Today we sat down with Svetlana from Malta Sothebys Realty to pick her brain about the future of real estate. When you spend 10 years of your life selling properties, going to property seminars and being immersed in the real estate world, predicting the future get a heck of a lot easier!

Nobody really knows what the future brings and everyone has to wait to see what will happen. But as unpredictable as the future may be, people will still need a place to live, work and play except that the real estate needs of the new generation are changing. Developers need to adapt to the different mind-set millennials have for real estate property. Their attitudes towards home ownership and space sharing are creating a demand for multi-use developments that offer a “live, work, play” environment.

They are digital natives who grew up with technology and have little patience for those who shy away from using it. Chances are they will start their house hunting by looking at online listings on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. With the development of technology and changing market conditions, the real estate industry needs to adjust and be flexible going into the future.

Residential real estate will become more specialized with millennials looking for dwellings that cater to their technological needs also known as “smart homes.” Whether as owners or renters, they want to automate and control home lighting, entertainment, temperature, safety, security and any service they could possibly need with just a click of a button. They prefer a house that automatically locks the doors at night, turns on a thermostat the moment they walk in, turns up the volume when they are watching T.V, and switches on the lights when they go from room to room.

The increasing demand for smart homes will noticeably change the housing market as this younger generation starts to buy or rent houses.  As smart home products become less of an emerging fad and more of the new norm, real estate practitioners need to anticipate their clients’ need for comfort, security and convenience, and create smarter and safer homes.

As for commercial office buildings, the upsurge in digital technology will change how work spaces will be utilized. The traditional nine-to-five hive is being replaced by satellite or home offices that can do videoconferencing and store digital files. There is a steady reduction in space devoted to a physical office as the conventional office worker is freed from his or her desk with the use of mobile technology. Commercial real estate developers need to transform the usual large, monolithic office buildings to hybridized spaces that can respond to the changing work mode of millennials.

Future office spaces should bridge the gap between work and personal life with areas for fitness, relaxation, gaming, sleeping, etc. Employees should be able to choose where they want to work in the office whether it is warm or cool, dim or bright, private or collaborative areas. Technology integration and environmental sustainability will also very important.

How people will buy houses and rent offices in the future will likewise change. Because millennials are tech savvy, they can access almost endless information online and are better informed than ever before. The proliferation of search portals makes them more knowledgeable about buying and renting considerations such as commute times, quality of nearby schools, proximity to services, and crime rates. They will go through the house buying process in a different manner by using online platforms to conduct transactions. Buyers will be able view an entire home, room to room, without having to physically go see it through virtual reality.

Those with jobs and good credit standing can apply and receive mortgage approvals from their smartphones using mobile apps. Electronic checks will make the use of cash and checks obsolete in buying and renting real estate, and e-signing services will transfer much of the paperwork of real estate transactions online.

The future of the real estate industry should be interesting as it heads to the next decade and beyond.