Co-living and flexible spaces for new living patterns

July 2022 | News

Where is the residential product heading? What are the new housing designs? How are trends such as build to rent (BTR) or co-living being consolidated? What are the new demands of users? All these questions were some of the aspects that were analysed at the "New Real Estate Projects" event. An encounter organised by  Grupo Vía and sponsored by Actiu, Schneider Estectric and Tarkett, which was held in Actiu's showroom in Madrid and was attended by leading companies in the sector. All of them presented their point of view in two round tables that discussed a sector that is increasingly aware of sustainability and with increasingly demanding clients, which were moderated by the Executive Director & Head of Architecture at Savills, Leyre Octavio de Toledo.

With the title "Is the residential product changing? New housing designs and consolidation of trends such as BTR or co-living", the first round table brought together Andrés Horcajada, CEO & Co-Founder of Tectum, Juan José Perucho, Vice President & General Manager of  Grupo Ibosa, Víctor Troyano, Lead Project & Concept Manager of Urbania, and Irene Trujillo, General Manager of Dovevivo. Together, they analysed the growth of renting vs buying in the residential market, the change in the user profile and how aspects such as natural light, ergonomics, sustainability, outdoor spaces or amenities are already being considered a priority over others such as square metres, location or price when it comes to choosing housing.

“Family profiles and the way in which each person relates to their environment, both domestic and work or urban, as well as the main players in the housing development sector and the socioeconomic and cultural framework, have changed profoundly in recent years,” Víctor Troyano explained, who also pointed out how new generations have service rather than ownership in their DNA, thus favouring models such as build to rent.

Conferencia Irene Trujillo

Along with build to rent, other models have arrived such as co-living, senior housing and student housing, all of which have been imported from abroad in response to new ways of living. “It would be interesting to make construction flexible enough so that if the market were to change in twenty years, the housing stock that is designed for build to rent could be converted into another type of use," Irene Trujillo said.

“Public administrations have to understand that, in order to welcome the new ways of living of the future, it's not so much a question of adapting buildings, but rather of making uses more flexible,” said Andrés Horcajada, who believes that the greatest difference between a city that is attractive and comfortable for its inhabitants versus another that is not will depend largely on its ability (or lack thereof) to adapt to these new uses.
All the participants agreed on the inseparable nature of the build to rent of professionalised management and how this model has already become one of the most attractive sectors for many investors, as a catalyst for the residential sector in the coming years. 

“A model where, as with co-living or senior housing, the private initiative is far ahead of demand, presenting itself to users as a solution with a promising future,” said Juan José Perucho.

Emilio Sánchez Castellano, CEO of Iberdrola Inmobiliaria, Dictino Castaño, Deputy General Manager of Premier España, Alfonso Martínez Paredez, Central Zone Director of Inmobiliaria Espacio, and Manuel Balcells, General Manager of Inbisa starred in the second round table discussion, "Where is the real estate sector headed? More profitable segments, the impact of European funds and challenges", moderated again by Leyre Octavio de Toledo, who analysed the future of the sector at a time of profound change and uncertainty.

“The pandemic has brought about a change in the office segment, which has undoubtedly been the most affected. Remote working is here to stay, but not as a substitute for offices, rather as a measure of flexibility, since personal connections must continue to exist,” said Dictino Castaño, who pointed out how in the residential sector, aspects such as the demand for outdoor spaces, the flexibility of spaces, sunlight or energy efficiency have gone from being important to essential.

“The client is beginning to become aware of the importance of sustainability, although more as an economic issue than as an environmentally responsible mentality. Even banks are asking for energy performance certificates to provide financing,” Manuel Balcells added. 

Sustainability certificates are a reality that are being required more and more by increasingly aware and demanding users, where the generational difference is noticeable. In fact, younger buyers are those who are influenced by greater environmental awareness.

Emilio Sánchez Castellano spoke about industrialisation as a possible alternative to traditional construction, highlighting that “in order for industrialisation to be profitable, a large volume of production is necessary, which does not exist in Spain because there is no factory culture.” “The less labour there is and the higher its cost, the closer we will be to industrialisation,” added Alfonso Martínez Paredez, who agrees with his colleagues on the importance of achieving a type of industrialisation that is as far from standardisation as possible.

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