As cities continue to evolve, emergent trends are reshaping the urban real estate market and precipitating new approaches to urban living and mobility, which has resulted in innovative new residential developments to meet the growing demand. 

“The shifting preferences and needs of urban dwellers are driving significant changes in the property landscape of major metros,” says Cobus Odendaal, chief executive officer of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Johannesburg and Randburg, adding that they are impacting not only the types of properties being built but also the areas experiencing growth. 

Differing preferences 

The transformation is largely driven by young professionals who are attracted to the vibrant city lifestyle and job opportunities. Their preference for walkable neighbourhoods, access to amenities and modern, tech-enabled living spaces has begun to influence developers’ choices. 

To a lesser degree, empty-nesters and downsizers are also influencing the market, preferring smaller, low-maintenance properties in urban settings. Other market drivers are cultural diversity, the desire for cultural experiences and the proximity to educational institutions and healthcare facilities. 

Trending mixed-use development 

The concept of live, work and play within a single neighbourhood appeals to urban dwellers seeking convenience, accessibility and a sense of community. Developments combine residential, commercial and often retail spaces in the same building or close vicinity, thereby aligning with the current needs and desires of urban residents. 

  • Convenience and walkability: Reducing the need for long commutes and enabling residents to access essential amenities, shops and services within a short distance, appealing to professionals, millennials and empty-nesters who value time-saving and efficient lifestyles. 
  • Enhanced sense of community: Residents can easily interact with neighbours, shop at local businesses and participate in community events. This sense of belonging contributes to an enriched urban living experience. 
  • Increased vibrancy and diversity: The combination of residential and commercial spaces creates a dynamic environment with a variety of cultural, culinary and entertainment options. This vibrancy attracts residents and visitors alike, adding value to the real estate market. 

Sustainability and technology 

With growing environmental awareness, sustainability and green building practices have become significant factors in urban living. Developers are increasingly incorporating energy-efficient appliances, solar panels and green roofs into their projects.  

Green spaces, community gardens and shared outdoor areas are also becoming more prevalent, providing residents with access to nature and promoting a healthier lifestyle. 

The integration of technology into urban living has gained momentum, and features such as automation systems, energy management tools and voice-activated devices are becoming more commonplace.  

Full acknowledgement and thanks go for the information in this editorial. 

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