Months of confinement mandated by the coronavirus pandemic have given many people lots of time to think, especially about what kind of home they want to live in.
Kitchens big enough to really cook in, islands where you can hang out, dens where you can work and light-filled layouts that can make a dreary day more interesting are things that Mitchell Abrahams, president of The Benvenuto Group/Malen Capital Corp., says might be on the minds of clients as they consider such upscale projects as his Monza Condos.
“All these things are typical features of building great space,” he says. “I just think at times like this, when you’re spending more time at home, they move their way up on your checklist.”
And that is reflected in the market, he says. “I think the focus through this pandemic for many is ‘I don’t want to live through this type of environment ever again in a space that I don’t love’.”
His projects offer cutting-edge technology such as touch-free surfaces and the ability to summon the elevator from your smartphone, as well as high-quality features and calming views that stretch for kilometres.
Matthew Brown, director of project development for Minto Communities’ Oakvillage project in Oakville, says that a recent survey of buyers and registrants for Minto’s properties indicated that natural light and noise mitigation are among their priorities. The survey asked specifically how the pandemic had affected respondents’ lives, their living arrangements and what they would be looking for in a new home.
“A lot of this has to do with the fact that people are working from home full-time,” Brown says. “It definitely does seem like when you’re home all the time the spaces that are being used for work, whether they’re dens, and in a lot of cases dens with no windows, are just too dark to be in for a full workday, five days a week.”
He has noticed, for example, that people in the building where he lives began to pull their desks next to windows as the pandemic wore on.
Noise can be an issue when more than one person is working from home. Brown suggests designers of the future can enclose dens that are open to other areas with glass walls so that light is maximized but noise is buffered.
Concerns about air quality were also raised in the survey, which Brown says is fully addressed in Oakvillage’s modern design. He says Minto identified health and wellness as a significant and important trend long before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and incorporated technology in earlier projects that has since come to the forefront.
“As an example, we’re using an ionized air-purification system for all of the common elements,” he says. “That was brand new.”
Jordan Morassutti, co-founder and partner of North Drive, which includes 36 Birch Avenue, 10 Prince Arthur and One Forest Hill among its properties, says he’s found that the pandemic has sparked a shift toward more separate spaces inside suites.
“What was commonplace previously would be his-and-hers closets and now we’re starting to see his-and-hers offices or libraries, in addition to separate fitness rooms within suites,” he says.
Clients are extensively consulted about what they’re looking for in a condo so their desires can be met. Morassutti says, for example, that buyers who are collectors are often particular that they have the right space to give prominence to certain pieces.
“We are always amenable to personalizing layouts as long as the changes that are made within the suite do not impact the suite below or adjacent to it,” he says.
Tiffany Wood, director of sales for The Daniels Corporation’s Field House Eco-Urban Towns, says she is also seeing a greater emphasis on personalization and privacy.
“People now value more walls, doors and overall privacy,” she says. “I think we will see a shift in the way homes are designed because of this. This has changed the way we have designed our homes and our amenity spaces. We are providing spaces that are more functional and multi-purposeful.”
On the other hand, Janice Fox, broker of record with Hazelton Real Estate for Menkes Development Ltd.’s 77 Clarendon project, says she is actually getting fewer questions about separate offices, which she speculates could be because of a greater move to paperless work and people doing so much on laptops that they can set up anywhere.
At 77 Clarendon, concerns about lighting have been alleviated because of its very tall windows throughout that let plenty of natural light come into the suites.
Potential buyers are definitely interested in air filtration, touchless surfaces and keyless entry, as well as safe deliveries. There are back doors and a separate service elevator at 77 Clarendon just for that purpose.
“Nobody’s coming in to your front door, nobody’s touching anything. They’re leaving it outside your back door in a little service area – again, all touchless,” Fox says.
Fox says 77 Clarendon lends itself easily to personalization with a wide palette of custom finishes to help buyers put their own imprint on their home.
“Because they’re buying pre-construction, there’s lots of opportunity to change the floor plan, move walls around, really customize the way they live as opposed to a production building where they’re all sort of cookie-cutter suites. We’re expecting a very high level of customization in this and really looking at a great opportunity for people to custom build what they want in there.”
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.