Elite AgentOPINION

Jonathan Lui predicts downscaling properties are the way of the future

Small properties are better, and property will eventually get smaller and smaller in the future. That’s according to Jonathan Lui, co-founder of Airtasker and founder of property networking app Soho.

Australia’s properties are now the smallest they’ve been in the past two decades, with an incline in apartment-living. And apparently, that’s OK.

Having lived in Australia most of his life and recently moved to Singapore, Lui says he has noticed a significant difference in property sizes. He says big properties are out, and small houses are in.

“Asia is the projection of the future in terms of property sizes, with smaller kitchens and living spaces, especially as land becomes more expensive and behaviour shifts to outside of home activities,’ Jonathan says.

“When you look at higher population and higher density locations like Hong Kong or Japan or Singapore, it’s more about higher density space in apartment blocks and a lot more activity flowing outside of the home. Shared facilities and retail is pretty big in those economies. That trend is definitely going to continue in Australia.

Despite the ‘great Aussie dream’ of owning a quarter-acre block of land with a backyard and verandah out the front, Jonathan thinks Australians will eventually embrace the lifestyle of small living, given the 24/7 nature of work and less time spent at home.

“I think it’s because economies are becoming switched on, there are more hours in the day to be conducting business, so more time is being spent out of the home and at the office and having dinner out rather than coming home and cooking.

“You can see this shift even with a very Australian cultural behaviour like the barbecue. There are communal barbecue areas now because some people might not be able to have it at home and you can’t do it on a balcony. Gyms are moving outside, now there are 24/7 gyms and you don’t need to have a weight station at home. This trend of less house living and more apartment living is only going to continue.”

Jonathan predicts the trend might see more volume of properties on the market, where land is carved up into smaller parcels.

“Rather than one big two-storey house, you might see duplexes, so that’s two opportunities rather than one. And it can keep going to more extreme levels, as developers start leaning towards more volume and transactions.”

While this change may not happen straight away, Lui says the industry must keep its finger on the pulse and change doesn’t have to be a negative thing.

“I see it in a positive way. This is the way the world is moving and changing today. It’s the new norm.”

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Azal Khan

Azal Khan was a in-house features writer for Elite Agent Magazine.