Climate change has an impact on the choice of housing
The developer’s reputation, client references, building management, environment, amenities, materials used or the flat’s orientation – these are just some of the elements that are factored into the choice of a new home apart from the price. Buyers’ requirements in Slovakia have changed radically over the past ten years. We discussed changing consumer behaviour with Michal Pauer from CRESCO REAL ESTATE, a development company that stands behind the largest residential area constructed in Slovakia since the 1989 Revolution – Slnečnice in Bratislava:
″Ten or fifteen years ago, the new buildings market was just starting out in Slovakia. Today, the situation is different, clients have already purchased one or two properties since then, they are more experienced and much more sophisticated,″ says Michal Pauer, Sales Director at CRESCO REAL ESTATE. ″Customers have learnt to make good purchase decisions, they are more familiar with the law, and they have a clear vision of their new home. They are interested in the materials that have been used, financing, overhead costs, and the future management of the building. Naturally, they also focus on the environment in which the building will be constructed, its infrastructure, common areas and community life. The seller’s reputation is also important to some extent.″
The power of social media
One of the relatively new things that is essential for today’s selling process are social networks, where people share and exchange experience. ″This puts pressure on quality, which is good,″ says Michal Pauer, however, he also points out the dark side of this phenomenon. ″Social networks can sometimes be counterproductive because of false or unverified information which is hard to disprove.″
Functionality & pragmatism
″The pre-crisis era was typical for its fast construction pace, there was little focus placed on the product itself and its purposefulness. During the real estate ″boom″, it was not rare to find large two-bedroom flats with impractical layouts which were then difficult to sell,″ explains Michal Pauer. ″The ever-increasing price per square metre means that there is increased pressure on building smaller surface areas in medium-category flats, however, there are certain limitations, e.g. sufficient storage space, separate day and night zones or the separation of rooms. Naturally, the situation is different in luxury real estate where expectations in terms of space are very different.″
With nature in mind
The impact of climate change has been intensifying. According to Michal Pauer, customers are much savvier in this area as they have started to look for flats which are not so exposed to the sun (facing east). Customers are more and more interested in flats that are prepared for the installation of air-conditioning or outdoor window blinds.
″We have observed rising demand for parking areas with electric car charging stations and we have made the necessary adjustments in the Slnečnice Viladomy zone, where we have installed an electric charging plug on designated parking spots. If a client is interested in such a parking space, we can offer it to them,″ adds Michal Pauer.
There are currently 6 outdoor charging stations in Slnečnice, each of them can serve two electric vehicles at the same time. There is one in the Viladomy zone, three charging stations in the Mesto zone directly in front of residential buildings A1, A2 and A3 (to be opened soon). In addition, there are two more charging stations in the Slnečnice Market area which can be used not only by local residents, but also by customers of local shops and the food court.
The developer has been cooperating with ZSE in the construction of electric charging stations infrastructure. Based on preliminary statistics, the stations are mostly used during summer months, i.e. during the holiday season.
Visions & perspectives
Mortgages are currently provided with all-time low interest rates, however, housing credits have become somewhat less accessible due to the requirement of an eightfold net annual income. While in the past individuals used to be the predominant buyers, today the situation is different. ″Currently, properties are purchased by couples as their combined income is higher,″ says Michal Pauer. When we asked him about his forecast for the real estate market in the coming years, he replied: ″There is no reason for real estate prices to go down. Increased construction costs and a historically low number of available flats will boost the prices even more. As for financing, clients still have various options to co-finance their mortgage. For example, with us, they can use Žltý melón. However, if financing becomes inaccessible to clients, this will put pressure on housing funded from public funds.″