As recent as 2019 and early 2020, the trend of working from home was often reserved for the select few who had been lucky enough to negotiate this status with their employer. However, when the pandemic hit not too long into 2020, the term ‘work from home’ took on an entirely new meaning. With so much of the population suddenly thrust into the role of remote worker, the real estate world quickly changed to accommodate. Now instead of looking for homes that offer a great commute to work, new buyers and investors are searching for amenities that just weren’t as popular 18 months ago.

Working from home is mainstream and condo developers are adapting with workspaces

At ALL in REALTY, our clients are keen to ask about workspace areas and facilities within new developments they’re looking to buy into. Developers are now viewing these as must-have’s for those for whom condo living is a great fit, while accommodating work-from-home in vibrant, productive shared and private workspaces. (Feature Image: Co-working Lounge at Realm Condos, Burlington, On by Adi Developments)

Even as the world moves its way back into more ‘normal’ footing, the remote working trend is here to stay. Many companies are realizing just how much they can save in office costs, and that employees actually can be counted on to complete their workday without the constant supervision of their superiors. Because of this, it’s essential that real estate investors keep this in mind when planning for amenities in both preconstruction units and existing condo buildings.

The real estate market is on an upswing

Despite most of the world shutting down for the better part of 18 months, the real estate market, particularly that of southwestern Ontario, has been on a steady upswing. Now that people have figured out that they don’t need to worry about their daily commute being a tolerable one, they’re looking to move out of busy urban centers like downtown Toronto and instead are spreading into areas like the 905 and the GTA.

While this is great for investors who are looking to rent or sell, it also means that homes are becoming increasingly unaffordable for the average home buyer. Because of this, buyers are looking to buy into smaller condos in more up and coming areas in order to break into the market at a level that they can afford.

The demand for amenities is changing

In years previous to this shift towards remote working, condo buyers often focused on the presence of amenities like gym facilities and on-site swimming pools. Now that they are often looking for a space that allows them to work from home, there’s been a significant shift in what buyers are looking for. Some top amenities that appeal to employees working remotely from home include:

A communal workspace or business center – Though many still want to create an office space within their condo, the desire to have a communal workspace on the property has increased significantly. If this area includes common tools like WiFi, printers, private call rooms and comfortable desks- even better!

Great natural lighting – Working from home can feel quite claustrophobic at times so condo units with a good amount of natural light and nice big windows will be appealing to those who still have long work days and who may struggle to get outside regularly.

Social opportunities – Being a remote worker may leave some people feeling isolated so a building that offers some form of social opportunity is a hot sell. Coworking offices, monthly socials and inviting outdoor spaces offer the perfect option to those looking to get out of their home for a bit.

The opportunity for garden or outdoor space – Since remote workers tend to spend more time at home, the opportunity to spend time in a beautiful outdoor space is something many buyers look for. Whether the unit is on the ground floor with space for a garden, offers a great patio or balcony to create something comfortable or comes with some sort of shared outdoor area to relax, buyers welcome the ability to spend time outdoors.

Great internet – Though most tenant agreements require the homeowner or renter to facilitate their own internet contract, providing high speed internet in coworking spaces and other shared areas is a great way to indicate that the building caters to remote workers.

Condos with the right amenities are an excellent investment

Whether you are looking to buy a condo unit in order to rent it out or you want to live in it yourself, they continue to offer an excellent and more affordable investment option for those that want to break into the housing market but don’t necessarily need all the square footage of a single-family home. With single family and semi-detached homes becoming fairly unattainable for new buyers, a condo is the perfect starting point.

When buying a home as an investment property, a condo that features great remote working amenities often comes with the ability to not only easily find renters, but to also command a higher price for the unit you are looking to rent. Smaller condos with amenities that target the remote working demographic will appeal to the vast number of people who are looking to move out of the downtown area to enjoy a quieter style of living.