Masdar City, Abu Dhabi
London, United Kingdom
Brooklyn, New York
Buyers are becoming much savvier and more demanding when looking to buy or rent real estate. With numerous online sites offering transparency on neighbourhood trends and pricing, they come in equipped with more financial details. A growing number may be looking at the property not as a place to live but as an investment that be turned into a hotel experience via platforms like Airbnb, a workspace, a safe place to park foreign currency, or a space that can be transformed for profit. Many prefer to bypass brokers altogether, and deal directly with developers.
For sellers, the broadening range of motivations and players looking to buy a home is both an opportunity and a challenge. It widens the pool of potential purchasers, putting upward pressure on price. At the same time, it creates the need for multiple scripts and considerations in selling, while also putting more pressure on developers to handle a task that’s typically outsourced to brokers. Foreign clients and investors often buy through a third-party agent, spawning the rise of the ‘client’s client.’ Buyers as a whole are more comfortable with buying off a development plan, which can bring early revenue but also headaches if unexpected design features are demanded or don’t come to pass. While developers may be relatively neutral to who buys a property, residents in the surrounding neighbourhood are rarely as sanguine. Foreign investors often leave homes unoccupied, detracting from the vibrancy and revenue opportunities of an area. Other buyers may conflict with policy-makers or residents when they convert space to commercial uses. As in other realms, the lines between living- and workspace are blurred as mixed-use developments become the norm.
Located in London’s Nine Elms, a riverside redevelopment described by London’s mayor as “possibly the most important regeneration story in London and in the U.K. over the next 20 years.” The apartment complex, built amid landscaped public squares and gardens, boast amenities such as a library, private club, spa, cinema, business facilities, and “Sky Pool.” Its central London location contributed to a marketing campaign built around storylines of imaginary occupiers . This allowed developers to give buyers a chance to imagine interior furnishings and features that add inspiration to the site’s appeal. The result: record sales prices and the sale of 560 units within the first 12 months. Estates Gazette called this result “phenomenal”.