THIS IS THE NEW NORMAL: More changes in the housing and property sectors coming—living out of the city, new house design, outdoors for leisure

Published February 19, 2021, 1:29 AM

by Pinky Concha-Colmenares

The new normal is here.  It has changed the way we live, do business, work as professionals, socialize, worship, and seek leisure.

Here’s how it has changed—or is about to change—the housing and property sector.

WFH setups would become the norm.

1. It will change the addresses of many people because one can now live outside the cities or far from their places of work because of the work-from-home (WFH) arrangements.  The dream to live in a mountain community, beachside neighborhood, or in one’s ancestral home will start happening soon to many people. Supporting the move outside the city are the expressways, road network and the new skyway that allows faster travel when one has to go to the city. 

2. The foyer has become a significant part of the house because this is where people “shed off” their street clothes, and leave for “disinfecting” things brought from the “outside world.” New houses will have more functional foyers with shelves, cabinets and bins to hold face masks, face shields, alcohol sprays, disposal gloves, and everything else related to protection from the virus.

3. A home office will have a place in many houses where one can WFH. There are already various office furniture designed for the homes (smaller and charming pieces) that are being sold online and in shops.

Large television monitors for the entertainment of family members.

4. The home now has many gadgets around—laptops, iPads, game consoles, smart phones—all connected to the internet and to the world. Expect computer monitors to be larger—to accommodate the Zoom meetings—and the television monitors to be even larger to provide the entertainment of family members.

5. It is not only shopping that has shifted to online shops, it is also consultations for medical advice and other professional services. More doctors are now available for a teleconsult and have virtual assistants to book one’s appointment.  A consultation takes place via a video call and payment is done through various forms of online transaction. 

6. The purchase of property or cars is now done online, through visits to the companies’ virtual showrooms. Of course, buyers still have the option to inspect the actual property or the vehicle but prior to that visit, transactions and appointments are done in the virtual showroom.

7. Education will continue to be mostly online and will not likely go back to the full classes conducted face-to-face. Remember that even before the pandemic, there were already many parents who opted to home school their children.  The pandemic had encouraged more parents to do the same while others opted for online live classes led by a teacher. That change in the education system will also require houses to include study corners or a study room for the children.

Online classes would become more prevalent.

8. Putting nature parks and walking trails in the property development projects will become standard, and not only for the high-end communities. Working from home, doing business at home, and getting one’s education at home will push members of the family to seek the outdoors—be that only pocket parks. 

Parks are now a priority among community developments.

9. People are now seeking leisure activities in the outdoors where there are no restrictions related to the entry of children and seniors. The most visible of these places now are the camp sites which have sprouted around many parts of Luzon. Campsites offer basic amenities—clean shared toilets, separate campsites away from the next camper, a grill station, bonfire pit.  Some campsites are beside a beach, lake or river, others are deep in the mountain with some challenging trails for off-road vehicles or for trekkers. A campsite in Morong already offers the use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) while one near a beach offers kayaks for rent.  This looks like the next face of the resort.

10. There will be less cash transactions. Payment for purchases and bookings for campsites, hotels and other lodging places are now The expressways now require RFID stickers for online toll payments.

It is wrong to say that the new normal is coming after the quarantine restrictions are lifted. The new normal is here.  It started taking over our lives after the first lockdown was imposed in March 2020 and the WHO had declared a pandemic.