NEW TREND A SHORT WALK TO THE OF­FICE

More buy­ers are look­ing to beat ris­ing fuel costs and traf­fic jams by look­ing for prop­er­ties with workspaces

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY360 - BONNY FOURIE bron­wyn.fourie@inl.co.za

HOME OF­FICE, and spa­ces that can be con­verted into them, have be­come big sell­ing points in to­day’s homes.

With ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy and in a city that is of­ten grid-locked with in­creas­ing traf­fic, the ap­peal is un­der­stand­able.

Some busi­nesses are also al­low­ing staff to work from home a few times a week, and en­trepreneurs un­able to af­ford com­mer­cial of­fice space when they start out are run­ning busi­nesses from their homes.

If there is not al­ready a home of­fice on the prop­erty, buy­ers look for a home where they can cre­ate one, says Gre­eff Christie’s In­ter­na­tional Real Es­tate chief ex­ec­u­tive, Mike Gre­eff.

“More in­di­vid­u­als are do­ing ex­tra work from home, work­ing un­con­ven­tional hours, or telecom­mut­ing. The home of­fice is also very ap­peal­ing to peo­ple who are self-em­ployed.”

Gre­eff says most buy­ers look­ing for this “ex­tra” are self-em­ployed, but a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber work from home a few days a week. Many of th­ese re­mote work­ers are cut­ting down the num­ber of days spent in their work of­fices due to the cost of fuel.

“The sav­ing is a real fac­tor made more im­por­tant when one con­sid­ers the time saved by not com­mut­ing.”

The ma­jor­ity of Lew Gef­fen Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty buy­ers in Lake­side, Zand­vlei, Kirsten­hof and Zwaan­swyk want of­fice space whether or not they work full-time from home, say agents Dawn Bloch and Lee-Ann Davis. A grow­ing num­ber of buy­ers in th­ese ar­eas run their busi­nesses from home, or work flexi-time or over­time.

“We are aware of a num­ber of home busi­nesses op­er­at­ing in our ar­eas, in­clud­ing a Pi­lates stu­dio, a vet­eri­nary phys­io­ther­a­pist, mu­sic and film stu­dios, med­i­cal spe­cial­ists, child-care es­tab­lish­ments, phys­io­ther­a­pists and ac­coun­tants. Many IT-based busi­nesses are op­er­at­ing in Muizen­berg, Ma­rina da Gama and Lake­side.”

While most of th­ese buy­ers are self-em­ployed, tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments af­ford a grow­ing num­ber of em­ploy­ees the con­ve­nience of work­ing re­motely when nec­es­sary, says Davis.

“In light of spi­ralling fuel costs and grow­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion, we an­tic­i­pate this emer­gent trend will grow ex­po­nen­tially.”

De­mand for home of­fices is in­creas­ing in most of the south­ern sub­urbs and the False Bay re­gion, agents say.

In the winelands and Helder­berg, the trend has be­come in­creas­ingly preva­lent in re­cent years, says Chris Cil­liers, chief ex­ec­u­tive for Lew Gef­fen Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty there.

But while buy­ers in Ron­de­bosch do en­quire about homes with ad­di­tional rooms or spa­ces that can be used as home of­fices, Lynne Wright, Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties agent in the area, says there has not been a no­tice­able in­crease in de­mand. Most buy­ers look­ing for home of­fice space are self-em­ployed, and there has been in­ter­est from doc­tors want­ing work­from-home premises.

“We of­ten find one spouse works from home, and a study suf­fices. Oc­ca­sion­ally, there are re­quests for a proper of­fice set-up, but there has not been an up­take re­cently.”

In Ron­de­bosch, the Camp­ground Road area is pop­u­lar with buy­ers look­ing for space that could ac­com­mo­date work­ing from home, she says.

In the north­ern sub­urbs, there are not many re­quests from buy­ers for work-from-home op­tions, says An­nien Borg, Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties manag­ing di­rec­tor for Boland and Over­berg.

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