CBRE, the global commercial real estate services firm, conducted a Residential Tenant Flash Survey in August 2020 to gauge the sentiment of residential tenants in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the survey, key factors for those seeking residential accommodation are outdoor space, with 63% responding that having access to a garden or balcony is more important than ever before following partial lockdown measures. On-site sports and leisure facilities are also driving decisions, with 56% regarding amenities, such as swimming pools and gymnasiums, as high on the priority list.
In choosing a new property, tenants are starting to factor in the trend for more time working from home, with 37% reporting the need to have an area within their home for an office or dedicated workspace.
Another 56% of residents indicated that inclusive rental packages that covered utilities and municipality tax are favoured above exclusive rental options.
In tracking relocation activity, the survey found that a majority 80% of those surveyed claimed that they had not adjusted their housing budgets in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, while 79% have also made the decision not to move home in the remainder of 2020.
Most residential tenants have not received rent reductions, up this point, according to the survey results, with just 21% having received rent relief of up to 20% of their contracted rent.
The survey shows that a clean and disinfected property will continue to be of high importance to tenants, with the vast majority at 78% indicating that they wish the cleaning regimes to continue beyond the pandemic. In conjunction, 57% of respondents also consider that personal protective equipment (PPE) should continue to be used by property management and maintenance staff going forward.
“COVID-19 has had an impact on all real estate sectors in Bahrain, including the residential market. Property developers will need to reconsider their product offerings going forward, with innovative use of internal, as well as, external space to meet new demands of tenants and buyers alike.” said James Lynn, Director of Strategic Advisory Services – Bahrain. “Working from home, has been on the increase over the past decade and has now, through necessity, proven to work well. We believe many people will continue to choose to work from home for at least part of the working week and therefore dedicated spaces need to be incorporated into floor plan designs with the required digital connectivity included.”